DPP Law Ltd v Greenberg: CA 7 May 2021

Respect for ET judgment where prriciples set out

The respondent solicitor, had unlawfully accepted a payment of cash from the father of a criminal Legal Aid client. The firm now appealed from a finding that he had been unlawfully dismissed for gross misconduct.
Held: The appeal succeeded: ‘it was the EAT Judge, not the ET Judge who fell into error in this case. He was too ready to find an error of law because he failed to adopt the proper approach of an appellate tribunal to findings by an employment tribunal: his decision was not based on a fair reading of the ET decision as a whole; it failed to recognise the findings the ET Judge had made on such a fair reading; it failed to recognise that the decision did not need to contain more specific reasoning or findings of fact provided it was Meek compliant, which was not challenged; and it failed to recognise that the absence of such further findings could not justify a conclusion that there was no evidence of any such reasoning or that it had not been in the ET Judge’s mind.’
‘ where a tribunal has correctly stated the legal principles to be applied, an appellate tribunal or court should, in my view, be slow to conclude that it has not applied those principles, and should generally do so only where it is clear from the language used that a different principle has been applied to the facts found. Tribunals sometimes make errors, having stated the principles correctly but slipping up in their application, as the case law demonstrates; but if the correct principles were in the tribunal’s mind, as demonstrated by their being identified in the express terms of the decision, the tribunal can be expected to have been seeking faithfully to apply them, and to have done so unless the contrary is clear from the language of its decision. This presumption ought to be all the stronger where, as in the present case, the decision is by an experienced specialist tribunal applying very familiar principles whose application forms a significant part of its day to day judicial workload.’

Lord Justice Popplewell
[2021] EWCA Civ 672
Bailii, Judiciary
England and Wales
CitedBritish Home Stores Ltd v Burchell EAT 1978
B had been dismissed for allegedly being involved with a number of other employees in acts of dishonesty relating to staff purchases. She had denied the abuse. The tribunal had found the dismissal unfair in the methods used to decide to dismiss her. . .
CitedFuller v London Borough of Brent CA 15-Mar-2011
The employers had dismissed the employee for misconduct. The Tribunal found that the employers had a genuine belief in the misconduct alleged and there had been a reasonable investigation. The real issue was whether it was reasonable to dismiss for . .
CitedPace Shipping Co Ltd of Malta v Churchgate Nigeria Ltd of Nigeria ComC 7-Oct-2010
The courts do not approach arbitration awards with a meticulous legal eye endeavouring to pick holes, inconsistencies and faults or with the object of upsetting or frustrating the process of arbitration. . .
CitedUCATT v Brain CA 1981
Donaldson LJ said: ‘Industrial tribunals’ reasons are not intended to include a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the case, either in terms of fact or in law . . their purpose remains what it has always been, which is to tell the parties in . .
CitedRoyal Society for the Protection of Birds v Croucher EAT 1984
The EAT considered a case of the dismissal for admitted, serious dishonesty concerning expenses by one of the directors of the Society, who held a position of considerable responsibility. The Industrial Tribunal found the dismissal was unfair . .
CitedZermalt Holdings SA v NuLife Upholstery Repairs Ltd 1985
The court considered its general approach to appeals against awards in arbitrations. Bingham J said: ‘as a matter of general approach the courts strive to uphold arbitration awards. They do not approach them with a meticulous legal eye endeavouring . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Employment, Legal Professions

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.662382