Case round-up – tribunal time limits

Williams-Ryan v Marks & Spencer, Court of Appeal, 19 April 2005

Williams-Ryan was summarily dismissed by Marks & Spencer (M&S) following a disciplinary hearing.

On consulting her local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), she was advised to pursue M&S’s internal appeal procedure.

M&S provided her with details of that procedure together with details of the right to bring a tribunal claim. No time limits for doing so were brought to her attention, however.

Williams-Ryan did obtain a tribunal information pack and ET1 but claimed not to have read them due to her college commitments.

By the time her internal appeal had been heard and rejected, three months had passed. She therefore lodged her complaint, along with an explanatory letter, seeking acceptance of the claim out of time.

The tribunal allowed her claim, concluding that it had not been reasonably practicable for her to lodge her claim within three months of dismissal under section 112 (2) of the Employment Relations Act 1996.

M&S’s appeal was unsuccessful at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), and it appealed to the Court of Appeal. It also dismissed this appeal.
Even though Williams-Ryan had brought her claim out of time, the court was lenient.

The M&S procedure had taken three-and-a-half months, and it believed that if it hadn’t been for that, she would have brought her claim in time. The court was also influenced by the fact that she had received no warning about time limits.

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The final countdown: the tribunal threat  go to Time limits on tribunal claims Williams-Ryan v Marks & Spencer, Court of Appeal, 19 April 2005



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