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Striking Out and Relief from Sanctions

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Thanks to Will Young, barrister at Outer Temple Chambers, for preparing this case summary.

What is the test for whether an 'unless order' has been complied with?

The EAT has held that 'substantial compliance' with an unless order was to be interpreted qualitatively rather than quantitavely, in Johnson v Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council.

The Claimant brought claims of sex discrimination and unfair dismissal. She was ordered to provide Further and Better Particulars of her claim, and there was an issue as to whether the Schedule she provided was adequate to comply with the order. The Employment Judge considered that elements of the claim still needed further particulars, but that there had been "substantial compliance". The EAT disagreed, saying that compliance with an unless order could not be judged by what proportion of the unclear issues had been addressed, but by whether the particulars given enabled the other party to know the case against it.

Guidance was also given in relation to applications for relief from sanctions. The degree to which an unless order had been complied with would be relevant, as would any steps taken by the applicant to remedy the non-compliance before the application was heard, particularly in the light of any criticisms of the first attempt made by the Tribunal.