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Settlement Negotiations trigger automatic extension of time

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[Thanks to Lionel Stride of 1 Temple Gardens for preparing this case summary]

The EAT (HHJ McMullen QC) has handed down its decision in Eagles v Rugged Systems Ltd, which is authority for the proposition that, if a claimant reasonably believed that there was "some process" dealing with a dismissal ongoing - including negotiations and legal advice over a compromise agreement - then he or she would be entitled to an automatic extension of time for presenting a claim under regulation 15(2) of the Employment Act 2002 Dispute (Resolution) Regulations 2004 (now repealed).

It did not matter that no actual appeal had been raised nor formal procedure followed.

The EAT followed the guidance set down in the Court of Appeal case of Towergate London Market Ltd v Harris [2008] IRLR 536 in which the issue as to whether, as a matter of fact, an actual procedure was being followed was irrelevant. The crucial consideration was (a) whether the complainant believed [that there was some process] and (b) whether there were reasonable grounds for such a belief.