EAT Case Highlights Importance of Timely Appeal Institution and Strict Adherence to Procedural Rules

Citation: [2023] EAT 139
Judgment on

Introduction

In the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) case of Claudio Costagliola Di Fiore & Anor v Introhive UK Limited, key issues arose concerning the time limits for appealing tribunal decisions and the circumstances under which an extension of time to appeal may be granted. This article analyses the EAT’s application of legal principles related to appeal timings, institution of appeals, and extensions of time, linking them directly to the relevant parts of the case summary.

Key Facts

Claudio Costagliola Di Fiore and Huma Qadri, former employees of Introhive UK Limited, brought claims of unfair dismissal due to protected disclosures. After a full merits hearing, their claims were dismissed, and they sought to appeal. The proper institution of the appeal was delayed because of an initial failure to provide copies of forms ET1 and ET3, which are necessary for the commencement of an appeal.

The claimants contended that the time for appealing had not begun until the separate written record of case-management decisions was promulgated, which occurred after the initial judgment had been sent to the parties. The EAT Registrar dismissed this argument, and the claimants appealed the Registrar’s decision.

The legal principles under review in this case encompass the following areas:

  1. Time Limits for Appealing: The EAT Rules state that where written reasons for a judgment are to be given, the appeal period is 42 days from when the reasons are sent to the parties. The EAT upheld the principle that the period should run from the date of the written judgment and accompanying reasons’ promulgation, separate from any subsequent case-management decisions.

  2. Institution of Appeals: For an appeal to be considered properly instituted, certain documents must be provided. In this case, the requirement included forms ET1 and ET3, which were not initially supplied with the notice of appeal. The EAT reinforced the principle that these forms are necessary, and without their provision, an appeal is not validly lodged.

  3. Extensions of Time: The EAT considered the grounds for granting an extension of time for appealing and reaffirmed the principle that exceptional circumstances are needed for such an extension. The EAT rejected the claimants’ multifaceted argument that exceptional circumstances existed due to genuine error, prompt compliance upon notification, diligence in chasing case management orders, no prejudice to the respondent, and a potential infringement of Article 6 ECHR (the right to a fair trial).

Outcomes

The EAT determined that the appeal against the judgment was not instituted within the time frame specified by the EAT Rules and that the subsequent provision of the required documents was well outside the 42-day limit. Furthermore, the EAT found that there were no exceptional circumstances to justify extending the time limit. As such, the appeal was dismissed.

Conclusion

The case serves as a stern reminder of the strict adherence to procedural rules governing the timing and institution of appeals within the UK legal system. The EAT has reinforced the importance of supplying all necessary documents within the specified time frame to properly institute an appeal. While the EAT has the discretion to extend time limits, it does so only under exceptional circumstances, which were not found in this case. Legal professionals should remain vigilant in meeting procedural requirements to ensure access to appellate review and prevent inadvertent dismissal of substantive appeals due to technicalities.

Related Summaries