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Restriction of Proceedings Order

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Was it appropriate to make an indefinite restriction of proceedings order ('RPO') against a Claimant who had brought over 40 employment tribunal claims in 10 years, against a range of prospective employers?

Yes, held the EAT in HM Attorney-General v Taheri, imposing an indefinite RPO preventing the Claimant from bringing or continuing tribunal proceedings without the EAT's permission.

The Claimant had a pattern, following unsuccessful job applications, of bringing discrimination claims and seeking substantial sums, then seeking nuisance payments. If he did not get a settlement, he generally withdrew or threatened adverse publicity to the Respondent or regulatory referral to its representatives. Most claims were withdrawn before a hearing or settled; in two merits hearings, he lost and faced costs.

The EAT considered the conditions for an RPO, the first was met, that the Claimant had been 'habitual and persistent' in bringing proceedings, despite his bringing no claims between 2013 and 2017.

On the available evidence, the second condition, bringing claims without any reasonable ground, was met, as was the third condition, (which overlapped with the second) instituting vexatious proceedings. The EAT noted that many cases had been struck out, or withdrawn before a determination on the merits, in others the Claimant had failed to pay deposit orders. He lost both merits hearings and faced costs. The Claimant's conduct had been "a weaponisation of the ET process that is significantly different from the ordinary and proper use of that process".

At the final stage, exercising the discretion on making an RPO, the EAT noted that it would be naïve to discount the possibility that someone in the Claimant's circumstances might not face discrimination in a competitive labour market, but, given the history of litigation pursued by the Claimant the balance fell firmly in favour of making an indefinite RPO, a filter rather than a barrier to claims.

Thanks to Ed McFarlane of Worknest LAW for preparing this case summary.