Claimant faces record costs after tribunal
An employment tribunal has ordered a claimant who unsuccessfully took a local authority to tribunal to pay record costs for an individual.
Dr D B Makanjuola had taken his employer, the London Borough of Waltham Forest, to the tribunal, making 69 separate allegations of discrimination and matters arising from protected disclosures.
The tribunal dismissed his claims in their entirety, a decision he is appealing, and the council took the unusual step of applying for all its costs of defending the claim, which came to £117,000.
Last April, tribunal rules were changed to allow employment judges to make bigger costs orders. At a hearing last month in east London, employment judge Ferris ordered Makanjuola to pay the council’s costs in full, subject to a detailed assessment.
In his ruling, Ferris said: ‘When a large organisation (like the respondent) faces elaborately organised claims, presented by an extremely intelligent and unscrupulous litigant like the claimant, it is very much more difficult to defend than it is when a claimant is merely inefficient and clumsy.
‘We accept that the cost to the respondent must, for these reasons, have been unusual and excessive.’
Ely Place Chambers, which represented the council, said the largest previous single costs award since 2010 was £83,000, based on employment tribunal statistics.
Waltham Forest councillor Mark Rusling added: ‘Where we know a claim is unfounded, we will have no hesitation in vigorously defending the council’s position and recovering our costs, which is at the end of the day, public money.’
(Source: The Law Society Gazette, 10 February 2014, By John Hyde)