March 4th, 2020

Can an Employment Tribunal award substantial costs against a Claimant in the Employment Tribunals?

Yes, said the EAT in Radia v Jefferies International Limited.

Costs do not follow the event in the Employment Tribunals and have traditionally been viewed as the made rather than the rule. In the present case a substantial award of costs (£550,000) was awarded against the Claimant.

The award was made on four grounds, all of which failed on appeal to the EAT.

  1. That the claims enjoyed no reasonable prospects of success. During settlement discussions with his employer the Claimant had raised, for the first time, allegations of disability discrimination dating back 5 years which the tribunal assessed to have no merit;
  2. That the Claimant knew or ought reasonably to have known that his claims had no prospects of success and had acted unreasonably in pursuing them;
  3. That he was held to have unreasonably conducted the proceedings by continuing the claims after receiving the Grounds of Resistance and/or a costs warning letter which he did not respond to; and;
  4. More crucially perhaps, that the Claimant had lied to the Tribunal or misled the Tribunal in respect of certain complaints and the Tribunal said it would have awarded costs anyway in respect of those claims alone.

This is an alarming judgment for any Claimant lawyer but one which merits a full reading of the very specific facts of the case. The Claimant’s case was funded by Legal Expenses Insurance. Ouch!

This blog was first posted on Daniel Barnett’s Employment Law Bulletin.

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