Lord Sugar's costs application against one of his Apprentices Stella English, has been widely reported in the press recently.
The former apprentice winner had brought an unsuccessful Employment Tribunal Claim against Lord Sugar. Following her unsuccessful case, Lord Sugar brought his own case against her for £35,000 in legal costs in defending the claim. However, his application was not successful. There is no news of any appeals against this decision so it looks like it may be a case of a draw 1-1 for the parties.
Costs in the Employment Tribunal are still rare, despite the increase in their use.
There are specific provisions in the Employment Tribunal rules where either party can make a costs application against the other. In the Sugar case, the suggestion was that Stella English brought a claim without merit as she was bored. An accusation, which if founded, would be likely to lead to such an award of costs although they are rarely granted in full. However, the Judge felt that this was not the case and that Stella English had a genuine belief in her case. Merely losing a case does not mean you are at risk of costs, the parties conduct and the merits of bringing it in the first place will be examined.
Sarah King, Consultant Solicitor
Posted on Monday, 14th October 2013