0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Forgotten your password?

Costs in the Employment Tribunal

25 September 2020

Costs in the Employment Tribunal remain the exception rather than the norm - in the vast majority of cases, parties are expected to bear their own costs, regardless of who 'wins'. Where costs awards are issued, they tend to be fairly low, with the average costs award for 2018/2019 being £2,400. This will not, however, always be the case, as a recent Employment Tribunal case aptly demonstrates.

In Tan v Copthorne Hotels Limited, the Employment Tribunal has ordered the Claimant, Mr Tan, to pay his former employer over £430,000 (with credit to be given for sums already paid) in a judgment on costs. This follows the Employment Tribunal's dismissal of all of Mr Tan’s claims against his former employer back in 2018. In that original judgment, the Employment Tribunal made various criticisms of Mr Tan, including that one of his claims (in respect of allegation of pay discrimination) was a "fishing expedition" and that he had taken a “scattergun approach” in referring to every possible claim he could think of to strengthen his position during a redundancy exercise. However, the greatest criticism related to Mr Tan’s admission that he had made tens of hundreds of hours of covert recordings of colleagues (and during an occupational health assessment). The Employment Tribunal described his conduct as deceitful, duplicitous and underhand, and held that this conduct would have completely eroded any trust and confidence.

At a time when Tribunal resources are being increasingly stretched, this case should act as a reminder for both parties that costs risks for speculative claims (or defences) are real, and can be significant.

Related opinions

Symptoms of menopause can constitute a disability

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) recently found that an employment tribunal was wrong to strike out a claim on grounds that menopausal symptoms did not amount to a disability under the Equality Act 2010 (Rooney v Leicester City Council).

View blog

Employment Appeal Tribunal rules no entitlement to pay for zero-hour worker during a period of suspension

In a recent case the Employment Appeal Tribunal determined that, as a zero-hour worker, the Claimant was not entitled to be paid whilst he was suspended pending an investigation into an allegation of misconduct.

View blog

Flexible working and leave for carers

The Government has launched a consultation today on potential changes to the statutory flexible working regime.

View blog

Importance of considering flexible working applications

An employment tribunal has awarded an employee almost £185,000 for indirect discrimination following a failure to adequately consider the employee’s flexible working request.

View blog

Sarah Hooton

Sarah Hooton

Professional Development Lawyer

View profile

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up