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In the Employment Tribunal the general rule is that each party will bear their own costs. Unlike the Civil Courts, the successful party cannot normally reclaim their costs from the other side.
There are exceptions to this rule, if a party has acted vexatiously, abusively, disruptively or unreasonably the tribunal may order the unreasonable party to pay part or all of the other sides cost (regardless of who was successful in the claim). These costs are normally limited to the costs incurred at Tribunal. However, in the case of Sunuva Ltd v Martin the Tribunal awarded two-thirds of the claimant’s total costs, including the costs incurred prior to the Claimant receiving the ET3.
This order was based on the fact that the Respondent admitted that the dismissal was pre-determined and as such had no real prospect of successfully defending the claim. Had the Respondent admitted this earlier the claimant would not have had to bring her subsequent claims and there would have been no hearing and significantly fewer legal costs incurred.
The Respondent appealed against this decision and the appeal Tribunal decided that there was a link between the costs incurred before the Respondent filed their ET3 and as such these should be included in the amount the claimant should be able to recover.
This deviance from the general stance that any costs which are awarded are for the costs which are a direct link of unreasonable conduct is something which parties should be cautious of when conducting cases through the tribunal.
If you need any assistance in regards to any tribunal claim please do not hesitate to get in touch.