I’ve had some really bad dates!
I don’t mean romantic dates – although I’ve definitely had a few bad ones of those. The guy who only asked me out at the request of his friend (who had taken me out the week before) to see what I’d do was probably top of my list of bad dates. Closely followed by the guy who had taken me out the week before!!!
But today I thought I’d give my romantic life a rest and talk about date law for a change. This isn’t the law of dating, but the law of getting your dates right, and the consequences of getting it wrong.
Any decent solicitor will tell you how important our calendars are to us. We use them for recording all the lovely meetings we’re going to have (and important networking events we’re going to attend). We use them for marking up all the deadlines we need to meet and we use them to calculate time. Much of our lives are governed by timetables. Dates for completing contracts. Times by which things have to be served on the other side or filed at court (usually by 4pm unless you are in Tribunal in which case strangely you have until midnight!). Deadlines by which you must have issued proceedings, or you’re out of time.
One of the few things that will strike fear into the heart of any lawyer is the thought that they might have issued late, particularly in Employment Law Tribunals where we usually only have three months (which is not very long in our world) and the deadline is very very strictly enforced. Exceptions are few and far between, even when the lawyer or litigant in person (as is often the case) can show that the delay was not their fault. I remember reading about a case were a lawyer was working late to get their ET1 into the Tribunal on time, only to find that their fax machine (remember those!) had broken at the last minute and they didn’t get it working until a few minutes into the following day. The Tribunal said it was tough. It was the lawyer’s choice to leave it to the last minute, knowing the consequences of missing the deadline, so a broken fax machine was their problems, not the Tribunals.
There can also be arguments over what the right date was, especially when we are talking about the effective date of termination. The three months runs very strictly from the EDT, so getting that date right can make all the difference. So the Claimant in the recent Parkin case must have breathed a sigh of relief when she was able to agree what the EDT was with her employers in a rather unusual case where she’d been told to leave, but then given a letter afterwards that gave a different date. The parties agreed that the later date was the EDT, but the Employment Appeal Tribunal disagreed, and said it was the earlier date, and that the EDT wasn’t something that the parties could agree to vary. A date is a date. It’s not negotiable.
If you need advice on dismissing staff or calculating dates, drop me a line and we’ll put something in the diary.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Good on dates.