In a case which usefully illustrates the broad discretion which tribunals have when it comes to making costs awards, the EAT has upheld an order made against an employee who had brought unfair dismissal proceedings, but had also unreasonably pursued race discrimination allegations. The tribunal awarded £10,000 costs to the employer, even though the employee did not have the means to pay at the time the award was made. However, the tribunal was satisfied that her financial position would likely improve in the future (taking into account her age (39) and future earning potential).

On appeal, the EAT held that the costs award was justified on the grounds of the employee’s future earnings and confirmed that the tribunal was not restricted to considering the employee’s financial position at the time of making the award (Chadburn v Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital NHS Foundation Trust).