If an ET1 contains no particulars, can it be sensibly responded to?
Sometimes, held the Court of Appeal in SoS BEIS v Parry and The Trustees of the Williams Jones’s School Foundation.
The Claimant was dismissed and was rehired by her employer the following day in a different role. She brought a claim, ticking the ‘unfair dismissal’ and ‘arrears of pay’ boxes. In section 8.2 of the ET1 her solicitors did not set out his details of claim but wrote "Please see attached". The attached particulars were for a different case. Tribunal staff referred the claim to a judge to decide whether it should be rejected under ET rule 12(1)(b) as a claim in a form "which cannot sensibly be responded to". The judge accepted the claim. When the school received the ET1 without particulars, it applied for rejection but a second judge found there was no jurisdiction to deal with such an application.
The EAT held acceptance of the claim by the first judge was perverse but rule 12(1)(b) was ultra vires.
The Court of Appeal disagreed with the EAT on both counts. It is the Court’s comments on the first that are of practical interest. Given the school knew the Claimant had been dismissed, it could have sensibly responded to the ET1 even without particulars. Further particulars could subsequently be provided. Had this been an unparticularised discrimination claim, however, it would most likely fall for rejection under rule 12(1)(b).
Thanks to Jason Braier of Field Court Chambers for preparing this case summary.