Legal costs of over £450k in two BBC NI employment cases

Legal costs of over £450k in two BBC NI employment cases

The BBC incurred more than £450,000 in legal costs following actions brought by former Newsline presenter Donna Traynor and Spotlight journalist Lena Ferguson, it has emerged.

Ms Traynor contended that she had suffered unlawful discrimination on grounds of age, gender and disability, while Ms Ferguson had accused the BBC of breaching its duty of care in relation to a complaint of alleged bullying which she made in 2019.

Both women were represented by Warrenpoint solicitor Rosemary Connolly.

The broadcaster incurred costs of £256,231 in defending Ms Traynor’s claim before the Industrial Tribunal and the High Court between April 2020 and June 2023, when the case was settled without admission of liability.

Costs of £207,884 were incurred in relation to Ms Ferguson’s case, which was also settled in June without admission of liability, meaning the total legal bill for the two cases totalled £464,115.

The figures were revealed following a freedom of information request submitted by the Belfast Telegraph.

A spokesperson for the BBC said the corporation is “committed to resolving employee relations issues without external legal support, whenever that is possible”.

They added: “When legal actions are initiated by others against the BBC or important considerations of law are engaged, we may decide to draw on external legal advice and representation to ensure that the BBC’s position is properly protected.

“Such expenditure is only incurred to the extent that is necessary and after careful consideration.

“It may also, in a local context, reflect the requirements of Northern Irish law and the absence of in-house legal expertise in this area.”

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