In the case of Sud v London Borough of Ealing a robust decision has been made in the Court of Appeal upholding the tribunal’s decision to order the Claimant to pay 50 per cent of the Respondent’s legal costs.

Background to the case/decision:

The Respondents legal costs at full value were over £100,000.

The Claimant had brought claims of unfair dismissal, detriment for having made protected disclosures, sex, race and disability discrimination and a claim for unpaid holiday pay. All of the claims were withdrawn/rejected, except for the disability discrimination claim. The Claimant did succeed on this claim and was awarded £2,000 plus interest.

The employment tribunal made an order to the Claimant to pay 50% of the Respondents costs.  The tribunal was unhappy that the Claimant had made a large number of unspecified allegations. The Claimant’s financial circumstances were considered by the tribunal in determining the level of costs that the Claimant should pay.

Preparation for the case was extensive which included a whistleblowing claim, involved multiple alleged disclosures and multiple alleged detriments. These multiple disclosures gave rise to discrimination and automatic unfair dismissal claims which had to be addressed by the Respondent. This resulted in a substantial disclosure of documents. The Tribunal was presented with 11 lever arch files of documents which contained in excess of 3600 pages. The case was heard over a period of 12 days.

The Claimant failed to keep on top of witnesses availability and the tribunal was concerned that generous settlement offers had been rejected.

On appeal, it was also taken into account that at all material times the Claimant had the benefit of legal representation.

Offers to settle the case were attempted by the Respondent with offers of £10,000, £15,000 and £40,000 (on two occasions).  The Claimant was looking for compensation in the region of £360,000.

Sita Anand

Carillion Advisory Services