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Posted by: John Brace | 19th July 2015

2 replies later, why is there still a wall of silence about why a Wirral Council employee took their employer to an Employment Tribunal?

2 replies later, why is there still a wall of silence about why a Wirral Council employee took their employer to an Employment Tribunal?

                                                          

About two months ago I noticed a 3 day Employment Tribunal case was listed involving a Wirral Council employee (or possibly former employee) to be heard at Vernon Street in Liverpool (see picture below).

Liverpool Civil and Family Court Vernon Street, Liverpool

Liverpool Civil and Family Court Vernon Street, Liverpool

Had it gone ahead on the original dates I would have been able to attend, however it was rescheduled to the next week and unfortunately on those days I was unable to attend.

So I requested a copy by post of the judgement from:

Judgment Register
Triton House
St Andrew’s Street (N)
Bury St Edmunds
IP33 1TR

A few days later I received this reply.

Her Majesty's Court and Tribunal Service envelope 1

Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service envelope 1

When I opened the envelope it contained this compliments slip:

HM Courts and Tribunal Service reply 1 re copy of Employment Tribunal judgement

HM Courts and Tribunal Service reply 1 re copy of Employment Tribunal judgement

The handwriting above reads “UNFORTUNATELY WE DO NOT HAVE THE JUDGEMENT (2403874/2014) AT THE PRESENT TIME. I WOULD SUGGEST TRYING AGAIN IN 3 OR 4 WEEKS.

AS FOR COPIES OF OTHER JUDGEMENTS, IT IS £10 FOR THE FIRST AND £5 FOR ANY EXTRAS.

WE HAVE RETURNED YOUR CHEQUE.”

OK, fair enough I thought, a bit like the county court, you can be there in person at the public hearing and hear the judge dictate his or her judgement, but it can take a few weeks before it’s typed up and ready as a judgement that’s sent out in the post to the parties involved.

So four weeks later I wrote again.

Once again I received a reply (see the envelope below).

Her Majesty's Court and Tribunal Service envelope 2

Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service envelope 2

Oh good I thought, I’ll finally get to read what this interesting case is finally about! However no, this was the reply I got instead!

HMCTS letter re copy of Employment Tribunal judgement dated 15th July 2015

HMCTS letter re copy of Employment Tribunal judgement dated 15th July 2015

This formal letter states (I’ve left out the logo, address, telephone number, email address and website address which you can read above):

Your ref:
Date: 15 July

Dear Sir/Madam,

Unfortunately, we still do not have a copy of the judgement, Mrs M Foulston v Wirral Borough Council – 2403874/2014 – If you are positive this employment tribunal has concluded, all I can suggest is once again trying again in a few weeks or if you know the court where the tribunal was held, you could try contacting them directly.

I have enclosed your returned check.

Apologies and thanks

From 01 April 2011, the Employment Tribunals became part of the new HM Courts and Tribunal Service, administered by the Ministry of Justice. Future requests for copy Employment Tribunal judgements should be accompanied by a cheque or Postal Order made payable to HM Courts and Tribunal Service or HMCTS.

Yours faithfully,

(signature)

Jodie Rose

So, I double checked the name and case reference number. They’re both correct. It was originally scheduled to be on the 20th, 21st and 22nd May 2015.

However this got rescheduled to the 27th, 28th and 29th May 2015 instead where it’s listed with the same case number.

It’s not listed the week after (so it didn’t get rescheduled again), however I didn’t check the daily list for either the 27th, 28th or 29th May.

So can anyone please shed some light as to what happened and/or answer the below questions?

Did the hearing go ahead, but due to its complexity the judgement isn’t available yet from the Judgements Register?

Could a deal have been done at the last moment which meant it didn’t go to a hearing (which explains the problems over requesting a copy of the judgement?

Finally, there’s a right to get a copy of the judgement, but if an Employment Tribunal case is filed but doesn’t go to a hearing, is there any right to a copy of the papers submitted similar to Civil Procedure Rule 5.4C for civil cases?

