Policy News Journal - 2014-15

The Court of Appeal has ruled on whether an employment tribunal should make enquiries of a Claimant when a claim is withdrawn, even in the heat of the moment.

We are grateful to Daniel Barnett for this report of the unanimous Court of Appeal decision in Drysdale v Department of Transport.

The Claimant claimed constructive dismissal, represented by his wife, who was not legally qualified. She verbally withdrew his claim during his re-examination, the employment tribunal did not expressly ask the Claimant if he agreed. The Respondent had the claim dismissed and sought costs. The appeal considered a single point: whether the employment tribunal erred in law in failing to take adequate steps to ensure that the Claimant had taken a properly considered decision to withdraw the claim. The Court of Appeal noted that there was a '"wide margin of appreciation available to a tribunal in assessing such matters" and, setting out general principles for dealing with such matters (paragraph 49), found no error in the employment tribunal's approach. The employment tribunal here '"was under no obligation to enquire into the reasons for the decision to withdraw the claim, with either the Appellant or his representative", and the Court noted that "Other than in exceptional cases...such an enquiry would not only be unnecessary but also inappropriate".

HMRC wins judicial review over settlement agreement

15 August 2014

HMRC says that the High Court decision dismissing the UK Uncut claims about supposed sweetheart deals puts to rest the fallacy that HMRC is soft on large businesses.

UK Uncut has lost a judicial review at the High Court over HMRC's settlement agreement with Goldman Sachs.

Jim Harra, HMRC’s Director General for Business Tax, commented that “The High Court’s comprehensive dismissal of UK Uncut’s claim puts to rest the fallacy that HMRC is soft on large businesses. The public can have confidence in our governance processes, which we have strengthened, providing greater levels of scrutiny, transparency and role separation.”

Can tribunals decide on issues not in dispute?

15 August 2014

May an employment tribunal determine issues not in dispute between the parties? The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has made a ruling on this point.

Many thanks to Daniel Barnett for this summary of the judgment by the EAT in Mr Clutch Auto Centres v Blakemore.

In this case the principal dispute between the parties was whether the employee had resigned on 18th October 2012 (as the employer contended), or whether he had been summarily dismissed on 6th November 2012 (as he himself contended). Both parties therefore accepted that the employment relationship had come to an end, and on the employee's case this must have happened by 6th November 2012 at the latest. At first instance the employment tribunal rejected both parties' contentions, and found as a fact that the employment relationship continued. The employer appealed to the EAT (HHJ Peter Clark presiding). The appeal was allowed, with the EAT accepting that the employment relationship had ended by virtue of the employee's election to institute proceedings on the basis of a dismissal he alleged had been

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