Costs order made against litigant in person

29.11.2016

In a slightly unusual case, the EAT has confirmed that it is open to the Tribunal to make an order for unreasonable conduct costs against a litigant in person (Liddington -v- 2gether NHS Trust 2016).
Employment Tribunals can make a costs order where a party has acted vexatiously, abusively, disruptively, or otherwise unreasonably. In this case, Ms Liddington had sought to bring a number of claims against her former employer. Throughout a series of three preliminary hearings, further particulars were requested. In particular, the Claimant was asked to provide details of the dates of the protected acts and detriments that she sought to rely on in her claim. She failed to provide these details, and the Tribunal considered that this was because of a lack of preparation, rather than because of stress, illness, or anxiety. A costs order was therefore made against her.
The EAT upheld this order – the Tribunal had correctly considered the issues. While the Claimant could not be held to the standard of a qualified lawyer, she nonetheless fell short of the standard required of a litigant in person, and her continued inability to provide the particulars was unreasonable in the circumstances of the case.