15 great reactions to today’s Supreme Court tribunal fees ruling

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By Katie King on

Access to justice 1, Chris Grayling 0

Lawyers are bursting with pride and emotion over a Supreme Court ruling that declares employment tribunal fees unlawful.

The seven-strong bench unanimously sided with trade union UNISON in its legal action against the Lord Chancellor, over an employment tribunal ‘fees order’ introduced by Chris Grayling.

This order requires would-be litigants to pay up to £1,200 to access the tribunal, the effect of which has been dire. In the words of Winckworth Sherwood employment lawyer Tim Goodwin:

This has seen, in some areas, tribunal claims fall by up to 80%. Far from dissuading workers from bringing hopeless cases, the fees have discouraged genuine litigants from pursuing their rights simply on the basis that they cannot afford to pursue their employer.

UNISON — represented by Dinah Rose QC, Karon Monaghan QC and others — argued the making of the fees order was unlawful because: it interfered unjustifiably with the right to access to justice, it frustrated the operation of parliamentary legislation granting employment rights, and it discriminates unlawfully against women and other protected groups.

Today, Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Reed and Lord Hughes ended this four-year legal battle by siding with UNISON — here are 15 of our favourite reactions to the news.

1) Sean Jones QC admits he got tearful when reading the ruling

2) Take that Grayling, says human rights barrister Adam Wagner

3) Joshua Rozenberg loves Lord Reed’s judgment so much, he’s backing him for Supreme Court president

4) So does King’s College London academic James Lee!

5) This decision is going to cost the government a lot of money…

Christina Tolvas-Vincent, partner at Bond Dickinson, told us: “the Lord Chancellor previously gave an undertaking to repay all employment tribunal fees paid since 2013 if the fees order was found to be unlawful and the government will need to set up a system for repayment.”

6) Some more Grayling love

7) Don’t we all, Caspar Glyn QC

8) Air punch time

9) Could this be a revolution?

10) All the legal greats get a look-in (no Denning though)

11) Scenic

12) The Bar Council is also very happy

A spokesperson said: “This decision from the Supreme Court is welcome to all who believe in the fundamental importance of the rule of law.”

13) UNISON’s assistant general secretary couldn’t hide her joy

14) ???

15) Legal officer Michael Reed sums up just how important this court ruling is

Read the judgment in full below:

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