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Litigant in person ordered to pay ex-employer's costs in tribunal proceedings

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Miss Liddington worked with 2gether NHS Foundation Trust as a Community Practitioner. She complained that having made a safeguarding referral in relation to patient care issues at a private care home, someone at the home subsequently complained about the care Miss Liddington administered, suggesting this was the second such instance of poor conduct. 

Miss Liddington was subsequently dismissed and brought numerous claims against 2gether NHS Foundation Trust in the Employment Tribunal, including whistleblowing, unfair dismissal and notice pay.

At the time, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust applied to strike out the claims. An Employment Judge held that Miss Liddington had not properly detailed her claims and gave her a final opportunity to provide specific information about her claims.

At a further hearing, Miss Liddington did not provide the information requested and the Tribunal dismissed some of her claims. Due to time restraints, not all the claims could be discussed and a further two day hearing was scheduled. 

At the two day hearing, the Judge held that Miss Liddington’s remaining claims had little chance of success but refused to strike out the claims. However, the Judge required Miss Liddington to pay £50 for each claim as a condition of continuing with her claims. 

Miss Liddington did not pay the payments and the tribunal subsequently dismissed the remaining claims. The Tribunal also ordered Miss Liddington to pay costs to the 2gether NHS Foundation Trust as she was found to have behaved unreasonably in the way the proceedings had been conducted. 

Miss Liddington appealed but was unsuccessful.

This a strange case on its own peculiar facts, but it does emphasise that being a litigant in person does not give a free pass when it comes to the risk of being ordered to pay costs. It also emphasises the need to obtain legal advice and representation if you are involved in tribunal proceedings.

Although Miss Liddington was a litigant in person, it was held that she should not be held to the standards of a lawyer. However, given the number of earlier hearings at which detailed proceedings were sought, her continued inability to provide details of her case amounted to unreasonable conduct. Given that the Tribunal had expressly requested express details from Miss Liddington, the Tribunal had no choice but to award costs for unreasonable conduct. 

Furthermore, the case highlights the need to be absolutely clear of the significant dates, as well as the key facts in the case such as names of key individuals, locations and details discussed.

In the event that employment tribunal proceedings are issued, we have a significant amount of experience assisting our clients defending claims including discrimination claims, unfair dismissal, whistleblowing claims and unlawful deduction from wages.

For more information about advice, assistance and representation with tribunal claims, contact Sally Morris at or on 01905 734032.