Tricky Time Limits in the Employment Tribunal

In the case of Miah v Axis Security Services Ltd, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that time limits are not automatically extended when the limitation period expires on a non-working day.

The Claimant, Mr Miah, brought a claim of unfair dismissal against his former employer. His claim was received by the Employment Tribunal on Monday 30th January 2017. However, the normal three month time limit expired on Sunday 29th January 2017.

The Claimant argued that the claim was posted by recorded delivery on 26th January 2017 but unfortunately there was no evidence produced to corroborate this. The Tribunal held that it had been reasonably practicable for the Claimant to present the claim in time but this had not been done. As it had been presented out of time, the Tribunal therefore had no jurisdiction to hear the claim.

The Claimant’s solicitors appealed on the basis that Rule 4(2) of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure 2013 (the Rules) gave them an extra day to present the claim. The Rule states that:

“If the time specified by these Rules, a practice direction or an order for doing any act ends on a day other than a working day, the act is done in time if it is done on the next working day. “Working day” means any day except a Saturday or Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a bank holiday”.

The EAT dismissed the appeal, holding that Rule 4(2) of the Rules was in respect of time limits specified by the Rules themselves, a practice direction or a Tribunal order. As Mr Miah had brought a claim of unfair dismissal, this concerned a statutory time limit imposed by section 111 Employment Rights Act 1996, not the Rules. Therefore Rule 4(2) could not extend a time limit provided by statute.

This is a stark reminder to Claimants to ensure that their claims are made well within time, especially if they are intending to use post. If limitation is looming, a safer option may be to make a claim online.   

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