Court of Appeal
HELD: (Lord Neuberger MR dissenting) (1) What was "reasonably necessary" for the purposes of s.231 had to be viewed in context. Other provisions of the Act expressed various requirements in more absolute terms, by use of the word "must", and there was no basis for elevating the provision of information to union members to pre-eminence above the proper conduct of the ballot itself, as the actual result would be unaffected by small-scale failures in the information process. Section 231 did not set out a method of compliance and it would be absurd if the relevant information could not be conveyed through modern technology such as websites. There was no requirement for "active" dissemination of information and no policy reasons why there might be such a requirement, Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd v National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (2010) EWHC 1084 (QB), (2010) 107(16) LSG 14 doubted. In the circumstances, it would be unreasonable to require U to prove that every eligible member had personally been sent his or her own individual information as to the ballot results. U had taken the steps necessary to communicate the results to its members, and the methods adopted (via the website, notice boards and news sheets) had been a sensible and practical approach to the statutory duty imposed by s.231. B had made no complaint about the adequacy of information before the March 2010 strikes, and no member of the union had made any complaint as to the adequacy of information given. Whilst B could demonstrate that more could have been done by U, it had not persuaded the court that what it had done was insufficient to comply with the requirements of s.231. At trial, it was highly probable that U would persuade the court that its provision of information was sufficient to comply with s.231, and so earn the protection of s.219. The interim injunction was, accordingly, discharged. (2) (Per Lord Neuberger MR) There was no reason why U could not have communicated by email or text to all its members the information it provided on its website and notice boards. U had not, therefore, taken all the steps of a reasonable and prudent person to ensure that all its members had received the s.231 information as soon as reasonably practicable. There was no good prospect at trial of U establishing that it had complied with s.231 and the judge had been entitled to grant the injunction.
 ICR 1316, EWCA 669
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