Can I be ordered to pay my employer’s legal costs in an employment tribunal?

In general in the employment tribunal, each party pays its own costs. You pay yours, and your employer pays its. In other words, even if you win, your employer will not be ordered to repay any of the legal costs you have incurred.

However there are some circumstances in which you can be ordered to pay your employer’s legal costs (and vice-versa). Although 'costs' orders in the employment tribunal are still quite rare, when orders are made the amounts involved can be very large.

You can be ordered to pay costs where you, or your representative, have acted "vexatiously, abusively, disruptively or otherwise unreasonably" or where the claim you brought was 'misconceived'.

Get legal advice immediately if you think you are at risk of being ordered to pay your employer's legal costs.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

What is WorkSmart?

A career coach that works for everyone.


Enjoy bite-sized activities delivered to you every week.

Lightbulb brain

Equip yourself with essential skills to be the best you yet.


Get the guidance you need to stay focused and reach your goals.

Worksmart circle