Costs in the Employment Tribunal

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In the civil courts, the general rule is that ‘costs follow the event’ meaning that the losing party will be responsible for paying the winning party’s legal costs. The Employment Tribunal works differently however and, in most cases, each party will pay their own costs. The reason for this is to avoid individuals being discouraged from bringing their claim due to the risk of having to pay the Respondent’s legal costs which can run into many thousands of pounds. 

There are however some limited circumstances where a tribunal will decide that one party should pay the other party’s costs, such as where a claim has no chance of succeeding, is vexatious or where a party has acted unreasonably.   

The issue of costs was dealt with recently in the case of Tan v Copthorn Hotels. 

Mr Tan was a senior employee of Copthorn Hotels. When he was informed that he was at risk of redundancy, he began to make a number of unfounded allegations that the company had discriminated against him because of his sexuality and ethnicity. In order to try to substantiate these allegations, Mr Tan made over a thousand hours of covert recordings of his colleagues and an occupational health practitioner, hoping to catch them out. When he was ultimately dismissed, he brought several different claims against the company in the Employment Tribunal. As a result of the vast amounts of recordings that he disclosed, there were over 3,000 pages of documents for the Employment Tribunal to consider and the case was listed for seven days. The Tribunal had warned Mr Tan that his claims had very little chance of succeeding and he was given the opportunity to withdraw. 

Specialist Employment Law Solicitors

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