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Employment Tribunals

1 March 2004
Employment evidence cover

Employment Tribunals [ 110 kb] - The intimidatory use of costs threats by employers’ legal representatives

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Any queries contact: publicpolicyadmin@citizensadvice.org.uk

Summary

Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABx) help people with almost  600,000 employment problems a year. Some of these involve the redundancies, company mergers and other business changes that are inevitable in a dynamic economy. Others reflect the fact that disputes between workers employers will and do happen, just as they do in other areas of life. But in a great many cases the individual concerned has been denied one or more of his or her statutory workplace rights by an employer.

The principal legal remedy available to such workers is the making of a claim to an Employment Tribunal. CABx can provide advice on and assistance with the making of such a claim, and in some cases can provide representation at the tribunal hearing. However, the process is dauntingly legalistic and adversarial, the resources of CABx and other sources of free legal advice extremely limited, and the likely value of any resultant compensation relatively small.

This paper sets out our concerns in relation to the widespread use of unjustified threats by employers or their legal representatives to seek costs against employment tribunal applicants, with a view to intimidating them into withdrawing the claim.

The use of such intimidatory tactics, and their potential impact on applicants with valid and deserving cases, has increased significantly since July 2001, when the Government increased the maximum amount of a costs awarded from £500 to £10,000.

Social Policy contact: Richard Dunstan Social.policy@citizensadvice.org.uk

Employment Tribunals [ 110 kb] - The intimidatory use of costs threats by employers’ legal representatives