Workplace Report June 2007

Law - Tribunal procedures


Case 5: The facts

A tribunal struck out Mr Thomas's claim at a pre-hearing review because he had failed to comply with tribunal orders and had conducted the proceedings unreasonably. However, the tribunal refused to order him to pay the employer's costs, on the grounds that his claim was not "misconceived". The employer appealed against that decision.

The ruling

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) noted that the tribunal rules of procedure allow for costs to be awarded against a party where that party has either acted unreasonably or has brought proceedings that are misconceived (meaning that they have no reasonable chance of succeeding with their claim).

Having found that Thomas had acted unreasonably, the EAT said the tribunal should have awarded costs against him; it did not matter that his claim was not also misconceived, as that was a separate issue.

Smart Interiors Contractors Ltd v Thomas EAT/0477/06