Probate Registrar Unfair Dismissal Claim Must be Re-Heard

Posted: 30th November 2012

A district probate registrar’s unfair dismissal case must be re-heard in its entirety due to a number of errors of law made by the Employment Tribunal that upheld her claim. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled that the primary reason given by the tribunal for its decision was ‘illusory’ and had no evidential basis.

The tribunal had also erred in finding that the employee had had a right under Article Six of the European Convention on Human Rights to legal representation during the hearing of an internal disciplinary appeal and in applying the wrong legal test when considering whether she bore some of the responsibility for her dismissal.

Upholding an appeal by the Ministry of Justice, the EAT ruled there had been further errors in the tribunal’s consideration of arguments that the disciplinary investigation into the employee’s conduct had been conducted with a lack of objectivity and a closed mind.

Prior to her suspension and disciplinary proceedings being commenced against her, the employee had been issued with a final warning for bullying and harassing a junior member of staff. Another junior employee had subsequently accused her of overbearing behaviour and picking on her.

In upholding her unfair dismissal claim, the tribunal had ruled, inter alia, that she had had an article six right to legal representation during the internal appeal procedure on the basis that the decision to dismiss her would create a legal barrier to her finding further employment as a district probate registrar.

Ministry of Justice v Parry. Case Number: UKEAT/0068/12/ZT