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Is the Tribunal obliged to raise questions when a claim is withdrawn?

28th August, 2014

The Court of Appeal has recently considered whether an Employment Tribunal erred by not raising questions about the circumstances in which a claimant withdrew their claim.

In the case of Drysdale v Department of Transport UKEAT/0171/12, the claimant had made a claim of constructive dismissal and was represented by his wife, a lay representative. Mr Drysdale’s wife verbally withdrew his claim during re-examination at the final hearing and the Tribunal did not seek the claimant’s express agreement to the withdrawal.

On application for the claim to be dismissed, the Department of Transport also sought costs against Mr Drysdale. The Court of Appeal’s consideration was whether the Tribunal had erred by failing to address whether the non-legally represented claimant had properly considered the withdrawal of his claim.

Finding no error in the Tribunal’s approach the Court of Appeal held that the Tribunal was under no obligation to look at the wider circumstances of a claim being withdrawn. There were no exceptional circumstances in this case which would deem further enquiries necessary or appropriate.

This case highlights the importance of legal representation throughout proceedings and particularly at substantive hearings. Employment Tribunals have strict rules of procedure, which all parties and their representatives must follow. Aaron & Partners’ expert employment team is experienced in Tribunal representation and advocacy, and can advice on the intricacies of bringing and dealing with a claim in the Employment Tribunal.

For further information and advice in relation to Employment Tribunals, please contact Claire Brook on 01244 405575 or send an email to [email protected].

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