Expiry of Fixed Term Contract and Amendment of ET1

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Is a Claimant able to apply to make an additional claim of unfair dismissal via the agenda for a Preliminary Hearing on case management?

In Ministry of Defence v Dixon the EAT agreed that yes this could be the case.

In this example the Claimant was a teacher and was employed by the Ministry of Defence in consecutive one year fixed term contracts. Mrs Dixon presented a claim for a declaration of permanent employment status shortly before the expiry of her fourth contract. Following this, her employment terminated. When she submitted her agenda for a Preliminary Hearing she included an application to amend by also including a claim for unfair dismissal. At this point the Ministry of Defence accepted that there was an existing dismissal claim and did not suggest that it was premature and the tribunal agreed that the issues did, in fact, include unfair dismissal. However, two months later the Ministry of Defence made the argument that the unfair dismissal claims were, in fact, premature and applied for them to be ruled out. The tribunal allowed the claim to proceed and the Ministry of Defence appealed.

At the appeal, the EAT held that the tribunal had in fact been mistaken in its reasons for allowing the unfair dismissal claim to proceed – where it had found that the claim had either not been made prematurely or where it had not been practicable to present the claim on time. The tribunal had not appeared to have considered the Claimant’s previous application to amend. As a result the EAT remitted the matter back to the tribunal to consider the ‘new’ point that had been raised by the Claimant which was her application to amend the claim. Principles from Selkent Bus Company v Moore should be used to determine the result of the application.