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Time Limits

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Is it reasonably practicable to present an ET1 in time, in circumstances where the solicitor had posted the claim to the incorrect address and then failed to submit the claim online within the time limit, instead choosing to repost it?

Yes, held the EAT in B.L.I.S.S Residential Care Ltd v Fellows.

The Claimant sought to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. The Claimant instructed a newly qualified solicitor, who had not previously issued a tribunal claim to deal with her claim. The claim arose during the time of the pandemic when the solicitor was working from home and had limited supervision.

The solicitor miscalculated the primary limitation date but initially submitted a claim by post, albeit to the wrong tribunal office, in good time. The solicitor was advised she had used an impermissible method of service and was invited to resubmit the claim. The solicitor failed to appreciate the claim was at this point still in time and instead of reissuing the claim online, proceeded to resubmit the claim by post, outside of the primary limitation period.

The EAT found there were fundamental errors on the part of the solicitor when dealing with the claim. The claim could have been resubmitted within the primary time limit. Any unreasonable ignorance or mistake on the part of the solicitor will be attributable to the employee and accordingly, the claim was dismissed.

Thanks to Kate Lea of didlaw for preparing this case summary.