[Thanks to Emma Price of 1 Temple Gardens for preparing this case summary]
The EAT has handed down its decision in Verma v Harrogate NHS Trust, which is authority for the proposition that where a costs order is made pursuant to dismissal of a "hopeless" strike out application made by the Respondent, it is perverse to allow recovery of Counsel's fees for attending the PHR and drafting a skeleton argument, whilst excluding recovery of the Solicitor's costs of preparation for the PHR and attendance on Counsel at the hearing.
HHJ Peter Clark stated that he had seen occasions when counsel's fees have been disallowed and solicitor's costs ordered but never the other way around. The Employment Judge had also taken into account an irrelevant factor, namely the fact that Case Management Orders were made at the PHR. But for the unsuccessful strike out application, the remaining case management issues could have been dealt with by way of a telephone conference or Case Management Discussion.
The only order in these circumstances which could reasonably be made was for the Claimant to recover his reasonable costs of and occasioned by the PHR, including those of both counsel and his solicitors.