High Court 2011/795 SP
In this case the Appellant Michael Horan was requesting the High Court by way of Special Summons to find that the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) had erred in law in finding that he was not eligible for a Redundancy payment in a scheme which had been approved by the Labour Relations Commission.
Very importantly in his Decision dated 7th November 2012 Mr Justice Roderick Murphy, in dismissing the Appeal, stated that the EAT is an independent body established to provide speedy inexpensive and relatively informal means for adjudication of disputes on employment rights. It is a specialist Tribunal. The function of the High Court, in reviewing a Decision of a specialist Tribunal, was to consider whether the Tribunal based its Decision on an identifiable error of law or on an unsustainable finding of fact. A Decision cannot be challenged on the grounds of irrationality if there is any relevant material to support it. In quoting Hamilton J from the “Henry Denny” case he stated that the Courts should be slow to interfere in the Decisions of expert administrative Tribunals.
In dismissing the Appeal Mr Justice Roderick Murphy stated that the Tribunal in this instance had considered all the relevant facts. The Judge was not prepared to reverse the Tribunal`s Decision on the basis that the Tribunal had not weighed the balance of the evidence in the Appellant`s favour. The Court was satisfied that the Tribunal had not erred in law.
It is clear that, in preparing for a Tribunal Hearing, whether an employee or an employer, one must make every effort to ensure proper preparation for the Hearing as a failure to bring all relevant facts to the attention of the Tribunal could result in an adverse result. There will be no second chance on the facts by way of an Appeal where the Tribunal is deemed to have reached a reasonable Decision based on the facts presented to it. claimant employees sometimes reasonably assume that, because Legal Costs are not allowed by the Tribunal, it would be unwise to instruct a solicitor and reserve their position on instructing a solicitor should it be necessary to appeal an adverse Decision by the Tribunal.
As will be noted from the above Decision of the High Court, the Court will not lightly reverse the Decision of the Tribunal where that Decision can only be challenged on the facts. The Tribunal can only consider the facts which are brought to its attention. A solicitor experienced in advocacy in the EAT will ensure that the proper facts are presented in the prosecution of the case, whether acting for the employee or the employer.