Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

The facts of Ashton & Anor v Burbage and District Constitutional Club

Mr and Mrs Ashton (“the Claimants”) were employed by the Burbage and District Constitutional Club (“the Respondent”) as stewards prior to their dismissal in 2010. They subsequently filed complaints at the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal and unlawful deductions from their wages by the Respondent. The Respondent in return contended that the Claimants had been fairly dismissed for redundancy and that no money was owed.

The Employment Tribunal hearing (“the Hearing”) to hear the claims for unfair dismissal and unfair deductions from wages was due to be held on 28 & 29 March 2011. Prior to the Hearing the Claimants attempted to postpone the Hearing on the basis that new documents had been disclosed to them on 4 March 2011. This particular application failed. However, on 18 March 2011 the Claimants wrote to the Employment Tribunal again applying for a postponement – this time on the basis that the Claimants were suffering with stress and were too ill to attend the Hearing on the 28th March 2011. The application was accompanied by a letter from the Claimant’s GP in which he stated that the Claimants were suffering considerable stress and anxiety and that the Hearing should be postponed for at least 2 months so that their stress levels could be reduced.

The Employment Judge dealing with the application rejected the application as it was not stated that the Claimants were medically unfit to attend the Hearing.

The Claimants again attempted on 25 March 2011 to postpone the Hearing, enclosing with their application a further letter from their GP stating that they were medically unfit to attend the Hearing. The relevant sick notes were also enclosed. The Employment Judge again refused the application on the basis that it would cause prejudice to the Respondent and that there was no likelihood that delay would make the Claimant’s position easier.

The Claimants then indicated that they would not be attending the Hearing because of their ill health and in fact did not do so. The Employment Tribunal hearing was in fact adjourned because of the attempt by the Respondent to introduce a new reason for the Claimants’ dismissal – that there was Some Other Substantial Reason for their dismissal and their dismissal was therefore not an unfair dismissal.

The Claimants appealed against the last rejection of their application (dated 25 March 2011) to postpone the Employment Tribunal hearing.

The law

The Claimants argued that under the principles espoused in Teinaz  v Wandsworth London Borough Council [2002] they were being denied justice as they were justifiably indisposed through no fault of their own to attend the Employment Tribunal hearing on 28 March 2011. Further, they had shown a genuine need for the postponement in the letter from their GP (given to the Employment Tribunal on 25March 2011) which stated their symptoms, the effect of the symptoms, and the need for a postponement.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s judgment in Ashton & Anor v Burbage and District Constitutional Club

The Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the Claimants had shown genuine grounds for a postponement which were not the result of their own fault. The Employment Judge had either not seen the letter or had not attached sufficient weight to it, and on that basis the application to postpone the Employment Tribunal should not have been rejected. The decision to refuse the adjournment of the Tribunal should be set aside and that the claim should be remitted to a different Employment Tribunal.

Our thoughts

Claimants seeking a postponement should:

  • (if possible) inform the Employment Tribunal well in advance of the need for a postponement
  • Provide suitable, genuine and justified reasons for the need for a postponement (demonstrating that the need for the postponement is not their fault)
  • If the postponement is needed because the Claimant is medically unfit to attend the Employment Tribunal, provide a strong and suitable letter from their GP detailing the need for the postponement and (preferably) how long the postponement should be for

About Chris Hadrill

Chris is a specialist employment lawyer at Redmans. He specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including breach of contract claims, compromise agreements and Employment Tribunal cases. He writes on employment law matters on a variety of websites, including Direct 2 Lawyers, Lawontheweb.co.uk, LegalVoice, the Justice Gap and his own blog. Contact Chris by emailing him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Contact us

    Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

    T: 020 3397 3603
    E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
    W: www.redmans.co.uk

    Testimonials

    4.76 Average

    235 Reviews

    Paul O

    Chris & Rana guided me through a redundancy discussion. Prompt & patient assistance with the documents & meetings. Clear advice & fast responses regarding negotiations. Would definitely recommend & would use again without hesitation.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Outstanding, efficient service. Thank you so much!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Jaswant S

    Very very happy with the good service I got Thank you so much for your help

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Mel and Chris were fantastic and supportive throughout! 1000% recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Emma D

    Good responsive service

    Posted 1 month ago

    Mike T

    Good efficient service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Brenda G

    Very professional and helpful

    Posted 1 month ago

    Charles A

    Chris Hadrill was recommended to me when I found myself in need of a solicitor at very short notice. He contacted me almost immediately to arrange a call. Chris handled my case in a professional and timely manner and kept me notified throughout. Chris inspired confidence and made me feel I was being cared for. If ever I'm in need of legal representation, I would not hesitate to contact Chris. And will gladly recommend him to family and friends.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Rosalind R

    I was very happy with the service that I received from Redmans Solicitors. They were able to advise me accordingly with regards to my employment matter and stay within the agreed costing.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Karl B

    Caroline and Chris were so helpful and friendly. Couldn't of asked for a better service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Dimitrios P

    Excellent, professional service, in time and within the expected value.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Barbara K

    Everything quickly and fairly. Very professional. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sabrina J

    I received a efficient professional service during the whole process of liasing between myself and my former employer to getting all forms signed and receiving my redundancy payment in full in the summer of this year.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I received legal advice on a redundancy settlement agreement from Redmans Solicitors and was very impressed by the quality of their service. Chris Hadrill is highly experienced in settlement matters and was especially understanding of the particulars of my case, going out of his way to ensure that it was resolved quickly and with the utmost professionalism. I have no hesitation in recommending Redmans to anyone in need of employment advice and settlement resolution.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service, with full explanations of everything needed. Both Chris and Mel answered all emails very promptly and were personable and efficient.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I would like to thank Chris Hadrill, in particular who handled my case, for all his hard work, expertise and dedication. He listened with empathy and offered suitable advice, which made me feel valued and confident through a difficult time. I would highly recommend Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Yann G

    Yann Guezennec / Chris Hadrill - Thanks for the detailed, informed and professional advice for my settlement. When comprise is the rule I felt we could have been maybe a bit more aggressive from the start. However an acceptable outcome considering the situation. Thank you

    Posted 1 month ago

    Valentina D

    Great service from Mel, she was very good at explaining every part of the settlement agreement and very efficient dealing with the HR team. Very professional team, I would definitely use them again in future if the opportunity came up.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Olaf S

    I was very happy with the service that I have received. Thank You Regards

    Posted 1 month ago

    Rebecca A

    I had a wonderful solicitor called Caroline who was so helpful and gave me all the information I need and explained everything in detail so I was crystal clear. Would highly recommend if you are in need of a solicitor!

    Posted 2 months ago

    Gareth J

    Very efficient, helpful and pragmatic support from Caroline. Happy to work with my requirements / suggestions but also made some very good points which helped to achieve a higher settlement amount. Would highly recommend Caroline and Chris.

    Posted 2 months ago