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

Home Office Central Registry for modern slavery statement goes live - first universities publish statements

The Home Office recently launched a central registry for modern slavery statements. A growing number of educational organisations, including a number of universities, have published statements on the registry.

View blog

Equal pay at ASDA stores - appeal to the Supreme Court unsuccessful

35,000 workers working in ASDA’s retail business sought to compare themselves to workers at distribution depots for equal pay purposes. Find out more about this Employment Appeal Tribunal.

View blog

Supreme Court confirms that sleep ins are not working time

The Supreme Court judgment represents the conclusion on whether or not “sleep in time” should be classified as working time, when calculating the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

View blog

Mencap case: No entitlement to National Minimum Wage for sleep-in shifts

In a pivotal and much anticipated judgment for the social care sector, the Supreme Court has ruled that workers are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage for all time spent on a sleep-in shift.

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