Hinton v University of West London

Hinton v University of West London, Court of Appeal, 6 May 2005
Hinton complained to his employer that he had been subjected to a detriment for making protected disclosures, contrary to section 47B of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) (the whistleblowing provisions).
Upon his retirement, he entered into a compromise agreement which was expressed to be “in full and final satisfaction of all claims in all jurisdictions (whether arising under statute, common law or otherwise) including, in particular, the following claims which have been raised by or on behalf of the employee as being claims which he may have for “. There then followed an extensive list of itemised claims. The list, however, made no reference to any claim falling within ERA section 47B.
ERA section 203(3)(b) requires a compromise agreement to “relate to the particular proceedings” if it is to prevent a claim being brought.
When Hinton subsequently brought a section 47B claim, the employment tribunal allowed him to pursue it on the basis that it had not been properly compromised. On appeal, the EAT disagreed, finding that the general words of the agreement were enough to prevent him pursuing a section 47B claim.
The Court of Appeal (CA), however, reinstated the original tribunal’s decision. The CA held that the general ‘full and final’ settlement clause was not sufficient to preclude a section 47B whistleblowing claim. The clause related to ‘proceedings’, but not to ‘particular proceedings’, and the failure to identify section 47B as one of the particular statutory claims being compromised meant that the claim could still be brought.

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