It’s rare for a winning party to win costs in a CCMA or Bargaining Council arbitration case. Section 138(10) of the Labour Relations Act makes limited provision for costs to be awarded in favour of a party to a hearing.
Costs may be awarded against a party and/or their representative in the event that either or both act frivolously (“manifestly futile”) and/or vexatiously (manifestly groundless or utterly hopeless in foundation”), which is defined as (1) proceeding with or defending a case without merit and (2) in its conduct during the proceedings. In short, if you initiate an arbitration case with a little or no merits and/or behave badly during the arbitration hearing, a claim for costs may validly be made.
Conclusion of Arbitration Costs Awards:
In practice, however, costs awards, especially against applicants, who are typically employees, are rarely made. That’s not to say, on the other hand, that parties’ costs awards are never made.