Employment Cases Update

Hexagon Sociedad Anonima v Hepburn UKEATS/0018/19/SS

Date published: 23/01/2020

Appeal against the ET’s decision rejecting the Appellants’ challenge to the jurisdiction of the ET. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant, a UK citizen, worked for the Appellants on an offshore installation in the Gulf of Guinea. He was dismissed and, when he returned to Scotland, he lodged a claim with the ET that he had been dismissed for making a protected disclosure, and so his dismissal was automatically unfair. The Claimant's contract of employment stated that it was governed by the laws of Scotland, and exclusive jurisdiction was granted to the "Scottish Courts and Tribunals". The Appellants argued that the jurisdiction of an ET in the UK to hear a claim should be determined by UK employment law and that, if UK employment law was applied, jurisdiction to hear the case should be allocated to the courts of Equatorial Guinea, notwithstanding the term in the contract. The ET rejected the Appellants' challenge, and the Appellants appealed.

The EAT held that the ET had correctly weighed the factors connecting the claim to both possible jurisdictions, and had been right to consider not only that it was inconsistent for the Appellants to draft and agree a term with the Claimant only to disown it when a claim was brought, but also that the Appellants were disingenuous in denying that they had agreed to grant exclusive jurisdiction to the Scottish ET. Accordingly, the appeal would be dismissed and the case remitted to the ET to proceed as appropriate.

Read the full text of the judgment on BAILII or download the file by clicking the link below.