Costs appear to be a more common feature in the ET nowadays with Judges more willing to impose a costs order. Pre 29th July the rules were unchanged but the shift appeared to come more in attitude in the judiciary. Now of course, the rules focus more on efforts to settle and weeding out claims at the outset, it will be interesting to see if there are more developments in this area going forward.
In a recent case, the EAT upheld a costs award against a Claimant who was both unrepresented and of limited means. The case was Vaughan v LB Lewisham (UKEAT/0533/12) and was interesting not least of all because she was unrepresented and of limited means but also because she was not given a costs warning by the Council or made the subject of a deposit order at a preliminary stage. The costs award in question was for a staggering amount, more than £85,000!
The Tribunal found no evidence to support her allegations that she was the victim of a conspiracy theory by her employer on a large scale to discriminate against her. I have said before that the Tribunal is not a fan of conspiracy theories but on occasion they do have their place. Clearly not in this case. Had there been some form of clinical diagnosis for the Claimant, the outcome may have been different. One also has to wonder whether if the Respondent was not a public employer whether the Tribunal would be so keen to recompense the employer and also quite frankly how they managed to rack up costs at that level.