Tuesday 4 May 2010

Magnifying Glasses and ET1s

[Thanks to Paul Lewis of St John's Chambers for providing this case summary]

The EAT (HHJ Serota) has handed down its decision in May v Greenwich Council, which is authority for the proposition that where part of a claim form is illegible, rather than rejecting the claim altogether, the correct course is for the Employment Tribunal to require a Claimant to provide a more readable copy within a defined period, and if necessary to impose sanctions on his failure to do so.

The Claimant presented an ET1 on the last available date of the 3 month period permitting him to do so, but the form contained some writing which was small and difficult to read. The Employment Tribunal rejected the claim on the ground that the claim form was illegible, effectively leaving the claim time-barred.

Allowing the appeal, the EAT made clear that the Employment Tribunal has no jurisdiction to refuse to accept the claim under rule 3(2) of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure because of partial illegibility where the ET1 contains the required details. In any case, this particular claim form was legible. Per HHJ Serota, a document is only illegible if it is not capable of being read without the need to use a magnifying glass!

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