Restrictions on Extending Statutory Time Limits
Friday 7th September 2018
Heard in the EAT, Miah v Axis Security Services considered if Mr Miah’s claim for unfair dismissal was received in time or not. The claim was received on Monday 30 January 2017, with the normal three month time limit for claims of unfair dismissal falling on Sunday 29 January 2017.
The Claimant argued that Rule 4(2) of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure 2013 provided for an extra day in which to bring the claim. Rule 4(2) specifies that “If the time specified by these Rules, a practice direction or an order for doing any act ends on a day other than a working day, the act is done in time if it is done on the next working day. ‘Working day’ means any day expect a Saturday or Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a bank holiday.”
Finding for the Respondent, represented by Gordon’s Philip Paget, the EAT held that the words ‘by these rules’ means that any time limits provided for outside of the ET rules, such as the time limit in the Employment Rights Act 1996 in the matter at hand, was not affected by the rule. The claim was therefore out of time.
This case demonstrates the importance to Claimants and their representatives of keeping clear records as to how their claims are presented to the ET. In this case the Claimant was unable to evidence having posted their claim early enough to rely on deemed postal service having taken place within the limits provided by statue. As a result the claim was treated as having been presented on the day the ET received it, meaning it was out of time.
The case also illustrates the benefits of specialist advice for Respondents to claims in the ET. In this case, the fact the case was out of time was not immediately apparent and could easily have been missed without expert representation.