Employment Cases Update

Sarnoff v YZ UKEAT/0252/19/LA

Date published: 15/05/2020

Appeal against the ET’s decision that it had power to make an order for disclosure against a person outside Great Britain. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant brought claims of sexual assault and harassment against one respondent, and against a further 13 respondents who were associated with him. The tenth respondent entered a response asserting that the ET did not have territorial jurisdiction to determine the dispute as against him because he lived and worked in the USA. However, the ET, in reliance on the generality of the power in rule 29 of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure 2013 ("2013 ET Rules") to make case management orders, decided that it did have power to make an order for disclosure against a person outside Great Britain. The tenth respondent appealed on the grounds that the ET (1) misinterpreted rule 31 of the 2013 ET Rules, (2) misinterpreted rule 29, (3) approached the issue of disclosure as though the tenth respondent were a party to the proceedings, even though the issue of territorial jurisdiction had not been determined, and (4) wrongly concluded that it had power to order disclosure against the tenth respondent, despite the latter being outside Great Britain.

The EAT held that the words "in Great Britain" in rule 31 of the 2013 ET Rules must be taken to refer to the location of the employment tribunal making the disclosure order, and not to the location of the person against whom the order is made. Accordingly, the ET had been correct to decide that it had power to order disclosure against the tenth respondent, albeit for different reasons.

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