News and Events

Territorial Jurisdiction

  • Posted

Hot on the heels of Burton P.'s judgment on territorial jurisdiction in discrimination claims (see bulletin 29/6/04) come a series of four conjoined appeals before the EAT (HHJ Peter Clark) dealing with territorial jurisdiction in unfair dismissal and breach of contract claims.

The EAT, in SSAFA Forces Help v McClymont (& conjoined appeals), adopted the test laid down by the Court of Appeal in Jackson v Ghost earlier this year - i.e. 'is the employment in Great Britain?'. The difficulty, fairly obviously, involves deciding which side of the line many cases fall on. The EAT said the process was similar to deciding whether someone is an employee or self-employed, i.e. weigh up all the factors and decide which side of the line the case falls on (para. 19).

In the first two cases, which the EAT thought were straightforward, it held:

  • employment of UK national by Cyprus company which did not carry on business in the UK. He worked at all relevant times in Nigeria. Held (on concession) this was not employment in Great Britain.
  • UK national employed by a charity registered in the UK. She was appointed to a job in Germany and worked wholly in Germany until her resignation. She was paid partly in sterling and partly in German marks, and paid UK national insurance. Held this was not employment in Great Britain.

However, the EAT thought the other two cases were more difficult, and remitted them to the tribunal to reconsider in the light of the guidance in Jackson v Ghost.

As to breach of contract jurisdiction, the EAT considered the occasions when the civil courts had jurisdiction to determine a breach of contract claim (CPR 6) and made various fact-specific findings. They are of interest not so much for legal principle (although the case is a good summary) but for precedent examples when arguing in front of a tribunal.