For instance, the wording suggested that it could potentially capture claims that were currently progressing through the tribunal where the claimants had paid or had yet to pay the relevant fees and were seeking a refund of those fees.

The Case Management Order itself sparked some fierce legal and judicial debate questioning, in particular, just how closely the courts and tribunals should allow themselves to be guided by government policy.

A new Case Management Order dated 18 August 2017 has been issued from the President of the Employment Tribunal amending the original Order to state that the stay on claims relying on the Supreme Court’s decision has been lifted, effectively allowing those claims to proceed again.

Also, and quite tellingly, the new Case Management Order states that “[t]he Employment Tribunal and its judiciary are separate from and independent of the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service” as if to put paid to the debate on just how independent the employment tribunal and its incumbents are from relying on government policy.

Comment

For those whose claims were left in limbo by the original Case Management Order detailing that their claims either were or (more likely) may be stayed, this new Order at least provides some certainty in terms of allowing existing claims within the tribunal system to proceed.   It does not, however, provide much certainty for those who decided either to withdraw their claims or not to bring claims because of the presence of employment tribunal fees.

This Order also only partially resolves the situation as employees and employers who have been ordered to pay tribunal fees will still be required to await an official announcement from the Ministry of Justice and/or HMCTS on how and when they may reclaim payments made in respect of employment tribunal fees.

This article is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. Knight Polson Limited trading as QualitySolicitors Knight Polson accepts no responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the contents of the above article, please do not hesitate to contact us on knightpolson@qualitysolicitors.com  or 023 8064 4822.