Drake International Systems Ltd and Others v Blue Arrow Ltd (Practice and Procedure): EAT 27 Jan 2016

A Claimant brought proceedings against a parent company, and properly completed early conciliation procedures in respect of the matter between them. Once proceedings had been issued, the parent company argued that the proper Respondents were four subsidiaries of it. The Claimant successfully applied to amend to substitute those subsidiaries for the parent company. The subsidiaries argued that the Claimant should have first obtained an Early Conciliation Certificate in respect of each of them as a necessary pre-condition of making a claim against them.
Since a reference to ACAS in respect of possible early conciliation was required only before relevant proceedings were instituted, and in respect of a prospective Claimant and a prospective Respondent, and since on the facts relevant proceedings had been instituted and the Claimant was no longer prospective, such a reference was not required. Nor was Rule 34 of the Employment Tribunal Rules, which provided a discretion to make an amendment, ultra vires the statute. Moreover, it provided a discretion as to making an amendment, to be exercised in line with the overriding objective: whereas it might well be envisaged that an employment judge might decline permission if the proposed substituted Respondent were completely independent of the existing Respondent, and there was little if any connection on the facts between them, that did not apply in the present case. Appeal dismissed.

Langstaff P J
[2016] ICR 445, [2016] UKEAT 0282 – 15 – 2701
England and Wales
CitedScience Warehouse Ltd v Mills EAT 9-Oct-2015
EAT Practice and Procedure : Amendment – Amendment of an ET claim to add a new cause of action – ACAS Early Conciliation (Section 18A Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (as amended))
At a Preliminary Hearing, . .

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Updated: 09 January 2022; Ref: scu.559362