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Costs Warnings

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[Thanks to Jahad Rahman of Kervin & Barnes Solicitors for preparing this case summary]

Does the failure to give a costs warning make it harder to seek an order for costs? 

Yes, says the EAT (Recorder Luba QC) in Rogers v Dorothy Barley School UKEAT/0013/12/LA.

Mr Rogers was a caretaker at Dorothy Barley School (DBS) and as a benefit of his employment he was entitled to live in the caretaker's house. There was a change in the water billing arrangements, and due to an administrative error, he was presented with a bill for the supply of water to the house. 

The thrust of his complaint in the ET was that DBS was acting in breach of his contract by causing water bills to be presented to him for payment and/or alternatively instructing him to pay them. 

The EAT upheld the ET decision and held that the ET had no jurisdiction to hear the claim because he was still employed by DBS. The EAT also held that the appeal was misconceived but refused an application for costs against Mr Rogers because: (i) no letter had been sent to him warning him that if he proceeds with his claim, an application for costs will be made; (ii) no schedule of costs had been supplied in advance of the hearing and therefore, Mr Rogers 'had no opportunity to assess or contest the amount that is proposed'.