Employment Cases Update

NGP Utilities Ltd v Dunnington UKEAT/0315/19/VP

Date published: 12/02/2021

Appeal against the ET’s order refusing the Respondent’s application for permission to adduce evidence from three witnesses. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant, in proceedings before the ET, claimed, amongst other things, unlawful deductions from wages in the form of unpaid commissions allegedly due to her for arranging energy supply contracts with customers of the Respondent. Part of the Respondent's response was that the Claimant was not entitled to commission as she had been guilty of mis-selling some of the contracts. The ET held that the Claimant's contract of employment entitled her to be paid some but not all of the commissions claimed. The Respondent applied for reconsideration of the judgment and, at the reconsideration hearing, it sought to rely on three new statements – from a former and a subsequent employer – that related to similar allegations of fraudulent commission claims. The ET refused to admit the new evidence, stating that there should be finality in litigation and that "allowing the new evidence would not be in accordance with the overriding objective". The Respondent appealed.

The EAT held that the ET erred in law by taking account of an irrelevant consideration when it relied on the principle of finality in litigation; the admission of the new evidence would not offend against that principle, since there was to be a reconsideration hearing in any event. It also held that the ET was wrong to rely on the overriding objective as a reason for refusing permission to rely on the new evidence. Accordingly, the EAT substituted an order permitting the Respondent to adduce the three witness statements at the further hearing of the claim.

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