Thursday 10 November 2005

Extension of Time for Appealing

A useful decision from the EAT, in which a firm of solicitors moved offices at the same time as London (Central) tribunal moved from Woburn Place to Kingsway.

Unsurprisingly, the tribunal's decision got lost somwhere along the way. The Claimant's solicitor wrote to chase up the tribunal, but the tribunal did not respond promptly. The end result was that the tribunal decision was received by the Claimant's solicitors on the 42nd day after it was officially sent to the parties, i.e. the last day for appealing.

The solicitor was on holiday and his trainee spoke to a colleague and spent two weeks obtaining instructions, awaiting the return of the relevant fee-earner, and liaising with Counsel. A Notice of Appeal was lodged two weeks after time technically expired.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (HHJ McMullen sitting alone) found that it was appropriate in those circumstances to exercise the EAT's discretion to extend time, and that the 14-day delay before the Notice of Appeal was lodged was reasonable.

This decision marks a slight departure from the EAT's usual reluctance to extend time - albeit in a fact-specific way when the EAT was satisfied that the Claimant did not receive the decision until the 42nd day.

Practice Point
If you are expecting a decision in the post, and it does not arrive, make sure you write to the tribunal to chase it up. If there is no reply, do not sit back - write again.

Without such correspondence on file, the EAT will be unsympathetic to an argument later down the line that the decision was lost or delayed in the post.

Dodd v Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, 30th Sept 2005

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