New Employment Appeal Tribunal Practice Direction

by Laurie Anstis on January 2, 2019

After what had been a quiet year in employment law there were a number of significant developments which took place in the last two weeks of December, including the government’s response to the Taylor Review, the Court of Appeal’s decisions on employment status in Uber and on age discrimination and other matters in the judicial and firefighters’ pension cases.

Somewhat lost amongst those developments was a new Practice Direction from the Employment Appeal Tribunal, to take effect from 19 December 2018 and containing some substantial changes in EAT practice.

Helpfully the html version of the new Practice Direction (though not the .pdf version) sets out the most significant changes, which are as follows:

  • Allowing appeals to be made within 42 days of receipt of written reasons (rather than the written judgment) where the employment tribunal had accepted a request for written reasons made outside the usual 14-day time limit.
  • An end to the ability of individuals to check public EAT documents by calling in person at the EAT office (but still allowing them to request a copy of certain documents).
  • Extending the standard time allowed for the respondent to file an answer to an appeal from 14 days to 28 days.
  • Requiring skeleton arguments to be lodged 14 days before a hearing in all cases (previously only full hearings required skeleton arguments 14 days beforehand, with 10 days being sufficient in other cases).
  • A new section setting out the procedure for a ‘leapfrog’ appeal direct from the EAT to the Supreme Court.

A number of other changes are described simply as ‘documenting existing practice’ but are still significant, such as a suggestion that where an appellant is unrepresented but the respondent is represented that the respondent could prepare the bundle (“a represented Respondent may be willing to take this responsibility from an unrepresented Appellant”), along with a formal option in the sift process for further consideration on receipt of a submission from the respondent.