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Costs - Litigant in Person

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 Thanks to Neil Addison of New Bailey Chambers for preparing this case summary

Can an employment tribunal make an order for unreasonable conduct costs against a litigant in person?

Yes, held the EAT in Liddington v 2gether NHS Trust.

The Claimant complained that having made a safeguarding referral she suffered detriment and was eventually unfairly dismissed. A total of three Employment Judges told her that her claims were not adequately particularised (a failure to provide dates was particularly significant since it appeared that some of the alleged acts of detriment actually pre-dated her safeguarding referral).

The Judge accepted that the Claimant was a litigant in person and so should not be held to the standards of a lawyer; however, given the number of earlier hearings at which detailed particulars were sought, her continued inability to provide proper particulars amounted to unreasonable conduct which justified a costs award against her. The Judge specifically considered whether her inability to particularise her case was caused by stress, anxiety or illness, and decided it  was not.

A case on its own peculiar facts, but it does emphasise that being a litigant in person does not give a 'free pass' when it comes to the risk of being ordered to pay costs.