Thursday 26 April 2012

Staying Tribunal Proceedings

[Thanks to Rad Kohanzad of Atlantic Chambers for preparing this case summary]

Should a tribunal claim be stayed where the Claimant sent the Respondent a pre-action letter and draft particulars in relation to a prospective High Court claim, where the claims overlap?

No says the Court of Appeal in Halstead v Paymentshield Group.

The Claimant brought proceedings in the employment tribunal and later sent the Respondent a pre-action letter and draft particulars in respect of possible High Court action; the claims overlapped. The Respondent applied, unopposed, for the tribunal claim to be stayed, which was granted. The Claimant later changed his mind, owing to an alleged change in his financial circumstances, applied to have the stay lifted and gave an undertaking not to bring High Court proceedings in tandem with tribunal proceedings.

In allowing the appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the EAT was wrong to extend the principles in Mindimaxnox LLP v Gover to cases where proceedings had not been issued. The absence of concurrent proceedings was fundamental. The Claimant was entitled to change his mind and was not required to justify that change. Additionally, he was not obliged to give an undertaking not to bring proceedings in tandem in the High Court.

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