Working Theory

by Michael Reed


I do employment law for the Free Representation Unit.


michael at


Stella English is not a typical tribunal claimant

31 July 2014

When I began writing I intended to start by referring to the recent BIS survey and other data.

Then I realised this was silly. It is surely obvious – even to the least informed person – that most tribunal litigants aren’t the winners of reality television competitions.

And yet, both the Express and the Daily Mail devote considerable column inches in their reporting on tribunal fees to rehashing the details of Ms English’s case against Alan Sugar. Along with other, equally unusual cases (for what it’s worth, most tribunal claimants don’t bring over 30 cases and get themselves subject to a restriction of vexatious proceedings order either).

The tribunals deal with some unusual cases. Sometimes the claimant is vexatious, deluded or evil. Sometimes the respondent is vexatious, deluded or evil. Sometimes the case is just weird or amusing in some way.

Those cases may be important, interesting or just amusing.

But they don’t have anything to do with the impact of tribunal fees on the vast majority of employees who bring, or might have brought, fairly routine claims.

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