Watson v Hemingway Design Ltd and others UKEAT/0007/19/JOJ

Appeal against the ET’s decision staying the Claimant’s claims against an insurer, pending resolution of an insurance cover dispute in the county court or High Court. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant worked for the First Respondent until disputes arose, and he resigned and presented claims for unfair constructive dismissal and disability discrimination. The First Respondent had a contract of insurance with an insurer, covering its liability to pay compensation in respect of the claims. The First Respondent went into liquidation, and the Claimant added the insurer as Third Respondent. The ET rejected the Claimant's argument that it had power to determine any direct claim against the Third Respondent under the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010 ("2010 Act"), stating that the issue between the Claimant and the Third Respondent had "nothing to do with an employment contract but rather a contract of insurance"; it therefore stayed the proceedings to enable that issue to proceed in an ordinary court. The Claimant appealed, contending that the ET had power to determine an insurance cover dispute between the Claimant and the insurer of the insolvent First Respondent, where the insured's rights to insurance cover had vested in the Claimant under the 2010 Act.

The EAT held that there was sufficient authority for the proposition that an employment tribunal is included within the words "the court" in section 2(6) of the 2010 Act, and the ET had been wrong to conclude that it had no jurisdiction to entertain the claim against the Third Respondent. Accordingly, the appeal would be allowed, the ET's decision would be set aside, and the stay would be lifted.


Published: 21/12/2019 18:53

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