Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Sugar's bid to reclaim legal costs

Lord Sugar has launched a counter claim against Stella English

Businessman Lord Sugar has turned the tables on former Apprentice winner Stella English by launching a counter claim against her.

The tycoon has initiated proceedings to try to recoup some of the legal fees he paid out when she brought a constructive dismissal case against him.

The mother of two claimed that she was forced to resign from the £100,000 a year job that was her prize for winning series six of the BBC One show in 2010 because "it was not a role of substance".

But her case was dismissed by the tribunal panel which ruled the claim "should never have been brought".

Lawyers representing Lord Sugar reiterated the statement as they sought to reclaim legal costs.

But Ms English told the hearing that she only has around £200 in her bank account. She said that despite owning three properties she has been forced to apply for housing benefit and is also considering applying for jobseekers allowance.

Ms English, who has been unemployed since July, said that she brought the case in "good faith" thinking it was legally sound.

In her witness statement she added: "This entire episode has not only affected my family financially and emotionally, it has also had a devastating impact on my further career prospects. I simply want to get on with my life and put this episode behind me. I am now an everyday parent trying to support two young children and feel unfairly penalised for standing up for myself against such a powerful opponent."

Ms English told the hearing that until July she was working for Citigroup as a contractor earning £500 a day. But after her contract came to a close she has not found more work. The 34-year-old said she was slowly falling into arrears on the three properties she owns. She told the panel: "I do not know how I am going to feed my kids, never mind the mortgages."

Ms English said the stress of the situation had contributed to the break down of her marriage.

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A close relationship could reach a rocky patch. Resist the urge to emotionally withdraw from your loved one. Be willing to address the issues that have been pulling you apart. You could hear some painful things about your behaviour. Instead of getting defensive, be open to changing for the sake of your relationship. Think back to a time when someone you loved worked hard to gain your affection and approval. Pattern your attitude after theirs. Being flexible is more important than being right.More