Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

This post examines the recent Employment Appeal Tribunal decision in Pye v Queen Mary University of London, which concerns the discretion of the Employment Tribunal in deciding to adjourn or stay proceedings in the event that the Claimant is indisposed to attend a Hearing.

The facts in Pye v Queen Mary University of London

Dr Pye (“the Appellant” or “the Claimant”) had submitted a claim to the Employment Tribunal as to the way he had been dealt with by Queen Mary University of London had caused him to suffer from stress, and that this stress had caused him to become ill. He therefore submitted employment law claims for unfair dismissal (including automatic unfair dismissal), direct discrimination, harassment, whistleblowing, victimisation, and wrongful dismissal (among others). The Hearing was listed for 30 days and was due to commence on 8 February 2011.

On 14 January 2011 the Claimant obtained a medical report from a consultant psychiatrist stating that the Claimant was not fit to attend the Hearing and plead his case. The medical report further stated that there was a reasonable prospect of the Claimant’s recovery from stress after three months. This appears (as some cases are) to have been a relatively acrimonious case and when the Claimant submitted his application notice to postpone the Hearing he neglected to copy the application or the medical report to the Respondent. He only addressed such material to the Employment Tribunal. The Employment Tribunal, further to the relevant employment law rules, refused to hear the Claimant’s application as the Respondent would be prejudiced by this. After a period the Claimant submitted a second medical report on the 2nd February 2011. He failed, however, to send the second medical report to the Respondent and sent only the application to postpone the Hearing to the Respondent. The Employment Tribunal again refused the Claimant’s application. The Claimant therefore attempted on 7 February 2011, the day before the Hearing, to postpone the Hearing for the third time. It appears at this point that the Claimant had disclosed at least some of the relevant medical evidence to the Respondent. The Employment Judge dealing with the application again rejected the request for the postponement, notwithstanding the strong recommendation of the consultant psychologist that the Claimant was not fit to attend a Hearing. The Hearing went ahead and the Claimant was unrepresented. Dr Pye therefore appealed.

The law relating to procedure and postponements

The power to adjourn proceedings comes under rule 10 of the Employment Tribunal Rules 2004. Under such rules the Employment Tribunal has the discretion to adjourn a Hearing if a party or their representative does not attend. This discretion must be exercised with regard to reason, relevance and fairness. If a litigant cannot attend an Hearing through no fault of his own then the Employment Tribunal must grant an adjournment (Teinaz v London Borough of Wandsworth). In cases of medical indisposition to attend a hearing, the Tribunal must have reference to the nature of the medical report or certificate that has been provided to them, and in particular the wording of such medical evidence. It was noted in Teinaz that the wording of the medical evidence should state that the Claimant is unfit to attend the Hearing and that a prognosis should be provided.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in Pye v Queen Mary University of London

The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the appeal. The Employment Tribunal had failed to deal with the matter fairly as it had not taken into sufficient consideration the medical evidence supplied by the consultant psychiatrist, particularly the possibility of the Claimant’s recovery within a 3-month time period. The case was therefore remitted to the Tribunal.

Our thoughts on Pye v Queen Mary University of London

This case offers some useful employment law guidelines on how Claimants (and Respondents) can seek to postpone a Hearing and the guidelines that they should follow should they wish to do so. In cases of medical inability to attend a Hearing a party must:

  • Obtain medical evidence of their incapacity from an appropriate person
  • Ensure that the medical evidence (if favourable) contains the assertion that they are unfit to plead their case and give a reasonable prognosis for recovery
  • Supply the medical evidence to the Tribunal within a reasonable time frame – the shorter the time, the less likely that the Tribunal will grant an adjournment
  • Supply the medical evidence and application to the Respondent, in accordance with the relevant procedural rules

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


4.76 Average

204 Reviews


Excellent advice and customer service.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Aneet G

I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

Posted 1 month ago

Fern M

Very efficient and friendly

Posted 1 month ago

Neville S

A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

Posted 1 month ago

Daniel T

Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

Posted 1 month ago

Paul T

Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

Posted 1 month ago

Marina E

Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

Posted 1 month ago

Rosa B

Fabulous service all round.

Posted 1 month ago


Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

Posted 1 month ago

Alkhas K

Excellent service.

Posted 1 month ago

Mathias G

Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

Posted 2 months ago

Mark W

Most professional from start to finish offering very a personal service. Most impressive and quick when dealing with the matters in hand.

Posted 3 months ago


Posted 3 months ago


I am very glad I came across Redmans Solicitors. Fantastic service!

Posted 3 months ago


Fantastic communication, always happy to answer queries, highly recommended.

Posted 3 months ago

Wavenie B

They were very straight to the point, friendly and understanding people. I felt they had my best interest. They were easy to get hold of, replies were almost instant. 5/5 for customer service

Posted 3 months ago

Christina P

Caroline was fantastic to work with - extremely knowledgeable, supportive, thorough and honest. I definitely recommend Redmans!

Posted 3 months ago


Very well done and fast support. Professional and reliable. Highly recommended!

Posted 3 months ago

Helene L

They were very knowledgable in the respected area in terms of change in law/regulations that is crucial for the clients who are seeking for legal arvice.

Posted 3 months ago

Sara R

Very helpful and wonderful advice

Posted 3 months ago

Marie D

very good service all digitalised

Posted 3 months ago