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Greene & Greene is a long established firm of solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Our lawyers advise individuals and businesses based all over the UK.

We regularly attract new clients who have been using firms in London, but now receive a more cost efficient and more personal service from us here in Bury St Edmunds.

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Monthly Archives

Entries in Employment Tribunal (14)


What does the 2017 Autumn Budget mean for Employers and Employees?

The Chancellor delivered his 2017 Autumn Budget speech on Wednesday 22 November. On the same day, the full Budget report was published by the Government.

Employment lawyer, Greg Jones talks through the key points that will be of interest to employers and employees as summarised by the Employment Lawyers Association.


The Government has confirmed that it has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) for increases to the national living wage (NLW) and the national minimum wage (NMW). Accordingly, from April 2018 the Government will increase the NLW, which applies to workers aged 25 and over, by 4.4% from £7.50 to £7.83. The LPC has estimated that this will benefit over 2 million workers. At the same time, the NMW rates will be increased as follows:

•             from £7.05 to £7.38 for 21 to 24 year olds;

•             from £5.60 to £5.90 for 18 to 20 year olds;

•             from £4.05 to £4.20 for 16 and 17 year olds; and

•             from £3.50 to £3.70 for apprentices.


In accordance with its commitment to raise the personal allowance (PA) to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold (HRT) to £50,000 by 2020, the Government has announced that in the 2018/19 tax year the PA and HRT will be increased to £11,850 and £46,350 respectively. The Government has also announced that, with effect from April 2018, there will be no benefit in kind charges on electricity that employers provide to charge employees’ electric vehicles. The report further details a number of changes the Government will make to the taxation of employee expenses following a call for evidence that was published in March 2017.

Employment status

The Government has stated that it will publish a discussion paper as part of its response to the Taylor review of employment practices, which will explore the case and options for longer-term reform to make employment status tests for both employment rights and tax clearer. It has acknowledged that this is an important and complex issue, and it will therefore work with stakeholders to ensure that any potential changes are considered carefully.

Link to Budget report:


If you have any questions regarding employment matters please contact Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446) or  Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453). For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.


Employment Tribunal Fee refund scheme launched

The Ministry of Justice and HM Courts & Tribunals Service have announced that the first wave of people eligible for employment tribunal fee refunds will be able to apply from today.

This follows an appeal hearing by Unison and the subsequent ruling by the Supreme Court in July where they declared that “fees for those bringing employment tribunal claims were ruled to be unlawful and therefore nullified.”

During this first stage of the phased implementation up to around 1,000 people will be contacted and given the chance to complete applications before the full scheme is opened up in the coming weeks.

As well as being refunded their original fee, successful applicants to the scheme will also be paid interest of 0.5%, calculated from the date of the original payment up until the refund date.

It is claimed that the opening phase will last for around 4 weeks. Further details of the scheme, including details of how it can be accessed, will be made available when the scheme is rolled out fully.

If you have any questions regarding employment tribunals or any other employment matter please contact Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453) or Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446). For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.


Employment tribunal fees unlawful

   The Supreme Court has declared this morning that fees for those bringing employment tribunal claims have been ruled unlawful and will be nullified. As a result, the government will possibly have to repay up to £32m to claimants in respect of fees paid between 2013 and now.

The decision follows the appeal by the trade union Unison who argued that the fees prevented many workers from getting ‘access to justice’.  The Supreme Court referred to the Government’s review on the impact of fees (discussed in our previous blog on 1 February 2017).  There has been ‘a sharp, significant and sustained fall’ ‘in the number of employment tribunal claims since the introduction of fees representing a reduction of 66–70% of cases. The proportion of claimants receiving fee remission was also lower than the government had anticipated. On this evidence the Court concluded that many people found the fees unaffordable and had been denied access to justice.

With fees ranging between £390 (Type A) and £1,200 (Type B) for a case to be heard at a hearing, the Supreme Court also concluded that it was indirectly discriminatory to charge higher fees for type ‘B’ claims (which include discrimination claims) than type ‘A’ claims (such as unpaid wages). It was found that a higher proportion of women bring Type B claims than Type A and that they were placed at a particular disadvantage compared to men; and it could not be objectively justified why Type B claims were more expensive.

What happens next?

  • Anyone lodging a tribunal claim will not be required to pay the tribunal fees. Those who have paid the fees (be it Claimants or Respondents) will have to watch this space in terms of how to reclaim fees (if possible).
  • Whether the number of claims will rise as sharply as they fell on the introduction of the fees regime is something Employers, ACAS and the Employment Tribunals will be watching very carefully. If they do, significant resources will need to be put back into the system to avoid a further backlog of claims.  
  • The Court’s decision does not prohibit the government imposing fees in the future as the decision relates to the level of fees being unlawful and preventing access to justice. Further consultation on this is likely to be necessary before any decision is taken.
  • Immediate attention is required by the Employment Tribunals Service for reprogramming the online claim form system and for them to rewrite the tribunal rules.
  • There is also the question concerning the amount of people who chose not to bring a claim due to the cost of the fees and whether they will seek to lodge their claims out of time. Although the answer the question is unknown, anyone in this position will need to act immediately to avoid prejudicing their chances.

