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Employment Tribunal Fees, Access to Justice, & Rational Choice Theory: A Primer

13 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2017  

Abi Adams

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Jeremias Prassl

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 25, 2017

Abstract

In the spring of 2017, the UK Supreme Court in Unison v Lord Chancellor heard an appeal against the UK Government’s 2013 introduction of fees for claims brought before employment tribunals. In an earlier article (Vexatious Claims: Challenging the Case for Employment Tribunal Fees) now published as [2017] 80 Modern Law Review 412-442, we extensively engaged with different strands of this litigation. This short note provides a summary of our argument against the Government’s case for employment tribunal fees, explaining how tribunal fees have become a powerful barrier to justice, in violation of domestic and international norms that protect the fundamental right of access to courts or tribunals – from the EU law principle of effective judicial protection to Article 6(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights (‘ECHR’). We set out the key points demonstrating that the regime as introduced violates the very essence of these rights, as the majority of meritorious claimants can expect to be faced with a net financial loss. The Fees Order 2013 is furthermore a clearly disproportionate measure in pursuit of the twin aims of transferring cost from taxpayers to workers and influencing claimant behaviour.

Keywords: Access to Justice, Effective Judicial Protection, Employment Tribunals, Court Fees, Vexatious Claims

JEL Classification: K31, K41, K42

Suggested Citation

Adams, Abi and Prassl, Jeremias, Employment Tribunal Fees, Access to Justice, & Rational Choice Theory: A Primer (July 25, 2017). Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 50/2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3008668

Abi Adams (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Jeremias Prassl

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

Magdalen College
Oxford, OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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