Khan v Trident Safeguards Limited and others, Court of Appeal, 19 May 2004

Bankruptcy does not prevent appeals being pursued: Khan was a security guard and brought claims of racial discrimination and victimisation against Trident and four of its staff. The claims were dismissed by the tribunal, as was Khan’s subsequent unfair dismissal claim.

Various costs orders were made against Khan, including the maximum costs award of £10,000 to Trident. He appealed and also filed for bankruptcy. His appeals were dismissed by the EAT as he had lost the legal status to pursue them when he became bankrupt, because his claims were then vested in his trustee in bankruptcy. Khan was given permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal, which he did successfully.

The claims brought by Khan were actions constituting claims for personal relief, and did not vest in his trustee in bankruptcy.

The essential question with bankrupt individuals is the nature of the relief claimed. Unfair dismissal is a personal action by which re-instatement or re-engagement could be ordered, as distinct from wrongful dismissal, where only pecuniary loss is claimed.

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