At present, unlike the Royal Court, the Tribunal does not have the power to award costs to a successful party to proceedings. On 30 April 2010, the Forum published a consultation paper on costs and vexatious claims in the Tribunal (the "White Paper"). The purpose of the White Paper was to seek an appropriate balance between deterring genuinely vexatious Tribunal claims so that employers are not faced with the excessive costs of defending vexatious claims, whilst not allowing employers and their representatives to deter genuine claimants with threats of claims for costs.
On 20 December 2010, following a period of public consultation, the Forum published its response to proposals put forward in order to address the issue of vexatious claimants.
The Forum believed that awarding the Tribunal a new power to make costs awards might not lead to a reduction in the number of vexatious claims. However, it recognised that "a limited element of risk to vexatious claimants" might need to be introduced in the future, at the discretion of the Minister. The proposal to broaden JACS' powers so that it could screen claims was rejected. The Forum highlighted the dangers of requiring JACS to carry out functions that were beyond its intended remit, noting that there was a risk that its position as an impartial service could be compromised. The Forum also rejected the proposal to require claimants to pay an initial Tribunal claim lodging fee. Similarly, a proposal that claimants should pay a deposit to pursue a claim to a full hearing (in the event that the Tribunal had decided at an interim hearing that a claim had little reasonable prospect of success) was also rejected.
The Forum supported the use of interim hearings and recommended that the Tribunal's rules and procedures regarding interim hearings should be formalised.