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Costs: Lying Litigants

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[Thanks to Paul Lewis of St John's Chambers for writing this case summary]

The EAT has handed down its decision in Daleside Nursing Home v Mathew, which is authority for the proposition that where there is a clear-cut finding that the central allegation in a discrimination claim is a lie, it is perverse for the Tribunal to conclude that the making of such a false allegation does not constitute unreasonable behaviour for the purposes of costs.

At the heart of the direct race discrimination claim was the allegation that the Claimant had been called "a black bitch" by her manager. After hearing evidence, the Tribunal concluded that this was untrue. However, when the discrimination claim subsequently failed, the Tribunal declined to make a costs order on the basis that the Claimant had a genuine belief in her claim, and had not acted unreasonably.

The EAT held that the Tribunal, in light of the findings of fact which had been made, should have come to the conclusion that the Claimant had acted unreasonably in bringing and conducting the proceedings, and was therefore wrong in law to reject the claim for costs on that basis.