News and Events

Judicial Proceedings Immunity

  • Posted

[Thanks to Neil Addison of Palmyra Chambers for preparing this case summary]

Can a Claimant in discrimination proceedings treat a witness statement from the Respondent as breaching trust and confidence, and thus justifying resignation and constructive dismissal?

No, says the EAT in Singh v Reading Borough Council

Here the Claimant (a former head teacher ) had brought a claim alleging a concerted campaign of racial discrimination, harassment and victimisation, by parents, staff and governors at her school.   Before the tribunal hearing began, and while the Claimant was still employed as head teacher, the Respondents served a witness statement from the Clerk to the Governing Body.  The Claimant believed that the statement was the result of improper pressure being put upon the Clerk as part of the campaign of racial discrimination.  In consequence she resigned from her employment, claiming that this was the 'final straw' and then applied to amend her claim to  include a claim of constructive dismissal

The EAT relied upon South London & Maudsley NHS Trust v Dathi as authority that actions in the preparation of a case for trial, including the preparation of witness statements, attracted absolute privilege and so could not constitute the ground for a legal claim.