Following the successful completion of the first phase of its refund scheme for employment tribunal fees, following the Supreme Court’s judgment in July 2017 in R (on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor 2017 that the fees regime was unlawful, the government has now fully opened the scheme to anyone who thinks that they may be eligible for a refund.

The refund scheme can be used by all claimants and respondents who paid a fee during employment tribunal proceedings, or during an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), between 29 July 2013 and 26 July 2017. The refund will be processed directly to a nominated bank account, together with interest at 0.5% calculated from the date of the original fee payment up until the refund date, and the applicant will receive a letter confirming the amount paid.

Applicants can apply for a refund in one of the following ways:

  • through an online application which allows the applicant to complete their details on a government website – this online method is only open to individual claimants who either paid the fee themselves or reimbursed a representative who paid a fee on their behalf, and who haven’t changed their name since they made the tribunal claim
  • using refund form 1-C to apply for a refund by post or e-mail – this form is for individual claimants only and can be used where they paid the fee themselves, reimbursed their representative for a fee paid on their behalf or were ordered to reimburse the respondent for a fee
  • using refund form 3-S to apply for a refund by post or e-mail – this form can be used by representatives or sponsors of a party to an employment tribunal claim who paid the fees on behalf of the individual claimant or group of claimants, e.g. trade unions who have funded a claim, and by lead claimants in a multiple claim
  • using refund form 2-R to apply for a refund by post or e-mail – this form is for respondents to an employment tribunal claim, e.g. an employer that had a tribunal claim brought against it. It can be used both where the respondent paid a fee and where it was ordered by the tribunal to reimburse a claimant for fees. In the latter case, the respondent also needs to provide a copy of the tribunal’s order requiring them to repay the claimant, together with proof of payment.

All types of fee can be reclaimed, not just the issue and hearing fees. This includes fees for judicial mediation, reconsideration of a default judgment, reconsideration of judgment following a final hearing and employer contract claims. However, the scheme does not cover payments made by respondents under a settlement agreement designed to compensate a claimant for a fee that they might have paid.

The total estimated cost of refunding employment tribunal fees, including interest, is £33 million.