Sud V Ealing London Borough Council
Philip Engelman, employment and Judicial Review barrister at Trinity Chambers represented Mrs Sud at the Court of Appeal Civil Division before Laws LJ, Longmore LJ and Etherton LJ on 7th July.
Mrs Sud had been involved in a long case before the Employment Tribunal against her local authority employer, in which she alleged, inter alia, disability and discrimination. She had issued two claims against them which were largely duplicated. The Tribunal found that the local authority had failed to make reasonable adjustments for her physical disability but not for any mental impairment. Mrs Sud lodged a Notice of Appeal against the decision of the ET on the last day possible. There was a page missing from the ET1 relating to the second claim. Mrs Sud denied that, but in any event had supplied the missing page two days after the time limited for appeal and thus she required an extension of time. Her application for an extension of time was rejected by the Registrar of the EAT and on appeal by the EAT itself on the grounds that the time limits for appeal should be strictly observed and that an extension of time should only be granted in an exceptional case. The Court of Appeal held that Mrs Sud’s case was exceptional because there were two individual claims before the Employment Tribunal and although it could be said that one of them was defective by reason of the missing page the other was complete. The EAT had erred by failing to take into account that vital feature. As the first ET1 appeal was fully constituted and required no extension it was inevitable that an extension should be granted for the second. A two day extension was therefore granted.
Philip Engelman was instructed by Mrs Sud through the Bar Pro Bono Unit. The importance of the appeal is that it demonstrates that the concept of exceptionality will be satisfied by the circumstances of the claim.