This case is an example of how not to conduct oneself in Employment Tribunal and when running a case. The solicitor acting for his deceased cousin’s estate, was ordered to pay wasted costs exceeding £16k when the Claimant’s case was struck out following the solicitor’s conduct which included posting opinions about the case on facebook, accusing the Employment Judge of being overly familiarwith opposing counsel and questioning him about their relationship, complaining about the Employment Judge including writing to the Regional Employment Judge stating:
“given the seriousness of his failings, particularly as this is hardly the first time he has made highly inappropriate comments while acting in a judicial capacity. His weaknesses seem to be legal and personal. He has demonstrated an inadequate grasp of the law, bias and discriminatory prejudice as well as poor judgment. My client has said that Judge Cole has ‘poisoned the wells of justice”
and applying for the panel to recuse themselves. Private comments of the Tribunal panel in the Tribunal room without the parties present were also recorded without the knowledge of the Tribunal.
The EAT overturned the Tribunal’s decision because wasted costs can only be awarded against a representative acting in pursuit of profit. Although the Tribunal suspected the appellant solicitor was acting under a promise of some payment if the Claimant won the case, there was insufficient evidence that this was the case for it to reach this conclusion. The EAT determined the matter in favour of the solicitor, finding he was not acting in pursuit of profit and therefore quashed the costs decision.