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Statutory Questionnaires and Costs

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[Thanks to Sarah Russell, solicitor at Ventura, for preparing this case summary]

The EAT has handed down its decision in Deer v Walford and Anor, an appeal regarding the inferences to be drawn from a statutory questionnaire. Underhill P commented that if answers to a questionnaire were less than full it would not necessarily follow that they were evasive nor justify an inference of victimisation. He emphasised that the process of deciding whether an inference should be drawn in the case of an evasive or equivocal answer is the same as that to be applied in any case regarding inferences of discriminatory behaviour - does the act or omission tend to show that the respondent acted in the way complained of. 

The EAT also dismissed a ground of appeal that it was wrong in principle for the employment tribunal to have determined a costs application without having first produced written reasons. The order for full costs was justified, given that the Claimant had brought a claim based on 'implausible speculation' and persisted after a warning from the tribunal.