Tribunal reconsidered on its own motion despite submissions suggesting that they should
What was the issue in the case of Banerjee v Royal Bank of Canada?
The principle of finality is important in any litigation process. There are specific rules that apply to all courts including the Employment Tribunal which dictate in what circumstances a judge may reconsider the decision that has been reached. In the case of Banerjee v Royal Bank of Canada the issue was whether the Employment Tribunal had been able to properly reconsider and change its decision following the ‘suggestion’ of one of the parties after the time limit for an application had passed.
What were the facts of the case?
The Tribunal had found that the employer had failed to comply with the ACAS Code of Practice in relation to an unfair dismissal and had stated that the appropriate uplift was to be 25% prior to deciding at the liability hearing what award would be made. This had been contrary to guidance and what had been agreed by the parties. However, the employer failed to ask for reconsideration within the 14 day time limit and instead submitted to the Tribunal that could of its own motion reconsider the uplift.
Was Mr Banerjee's appeal successful?
Mr Banerjee unsuccessfully appealed the decision of the Tribunal to reconsider the uplift. It was held that it had been entitled to do so of its own motion. The employer’s suggestion that it could do so and that ‘if you take the view that a 25% uplift to an award would be disproportionate… then that’s what you should do’ was not an application under the rules which would exclude the Tribunal from acting of its own motion.
Key takeaway point
The Employment Tribunal should clearly have the power to correct any mistakes. It might otherwise have the potential to cause injustice. However, the Tribunal had also to give effect to the principle of finality. In the circumstances, it had acted correctly on its own motion even if one of the parties had said ‘that’s what you should do’. That being a brief submission presented without argument or reasoning to support it, should not be regarded as an application which might limit the Tribunal’s own powers.
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