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Adequacy of Reasons

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Thanks to Barnaby Large of No.18 Barristers Chambers for preparing this case summary.

Can detailed reasons nevertheless fail to tell the parties sufficiently how their case was decided?

Yes, held the Court of Appeal in Co-Operative v Baddeley.

The Respondent sold products wholesale nearing their sell by date, save for prescription only medications (‘POMs’) and pharmacy only items (‘POIs’) which had to be incinerated.

The Claimant, the Respondent’s quality assurance officer, ensured sales excluded POMs or POIs. Trading Standards informed the Respondent they found POMs and POIs with a trader who provided the Claimant’s name.

The Claimant had raised concerns in relation to alleged selling of POIs and POMs from 2010, he said constituting protected disclosures.

The Claimant was dismissed and brought a claim he was unfairly dismissal principally due to these protected disclosures. The employment tribunal upheld the claim. The reasons, running for some 35 pages, explored the Claimant’s explanations without examining the Respondent’s investigations and conclusions. The Respondent appealed.

The EAT (Keith J. presiding), considering further reasons, dismissed the appeal. The Respondent appealed.

The Court of Appeal (Underhill LJ presiding) upheld the Respondent’s appeal, finding the reasons were not sufficient for the parties to understand why the employment tribunal reached its decision (referred to as ‘Meek Compliance’). They found “We are simply given a conclusion, which does not become any better explained by being repeated.