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Responses

  1. Firstly is the Jodie Rose American or has the UK judicial system adopted American spelling (‘I have enclosed your returned check’)?
    Anyway it seems WBC has persuade the Courts to adopt the same sense of urgency as they do with FOI requests!

    • No idea if Jodie Rose is American or not.

      The matters why this employee filed an Employment Tribunal case against Wirral Council were:

      Breach of Contract
      Suffered a detriment, discrimination and/or dismissal on grounds of disability or failure of employer to make reasonable adjustments
      Suffered a detriment and/or dismissal due to exercising rights under the Public Interest Disclosure Act
      Unfair dismissal on grounds of capability, conduct or some other general reason including the result of a transfer of an undertaking
      Complaint by a worker that employer has failed to allow them to take or to pay them for statutory annual leave entitlement

      Doesn’t the above sound very familiar?

      Court records (and tribunals such as an Employment Tribunal) aren’t subject to FOI requests (sadly). Section 32 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 c.36 provides an exemption for court records as there are different regimes for requesting copies of court records (such as judgements, court orders etc). However unlike FOI you do get charged if you want copies from court (or tribunal) records.

      I think even the court lists (detailing the cases, judges, dates, time and parties) can’t be released through FOI because they’re classed as crown copyright.

      Strangely I get much quicker releases of copies of records (and never with anything blacked out) from courts after making a request, compared to Wirral Council that can take over 2 years to respond to a FOI request!

  2. G’day John

    Absolutely luv that photo of the court house above, the one over Kev and Stella’s Stagnant Wirral Waters, that “Highbrow” ran rings around Wirral “Funny” Bizz on three or four occasions.

    Great memories also of that fat slovenly “Shyster” with his cheap plastic pen and expensive barrister sucking up to the judge like a naughty, snotty little schoolboy.

    Getting the case with Martin adjourned every ten minutes so he could do his evil best.

    Would luv to hear what his staff really have to say about the evil keeper of secrets, the smelly bloater.

    Ooroo

    James

    Would luv to see “Highbrow” in court again he is not only a brilliant historian and accountant would have made a great barrister because he forgets little and would make “The Shyster” look a fool every day of the week.

    His “Pretend Friend” must so regret taking him on, making him look like a nerdy dweeb of a welsh leprechaun from the valleys.

    Smaller than his stature his decency and intellect as bad as “Ankles” and “Phil the Dill”, “Crabapple” and Clowncillor Doughnut”.

    ******BREAKING NEWS**********

    “Highbrow” intends to return to court.

    Hooray Hooray Hooray

    • Sorry I missed the Information Tribunal hearing there about a FOI request (unfortunately I injured my writing hand just before it happened). Any idea on when it was rescheduled to?

      You might also be interested in the judgement of his Honour Judge Waksman QC when I asked permission for a judicial review of the election of a councillor in Bidston & St. James back in 2012 (admittedly it was a bit of a longshot at the time).

  3. The misspelling of the word “cheque” isn’t the only depressing aspect of all this. Here’s a few more:

    o UK citizens need to send money to Bury St Edmonds to get public interest judgments

    o To avoid costly train and bus journeys, UK citizens are required to live in Bury St Edmonds to visit the repository and view these “judgments”

    o Bury St Edmonds is the long-standing hidey-hole for serial Employment Tribunal affronts to UK Justice

    o The sweeping searchlights of all-seeing, all-knowing 21st century web browsers are yet to get a handle on matter that’s fallen into the earthbound 19th century black hole some affectionately refer to as “BSE”

    • I think as you point out the costs involved mean that either having the time to attend Employment Tribunal hearings, which to give the example of this one was held over three days, or to request a copy of the judgement (£10 for the first and £5 for others made in the same request) would generally restrict reporting on employment matters to professional journalists or very enthusiastic citizen journalists.

  4. […] wrote previously about my failed attempts to get a copy of an Employment Tribunal judgement in a cas…. I have since been told by a clerk to the Employment Tribunal that the case hasn’t concluded […]


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