Employment Cases Update

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service v Woods [2020] EWHC 2228 (QB)

Date published: 24/08/2020

Application by the Claimant for an order permitting disclosure of information in ET proceedings. Application granted.

The Defendant, who was employed by the Claimant for 40 years, was dismissed for the given reason of misconduct, and he claimed unfair dismissal. Before the ET, it became clear that there was information, in particular within the investigation report into the Defendant's conduct, which the Claimant would ordinarily be obliged to disclose for the purposes of the unfair dismissal claim, because it was at least potentially relevant to the issues to which that claim gave rise; however, some of that information fell within section 251B(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 ("TULR(C)A"), with the effect that both parties were prohibited from making the full disclosure that would otherwise be required for the purposes of the ET litigation. Therefore, the Claimant applied for an order from the High Court, pursuant to section 251B(2)(e) of TULR(C)A, to enable such disclosure to be made.

The Court held that the order sought should, in principle, be made. This would ensure that the fair prosecution and adjudication of the unfair dismissal claim was not hampered by possibly relevant evidence being withheld from the ET; and the ET itself would be able to take appropriate steps to ensure that the material presented or referred to at trial was strictly confined to that which was relevant to the issues; and that confidentiality of any material relating to collective conciliations, to which some reference might need to be made, was duly safeguarded.

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