21st February, 2024

Costs in the Employment Tribunal... a warning...

It's rare for the Tribunal to make a costs order against a Claimant and even rarer when that Claimant is unrepresented. However, if your claim is wholly without merit and you treat the Tribunal, the witnesses and the lawyers with contempt, then the Tribunal can and will exercise its powers to make an order for costs under rules 75 and 76 of the 2013 Regulations.

David Calvert recently represented the Respondent in the four day case of Stephen Lwanga v Atkinsrealis Ltd (Central London Employment Tribunal). Mr Lwanga had been employed by the Respondents as a management consultant and brought 9 claims for direct race discrimination which the Tribunal eventually dismissed. Throughout the proceedings Mr Lwanga had failed to properly particularise his allegations of race discrimination and indeed his witness statement (which ran to 57 pages) failed to deal with the issue of race discrimination at all. His chosen comparator was described as “no comparator at all” and baseless allegations made during cross examination, ranging from a conspiracy by several of the Respondents’ employees to discriminate against him to a number of documents being doctored by the Respondents where all roundly rejected.

However, it was the Claimant's own bizarre conduct throughout the hearing which brought the most criticism from the Tribunal. The Claimant would sneer and “eyeball” witnesses, turn his back on the judge while the judge was speaking, describe the Tribunal as “moving the goal posts” or being “as clear as mud”, constantly talk over the judge and fail to take his direction, describing witnesses as “putrid” and finally accuse the Respondent's legal team of coaching witnesses. If that wasn’t bad enough when judgment was given, he was quite happy to play solitaire with a pack of cards while sat in front of the judge and wing members.

After judgment David made an application for costs in the sum of £12,500. In assessing the merits of the application (and noting that the Claimant had relatively limited means) the Tribunal remarked that the Claimant's conduct had been the worst that it had ever observed from a party in all their years in sitting as a Tribunal. Even though the Claimant was unemployed and therefore of limited means, his conduct had been so bad that they would not consider his ability to pay under rule 84. They described the proceedings as an enormous waste of time and money and without merit. He was therefore ordered to pay the full amount sought of £12,500.

Read the Employment Tribunal decision here.

Latest News...

Three members of Chambers included in the inaugural Pro Bono Recognition List of England & Wales

18th June, 2024
Chambers would like to congratulate Chris Kennedy KC, Brian McCluggage and Jennifer Ferrario who have all been included in the publication of the inaugural Pro Bono Recognition List of England and Wales.

Mock Employment Tribunal 13 June 2024 – Brabners LLP, Adaptable Recruitment and 9 St John Street Chambers

14th June, 2024
Ed Morgan KC, Lee Bronze and Martin Mensah were kindly invited to present a Mock Employment Tribunal at the majestic Liverpool Town Hall on Thursday 13 June 2024.

9SJS taking part in this year's 10,000 Black Interns Scheme

10th June, 2024
Chambers are proud to once again be taking part in the 10,000 Black Interns Scheme and welcome our new Intern for the next 2 weeks.