Employment Cases Update

Clark v Harney Westwood & Riegels and others UKEAT/0018/20/BA, UKEAT/0019/20/BA & UKEATPA/0576/19/BA

Date published: 20/01/2021

Appeal against the ET’s judgment that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the Claimant’s claim of breach of contract. Appeal allowed in part.

The Claimant, who was a practising barrister in London, was headhunted to work for the Respondents in Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands. After less than a year, her contract was terminated, with three months' salary paid in lieu of notice. The Claimant brought a claim in the ET for breach of contract, and subsequently claimed notice pay, holiday pay, arrears of pay and other payments. At an open preliminary hearing, the ET concluded that the Respondents were not the Claimant's employer, and that the Claimant had not complied with early conciliation ("EC") rules, and so it held that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the Claimant's claim and struck it out. The Claimant appealed on grounds including that the ET had erred (1) in its identification of her employer, and (2) in determining that it did not have territorial jurisdiction to hear the claim.

The EAT held that the ET erred (1) in concluding that the Respondents were not the Claimant's employer, and (2) in determining that it did not have territorial jurisdiction to hear the claim, on the basis of the wrongly identified employer; therefore, the EAT substituted, for the ET's conclusion, a finding that the Respondents were the Claimant's employer. However, the ET had found that there was a lack of jurisdiction on the grounds of failure to comply with EC requirements and that the claim was out of time, so the claim remained dismissed for want of jurisdiction.

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