The Employment Appeal Tribunal has taken the unusual step of ruling that an appellant should pay costs for bringing an appeal that should never been brought, in line with forthcoming and long awaited Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regulations.
The judgment shows the sympathy judges have towards the far-reaching Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2001, which were due to come into force in April but have been held over until July. The regulations will increase the costs size from £500 to £10,000. Tribunals, however, have always had the power to hand cases to a county court if the costs are greater. In ordering that the appellant, Dr A Jiad, pay costs to the respondent, the BBC World Service, the tribunal is adopting the rule within the yet-to-be-enforced regulations which say that costs may be payable if a claim or defence is misconceived. Employment barrister Daniel Barnett of 2 Gray's Inn Square said: "It's very unusual to award costs in such cases. The Government has added the text 'misconceived' to cases described as frivolous, vexatious or unreasonable. This means costs can be awarded to hopeless cases like this one rather than just those where the parties are acting through a grudge." In this case, a costs order was made despite the judge stating the appellant's case had been conducted properly. He decided, however, that the appeal was "of no merit and should never have been brought".