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Time Limits

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Does the strict approach to extensions of time in the EAT apply to cross appeals?

No, held the EAT in The Governing Body of Tywyn Primary School v Aplin.

Mr Aplin succeeded before a tribunal. The Respondent appealed and was given permission to appeal. The usual EAT order requires an Answer and Notice of Cross-Appeal to be filed by the same deadline. Mr Aplin applied for an extension of time of 2 weeks over Christmas to file "documentation for the appeal hearing". The EAT Registrar treated that as an application to extend time to file the Answer but not any Cross-Appeal. Time was extended for the Answer only, though that was not clear from the written order.

Mr Aplin filed an Answer and Notice of Cross-Appeal at the same time as each other. That was in the extended time for the Answer but out of the original time limit for the Cross-Appeal. The Registrar refused an extension of time. She relied on Slingsby v Griffith Smith Solicitors stating that there were strict time limits. She also said extensions for both appeals and cross-appeals were not granted except in "rare and exceptional cases".

In deciding that was wrong for cross-appeals, the EAT said:

"the analysis of the nature of a cross-appeal and the practical and policy reasons why such a step is reactive [to an appeal]...illustrates why in my judgment the strict approach to time limits for initiating an appeal do not apply to cross-appeals...There is only a cross-appeal if an appeal has been initiated. It would be wrong to reason that because a Respondent [to an appeal] has had an ET Decision for some time they should be bound by the strict approach to timing which applies to appeals."

Thanks to Matthew Jackson of 10 KBW for preparing this case summary.

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