Rogers & Norton News

Question Mark Over Representative’s Capacity – Drysdale v Department of Transport

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mr Drysdale was represented by his wife at his two-day unfair dismissal hearing.

During the second day it became clear that more time was needed. When Mrs Drysdale discovered that it would be four months before the case would be listed again, she became upset. She said that she wanted to withdraw the claim, which she confirmed when asked by the judge.

The case was dismissed and an order for costs made against Mr Drysdale. He later appealed, arguing that his wife did not have capacity to withdraw his claim. The tribunal, he said, should have checked that Mrs Drysdale was in a good state of health and was authorised to withdraw the claim. He also argued that he should have been given the chance to make submissions before the tribunal made a costs order.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the appeal. There was no duty to enquire into Mrs Drysdale’s health or into her authority. There didn’t need to be a written application to withdraw the claim. And on the question of costs, as Mr and Mrs Drysdale had chosen to leave the hearing while the application for costs was being made, the tribunal did not have a duty to give them a further opportunity to put their points across.