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Incorrect early conciliation
number leads to claim
being rendered invalid

Incorrect early conciliation number leads to claim being rendered invalid

Published: 20th August 2019
Area: Corporate & Commercial
Author: Danielle Humphries

The Employment Appeal Tribunal in E.ON Control Solutions Ltd v Caspall ¹ has found a claim rendered invalid as a result of the incorrect early conciliation (EC) number being inserted on the ET1 form.

Background

The background to the issues is far more complicated than the principle of the outcome, but in short, Mr Caspall (C) received two EC Certificates. His colleague, for whom his solicitors were also acting, also received an EC Certificate. In error, the solicitors submitted claims on behalf of C with the colleague’s EC Certificate number.

At first instance, the Employment Tribunal allowed an amendment to one of the claims to correct the EC number. E.ON appealed the Employment Tribunal’s decision to the EAT on the basis that C had failed to make a validly constituted claim; the Employment Tribunal had erred in granting C the right to amend his application as there were no valid claims capable of being amended; and the Employment Tribunal erred in its approach to allow C’s application to amend.

Decision

The EAT allowed the appeal and ultimately determined that the Employment Tribunal had erred in law as a result of its failure to reject the claims under rule 12(2) of the Employment Tribunal Rules. It has been previously established there where an inaccurate EC number has been entered on an ET1 the Tribunal is obligated to reject the claim. This is a general obligation and is not limited to any particular stage in the tribunal process. The EAT concluded that nothing was present in the overriding objective which would support C’s case as it could not be considered fair and just to ignore a mandatory requirement in the Employment Tribunal Rules.

Practical implications

Where an ET1 claim form contains the incorrect EC number, the Employment Tribunal is obliged to reject the claim as invalid in accordance with Rule 12 of the Employment Tribunal Rules. Claimants and their legal representatives must take care when submitting ET1s to ensure the correct EC number is stated. Respondents and their legal representatives should carefully review any ET1s which are submitted in order to see whether they can apply to have the claim dismissed on the basis of an incorrect EC number being cited in the ET1 claim form.

¹ [2019] 7 WLUK 319

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