Freshfields threatens Bloxham appeal with potential £100K costs

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is deciding whether to pursue costs against Peter Bloxham, its former partner who lost a £4.5m age discrimination claim against the firm last week (www.thelawyer. com, 10 October).

Freshfields told The Lawyer that it is seeking legal advice from Lewis Silkin on the matter.

A source close to the case said that Freshfields would push for costs if Bloxham appealed. This could amount to £100,000, The Lawyer has learnt.

He has 42 days to decide to appeal the decision.

Costs in employment tribunal cases are not clear-cut. They can be awarded in cases in which there was a 100 per cent victory and the losing party was shown to have demonstrated ‘unreasonable behaviour’ in bringing the complaint.

The tribunal found unanimously for Freshfields in the landmark case, the first major test of the age discrimination laws passed in October 2006.

Both sides have made telling statements after the 10 October decision. Freshfields co-senior partner Guy Morton labelled the claim as “misguided”, while Bloxham’s solicitors Dawsons said he was “entirely justified” in bringing the suit.