Skip to main content
CALL US: 01482 323 697
Williamsons News
News

Court Fees – Barring Access to Justice

27 July 2017

Blog, Clinical Negligence

Today, in a humiliating U-turn for the Government, the Supreme Court ruled that Employment Tribunal/Employment Appeals/Tribunal Fees had been unlawfully introduced in July 2013.

This is an important decision. The fees introduced by the then Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, ranged from £160 up to £1,200 and they had a profound impact on the number of cases taken before an Industrial Tribunal. This was not surprising. Having lost their job individuals were then faced with finding these fees at the very time of their greatest financial difficulty and as a result the Trade Union who brought this action, Unison, claimed that many thousands of employees, particularly those on low incomes were prevented from getting access to justice if they were badly treated at work. The Supreme Court agreed that these fees were discriminatory.

The case highlights, once again, an individual’s access to justice. It is all right having rights in place to protect people but if you can’t enforce those rights then they are meaningless. This point was summed up by Mr Joe Egan, the President of the Law Society, when he said “justice must never be a luxury for those who can afford it, it is a right we all share “.

This is a great outcome for employees who have in recent years been discourages from pursuing proper and appropriate claims because of the fees payable.

The Judgement can be read here: bit.ly/2eMIDnw

The government is now going to have to re think how the Tribunal system is funded and the role that fees will have in this in the future.

For many this is a welcome development. There was a view that employers conduct towards employees may have changed for the worse if thinking that there was little the employees could do about it. This may lead to fairer treatment by employers to employees in the future. On the other hand expensive litigation needs to be funded somehow and this is something the Government are no doubt addressing now. Simon Ramshaw

This also may have important implications for other areas of civil law. In particular, in relation to clinical negligence, the fees to issue proceedings have increased out of all proportion in recent years meaning that those who have been the most badly affected, and maybe least able to look after themselves, now have to pay fees of up to £10,000.00 a massive increase in recent years. A fee remission scheme helps those on the lowest incomes but those in the “squeezed middle” do not get such help and may be dissuaded from bringing legal action when it is most needed. There is a thought that Defendant insurers know this and reject good  claims knowing that many Claimants will not be able to afford the fees necessary to instigate proceedings.  In due course these Court Fees may also come under  scrutiny and, if so, this would be a welcome development to increase access to justice for those most severely injured in clinical negligence situations.

Simon Ramshaw commented that anybody who thinks that they may have a valid clinical negligence claim, but is put off by the potential costs risk should contact Williamsons at first instance to discuss these things through.


Contact Us Back to top
Read some reviews from our clients

4.82 Average

60 Reviews

Roger G

Williamsons Solicitors made me happy due to the fact they always called me back when they said they would , very efficient and professional from start to finish . i would definitely use them again if needed and recommend them thank you all again for you help and support Best Wishes Roger

Miss S

Throughout the 3 years my case was dealt with great care, and I was well informed with what was going on. Walliamson Solictors, is a great organised and exprienced firm. Please keep it up. God bless you all. P

Anonymous

Gordon handled my case very well, he was well informed and explained everything to me whenever I had any questions, everything was dealt with and my issue was resolved in my favour, I would highly recommend them and I will use them if I have any future issues

Roger W

My case was handled in a very professional and courteous manner throughout and proceeded exactly as I was told it would from the very first meeting. All contact I had with you either by telephone, email or in person completely put me at ease and therefore I felt comfortable asking any questions I had about my case to which I always received full and informative answers. I was kept fully up to date at all times with the progress of the case and as to what to expect next. I have been particularly impressed with the kind and compassionate treatment of my case from all of the staff at Williamsons particularly Nick Gray who throughout was professional and understanding during this difficult time. Finally I would like to pass on my thanks to all involved with the success of my case and would not hesitate to recommend Williamsons to anyone else unfortunate enough to be in a similar position.

Mr and M

We were buying and selling property which is always stressful his ever Suzanne, Natalie and everyone we dealt with were absolutely brilliant. Kept us informed all the way through the process. Now happy in our new bungalow and have no hesitation in highly recommending Williamsons.

Malcolm C

Mr Nick Gray was very thorough, professional and compassionate in dealing with our claim.

Mrs Wilson

Efficiently dealt with.

Mr and M

Always prompt responses. We completed really quickly and Richard and Beth resolved problems as soon as they occured.

Mr Snidle a

Just bought a property Sorted in just over 3 weeks we'll done Williamsons.

Jessica T

We have just moved home & used the coveyancing team for our sale & purchase! Jane & Amanda have been incredible, happy to answer any questions & despite quite a long chain made the transaction go through as quickly & as smoothly as possible. They were professional, friendly & kept us up to date every step of the way! Would highly recommend! Thanks again!

Mr Hannah

Mark Allison was a very competent solicitor that looked into everything and made the purchase of my house very strait forward. would highly recommend and would use again.

Mr and M

Responded quickly when required. Knowledgeable / helpful staff. Very professional

Lockwood

Brilliant could not have asked for more. Kept us informed all the way through house sale.

Mr and M

Good to have engaged a knowledgeable, local firm of solicitors with plenty of experience in flat conveyancing (new to us) so that everything proceeded smoothly.

Anonymous

MR Richard Bancroft recently handled the purchase of a property for me. He kept me informed all through the process and completed the purchase in approximately 4 weeks. I was delighted with the service.

Ian a

They gave clear information regarding our problem, set out a course of action and achieved a successful outcome.

Mr and M

They were knowledgable and friendly, helping us to arrange and sort out our wills without any messing about.

Julie M

Always available to answer any questions professionally and always correctly. If there was ever a question they couldn't answer they found out and came back to me. I used Williamsons due to our old solicitor retiring and I will definitely highly recommend to anyone who needs to use a solicitor. Amanda (AMH) in email is fantastic!

Laurie M

They were accessible, friendly and professional throughout, and secured a fair result in a difficult environment.

Lee C

Nick was amazing, he talked us through every stage and when we didn't understand he was very patient and explained as many times as we needed. The firm was not pushy,very professional and mindful of our feelings. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

Andy G

I used Williamsons and can not recommend them highly enough nick gray is extremely understanding and so easy to talk to even about very personal things when I was down and going to give up he encouraged me to carry on which I will be for ever grateful first class communication on every aspect of my case I would highly recommend williamsons from start to finish nick gray especially is easy to talk and a brilliant listener I can't fault this company in any way absolutely excellent and very professional thanks again Andrew George

.