Timing is everything, in all things.

Turning up for a first date on time can make the difference between success and failure in the romantic stakes.

Turning up for your first day at work can make the difference between success and failure in your career path.

Turning up at Court can make the difference between the success or failure of your case in the legal world – no matter how good your case is, if you are out of time, then you have failed before you’ve even started.

Clients are often surprised at how harsh the rules on timing can be enforced by the courts and are often convinced that a short delay won’t make any difference, which means that they are confused when I am hassling them to finalise paperwork and sign documents so I can get everything in on time, or sometimes ahead of time. So let me share with you the comment of Employment Judge McAvoy Newns who recently rejected a claim that was bought four days late. The Judge said that even if it had been four minutes late, late is late, and that is the end of it.

Even more frustratingly for the Claimant was the fact that he wasn’t deliberately late or being casual about the deadline. He believed he was in time, because he thought his very strict three month (less one day) deadline ran from the day he received a letter from his employers confirming the outcome of his disciplinary meeting, rather than the day the meeting took place when he was told verbally that he was being dismissed. His assumption that it wasn’t “official” until it was confirmed in writing was incorrect. He was wrong!

Even if he had been correct, leaving it until the last minute is always dangerous. I recall a case from some years ago that failed because the fax machine of the solicitor who was submitting the claim broke at the pivotal moment, and the claim form didn’t arrive at the Tribunal until a few minutes after the deadline had expired. Although none of us use fax machines any more (in fact, some of my staff might even say they’ve never used a fax machine in their whole lives – way to make me feel old!), laptops crash, and internets go down, and power supplies fail.

So don’t just be on time, be early. If you turn up for your first date or your new job early, you can always find somewhere for a coffee whilst you wait. If you put in your claim early, you won’t get any benefits or brownie points – but you won’t have to go through the process of trying to get an extension and the risk that any discretion a court may have will not be exercised in your favour.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. We know how to tell the time properly!