If you have any questions regarding employment tribunals or any other employment matter please contact Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446) or Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453).

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit http://www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.


Greene & Greene present Law Award at West Suffolk College


West Suffolk College held its Celebration of Achievement Awards for 2017 in a large marquee in the college grounds on Friday 30 June. This annual event recognises students for their hard work and dedication to their chosen subjects.

Greene & Greene is proud of its association with West Suffolk College and sponsored its ‘Outstanding Student of the Year Business Management (Law)’ award for the second year. Angharad Ellis Owen, Employment Law Barrister at Greene & Greene, was delighted to present the award to Andrew Stokes for his hard work throughout the year, which was rewarded with excellent results.

Hospitality students from the College’s Edmunds restaurant catered for the gala dinner, with entertainment provided by the A Capella student group, Amado, and a choir from Conservatoire East.

If you have any questions regarding employment law matters please contact Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453).  For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit http://www.greene-greene.com/index.html and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.


Employment Tribunal Judgments Available Online

It’s been a long time coming, but the Employment Tribunal has finally been dragged into the modern age. The online database of Employment Tribunal Judgments in England, Wales and Scotland is now live.

In the past, access to Employment Tribunal Judgments was restricted to those willing to search the dusty records held in Bury St. Edmunds (for England and Wales) or Glasgow (for Scotland). The new online database provides free and instant access to Judgments. The change is likely to have a significant impact on whether grievances are pursued in the Employment Tribunal, and the way in which employers vet potential employees.

A selection of decisions from 2015, 2016 and 2017 are currently listed on the database, with all future Judgments to be added as soon as they are publicised. It is not yet known whether existing Judgments will be added. It is likely that the number of records involved may make the task almost administratively impossible.

Perhaps the most useful tool on the new database is the ability to carry out a free text search. This means that employers will be able to search for an individual by name. Likewise an employee or other organisation can search to see if the employer has been involved in previous Tribunal proceedings.

From an employee perspective this may be an incentive to attempt to settle the claim before issuing proceedings. Employees are unlikely to want prospective employers to know that they have issued proceedings against their previous employer. However, if that employee’s previous claim was for discrimination they will be protected from victimisation by the new employer. A rejection of the potential employee’s job application because of a previous discrimination claim would be unlawful. 

From an employer’s perspective the publication could affect their reputation. It is also possible that confidential or commercially sensitive information mentioned in evidence is referred to in the Judgment and made readily available online. This in turn may impact the employer’s recruitment and retention of staff. It also remains to be seen whether existing employees use the information to further their own grievances/claims against the employers, particularly in relation to discrimination claims.

It will be interesting to see whether this new initiative will encourage the parties to settle claims earlier to avoid their name appearing on the database.

If you have any questions regarding employment law matters please contact Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453) or Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446).   For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit http://www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.


Government Review of Fees in Employment Tribunals

Angharad Ellis OwenAngharad recently joined Greene & Green and is a Barrister specialising in Employment Law. In her first of many blogs to come she summarises the recent Government’s review of the introduction of fees in the employment tribunal.

Sir Oliver Heald, Minister of State for Justice states "there is no doubt that fees, alongside the introduction of the early conciliation service, have brought about a dramatic change in the way that people now seek to resolve workplace disputes. That is a positive outcome, and while it is clear that many people have chosen not to bring claims to the Employment Tribunals, there is nothing to suggest they have been prevented from doing so".


The Government’s review concludes that the original objectives for introducing fees (in 2013) have broadly been met.   Those who use the employment tribunal system are contributing around £9 million annually in fees, transferring a proportion of the cost of the employment tribunals from taxpayers to users of the employment tribunal system.   

Following the introduction of fees there has been 'a sharp, significant and sustained fall’ in claims being presented.  In the first year after the introduction of fees there was a fall of 78% in the total number of claims presented. This fall has been much greater than originally expected. However, this is seen as a positive outcome by the Government.  

The Government accepts that the fees have discouraged some people from bringing employment tribunal claim; although it states that there is no conclusive evidence that they have been prevented from doing so.  In order to help those on low incomes (who are more likely to struggle to pay the fees) the Government proposes to increase the income threshold for a fee remission at broadly the same level of someone earning the National Living Wage.

Judicial Review

UNISON applied for a judicial review of the introduction of fees. In the Court of Appeal UNISON argued that the statistics (showing a drop in the number of claims submitted) demonstrated that fees were making it very difficult for a large proportion of claimants to enforce their rights. The case is due to be heard by the Supreme Court in March 2017.

If you have any questions in relation to employment tribunal proceedings or generally please do not hesitate to contact Angharad Ellis Owen on 01284 717453 or email aellisowen@greene-greene.com.