As with all courts, the Employment Tribunal operates under a strict timeline. As with all courts these timelines can be waived or extended. IN the recent case of The Governing Body of Tywyn Primary School v Aplin, The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) was asked to consider whether a strict approach was required when considering cross appeals.
Mr Aplin initially succeeded before the tribunal. The Respondent appealed and was given permission to appeal. The usual EAT order requires an Answer and Notice of Cross-Appeal to be filed by the same deadline. Mr Aplin applied for an extension of time of 2 weeks over Christmas to file "documentation for the appeal hearing". The EAT Registrar treated that as an application to extend time to file the Answer but not any Cross-Appeal. Time was extended for the Answer only, though that was not clear from the written order.
Mr Aplin filed an Answer and Notice of Cross-Appeal at the same time as each other. That was in the extended time for the Answer but out of the original time limit for the Cross-Appeal. The Registrar refused an extension of time stating that there were strict time limits and that extensions for both appeals and cross-appeals were not granted except in "rare and exceptional cases.
The EAT held that this strict approach was incorrect. In deciding that was wrong for cross-appeals, the EAT said:
"the analysis of the nature of a cross-appeal and the practical and policy reasons why such a step is reactive [to an appeal]...illustrates why in my judgment the strict approach to time limits for initiating an appeal do not apply to cross-appeals...There is only a cross-appeal if an appeal has been initiated. It would be wrong to reason that because a Respondent [to an appeal] has had an ET Decision for some time they should be bound by the strict approach to timing which applies to appeals."
Whilst this may be one for the HR specialist it is one to note as it is not uncommon for employees to appeal any decisions should the employer succeed. This is good news for commons sense. However we would strongly advise that any RMI members in this position get advice from a Specialist employment lawyer as soon as the appeal is received in order to avoid the issue entirely. Remember, as an RMI member you have access to employment lawyers who specialise in the motor industry.
Motor Industry Legal Services
Motor Industry Legal Services (MILS Solicitors) provides fully comprehensive legal advice and representation to UK motor retailers for one annual fee. It is the only law firm in the UK which specialises in motor law and motor trade law. MILS currently advises over 1,000 individual businesses within the sector as well as the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) and its members.