Should an extension of time be given for filing an EAT appeal when supporting documents were four weeks late?
No, held the EAT, on the facts in Acetrip v Dogra.
Mr Dogra won a claim for automatically unfair dismissal against Acetrip, who appealed to the EAT. But the appeal was out of time. Acetrip appealed against the Registrar's decision refusing to extend time.
Mr Kumar, a consultant working for Acetrip, instructed direct-access counsel to draft the Notice of Appeal. An exchange with counsel's clerk led him to believe that counsel or his clerk would deal with the actual filing of the Notice as well. He was only informed that counsel was unable to do this a few days before the last day of the time limit. .
He sent a number of e mails to the EAT on 23 April 2018, the last day for filing, the first of which arrived at about 4.30pm. Mr Kumar did not know about the 4pm cut-off time for filing. He also explained that, as the deadline approached, he was dealing with organising a family funeral, and had to use an agency to scan documents on the last day. However, the required copies of the ET1 and ET3 were not sent to the EAT at all on that day. They were provided only about four weeks later after the consultant telephoned the EAT to enquire as to progress of the appeal.
The EAT considered that there was a good excuse (or exceptional circumstances) in respect of the late receipt at the EAT of the documents which were sent to the EAT on 23 April. If an extension had only been needed in respect of the required documents received that day, it would have granted it.
But the failure to send the ET1 and ET3 that day, or sooner than they were sent, was the result of carelessness or lack of sufficient proactive attention to the matter, which did not amount to a good reason or exceptional circumstances. The extension was therefore refused, and the appeal dismissed.
Thanks to Dr John McMullen of Stone King LLP for preparing this case summary.