Khan & Anor v BP Plc EA-2021-000261-JOJ

Appeal against a refusal to postpone an ET hearing after counsel for the Claimant became ill. Appeal allowed.

Six pays before an ET trial was due to begin, one of the claimant’s counsel team suffered a medical emergency and was referred to a specialist. The medical advice was that it would not be advisable for counsel to carry out any preparatory work for the hearing at this time. Upon receiving that information, the claimants’ legal team applied for a postponement, referring to the medical position as it was understood. The application acknowledged that medical evidence was not provided but it was stated that this could be provided if required. There was, however, a description of the position, the medical condition in question and the medical advice as to counsel’s inability to work as normal for a period of time. The REJ refused the request for a postponement, saying:

“This case is very old and has taken a long time to get to hearing. The application for a postponement is refused. It has not been accompanied by any medical evidence and the unavailability of a particular representative is insufficient grounds to grant a postponement."

The Claimant appealed.

The EAT allowed the appeal. The ET had erred in treating the position as if there was no medical evidence in circumstances where there was an unequivocal summary of the position from an officer of the court which was agreed by both sides, and an undertaking to provide the medical evidence in short order.

Published: 04/01/2022 12:55

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