London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham v Ladejobi: EAT 1 Nov 1998

The tribunal was asked as to the date from which time started to run for the purposes of calculating the 42-day period within which an appeal should have been brought from a decision of an Employment Tribunal, if it was to be brought at all.
Held: Morison J said that Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978 did not apply to Rule 3(2): ‘The argument presented by Mr Pullen on behalf of the Respondent is to the effect that if one looks at the EAT Rules, it is clear that the intention of those Rules is that the date from which time started to run was the date when the decision was promulgated, which is the date when it was sent to the parties. That is a date which is contemplated by Rule 10(5) . . He pointed out that the Industrial Tribunals are not courts of record and therefore the sending and promulgating of the decision is the equivalent date to the date when a court of record seals its Order which is the date from which time to appeal starts to run. Accordingly he says that the date when the document was sent to the parties is the equivalent of the sealed date or the date of the sealing of a High Court Order from which time starts to run, see Order 59, Rule 4, sub-rule 1, and secondly he says, in any event, that Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978 only applies to provisions in rules or statutes which are authorising or requiring documents to be served by post. It does not apply, he says, to the determination of the date from which time must be calculated for the purposes of the 42 day period.
He draws attention to the fact that the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s own Rules, Rule 35 reflect accurately the provisions of Section 7 of the Interpretation Act itself, that is where a party serves a document on the EAT by post, then it is deemed to have been delivered in the normal course of post in the absence of evidence to the contrary. So that Rule 3(2) is not a service provision. Rule 35 is the service provision to which Section 7 of the Interpretation Act would apply.
It seems to me that both submissions made by Mr Pullen are correct. As I see the position, Section 7 of the Interpretation Act is concerned and concerned only with statutory provisions authorising or requiring the service of documents by post. The section makes reference to service by post, and the opening words of Section 7 are ‘Where an Act authorises or requires any document to be served by post . . ‘. Accordingly, I respectfully disagree with the passage in the judgment in Immigration Advisory Service v. Oommen to which I have referred. It seems to me that there is no support for the Judge considering that Section 7 applies to the calculation of the date from which time begins to run. As he said in the passage to which we have referred, the natural meaning of Section 7 is that it is dealing with service by a particular method, namely, posting and deeming documents to have been served where that method of service is adopted. That is the equivalent to Rule 35. It seems to me in those circumstances that there is no room for the application of Section 7 to the interpretation of Rule 3(2). Rule 3(2) is clear. It is the date when the document was sent to the appellant that time starts to run. Thus if Section 7 were capable of applying to Rule 3(2) it seems to me plain that a contrary intention does appear from the structure of the Rules.
That is sufficient to dispose of the appeal. But it does seem to me, furthermore, that it is highly likely that the intention of Parliament, when providing for our rules and the intention of the Lord Chancellor when making them, was to equate the date of sending of the documents which was contemporaneous with the date of promulgation as equivalent to the date when a High Court Order is sealed. It seems to me in the circumstances that there is a contrary intention shown by the Rules.’
Morison J
[1998] UKEAT 500 – 98 – 0111, [1999] ICR 637
Employment Appeal Tribunal Rules 1993 3, Interpretation Act 1978 7
See AlsoSmock (T/A Coniston Coach Hire) v Wilson EAT 1-Jun-1998
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Cited by:
See AlsoHammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council v Ladejobi EAT 2-Sep-1999
The time limits for lodging appeals against Employment tribunal rulings are strict. The date of promulgation is the operative date from which the date sent is to be calculated. The rules set aside the normal rules on interpretation as to when a . .
CitedSodexho Ltd v Gibbons EAT 14-Jul-2005
EAT Deposit ordered. Order lost in post due to the Claimant putting wrong post-code on ET1. Review. Distinguishing Judgments from Orders. Strike-out. Extending time. . .
CitedScotford v Smithkline Beecham EAT 25-Oct-2001
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Updated: 17 January 2021; Ref: scu.206915