The Devil IS the Detail
Last Friday I was in an Employment Tribunal on a small point with massive implications; my client, a large organisation dealing with difficult social problems, missed a tribunal claim.
An employer only has 28 days in which to lodge a Response, failing which the Claimant gets straight onto the highly motivating topic of ‘what’s it worth’? The Schedule of Loss was for over £40,000 so the ante was quite high (not to be confused with ‘the aunty was quite high’ which conjures up other images).
We were saved by Kwik Save (not literally, but a case called Kwik Save Stores Ltd v Swain which deals with missed claims; Mummery J (as he then was) stipulated the factors to be taken into account in admitting a late defence: balancing the needs of the parties and considering issues such as prejudice and proportionality…and the reason offered.
The judge seemed to accept my point: £40,000 for not having the best postal system would be a little disproportionate compared to allowing our defence a little late.
The law needs dentists?
Lawyers on the telly are all very dramatic… But in the real world (Watford), it all comes down to quite fine details (the tooth and nothing but the tooth), Knowing where everything is.
So one thing I would do right away, if I managed a business (in fact I do, so I will) is check the inbound postal system. It was a bit hair raising on Friday until we got leave to go ahead.
I was going to say ‘I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy’ but on reflection, I probably would…but not my second worst.
Gordon Turner employment lawyer … (as he then was).