Shoesmith employment tribunal could be delayed until autumn as High Court appeal is considered by lawyers

Sharon Shoesmith’s eagerly awaited employment tribunal could be delayed until at least the autumn if she decides to appeal against last week’s High Court ruling that her sacking was lawful.

Beachcroft law firm, which is representing Shoesmith, told Personnel Today it was now considering whether to contest Justice Foskett’s ruling that education secretary Ed Balls lawfully dismissed her in the wake of the Baby P scandal. If Shoesmith decides to appeal, her employment tribunal on the grounds of unfair dismissal is likely to be put back several months.

A Beachcroft spokeswoman said: “Now [the High Court judgment] is out we have a couple of choices. Do we appeal at the High Court, or go ahead with the employment tribunal instead? We are thinking about that now.”

Any appeal against the High Court ruling would be unlikely to take place before the autumn as it would take time to lodge a request for appeal and have that accepted, Beachcroft added.

Shoesmith, the former head of children’s services at Haringey council, was fired last year after a damning initial report into her department’s shortcomings showed they failed to keep adequate records of care services and to identify children at immediate risk of harm.

The employment tribunal had previously been on hold until a judgment had been made in the High Court.

The High Court judge last week indicated Shoesmith could still be successful at an employment tribunal by stating that the council’s actions lacked the appearance of fairness.

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