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Unlawful Deduction Claims: Tribunals can Construe Contract Terms

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Does a tribunal have the power to rule on the terms of a contract when considering an unauthorised deduction from wages claim?

Yes, held the Court of Appeal in Agarwal v Cardiff University.

Ms Argarwal had brought a claim for deductions from wages in the tribunal. At a preliminary hearing the tribunal had decided that it had no jurisdiction, as it was not permitted to rule on the terms of the contract. This was upheld on appeal to the EAT. The Court of Appeal unsurprisingly reversed that decision. Lord Justice Underhill said:

"Delaney v binding authority that an employment tribunal has jurisdiction to resolve any issue necessary to determine whether a sum properly payable, including an issue as to the meaning of the contract of employment."

Thanks to Matthew Jackson of 10 KBW for preparing this case summary.