Birmingham City Council v Abdulla and Others: CA 29 Nov 2011

The Council appealed against an order dismissing its application for the claimants’ claims under equal pay legislation to be struck out for want of jurisdiction. The claims had been brought in the High Court rather than te hEmployment Tribunal, thus extending the effective limitation date from 6 months to six years.
Held: The Council’s appeal failed. To strike out an in-time claim for breach of an equality clause is an extreme exercise of judicial discretion: ‘if the court struck out these equal pay claims under s.2(3) on the ground that they could be ‘more conveniently’ disposed of in the ET, the claims would have to be rejected by the ET for want of jurisdiction and the Claimants would be left without remedy for claims that might otherwise be well founded.’
The reasons why the claimants hadfailed to lodge their claims in time at the Tribunal were not relevant when considering convenience. The ‘basic assumption’ behind the first part of section 2(3) was that both the court and the tribunal would have jurisdiction to decide the claim on its merits; that the purpose behind the provision was, in that context, to identify the forum more fitted for its resolution; that, in that Birmingham was not alleging that the claims represented an abuse of the process of the court, the reasons why the claims had not been made to the tribunal were irrelevant; and that the deputy judge’s decision had been correct.
Mummery, Davis LJJ, Janet Smith Dame
[2011] EWCA Civ 1412, [2012] IRLR 116, [2012] ICR 20, [2012] Eq LR 81, [2012] 2 All ER 591, [2012] CP Rep 9
Equal Pay Act 1970 2(3)
England and Wales
Appeal fromAbdulla and Others v Birmingham City Council QBD 17-Dec-2010
The defendant applied for an order declaring that the claim would better be brought in an employment tribunal and that accordingly the County court should decline jurisdiction.
Held: The application was dismissed: ‘ I reject the submission by . .
CitedSpiliada Maritime Corporation v Cansulex Ltd, The Spiliada HL 1986
Forum Non Conveniens Restated
The House reviewed the authorities on the principle of forum non conveniens and restated how to apply the principle where the defendant seeks a stay of proceedings on the ground that there is another more appropriate forum.
Held: ‘In the . .
CitedRestick v Crickmore CA 3-Dec-1993
The High Court can transfer proceedings wrongly started in High Court to the County Court as an alternative to its jurisdiction to strike out the claim. Stuart-Smith LJ said: ‘. . provided proceedings are started within the time permitted by the . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromBirmingham City Council v Abdulla and Others SC 24-Oct-2012
Former employees wished to argue that they had been discriminated against whilst employed by the Council. Being out of time for Employment Tribunal Proceedings, they sought to bring their cases in the ordinary courts. The Council now appealed . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 19 March 2021; Ref: scu.449031