An apprentice solicitor who was heavily criticised for the conduct of her employment tribunal claim against London firm Mishcon de Reya has been ordered to pay £7,200 in costs to the firm.

Employment tribunal

Employment judge Pavel Klimov said he was ‘more than satisfied’ Forzana Khanom had acted ‘unreasonably in the way she conducted proceedings’.

He added: ‘For the same reasons, I am also satisfied that the nature, gravity and extent of the claimant’s unreasonable conduct justifies me exercising my discretion and making a costs order against her.’

Khanom lodged a claim against Mishcon de Reya but failed to comply with orders, including that she provide medical evidence and disclose documents. She blamed her former solicitors, who had come off the record, her ill health, and technical problems with her laptop, an earlier judgment said.

She did not seek a reconsideration of the judge’s previous judgment which dismissed her claims after finding the case was a ‘prime example’ of when the employment tribunal ‘should exercise its strike out powers’.

The firm made an application for costs but sought to recover ‘only a portion…namely the brief fee of £7,200 incurred in respect of counsel’s attendance at the hearing’. Khanom did not submit any representations or information as to her ability to pay.

The judge said: ‘Ordinarily, I would have considered £7,500 to be a too high brief fee for a case management preliminary hearing, as to be awarded against the claimant in full.

‘However, the fee was incurred by the respondent in anticipation that the hearing on 27 February would be the first day of a four-day full merits hearing, which had to be vacated on short notice due to the claimant being in persistent breach of the tribunal’s orders and her ongoing failure to engage with the tribunal and the respondent.

‘Consequently, the first day of the hearing was converted to a case management preliminary hearing, which the claimant did not attend.’

Making the costs order, the judge said it was ‘just and proper’ to do so.