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Software Box Ltd v Gannon (Debarred); EAT 9 Jun 2015

References: [2015] UKEAT 0433_14_0906
Links: Bailii
Coram: Langstaff P J
Practice and Procedure – JURISDICTIONAL POINTS – Claim in time and effective date of termination
The Claimant (who suffered at the time from alcohol dependency syndrome, coupled with anxiety and depression) lodged a claim for unfair dismissal within time, together with an application for remission of fees. The Central Processing Unit did not receive the remission application, so she sent another. The Central Processing Unit replied to her, rejecting her application, stating that Notice of Payment was enclosed, which it was not. Such a Notice – specifying the date for payment, and that the claim would be rejected if payment was not made by that date – was sent to the wrong address. The date for payment passed. Shortly after, the Claimant asked what was happening with her claim, and on being told it had been rejected for non-payment of fees by the set date, promptly borrowed the fee, and issued a second claim. She had believed until then that her original claim remained ongoing. An Employment Judge held that it was not reasonably practicable for her to have made that complaint within three months of her dismissal, and that she had brought it within a reasonable time thereafter. In doing so, he adopted a concept of ‘acceptance’ of a claim and of ‘valid’ presentation (for neither of which was there any warrant within the statute) in dealing with an argument (which he did not clearly resolve) that because the Claimant had actually made a claim within three months, it could not be said that it had not been reasonably practicable for her to have made her second claim within that period. Nor had he clearly considered whether her belief was reasonable (as Walls Meat v Khan required). His reasoning was thus flawed: but contrary to the Appellant’s submissions it was open to him to determine that it had not been reasonably practicable to make the complaint she did by the second claim (focusing on that) within three months of dismissal, if he had first directed himself appropriately and determined the relevant facts, as he had not. This finding was not necessarily precluded by the fact she had made a first claim within that time-frame. Remitted for redetermination by the same Judge.
It was observed that a Claimant could have applied (and this Claimant still could apply) to extend time for payment of the appropriate fee in the rare case that time for payment as decided by the Tribunal (in whose name the Central Processing Unit had acted) had elapsed, but it was just to do so.
Last Update: 04-Sep-15 Ref: 551790

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