Judgment was given this morning in the High Court case of Abdulla v Birmingham City Council, in which 174 former employees of the Council assert that the failure to give them pay equal to various predominantly male groups of staff comprised a breach of their contracts of employment.
The defendant had applied to strike out the claims, on the basis that the civil courts do not have or should not exercise jurisdiction in cases involving equal pay and the equality clause - particularly where the 6 month time limit for bringing claims in Employment Tribunal had expired.
Colin Edelman QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge of the Queen's Bench Division, dismissed the application. He held that the High Court did have jurisdiction and declined to exercise any discretion to strike out claims which had been brought outside the 6 month time limit for Tribunal claims but within the 6 year limitation period for breach of contract claims.
The council was refused permission to appeal, but is entitled to renew its application to the Court of Appeal.
The judgment will be available shortly at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2010/