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Time To End Employment Tribunal Fees Says Unison

The Justice Secretary has announced that from Christmas Eve, the Criminal Courts Fees system which has resulted in many defendants pleading guilty despite being innocent; will be scrapped completely.

Admitting that the charges placed upon those accused of petty crime who wished to have their day in a higher court rather than just a magistrates court, had failed to bring in the level of cash they claimed would be the case, is a massive U-turn and a slap in the face of the previous Justice Minister Chris Grayling.

The current Justice Secretary, Michael Gove has had to admit the failure of the anti-justice move which was an attempt to stop “petty criminals from wasting public money, by opting for a full trial rather than just simply pleading guilty”. Such was the assumption of guilt, by the Tory Government, rather than innocence until proven otherwise by the law courts. The charge was placed on anyone whose case was intitially to be heard by a magistrate, but then wishing to take their case to trial in a higher court.

Commenting on the Secretary of State for Justice’s decision to scrap the criminal courts charge, UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:

“Removing the criminal courts charge is right. I now call on Michael Gove to extend this move to employment tribunal fees.

Evidence shows that since tribunal fees were introduced, the number of employment tribunal claims has dropped by 70 per cent.

It is obvious that fees are deterring working people from getting access to justice and leaving unscrupulous employers free to treat workers badly.”

In its response to the Justice Select Committee’s call for evidence, UNISON expressed concerns about the imposition of the criminal courts charge and its effect on defendants. The union also highlighted that fees had been set with no consultation, were too high and not means tested.

UNISON has campaigned for the removal of Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal fees since their introduction in July 2013: and is seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal rejected its appeal against the government’s introduction of employment tribunal fees.

Source: UNISON

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