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Court of Appeal - Territorial Jurisdiction

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 Thanks to Will Young of Outer Temple Chambers for preparing this case summary

Does the test for whether an employment tribunal has territorial jurisdiction to hear a claim of unfair dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996 from a Claimant who lives and works abroad for a UK-based company include consideration of the relative merits of the systems of employment law of the two countries?

No, held the Court of Appeal in the case of Creditsights Ltd v Dhunna.

The Claimant was employed by a UK subsidiary of a US company. Initially he worked in London, but he then moved to the Dubai office, where he worked in what was considered to be a branch or representative office of the London office. He was subsequently dismissed, and brought a claim of unfair dismissal.

The Court of Appeal confirmed that the general test for whether an employment tribunal has territorial jurisdiction is the location of the work, but an employee may exempt him or herself from that general rule by demonstrating that he or she has sufficiently strong connections with Great Britain and British employment law, such that it can be presumed that Parliament must have intended that section 94 ERA should apply to him or her. For employees who both live and work abroad this involves a comparison of the connections with both locations and systems of law, but the submission that this exercise involved a comparison of the merits of the two systems of law was emphatically rejected.