Jeremias Prassl and Abi Adams win MLR Wedderburn Prize

Abi Adams (Associate Professor of Economics and Fellow of New College), and Jeremias Prassl (Fellow of Magdalen and Associate Professor of Law) have won the Wedderburn Prize for their article, Vexatious Claim: Challenging the Case for Employment Tribunal Fees, which was chosen as the contribution to the Modern Law Review from last year which is ‘exemplary of the type of scholarship it aims to promote’. Selected by the Review’s editorial committee, the prize was announced by Professor Julia Black (LSE) after the Chorley Lecture.

In their article, Abi and Jeremias explore the law and economics of access to justice in the context of Employment Tribunal fees introduced in July 2013. Drawing on rational choice theory and empirical evidence, they argue that the resulting payoff structures, negative for the majority of successful claimants, strike at the very essence of these rights. Viewed thus, the measures are furthermore disproportionate in light of the Government’s stated policy aims: fees have failed to transfer cost away from taxpayers, have failed to encourage early dispute resolution, and have failed to deter vexatious litigants.

Their research played an important role in subsequent litigation before the Supreme Court, leading to the 2017 Unison decision in which the Fees Regime was struck down.  This impact was recognised in a recent O2RB Excellence in Impact Award; the paper is also on the shortlist for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)’s Celebrating Impact Prize 2018.

About the Wedderburn Prize

The Wedderburn Prize is named in honour of Lord Wedderburn of Charlton, who served as General Editor of the Modern Law Review from 1971 to 1988. It is awarded annually for a contribution to that year’s volume which in the opinion of the Editorial Committee is exemplary of the type of scholarship that the Modern Law Review aims to promote. In awarding this Prize, the Committee pays particular attention to the work of authors who are at a relatively early stage of their careers.

The Wedderburn Prize was awarded at the Chorley Lecture on 5th June 2018.