Out of Time, out of Claim? – The Strict Approach to Reasonable Practicability
There has been a reminder of the strict approach to reasonable practicability in relation to the time limits for unfair dismissal claims. The Employment Judge in Pora v Cape Industrial Services Ltd did not err in holding that it was reasonably practicable for the Claimant to present his claim for unfair dismissal in time when the date for presentation was missed due to the fault of his solicitor. A questionable observation that the Claimant could have sought advice elsewhere when he had been told his claim was being dealt with did not affect the basis of the decision of the Employment Judge.
The EAT had considerable sympathy for the claimant who had attended a law centre for advice and support to present a claim to the employment tribunal for unfair dismissal and race discrimination. He followed up regularly and was assured that matters were in hand. However, the claim was not, in fact, lodged in time. The claimant had done everything he could to have his claim presented in time.
The EAT upheld the tribunal decision that his unfair dismissal claim was out of time and it had been reasonably practicable for him to lodge it in time. Justice Slade emphasised that the situation plainly fell within the scope of the Court of Appeal judgement in Dedman: ‘Where a claimant knows that he has a claim and puts his case in the hands of specialist advisers and it is due to their fault that a claim is not presented in time, it was reasonably practicable for the claimant to present his claim in time’.
Thus, applying the strict approach set out in the authorities, there were no grounds for interfering with the tribunal's conclusion.
And Some JMW News:
As all TEAM members will be aware, Paul Chamberlain recently left Brabners to join JMW Solicitors, where he leads the firm’s employment department.
In recognition of Paul’s commitment to TEAM, the service he has provided to members over the last 20 years and his nationally recognised expertise in the sector, JMW was appointed principal legal advisor to TEAM in place of Brabners.
Paul joins a talented, well-established team at JMW Solicitors, which includes Simon Bloch, a previous colleague of Paul’s, who benefits from significant recruitment industry expertise. Furthermore, 24 June will also see the arrival of Emma James, who will be leaving Brabners to join Paul and Simon at JMW.
Further information about both the team at JMW and the firm’s wider services can be found on the TEAM website and via www.jmw.co.uk
This bulletin is for general guidance only and should not be used for any other purpose. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
JMW Solicitors is a Limited Liability Partnership.