UK: Early Conciliation And The Employment Tribunal's Case Management Powers: Changes To The Respondents

Last Updated: 3 March 2016
Article by Michael Bronstein, Ryan Carthew, Gilla Harris and Sarah Beeby

The two recent cases set out below highlight the flexible approach that the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) seems to be taking in relation to Early Conciliation (EC) and the Employment Tribunal's (ET) powers to make case management orders at any stage of proceedings. Both cases dealt with situations in which there had been a TUPE transfer of staff.

Mist v. Derby Community Health Services NHS Trust UKEAT/0170/15

Mrs Mist was employed by Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (the Hospital Trust). In January 2014, the hospital decided to award the contract for the particular service on which Mrs Mist spent 80 per cent of her time to Derby Community Health Services NHS Trust (the Health Trust). Mrs Mist commenced EC against the Hospital Trust (albeit citing the wrong name) and then issued a claim against it. Although Mrs Mist only brought her claim against the Hospital Trust, the particulars of complaint made it clear that she considered that TUPE applied and that there had been a relevant service provision change transfer to the Health Trust. The ET accepted the claim despite the discrepancy between the name of the respondent on the EC certificate and the name of the respondent on the ET1.

Mrs Mist later applied to amend her claim to include the Health Trust as a second respondent and, at a preliminary hearing, the judge granted her application. However, the ET struck out the claim against the second respondent on the grounds that it was presented out of time. Mrs Mist appealed the decision on the basis that the ET had failed to properly apply the Selkent principles (as outlined below).

The ETs case management powers

The ET has the power to allow a claimant to amend its claim under rule 29 of the Employment Tribunals Rules of Procedure 2013. Whether to allow an amendment is a matter of judicial discretion taking into account all the relevant circumstances in a way that is consistent with the requirements of "relevance, reason, justice and fairness inherent in all judicial directions" (Selkent Bus Co Ltd (t/a Stagecoach Selkent) v. Moore [1996] IRLR 661).

The EAT allowed the appeal, holding that the paramount consideration should have been the relative injustice to each party in granting or refusing the amendment, and that the fact Mrs Mist applied to add the second respondent out of time should not be determinative.

The EAT disagreed with the Health Trust's argument that a prospective claimant should be required to provide the correct name of a prospective respondent to Acas in order to protect the respondent's right to engage in the EC process. It considered this to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the EC process, pointing out that a respondent would only be contacted by Acas and given the opportunity to engage in EC if the claimant agreed.

Drake International Systems Limited and others v. Blue Arrow Limited UKEAT/0282/15

Blue Arrow Limited (Blue Arrow) was a transferee that took over a contract for the management of workers. It wished to bring claims against the transferor, but the identity of the transferor was unclear. Blue Arrow undertook the EC procedure with reference to Drake International Limited (Drake). It then commenced tribunal proceedings against Drake but included in its ET1 a statement that it had not been able to determine the identity of the transferor with certainty and reserved the right to add further respondents to the claim.

In its ET3, Drake identified four wholly-owned subsidiary companies which it claimed employed the transferring employees. It sought to have the proceedings dismissed and argued that the claims against the subsidiaries would be out of time. However, an employment judge allowed Blue Arrow's application for the four subsidiary companies to be substituted for Drake.

Drake appealed, arguing that if Blue Arrow wanted to substitute a respondent to proceedings, having already issued a claim, it had to first contact Acas to obtain a new EC certificate in respect of the new prospective respondents. The EAT dismissed the appeal.

The Acas Early Conciliation procedure

Section 18A of the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 sets out the Acas EC procedure that a prospective claimant must follow before commencing relevant proceedings in any ET (unless one of the exceptions applies). Section 18A(1) states:

"Before a person ('the prospective claimant') presents an application to institute relevant proceedings relating to any matter, the prospective claimant must provide to Acas prescribed information, in the prescribed manner, about that matter."

The EAT carefully considered the construction of the word "matter". It found that a "matter" can involve an event or events, different times and dates, and, crucially, different people. The EAT also considered the purpose of the EC provisions – they provide an opportunity for parties to take advantage of Acas conciliation if they want to, led by the wishes of the prospective claimant in respect of what is broadly termed a matter. In this case, the claimant had already made it clear that it did not wish to engage in EC.

The decision to allow substitution of a party is a case management decision. The ET has to have regard to the Selkent principles, as set out above, and the overriding objective.

Comment

Both of these cases highlight the ET and the EAT's willingness to grant some leeway in compliance with the requirements of EC. They also draw out the distinction between the EC procedure and the case management of proceedings once a claim has been accepted by the ET. What has happened during the EC procedure may be relevant to, but is not determinative of, case management, which is approached in the light of existing authorities (Selkent in particular) and the overriding objective.

Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways. Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons' global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local, national and global needs of private and public clients of any size in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries. www.dentons.com.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Events from this Firm
28 Sep 2017, Seminar, London, UK

On 26 July the FCA published its long-expected consultation paper on the extension of the SMCR to all FCA-authorised firms. The so-called "core regime" introduces the key concepts of regulator-approved senior managers, firm-approved certification staff and conduct rules applicable to virtually all staff.

3 Oct 2017, Conference, Zurich, Switzerland

As the founding Partner of the Europe-Iran Forum, Dentons Europe will once again support this year’s event. This compelling event which explores all Iran-related topics will take place in Zürich on 3rd and 4th October.

4 Oct 2017, Workshop, London, UK

We are hosting an interactive workshop where we will run a mock High Court trial of an employee competition case – where the members of the audience are the judges. The session, aimed at in-house counsel and HR professionals, will offer an insight as to how disputes involving employees moving to a competitor play out in practice.

 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.