News and Events

Civil Procedure Order

  • Posted

If a Claimant is subject to a CPO (Civil Procedure Order), will any employment tribunal proceedings be a nullity if issued before seeking the required permission from the High Court?

Yes, held the Court of Appeal in Williamson v Bishop of London.

The Claimant was the subject of a CPO issued under s42(1A) Supreme Court Act 1981 which required him to obtain leave from the High Court before bringing any civil proceedings (including tribunal claims). When he reached the age of 70 his parish appointment was terminated. He issued proceedings for age discrimination in the tribunal without first having sought the High Court’s permission. The tribunal and EAT held that the proceedings were a nullity.

The Claimant appealed to the Court of Appeal arguing that the claim was not a nullity and that it should have instead been stayed pending his application for permission from the High Court. The Court of Appeal did not agree and confirmed that the proceedings were a nullity and of no effect. Obtaining permission from the High Court was a condition precedent of bringing valid proceedings at all. The permission granted by the High Court after the proceedings had been issued could not validate the proceedings retrospectively.