Employment Tribunal costs (including solicitors’ and barristers’ fees) differ from the Courts.  In the County Court and the High Court, you usually recover a percentage of the legal costs from the losing party (apart from the small claims section). However, in the Employment Tribunal, the general rule is that each party must bear their own costs. This means what a client spends in legal costs pursuing or defending an employment tribunal matter will not be recovered from the other party. Even if they are successful.

There are exceptions to this rule though. It’s important to note that this is very much the exception rather than the rule.

Firstly, a costs order must be made when the final hearing is adjourned or postponed. A working example would be:

Where the respondent failed to provide evidence that the claimant’s job (from which they were dismissed) is still available and the claimant had told the respondent seven days before the final hearing – they were looking to be reinstated in their job.

There are other cases when a costs order may be made. This can be when one of the following circumstances has arisen:

A party or their lawyer has been an annoyance, abusive and disruptive during the conduct of the proceedings;

The usual example is, that if it’s considered a claimant has knowingly pursued a claim without merit. With the intention to harass and cause a nuisance to the responding party. By taking up their time, money and resources in defending the matter.

If a claim had no reasonable prospect of success;

There is scope for a costs order to be made if it’s considered the claim had no reasonable prospects of success. Such circumstances may arise where the claimant refuses to accept advice that the claim is misconceived or without merit.

A party breaches any order of the Tribunal;

The failure to comply with an order. Such as disclosing documents before the final hearing, may result in the party in default having to pay costs to the other side.

A hearing is postponed upon an application of a party;

Postponing a hearing will usually lead to wasted costs for the other party and the Tribunal. Therefore, it is typical for a costs order to be made in such circumstances.

Note that the Tribunal has broad discretion to award cases in one of the above circumstances. If you wish to discuss your claim, please contact our employment team on Levi Solicitors  0113 297 1873.

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