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Tribunals: Employment

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 3 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will instruct employment tribunals to (a) award costs against and (b) reflect in the value of awards those bringing or defending a claim irresponsibly. (197247)

Employment tribunals are independent judicial bodies therefore neither the Secretary of State nor any Government official has the power to instruct or direct employment tribunals on the amount, or circumstances in which an award of costs or compensatory award should be made.

The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2004 give employment tribunals the power to consider an award of costs against a claimant or respondent in respect of costs incurred by the other party. This includes instances where a tribunal or chairman considers that a party or their representative has acted vexatiously, abusively, disruptively or otherwise unreasonably, in the bringing of proceedings. The amount of the award is determined by the tribunal in accordance with the guidance given in the rules.