Can an employment tribunal make a Deposit Order merely because the Claimant's case is unclear?
No, held the EAT in Tree v South East Coastal Services Ambulance NHS Trust.
The Claimant brought claims of direct and disdisability discrimination. At a case management hearing to deal with other matters, the Employment Judge raised the issue of whether he should make a deposit order, requiring the Claimant to deposit £1,000 with the tribunal as a condition of continuing with her claim. He considered that the Claimant had "little reasonable prospect of success" on the discrimination claims and made a deposit order.
She appealed. HHJ Eady QC decided that the Employment Judge had misdirected himself in making a deposit order regarding the indirect discrimination claim. Certainly the way the claim was being put was not clear from the Claim Form, but deposit orders were not to be used as an alternative to case management orders which were the proper means of clarifying an unclear case.
Thanks to Neil Addison for preparing this case summary.