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Employment and Human Rights

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

The Petition of Mr Pinakin Pandya,

Declares that his rights under s.54 (1), and s,64 (1) (ii) of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 not to be unfairly dismissed until the attainment of the State's retirement age, have been breached. Further declares that his rights under the Human Rights Act 1998, the Employment Rights Act 1996, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Employment Tribunal Practice and Rules and the Court of Appeal’s Civil Procedure Rules, House of Lords Rules, and European Court of Human Rights Rules, have been denied. Further declares that his rights under articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been breached by the UK, the European Court of Human Rights, and the United Nations, culminating in failure of the judicial system.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to review the Human Rights Act insofar as it relates to employment tribunals and legislation.

And the Petitioner remains, etc.[Official Report, 6 February 2008; Vol. 471, c. 35P .] [P000121]

Observations from the Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice:

I am in receipt of the petition dated 6 February 2008 of Mr Pinakin Pandya, in which he asserts that he has suffered the breach of many of his legal rights and human rights as a result of the operation of the employment tribunal decision.

The Government is satisfied that employment legislation, including provisions governing the procedure of employment tribunals, is compliant with our human rights obligations. Under the Human Rights Act 1998, it is unlawful for a public authority to act incompatibly with a Convention right. Under section 6(3) of the Act, a “public authority” includes any court or tribunal. If a party to a case believes that its procedure or outcome breaches their Convention rights, they should ordinarily raise this by taking advantage of the means to them to challenge the decision (whether by way of review or appeal).

The Government of course opposes the breach of individuals' employment rights. Where it has not proved possible for the parties otherwise to resolve matters, employment tribunals are the first stage in the legal process for enforcing most statutory employment rights. Every case that proceeds through the system is determined on its merits. As employment tribunals are independent judicial bodies, the Government cannot comment on or intervene in the tribunals' handling of individual cases, or any decisions they make.

Where an individual wishes to pursue his case further, he has two options that should be notified to him when he receives the decision. These are to apply for a review of the Employment Judge's decision, or to appeal (on a point of law only) to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).

Applications for review should be made within 14 days of the decision being sent to the parties, although the tribunal has discretion to extend this time limit. Reviews are intended to correct very specific errors or mishaps in the conduct of a tribunal hearing, or to deal with new evidence that was genuinely not available at the time of the original hearing. A party can make more than one application for review, although a second application, when a first has been properly refused, is unlikely to succeed unless there are exceptional circumstances.

An appeal should be made within 42 days of the date on which written reasons for the decision or order of the tribunal was sent to the party, or, in a case where no written reasons are required, within 42 days of the date on which the written notification of the tribunal's decision was sent, although the EAT has discretion to extend the time limit.

Appeals from the EAT in England and Wales go to the Court of Appeal and, in Scotland, to the Court of Session. From the Court of Appeal, appeals go to the House of Lords.