Phipps v Priory Education Services Ltd [2022] EAT 129

Appeal against a decision not to reverse the ET's decision to strike out the Claimant's claim. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant was dismissed and she instructed a firm of solicitors to represent her. Once instructed, the Claimant was not contacted by the ET, the ET sending any correspondence to the solicitor only. The solicitor failed to comply with various court orders and the claim was struck out for this reason and because it had not been actively pursued. Costs had been incurred by the Respondent and a wasted costs order was made against the solicitor. When the Claimant found out, she applied for a reconsideration; however, the real complaint was that the ET did not reverse the strike out. The Claimant appealed on the basis that the ET made an error of law by considering itself bound by a rigid rule that the fault of the legal representative cannot excuse a party from non-compliance with rules or orders.

The EAT dismissed the appeal. The Claimant had a remedy against her representative, and the findings of the ET made that remedy even more promising for her by accepting her evidence, examining the facts and the circumstances, and making strong findings against the representative, leading to a wasted costs order against it. The interests of justice included also the interests of the other party, who had prepared for two full hearings neither of which had been effective, and to the public interest in finality of litigation.

Published: 27/10/2022 14:04

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