Employment Tribunal Costs: Application and Recovery

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What is an Employment Tribunal?


The Employment Tribunal deals with any claim brought in relation to employment law. It will deal with disputes between an employer and employee, such as unfair dismissal.

While there are no employment tribunal fees required to be paid (following the Supreme Court ruling these were unlawful in July 2017) in order for a claim to the Tribunal to proceed, there are circumstances where costs orders can be made. 

What Can Give Rise to Employment Tribunal Costs?


The rules around orders for legal costs and legal expenses in the Employment Tribunal can be found in The Employment Tribunals Rules of Procedure 2013, namely paragraphs 74 to 84.

Under these rules, there are two types of orders which can be made, a costs order and a preparation time order.

A costs order states that one party is to pay another party’s costs. A preparation time order can be made for one party to pay the other party’s costs incurred for preparing for the case, excluding costs for attending the tribunal hearing. It can include time spent in preparation for the tribunal by an advisor or the paying party/receiving party themselves.

A costs order and a preparation time order may not both be made to benefit the same party in the same proceedings. The Employment Tribunal can decide that a party is entitled to one order but not decide until the end of the proceedings which order to make. This power is given under paragraph 75 of The Employment Tribunals Rules of Procedure 2013.

Paragraph 76 of the same Rules states that the Tribunal can order to pay costs or a make a preparation time order where a party has acted disruptively or unreasonably in either bringing or conducting the proceedings.

The Tribunal can also make an order if a party has breached a practice direction or had a hearing postponed by way of making an application.

Furthermore, if the tribunal claim involves unfair an dismissal claim, and the final hearing is postponed or adjourned, the Tribunal can order the Respondent to pay the costs incurred as a result of the postponement or adjournment. This will happen if the Claimant has stated they wish for the claim to be reinstated and if the postponement of the hearing was as a result of the Respondent’s failure to provide reasonable evidence in relation to the availability of the job from which the Applicant was dismissed.

Paragraph 77 states that any party can apply for Employment Tribunal Costs within 28 days after the date on which the final judgment was served to the parties. No order will be made however, until the other party has had the opportunity to provide submissions in response to an application for costs.

In making any order for costs, the Tribunal will have regard to the paying party’s ability to pay before making an order, under paragraph 84.


How Can ARC Costs Assist?


ARC costs are a specialist team of Costs Draftsman and Costs Lawyers who can assist and provide legal advice on the recovery or contention of costs following any order made by the Tribunal. We can also assist in making or disputing an application for costs if these have yet not been awarded. If an order for costs has been made following an employment tribunal claim, we can assist you in reaching an early conciliation on legal fees/settlement agreement through our experienced negotiatiors.

 Our Costs Draftsmen can assist by providing costs budgetsbills of costs and costs negotiations services. Our Costs Lawyers also hold expertise in providing representation at Court hearings, such as at detailed assessment or any CCMC.

In addition, costs of employment tribunals are often funded by BTE legal expenses insurance or trade union funding. For the former we can assist in quantifying the work completed and maximise the recovery of your claim for costs.

If you require any further assistance, please contact us on 01204 397302, or contact one of our costs experts direct at info@arccosts.co.uk.


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01204 397302


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