The EAT in Beckford v London Borough of Southwark was looking at the compensation awarded to an employee who had suffered disability discrimination in the form of failure to make reasonable adjustments. His employer had not considered before dismissing him whether he could be provided with suitable alternative employment. Although the tribunal's reasoning looks a bit suspect, that part of the decision was not appealed.

The claimant was awarded a sum for injury to feelings for the discrimination, which was increased under the "Simmons v Castle" principle – a 10% uplift on damages in civil claims introduced a couple of years ago to reflect changes to the legal aid regime. As the EAT commented, although in this case the sums involved were small, the principle is important. There have been contradictory decisions on the issue in the last couple of years – two saying that Simmons v Castleapplies to employment tribunals in the same way as other courts and two (including one the appeal in which is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal early next year) saying it doesn't.

In this case, the EAT was strongly of the view that the uplift should apply. The financing of litigation in tribunals and the county court is similar and awards in the tribunals should be "broadly comparable" to those in the county court. Failing to apply the uplift would mean that, on the contrary, they were "generally 10% different"!