Is time automatically extended when the limitation period expires on a non-working day?
No, held the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Miah v Axis Security Services Ltd.
Mr Miah's claim for unfair dismissal was received by the tribunal on Monday 30th January 2017. The normal three month time limit expired the next day, on Sunday 29th January 2017.
It was argued that rule 4 (2) of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure 2013 gave an extra day to bring a claim.
That rule says:
"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 except a Saturday or Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a bank holiday..."
Next working day
The Employment Appeals Tribunal decided that the words "by these rules" at the start, meant the time limit in the Employment Rights Act 1996 (or in any other enactment) was not affected by the rule.
The Rule 4(2) of the Rules of Procedure refers to time limits within the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure. The time limits which are relevant to the claim of unfair dismissal are set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996 section 111(2). As such, the solicitors should have been aware of this and advised their client, Mr Miah, that this would not assist in his claim.
Paul Burton, Head of Frettens' Employment Team, comments “The Respondents made an application for an order that the Claimant’s solicitors pay their wasted costs, following the striking out of the Claimant’s claim on the basis that the Tribunal did not have jurisdiction to hear the claim, as it had not been presented in time in circumstances where it was practicable to do so. They were ordered to pay the Respondent the sum of £3,600 in wasted costs. I might also add that this does demonstrate the importance of instructing an experienced Employment Solicitor who can advise on the in's and out's of each scenario!”
At Frettens, all of our solicitors offer a free initial meeting or chat on the phone to answer your questions. If this article raises issues for you or your business, please call us on 01202 499255 and Paul or Kate will be happy to discuss it with you.