Here's an example of why it's so important for customers to have Family Legal Protection.
In Sterling v United Learning Trust the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) agreed that
an employment tribunal had been right to reject a claim that did not have the
correct early conciliation number recorded on it. This case should serve as a
reminder of the consequences that can follow when individuals do not have
access to qualified lawyers.
The employee was
represented by an unqualified person. Four days before the deadline for making
the claim the tribunal inferred that her employment tribunal claim form (ET1
form) was missing some digits from the EC number. The form was returned to her
by the tribunal office two days later, with an accompanying letter. The address
cited by the office was neither that of her representative nor her home. It
ultimately arrived at a neighbour's house and the employee re-submitted straight away, albeit out of time.
The employee appealed against the rejection however the EAT determined that
Employment Tribunal rules oblige the employment tribunal to reject a claim if
the EC number is missing, although a party may apply for a reconsideration of
such a rejection. In this case the employee's representative did not apply for
reconsideration, and even though he was not legally qualified the EAT said the
employment tribunal was entitled to conclude that no such application was
The representative also failed to argue that it was not reasonably practicable
for the employee to have lodged the claim in time. The EAT dismissed the
employee's challenge to this aspect of the judgement, making it clear that the
burden was on her to prove that it was not reasonably practicable and that even
if the point had not been argued originally there was a duty on the employee to
ensure that the EC number was cited correctly.