Greater Manchester Police v Aston and Others: EAT 4 Jun 2021

Whistleblowing, Protected Disclosures

The Employment Tribunal did not err in its approach to the question of causation in a protected interest disclosure detriment claim and it correctly applied the burden of proof.
However the contents of a witness statement made in separate employment tribunal proceedings by one of the police officers about whom protected interest disclosures had been made which criticised the first claimant (the respondent to the appeal) was protected by judicial proceedings immunity (JPI) and could not constitute a detriment. Most regrettably the JPI point had not been raised before the tribunal. Bearing in mind the importance of the JPI doctrine to the integrity of the judicial process, in exercising its discretion in accordance with the guidance in The Secretary of State v Rance [2007] IRLR 665 the appeal tribunal allowed the point to be raised for the first time on appeal. The appeal on the JPI ground was allowed and in exercising its powers under s.35(1)(a) Employment Tribunals Act 1996, the tribunal’s decision was substituted with a finding that detriment 19 which was based on the witness statement protected by JPI was not well founded.
Stacey J
[2021] UKEAT 0304 – 19 – 0406
England and Wales

Updated: 11 July 2021; Ref: scu.663590