Posts from Littleton

When should the merits of a case be assessed for costs purposes?

As long ago as 1974 a benevolent approach to the assessment of the merits of a case was adopted in the Employment Tribunal (ET). Sir High Griffiths sitting in the NIRC, when addressing an application for costs, stated the following: “Ordinary experience of life frequently teaches us that that which is plain for all to … Continue reading When should the merits of a case be assessed for costs purposes?

Employment Tribunal Costs: The Increased Relevance of the CPR?

The Employment Tribunal Rules (ET Rules) and the CPR The amount of a costs order in the employment tribunal (ET) can be made subject to detailed assessment, to be carried out (either by the ET or by a county court) in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR) (rule 78, ET Rules).  It was … Continue reading Employment Tribunal Costs: The Increased Relevance of the CPR?

Clocks and compliance: recalculating time limits for early conciliation

If there is something that employment lawyers can be sure of in the uncertain world of employment law, it is that attempts to prescribe dispute resolution procedures only generate further dispute. That was the fate that befell the statutory disciplinary and grievance procedures that were unceremoniously axed in 2009. The Acas early conciliation (EC) procedures … Continue reading Clocks and compliance: recalculating time limits for early conciliation

Perceived and alleged disability: who does the Equality Act protect and how?

Peninsula Business Services Limited v Baker is an interesting case in its exploration of the interface between perceived, attributed, associative and alleged discrimination and how they fit into the framework of the Equality Act. The case Mr Baker was not (or at least was not found to be) disabled. He had, however, told the Respondent … Continue reading Perceived and alleged disability: who does the Equality Act protect and how?

Approaching deposit orders after H v Ishmail

Deposit orders can be a useful tool for respondents facing unmeritorious claims. This is particularly true for discrimination or whistleblowing claims, which are notoriously difficult to get struck out. A separate deposit order can be made in respect of each allegation in a claim, not just each claim, and this can be useful where the claims … Continue reading Approaching deposit orders after H v Ishmail

Judicial assessments: more new clothes for the emperor?

On 3 October 2016, the President of the Employment Tribunals, Judge Brian Doyle, issued presidential guidance on a newly introduced process of “judicial assessment“. Are such assessments likely to add anything to the employment lawyer’s toolkit for resolving disputes? Or are they likely to become another footnote in the history of tribunal practice, initially heralded … Continue reading Judicial assessments: more new clothes for the emperor?

Has the Employment Tribunal now lost the power to ever reject an abusive claim form?

A recent decision of the EAT has removed entirely the ability under the Employment Tribunal Rules for an employment judge to reject an ET1 that cannot sensibly be responded to before a respondent is required to file an ET3. Where does that leave respondents?

The treatment of migrant workers: a patchwork of protection

June was a bumper month in the developing field of claims concerning vulnerable migrant workers who are badly treated by their employers. English law offers a patchwork quilt of contractual and statutory protections. One of the challenges for advisers and representatives is identifying the most appropriate causes of action for the treatment received.

Requests for further information: help or hindrance?

Inadequate pleadings are a common occurrence in employment tribunals. Problems can range from cases consisting of the barest generalities to documents containing such a morass of detail that it is difficult to know what the claim is really about.

Late Early Conciliation: conflicting tribunal decisions

Can a claimant provide an Early Conciliation (EC) number after a claim has been issued? That question is under consideration in Ahmed v Arearose Limited UKEAT/0314/15 (which has been remitted to an employment tribunal by the EAT).

The Future of Employment Tribunals: a need for change?

Dodge the tumbleweed blowing down the corridors, enter any Employment Tribunal (ET) waiting room and you will almost certainly see at least one employment lawyer sitting, staring at the dregs in their polystyrene cup looking to see whether the tealeaves will reveal if and when ET litigation will rise again, or whether the end of … Continue reading The Future of Employment Tribunals: a need for change?

The implications of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Griffiths on disability-related absence claims

Disability-related sickness absence is a perennial source of anxiety for employment lawyers, managers, human resources professionals, trade union representatives and employees. What does the law require when an employee is thrust into absence management procedures by virtue of absences caused by a disabling condition? How much leeway should be requested or granted? How should such a … Continue reading The implications of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Griffiths on disability-related absence claims

Provisions, criteria and practices

PCPs seem to strike fear in the heart of even the most seasoned employment practitioner. “Producing Complete Panic” would be more apt.

A stricter approach to pleadings and amendments in the employment tribunal?

Many of those who have spent years litigating in the employment tribunals will be as familiar as I am with complaints from clients that the tribunals are “kangaroo courts”. This article is not the forum to dispute (or confirm) that generalised complaint. However, whether or not you have heard (or made) such complaints, it is … Continue reading A stricter approach to pleadings and amendments in the employment tribunal?

Alternatives to the employment tribunal: taking a bespoke approach

In the post-fees era, there is anecdotal evidence of a couple of emergent trends in employment tribunal litigation. Firstly, there is speculation that some hearings are being listed for longer than they would have been in the pre-fees era. Secondly, reductions in the number of panel members due to funding cuts may now be leading … Continue reading Alternatives to the employment tribunal: taking a bespoke approach

Extending time because of early conciliation

“Mr Anderson, you’re obviously out of time!” Not a line from “The Matrix”, but a treasured memory from a recent appearance in the East London employment tribunal. This is just one example of times when I have had to fight over the proper application of the extension of time provisions where there has been early … Continue reading Extending time because of early conciliation

Handling the press at employment tribunal hearings

Most, though not all, hearings which take place at the employment tribunal are open to the public. Accordingly, a member of the press is entitled to sit in and observe such proceedings in the same way as any other member of the public. A party’s first contact with the press may not be the more … Continue reading Handling the press at employment tribunal hearings

Last minute reductions to hearing time: planning for the unexpected

It was recently common for tribunals to tell the parties the afternoon before the first day of a final hearing that the hearing would not go ahead because there were insufficient judicial resources. Alternatively, the parties (and their witnesses) would arrive on the first day and have to wait until later that day to find … Continue reading Last minute reductions to hearing time: planning for the unexpected

Telephone hearings: pitfalls and preparation

Since the introduction of the 2013 Rules of Procedure I have found that employment tribunals are more prepared to conduct hearings by electronic communication; in particular by telephone. This extends not just to case management (for which telephone hearings have always been a frequent occurrence) but also to the determination of preliminary issues. There have … Continue reading Telephone hearings: pitfalls and preparation

Costs awards in the tribunal: the importance of a well-drafted costs warning letter

My recent experience in employment tribunals up and down the country has reinforced the importance of a well-drafted costs warning letter in persuading a tribunal to award costs to the winning party. I have found employment judges particularly receptive to costs applications where a costs warning letter: Clearly sets out the factual basis for the … Continue reading Costs awards in the tribunal: the importance of a well-drafted costs warning letter

Strike-outs and preliminary hearings

Following the introduction of the new ET Rules, my recent experience of the London South employment tribunal is that they have developed a practice of sending out certain pro forma letters in advance of a preliminary hearing. There appear to be two types of pro forma letter: The first notifies the parties that the forthcoming … Continue reading Strike-outs and preliminary hearings