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Judge decides to end claimant’s claim

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In the case of Nancy Mukoro v Independent Workers’ Union Judge Snelson brought the claimant’s case to an end after she failed to turn up to a hearing because she had a painful tooth abscess and was in the dentist’s chair. The case had already gone on for some time and had caused the claimant serious anxiety, depression and panic attacks. The Judge felt that it would be better all round to end the case but the claimant disagreed and appealed the Judge’s decision and won.

The Employment Tribunal erred in failing to take account of the information provided to it that the Claimant had developed an excruciatingly painful abscess and had had to seek immediate medical attention and that the Claimant and her daughter would be attending an emergency dental appointment starting at 10.30 am.

The adjournment should have been granted, since to do otherwise would be a denial of justice. Since the adjournment should have been granted, the order striking out the claims was set aside. It was noted that, as part of its reasons for making that order, the Employment Tribunal stated, in effect, that it was in the Claimant’s best interests to strike out the claims. However, that is not a ground for striking out a claim and it is not relevant to the question whether a fair hearing is possible.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled on 24 March 2021 that the claim must continue. It is up to Claimants to decide whether they wish to continue with the stress of their claim, not for Judges to decide what is good for them.

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