Fees paid by third party can be reimbursed

EAT fees_Rahman Lowe_Employment Lawyers London


In the case of Ibarz v University of Sheffield, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that a party can recover the issue fee and hearing fee of an appeal in the EAT even though the fees had been paid by a third party (in this case a trade union). A third party could also be an insurance company.

Mr Justice Wilkie disagreed with a previous decision by the EAT that the interpretation of the relevant EAT rule meant that costs and expenses would only be recoverable by a party if it had been “payable” (or paid) by that party. This meant that where the fee had been paid by a trade union or by an insurer it would not be recoverable; as it had not been paid by the member/insured as opposed to the trade union/insurer. Judge Wilkie, applying a previous EAT decision, said as a matter of public policy that the words “or on his behalf” should be read into the rule.

As a result, trade unions and insurers who fund appeals in the Employment Appeal Tribunal will be able to recover the issue and hearings fees if they are successful.

A note of caution on this decision is that it relates to fees incurred in pursuing appeals in the EAT and not the Employment Tribunal. Therefore, it cannot be taken for granted that this decision would apply to Employment Tribunal fees. However, the decision is likely to be persuasive and, as it stands, it is a strong indication that a decision relating to Employment Tribunal Fees could be decided in the same way.

For more information or if you would like to discuss an employment law matter, please contact our specialist employment lawyers on 0207 956 8699 or info@rllaw.co.uk.