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30th May 2017

Tribunal Appeal Submitted An Hour Late Not Allowed

In a recent case the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether to exercise its discretion to extend the time limit for filing an appeal to the EAT in circumstances where a tribunal appeal had been lodged one hour late.

The EAT confirmed that there was no good excuse for the appeal being late and refused to extend its discretion to extend the 42 day time limit for lodging an appeal. The EAT has a discretion to extend the time limit; however, this will only be used in rare cases.

The appellant argued that his depression and anxiety – caused by his HIV positive status – meant he was in a ‘blind panic’, causing the late submission. He also attempted to argue that he was confused as to whether the deadline was 4pm or midnight, despite the fact that the relevant practice direction is clear that the deadline is 4pm.

The EAT decided that he had not provided evidence to support the argument that his disability had an impact on the delayed submission and there was no specific medical evidence. It was clear that he was able to handle his affairs when looking at what he had taken in hand leading up to the appeal.

The EAT confirmed that the fact that attachments to the submission may take time to load is not a good reason for delay and the EAT website guidance alerts individuals to this. The appellant had left himself with insufficient time to submit all the papers.

The substantive appeal was an appeal of a £20,000 costs award which the appellant argued could cost him his home. The EAT can consider the merits of the appeal in deciding whether to exercise its discretion to extend the time limit. However, in this case there was nothing to suggest that the Employment Tribunal making the original decision had exercised their discretion incorrectly.

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