Posted by Gemma Ospedale, Partner
On 1 September 2016 Withy King LLP merged with Royds LLP. The trading name for the merged firm is Royds Withy King. All content produced prior to this date will remain in the name of the firms pre-merger.
“Corresponding date” rule applies to extension of time for early conciliation
In Tanveer v East London Bus and Coach Company Limited, the EAT has held that the “corresponding date” rule set down by the House of Lords (as it then was) in Dodds v Walker applies when calculating the extension of time given to a prospective Claimant under the early conciliation rules. On the facts of the case, where the Claimant received the certificate on the 30th June the extension of time under Section 207B (4) of the Employment Rights Act meant that the claim had to be presented by the 30th July. The chronology was as follows:-
The Claimant was dismissed on the 20th March 2015 and contacted ACAS on the 18th June. He received the certificate on the 30th June. His ordinary deadline to lodge a claim for unfair dismissal was the 19th June. However Section 207B (4) ERA provides that, where the EC Rules apply, if the time limit for presenting a claim would ordinarily expire during the period beginning on the date from which the Claimant contacts ACAS and ending 1 month after the Claimant receives the EC certificate, the time limit is extended to 1 month after the date on which the Claimant received the certificate. The Claimant was therefore entitled to benefit from an extension of time of 1 month – but he did not present his claim until the 31st July and the Respondent argued that this was 1 day out of time.
The Tribunal accepted the Respondent’s argument, treating the reference to “1 month” as meaning 1 calendar month, which concluded “after” 30th June i.e. that this was 30th July and his claim was out of time. The Tribunal refused to exercise this discretion to grant an extension of time and the Claimant appealed, arguing that the time in fact expired on the 31st July, the last day of the calendar month and not simply at the end of 30 days.
The EAT dismissed the appeal. The Judge noted that the extended time limit under Section 207B (4) expires at the end of a period “after” the receipt of the certificate and was not like the usual limitation period for an unfair dismissal claim which is defined by reference to a period “beginning with” the date of termination. Dodds v Walker had addressed this type of time limit when it set down the “corresponding date” rule – which held that the time limit expires on the corresponding date of the following month i.e. the day of that month which has the same number as the day of the earlier month. The Judge saw no reason why the same rule should not apply in respect of Section 207B (4). Bad luck on the Claimant…
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