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Tribunal Order Query


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Hi standupforyourself,

 

a legal advisor will earn their corn in this situation I'd say. A decision as to whether you have acted unreasonably so as to attract a costs order is based on evidence and the submissions the Tribunal will receive from both sides.

 

The question may boil down to when the Tribunal considers you were unreasonable in pursuing the claim, from the start, perhaps from the point of when you 'turned down' their offer of a settlement, perhaps from the point of the costs warning onwards. Perhaps there will be no costs award against you at all. The respondents have to argue their case as well of course. Costs awards are unusual after all.

 

But, yes, do seek legal advice; although well meaning, one or two of us might give you misleading hope/information as we reach out to the edge/beyond our ken and without knowledge of all the facts around the hearing.

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The Respondent's can state that it's cost them xxx amount, all it means is that's what they've spent to defend your claim. No doubt they've hired expensive lawyers, barristers, for the sole aim of building up costs. Then threatening you with costs before the hearing, during the hearing and afterwards. It does undermine what Employment Tribunals are there for. Because they are asking the Tribunal for that amount, it doesn't mean they will get what they are asking for. It might be an idea to seek help from CAB.

 

Employers should be restricted to using their own in house HR departments to keep costs down, if HR knew more about the law, then maybe they would get managers to treat their employees better/fairer, happy employees are more productive/increase profit.

 

Speak to CAB first, but you could write to The Chairman of Tribunals, state that the in house

HR department had the requiste knowledge to handle the defence of your claim, but they decided to hire lawyers to build up costs so that they could use your case as an example to all employees at the company. Also they threatened you with costs at various states through out the case.

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Employers should be restricted to using their own in house HR departments to keep costs down, if HR knew more about the law, then maybe they would get managers to treat their employees better/fairer, happy employees are more productive/increase profit.

 

Exactly, stop the ET system just being a lip service and do what it's meant to do.

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  • 2 months later...

Hello again,

Update - the tribunal sent a letter saying they were In a position to make a decision on costs and the amount and the judge stated they were going to take my financial situation into account.

The respondent then requested either an award of 20k or that a detailed assessment takes place. They acknowledged this would mean further delay and costs. The court have agreed to the assessment and the next few months are now to be spent with the respondent preparing a full schedule of costs from the date requested by the judge , then I have to go back with any points of dispute, then an assessment hearing will be scheduled with the judge sitting alone.

More delay and frustration and cost for me. It's interesting how the schedule of costs from the date specified by the judge totals just over 100k but yet the respondent were asking for a costs order of 20k.

Is this just tactics as they know I can't afford a payment upfront of that? By going through a detailed assessment am I in a better position as the judge will look at their inflated costs and take into account my ability to pay ?

I have read that during the costs schedule going back and to to agree set points / dispute points that an agreement could happen on the level of costs between respondent and myself. Does that actually happen? At best I could only afford £50 per month and depending on the level of costs it could take 10 years plus to pay off!

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It sounds positive for me. Initially they wanted £100,000, then they wanted £20,000 or an assessment. The Judge wants to look at the schedule of costs, remember they have seen hundreds so they can see what the justified costs are. You need to play it by ear, I don't think you should start thinking about figures just yet. Update as soon as you get news, then you need to write a letter to the Judge.

 

 

 

Hello again,

Update - the tribunal sent a letter saying they were In a position to make a decision on costs and the amount and the judge stated they were going to take my financial situation into account.

The respondent then requested either an award of 20k or that a detailed assessment takes place. They acknowledged this would mean further delay and costs. The court have agreed to the assessment and the next few months are now to be spent with the respondent preparing a full schedule of costs from the date requested by the judge , then I have to go back with any points of dispute, then an assessment hearing will be scheduled with the judge sitting alone.

More delay and frustration and cost for me. It's interesting how the schedule of costs from the date specified by the judge totals just over 100k but yet the respondent were asking for a costs order of 20k.

Is this just tactics as they know I can't afford a payment upfront of that? By going through a detailed assessment am I in a better position as the judge will look at their inflated costs and take into account my ability to pay ?

I have read that during the costs schedule going back and to to agree set points / dispute points that an agreement could happen on the level of costs between respondent and myself. Does that actually happen? At best I could only afford £50 per month and depending on the level of costs it could take 10 years plus to pay off!

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Don't wish to worry you, but can the ET order the claimant sell their home to cover costs?

I notice a recent case- Gary Howman v ..... where the only equity he has is in his home. He has been to the EAT and back to tribunal for several appeals. Not sure what the outcome was?

Seems crazy that an ET could make an order for the home to be sold. What if the ET has made the wrong judgement and the claimant has to suffer 'life changing' costs orders, on the judgement of a judge who may have got it wrong!!

Seems crazy!!!

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Hi

I don't think an ET can make that kind of order. That would have to come from a county court (if the respondent applied for bankruptcy )and they would have to take into account who else lived there I.e if you have children , spouse etc. It may be that a court could put a charge order on the home but it would all depend on what equity was actually in the home and anyone else who had a share of that equity would have their share first ( after the mortgage company had been paid). The ET can take into account your finances / financial situation but it is not seen as reasonable to put you in a situation where you are bankrupt / lose everything. I guess it all depends on the view of the judge and the extent of any unreasonable behaviour.

The ET can take into account a large amount of equity in a home that could be used to remortgage to pay a costs order but to actually make someone sell their home to be left with nothing is pretty draconian and far from a reasonable approach.

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The ET doesn't have the power to force someone to sell their home. The ET will determine costs or send for detailed assessment. If the claimant then fails to pay, the respondent can then seek to enforce the judgment debt through the county courts if they wish - and enforcement can include a charge over the house and ultimately they could pursue an order for sale. They are quite rare though and almost never granted if there are children in the house.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks everyone for your comments. The latest situation is that I have just been made redundant from my current job and was wondering if this will affect the costs order? The redundancy pay out isn't great but enough to keep me going for 3 months. I have just received the respondents bill of costs and I am going to pay to have a solicitor or direct access barrister look over it as it is such an extortionate value and it is worth the money if they can find that the respondent has over inflated the bill.

Does it make any difference if I am now out of work - will the judge take that into account ? My fear is that the respondent will see I have a redundancy pay out and do everything the can to get their hands on it. However, that money is needed to live on as I don't know how long it will take to find alternative employment.

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