Lord Sugar Loses Apprentice Legal Fee Fight
Lord Alan Sugar has failed in his bid to recover legal costs from former Apprentice winner Stella English.
The tycoon launched a counterclaim against Ms English after she lost a constructive dismissal claim against him.
But an East London Tribunal Service panel ruled that the mother of two should not have to repay any of the legal fees, which amounted to £50,000.
Ms English wept with joy when the decision was announced.
She had claimed she was forced to resign from the £100,000-a-year job that was her prize for winning the series in 2010 because "it was not a role of substance".
But her case was dismissed by the tribunal panel and Lord Sugar told the hearing that he would take on claim culture as a "personal crusade".
Ms English told the hearing she only had around £200 in her bank account.
Her lawyer Henry Hendron said: "My client is over the moon the employment tribunal have found in her favour and have dismissed the respondent's application for substantive costs against her.
"They have gone further to state that she did not bring the claim against Lord Sugar's company motivated by malice or by bad intentions but she genuinely believed that she had a good case as advised by her then lawyers.
"Ms English is now keen to put this saga behind her."
She said that despite owning three properties she has been forced to apply for housing benefit and is also considering applying for Jobseeker's Allowance.
Ms English, who has been unemployed since July, said that she brought the case in "good faith" thinking it was legally sound.
The initial hearing was told that Ms English was given a role with Lord Sugar's IT division Viglen after winning the popular show but she resigned in May 2011, claiming her role there was that of an "overpaid lackey".
Ms English, from Whitstable, Kent, said she then felt pressured into taking up a new position at Lord Sugar's internet set-top box company YouView.
Lord Sugar told the tribunal that he was simply trying to help her out because she complained that she was "desperate for money".
Ms English claimed that during an unscheduled meeting with the tycoon he told her that he would not be renewing her contract so she resigned.