POLITICS
26/07/2019 14:43 BST | Updated 26/07/2019 14:44 BST

Revealed: Thousands Charged Illegal Tribunal Fees By Chris Grayling Still Awaiting Refund

Government raked in £32m before the charge was found to be unlawful.

Thousands illegally charged up to £1,200 to take their employer to court are still waiting for a refund – two years after a landmark Supreme Court ruling. 

The Ministry of Justice raked in £32m in employment tribunal charges over three years before judges ruled them to be unlawful in 2017. 

They were introduced by former justice secretary Chris Grayling, who claimed the charges would cut the number of malicious and weak cases.  

Campaigners said the fees denied people access to justice and official figures show that between 2014 and 2017 there was an astounding 79% drop in claims. 

HuffPost UK has now discovered that barely half of the people due to their money back have had a refund.

Out of a possible 64,426, HM Courts and Tribunals Service has refunded just 33,787.  

The trade union Unison, which fought the appeal against the charges in court, called the figures “shocking”. 

Legal officer Shantha David said: “It’s disappointing that the government hasn’t done more to refund those who’ve had to shell out fees to take their cases to tribunals, despite the Supreme Court finding the fee regime unlawful.

“Almost two years after fees were abolished it’s shocking to learn that refund claims are still taking a such long time to be heard. The government is starving the tribunal service of much needed administrative and judicial resources, and putting people off pursuing justice.”

The figures were uncovered by Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon, who said Boris Johnson’s government “must get serious and start making real efforts” to give workers wrongly charged fees their money back. 

He said: “This underlines the contempt the Tories have for working people. First they deliberately try to price working people out of pursuing justice and then they drag their feet when it comes to reimbursing them. 

“The Tories’ immoral and unlawful Employment Tribunal Fees were an attempt to stop working people being able to enforce their rights, leaving them defenceless against unscrupulous bosses.”

HM Courts and Tribunals Service confirmed that just £17.4m out of the £32m had been refunded. 

A spokesman said the MoJ was “making every effort” to refund people and has now written to everyone eligible. 

“More than half of the money owed has already been paid out, and we’re working closely with stakeholders to get the message out even further,” the spokesman added.