Dobie v Burns International Security Services (UK) Ltd: CA 14 May 1984

The employee worked as a security officer for the appellant, which was in turn employed by the respondent to provide security for an airport controlled by the Merseyside City Council. The Council had the right of approval of any employee of the company at the airport. There was a complaint about Mr Dobie and the Respondent dismissed him. An Industrial Tribunal held that there was a substantial reason justifying dismissal, a decision upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
Held: The appeal was allowed and the case and remitted the matter for further hearing in the Industrial Tribunal: ‘In deciding whether the employer acted reasonably or unreasonably, a very important factor of which he has to take account on the facts known to him at the time, is whether there will or will not be injustice to the employee and to the extent of that injustice. For example, he will clearly have to take account of the length of time during which the employee has been employed by him, the satisfactoriness or otherwise of the employee’s service, the difficulties which may face the employee in obtaining other employment and matters of that sort.
Where the EAT or Court of Appeal finds that the ET has misdirected itself in law, it should remit the case for rehearing unless it is satisfied that, notwithstanding the error, the conclusion of the ET was unarguably right. None of these is decisive but they are all matters of which he has to take account, and they are all matters which affect the justice or injustice to the employee of being dismissed.’
The court discussed the procedure to be followed by the EAT on discerning an error of law in a tribunal’s judgment: ‘once you detect that there has been a misdirection, and particularly that there has been an express misdirection of law, the next question to be asked in not whether the conclusion of the Tribunal is plainly wrong, but whether it is plainly and unarguably right notwithstanding that misdirection. It is only if it is plainly and unarguably right notwithstanding a misdirection that the decision can stand. If the conclusion was wrong or might have been wrong, then it is for an appellate tribunal to remit the case to the only tribunal which is charged with making findings of fact.’


Sir John Donaldson MR, Slade and Parker LJJ


[1984] ICR 812, [1984] ICR 812, [1985] 1 WLR 42, [1984] IRLR 329, [1984] EWCA Civ 11




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedLondon Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, G Alltimes v L Ezeonyim EAT 7-Jun-2000
EAT The claimant had succeeded in his claim for race discrimination. The employer appealed, saying the tribunal had misunderstood its harassment procedure so as to be wrong in law. The claimant complained of a . .
CitedTaylor v OCS Group Ltd CA 31-May-2006
The employer appealed against findings of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. The employee worked in IT. He was profoundly deaf, but could lip read and read sign language. He had been accused of obtaining improper access to a senior . .
CitedMorrow v Safeway Stores Plc EAT 21-Sep-2001
The claimant appealed against dismissal of her claim of unfair constructive dismissal. She complained of having been publicly told off. The court considered whether this amounted to a breach of a fundamental term of her contract entitling her to . .
CitedGreenwood v Whiteghyll Plastics Ltd EAT 6-Aug-2007
EAT Reason for dismissal including substantial other reasonable adjustments
Reasonableness of dismissal
Claimant dismissed because major customer of Respondent stated that claimant was banned from its . .
CitedBournemouth University Higher Education Corp v Buckland EAT 8-May-2009
EAT UNFAIR DISMISSAL: Constructive dismissal
Whether fundamental breach of implied term of trust and confidence cured, so that the Claimant’s resignation did not amount to constructive dismissal.
CitedSecretary of State for Justice v Slee CA 24-Jan-2011
The claimant had been found to have been unfailry dismissed by respondent, on the termination of her employment as an assistant Clerk to the Justices. The EAT had upheld her claim, but had at first rejected her claim for long-term and retirement . .
CitedTilson v Alstom Transport CA 19-Nov-2010
The parties disputed whether the claimant agency worker was in law the employee of the respondent.
Held: The test was whether it was necessary to infer such a contract to explain the conduct of the parties (Elias LJ). The EAT were right to . .
CitedKapadia v London Borough of Lambeth EAT 27-May-1999
The claimant appealed against rejection of his claim for disability discrimination which had been on the ground that his condition did not amount to a disability within section 1(1). He suffered from anxiety, stress, tension and depression.
ExplainedHellyer Bros Limited v McLeod CA 1987
The employer appealed saying that the EAT had wrongly substituted its own opinion for that of the Tribunal.
Held: The appeal was rejected. Looking at the totality of the facts found or otherwise referred to in the decision of the Industrial . .
QualifiedHellyer Bros Limited v McLeod EAT 1985
Waite J said: ‘If we are satisfied that a conclusion reached as a result of a misdirection is plainly and unarguably wrong upon the facts found by the industrial tribunal and those facts do not require further amplification or reinvestigation, then . .
CitedHellyer Bros Limited v McLeod CA 1987
Slade LJ Approved the dictum of Waite J at the EAT. . .
CitedJafri v Lincoln College CA 16-Apr-2014
The claimant’s complaint of unfair dismissal for making a protected disclosure had been rejected by the ET and EAT. The court was asked whether the claimant could rely upon a point not previously raised.
Held: The appeal failed. Where a court . .
CitedWay v Spectrum Property Care Ltd CA 22-Apr-2015
The appellant had been dismissed after using the company email to forward an inappropriate email in breach of the company’s policies. Later he was disciplined for making an appointment in breach of the company’s procedures. He again misused the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 28 July 2022; Ref: scu.218836