Costs can be awarded against you

by Cyrus Medora on November 15, 2013

The Court of Appeal recently took the unusual decision to uphold an order for costs against an employee in an employment tribunal.  Cyrus Medora, a solicitor in the Litigation Department at Kidd Rapinet’s Slough office said, “Although it is exceedingly rare, it is within the Court’s powers to award costs against the individual litigant in an employment case”.

The original case revolved around a case of unfair dismissal when the litigant was made redundant from her job with a Local Authority in London. The litigant additionally alleged sex discrimination, disability discrimination, race discrimination and non-payment of holiday pay. The Local Authority offers to settle out of court ran from £10,000 via £15,000 to £40,000, and on each occasion the claimant had rejected them out of hand, indicating she was looking for compensation of £360,000. The case came to tribunal where it was concluded that the litigant’s claims for unfair dismissal and discrimination were unfounded (other than to a limited extent in relation to her disability discrimination claim – where she was awarded £2,000) and the tribunal exercised its discretion to order the litigant to pay 50% of the respondent’s (the Local Authority) reasonable costs. The litigant appealed this decision but it was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Cyrus Medora comments “Going to trial is not always the best course of action.  In this case, the client lost the opportunity to achieve compensation of £40,000, with no legal costs, by insisting on following an unreasonable claim for £360,000”.

If you would like assistance in relation to a litigation or employment issue, call Cyrus Medora at Kidd Rapinet on 01753 532541 for further information.