Today’s ruling by the High Court to overturn The Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013 is a landmark judgement and a salutary reminder of why we need to maintain an independent judiciary.
The order which introduced fees for people wishing to take their employer to industrial tribunal was introduced by the then Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling. Such orders, or Statutory Instruments are not debated in the House of Commons and, therefore, are not subject to the normal scrutiny. Despite the fact that this happened during the coalition years, Liberal Democrats within government were powerless to stop it and have demanded that the measures be reviewed ever since.
Proposals now being debated under the “Great Repeal Bill” are that the same powers would be employed to amend legislation passed into UK law after any departure from the EU. This must be opposed.
In my opinion, there are three key issues that this case raises;-
1) The introduction of new or revised legisltation must be put before both Houses of Parliament for full and proper scrutiny.
2) The judiciary must ALWAYS be independent and the EU is quite right to oppose changes being propsed in Poland for judicial appointments to be politically controlled.
3) Our Trades Unions have an important role to play in protecting the rights of employees and this role must be upheld.