Smith v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry: EAT 15 Oct 1999

The claimant had been sole director of a company which went into liquidation. He sought a redundancy payment from the respondent under the 1996 Act. It was refused. The tribunal had applied Buchan. It had refused to hear an argument that the tribunal chairman was also employed by the respondent and could not therefore be independent.
Held: Although the Human Rights Act was not yet in force, when looking at a case which would be reheard after it has come into effect, it is right to allow for the Act. Article 6 of the Convention allows a fair trial, yet in this case, the bankrupt’s representative, and the tribunal hearing his case were both indirectly employees of the respondent. As a bankrupt, the claimant’s affairs were managed by the Official Reciver, again an employee of the respondent. The appellant should have been given chance to argue the point before the tribunal. In any event that fact that the claimant was a controlling shareholder did not of itself disqualify him from being an employee and entitled to a redindancy payment. His appeal was allowed.


Morison J


Times 15-Oct-1999, Gazette 10-Nov-1999


Human Rights Act 1998, European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 6.1, Employment Rights Act 1996 166


England and Wales


CitedBuchan and Ivey v Secretary of State for Employment EAT 20-Jun-1996
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See AlsoSmith v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry EAT 13-Oct-1997
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CitedSecretary of State for Trade and Industry v Bottrill CA 12-Feb-1999
There is no rule of law, to suggest that a sole director and owner of majority of shareholding, could not be an employee of that company, and be entitled to a redundancy payment on the liquidation of the company. ‘If the tribunal considers that the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Insolvency, Employment

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.89343