UNISON is challenging the decision by the Ministry of Justice to bring in fees for claims in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal on 29 July 2013, by calling for a Judicial Review. The union is applying to the High Court to judicially review the decision having written to the Ministry of Justice on 1 June 2013, warning them if they did not revoke this legislation, the union would lodge proceedings. UNISON believe that by bringing in these charges the Government will make it virtually impossible for a worker to exercise their rights under employment law. The new fee regime is being challenged on four legal fronts. According to UNISON:
1. In accordance with EU law, national courts must not make it virtually impossible, or excessively difficult, to exercise individual rights conferred by European Community law.
2. Fees are not payable in most First-Tier Tribunal claims, equivalent to the Employment Tribunal; this breaches the principle of equivalence by requiring significant fees to assert EU rights but not those derived from domestic law.
3. There has been no proper impact assessment as required by the Public Sector Equality Duty.
4. Indirect discrimination – charging prohibitively high fees will have a disproportionate adverse impact on women, particularly given that women will not (if they earn an average income) be entitled to any remission of fees.
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