National firm wins costs order over vexatious employment tribunal claim

A national firm has been awarded £20,000 in costs after an employment tribunal found the claimant was vexatious and conducted proceedings unreasonably ‘almost from their inception’.

All allegations made by former case worker Manjeet Puar against Duncan Lewis Solicitors Ltd were previously dismissed by the employment tribunal.

Paur claimed to have been discriminated against during her three months with the firm and deliberately not allocated work. Her claims were found to have no reasonable prospects of success.

Now, the tribunal has ordered she pay the firm’s costs in the sum of £20,000.

The costs judgment follows Puar’s ‘vast unmeritorious claim over a number of years’.

Finding a costs award was appropriate, Employment Judge Maxell said Puar had proceeded with the case ‘against the merits, which either were or ought reasonably to have been apparent to her’.

The judge added: ‘She has been rude and disruptive. At times she has sought to do that which is most likely to frustrate and inconvenience the respondent. She has acted both unreasonably and vexatiously. She was given proper opportunities to withdraw from this and failed to do so.’

The judgment acknowledged Duncan Lewis’ costs of more than £40,000 as ‘possibly involving an underestimate’.

The judge said: ‘Given the volume of substantive documentation, party correspondence and hearings, the solicitors’ profit costs of circa £15,000 appear very modest.

‘The sums included with respect to counsel’s fees also appeared to be less than that for which he had billed, which could be found separately in the bundle of documents. There was nothing unreasonable about the costs figures.

‘In any event, the respondent capped its application at £20,000 in total and was, on any analysis, seeking less than half of the costs incurred. In a case such as this, where the entire claim was without merit and the claimant knew or ought reasonably to have done so, it would have been appropriate to award the entirety of the costs reasonably incurred. We are easily satisfied that £20,000 is a proper sum to award.’


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