Employment Appeal Tribunal
HELD: (1) The provisions relating to appeals against decisions of employment tribunals were prescriptive and expressly provided that there was no special treatment for litigants in person. Leading authorities promulgated a number of principles, namely (a) certainty and finality of legal proceedings was in the interests of both the parties and the public, and the court had to be strict about time limits; (b) an extension of time was an indulgence and there had to be a full, honest and acceptable explanation for the delay; (c) the 42-day time limit would only be relaxed in rare and exceptional cases, and ignorance of the time limit was no excuse; (d) the length of the delay was relevant and the tribunal would be astute to any evidence of procedural abuse or intentional default; (e) compliance with time limits was of the essence; (f) an analytic approach had to be taken to different parts of the 42-day period and an excuse might not be sufficient unless it explained why a notice of appeal was not lodged throughout the entire period; (g) three questions were to be asked about a period of delay, United Arab Emirates v Abdelghafar (1995) ICR 65 EAT applied; (h) the fault of a legal adviser to issue proceedings in time was not to be visited upon the party seeking the extension; (i) litigants in person were also bound by the Practice Statement specifying which documents were to be produced on an application for extension, Dunham v Hull & East Riding Overseas Plastic Surgery (2006) EWCA Civ 557 applied. (2) M's appeal was dismissed because he had not given a frank and truthful explanation for failing to comply with the order and because, adopting an analytic approach, there were periods of time when he could have taken action, but did not. K's appeal was dismissed because the medical evidence did not support an alleged inability to lodge a notice of appeal. O's appeal was allowed because she was wholly inexperienced in dealing with such complicated matters and it had been quite right of her to seek legal advice. The law centre had failed to take a necessary step in order to meet the deadline because it had not understood the nature of the problem for reasons connected with O's language and the procedural history. Its failure could not be attributed to O. T's appeal was dismissed because he was simply presenting a rant as a delaying tactic to avoid making payment under the relevant order.
Appeals allowed in part.
 ICR 424
APPEAL NOTICES, APPEALS, EMPLOYMENT APPEAL TRIBUNAL, EXTENSIONS OF TIME, TIME LIMITS, APPROPRIATE PRINCIPLES.
William Meade (Senior Clerk)