16 April 2012 #Employment
In most cases in the tribunal costs orders are the exception rather than the rule, unlike other areas of litigation where the general rule is that costs follow the event and the unsuccessful litigant normally has to foot the legal bill for the litigation.
Not this time, the EAT, in Peat & ors v Birmingham City Council, upheld a decision by the tribunal to award costs against a group of claimants. The case makes interesting reading.
The Claimants claimed unfair dismissal, having been dismissed and re-engaged following an extensive collective consultation over implementing a Single Status Agreement. During proceedings, the Respondent’s solicitors sent the Claimants a detailed costs warning letter but the Claimants continued with their claims. After the Respondent was successful at the liability hearing, it made an application for costs against the Claimants and was successful.
The Claimants appealed the decision to the EAT but were unsuccessful in their appeal. The EAT found that it was not necessary for the Respondent to satisfy the tribunal that the Claimants had no reasonable prospect of success in their claims, and that it was unreasonable conduct on the part of the Claimants to fail to engage with the Respondent in relation to the costs warning letter.