We provide Legal & HR advice to protect and support your business.

2 minutes reading time (469 words)

Cost Awards Against Litigants in Person

shutterstock 403648261

If you have ever been involved in an employment tribunal claim against an unrepresented individual, you will know how challenging the process can be. Where a litigant in person is setting out their own case, it can be unclear what is alleged, and difficult to extricate valid legal claims from other complaints.

Employment tribunals recognise that litigation is daunting for self-represented Claimants (often intervening to assist them) and it is uncommon for a tribunal to award costs against an unrepresented individual for failing to present their claim properly. However, in the case of Liddington v 2gether NHS Trust, the employment tribunal and EAT held that the failure of a litigant in person to provide proper details of her claim was unreasonable conduct and made a costs award in favour of her employer.

Ms Liddington was a community practitioner working for an NHS Trust. She alleged that, after making a safeguarding referral in relation to a patient care issue at a private care home (which she claimed was a protected act of whistleblowing), she was subjected to a number of detriments by her employer and was ultimately dismissed. The employment tribunal did not feel that Ms Liddington had provided adequate details of her claim and, over the course of a number of preliminary hearings and in correspondence, attempts were made by three different employment judges to help her to set out her claim more clearly. She failed to provide the dates and details requested and eventually was ordered to pay a deposit order as a condition of continuing her claim, but failed to comply. She ended up withdrawing her claims.

The employment tribunal acknowledged that the standards applied to a lawyer should not be applied to a lay person and said that it did not expect Ms Liddington to produce a detailed legal document. However, she had failed to provide basic information regarding what was allegedly said or done, by whom and when. Crucially, she had been unable to pinpoint dates for the acts she said had occurred as a consequence of whistleblowing and, in fact, conceded that some of these incidents may have pre-dated her disclosure. Interestingly, the employment tribunal made clear that Ms Liddington had not been obstructive but had simply failed to prepare her case adequately. Importantly, she had not been hampered by stress, anxiety or illness.

The EAT agreed with this decision. But one suspects this case may be the exception rather than the rule. A failure to particularise key dates will not normally be unreasonable conduct. However, it shows that litigants in person are not immune from being ordered to pay costs where there has been a repeated failure to provide crucial information.

Contact KLG Today

For expert legal advice on employment rights, or other employment related issues, then contact our specialist employment lawyers today.

Direct Discrimination - Wedding Cake
Courier Rider Wins Employment Rights Challenge

Call us 0800 8321554

Make an enquiry

Contact Kalra Legal Group

Please let us know your name.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your email address.
Please write a subject for your message.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your message.

What our clients say

“I am extremely grateful for the support I received from Anita during a very difficult time with a previous employer. It felt I was in a battle, but someone else was fighting that battle for me. Anita had my best interest at heart all the way, I really cannot praise her enough.”

R.B – Director at Software company

“I cannot thank you enough for all your efforts over the last 6 months working with our company to ensure we have taken all the necessary steps to protect our business and treat all our female staff equally.”

A.B - Managing Director of a Software Company

Contact us

Head Office
Suite 4, Ground Floor
Braywick House West, Windsor Road,
SL6 1DN 

4th Floor
86-90 Paul Street

Tel: 08008321554
Email: info@klglaw.co.uk

This website uses cookies to improve functionality and performance. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.