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Lawson v Serco - Court of Appeal

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The Court of Appeal has, this morning, handed down judgment in Lawson v Serco They overturn the EAT's widely-criticised decision, which held that an employee working anywhere in the world can claim unfair dismissal against any employer, if that employer has a place of business in England or Wales, irrespective of the governing laws or where the employee works. The Court of Appeal invited submissions from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office due to the far-reaching implications of the judgment.

Pill LJ said the right not to be unfairly dismissed applies only to "employment in Great Britain" (para. 8), and that although the residence of the parties might be relevant, the emphasis must be upon the employment itself (para. 28).

In coming to that decision, he recognised that it might be difficult to establish whether that is satisfied in some cases. He expressly rejected the argument that jurisdiction can be governed or influenced by the contents of the ET Rules of Procedure (para. 23), and also rejected the "substantial connection" test (paras. 23+24) (impliedly overruling Jackson v Ghost). Finally, he rejected the "base" test (para. 27).