Finlayson ta Finlaysons v Miss A McMahon : [2022] EAT 30

Appeal against finding that the claimant had been unfairly dismissed on grounds of alleged bias by the tribunal judge against the respondent appellant.

The claimant worked as a typist / receptionist at a sole practitioner law firm. The proprietor’s wife - who also worked at the firm - noted that the claimant had been using the internet during working hours but did not discuss it with the claimant. The claimant then went on a period of sickness absence and, when called to a disciplinary meeting, made claims that the respondent was harassing her. The claimant was then dismissed because trust had broken down.

The ET, after a 6 day hearing, found that the claimant had been unfairly dismissed but the respondent appealed, alleging several indicators of bias, including a refusal to allow the respondent to bring his trainee as a witness and that the judge had undertaken his own legal research. The Hon Lord Fairley, although acknowledging there were some problems with the trial management, rejected the appeal as broadly, viewed through the “fair minded and informed observer” test in Porter v Magill, the judge's actions would not constitute bias.

Published: 26/02/2022 15:01

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