Was it wrong to deny an extension of time to lodge a claim based on the fees regime?
Not on the facts of this case, held the EAT in Wray v Jewish Care.
Mr Wray presented claims for unfair dismissal and breach of contract which were out of time.
He was of limited means and did not have strong literacy skills. At the date of expiry of the time limits for presentation of the claims the fees regime was still in place and he would have had to pay £250 to lodge his claim. The Employment Judge found as a fact that he had consulted a lawyer at the CAB and was told about the limitation period. He delayed from early August 2017, when he learned about the abolition of the fees regime, to 9 September 2017, to present his claim.
The Employment Judge found that there was no evidence that Mr Wray did not have funds to present a claim. She found he had access to advice, could reasonably be expected to be aware of time limits and was saving up to pay for his litigation.
Therefore he had not established that it was not reasonably practicable to present his claim in time. In any event, the further delay from the expiry of the limitation period to 9 September 2017 was not reasonable.
The EAT held that whilst in some cases before the decision of the Supreme Court in R(on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor the requirement to pay an initial fee of £250 may render it not reasonably practicable to lodge claims for unfair dismissal in time, each case was to be judged on its own facts.
In the present case the Employment Judge was entitled to decide that Mr Wray had not established that it was not reasonably practicable to lodge his claims in time.
Thanks to Dr John McMullen of Stone King LLP for preparing this case summary.