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Deer v (1) Walford (2) University of Oxford - Tribunal was entitled to dismiss claim and order costs and comments on questionnaires [2011] EAT

  1. A full costs order is exceptional, but can be justified in a case where an expensive and damaging claim is pursued, after warning from the tribunal, on the basis of nothing more than an improbable speculation. 
  2. there are no special rules about drawing inferences from replies or lack of replies to a statutory questionnaire in discrimination cases.

Miss Deer did her DPhil at Oxford under the supervision of Professor Walford. In 2007 she brought a sex discrimination complaint against the University following a dispute in its women's football club; this was settled. In 2008 she decided to apply for a junior fellowship with Merton College (although she did not fully meet the criteria) and asked Professor Walford for a reference. She provided him with information but, once he saw that, he told her that he did not believe he could write her a reference because she had no chance of obtaining the fellowship, and explained why.

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