Law - UK Case Law
Beedell v West Ferry Printers
It was not appropriate for the Court of
Appeal to set aside the grant of permission to appeal where,
although the appeal was absolutely hopeless and bound to fail,
the area of law in question was the subject of considerable
The Court of Appeal so held in dismissing an application brought
by the employer, West Ferry Printers Ltd, to set aside permission
to appeal granted by Lord Justice May on September 15, 2000
to the former employee, James Beedell, against the dismissal
by the Employment Appeal Tribunal on July 7, 2000 of his appeal
against the dismissal on December 14, 1999 of a south London
employment tribunal of his complaints of unfair dismissal
and dismissal for trade union activities. The Court of Appeal
also dismissed the appeal, the subject of the permission.
Mr Jonathan Swift for the employer; Mr Gavin Millar, QC, who
did not appear below, for the employee.
LORD JUSTICE MUMMERY said that the question was essentially
In deciding the employee's claim, the employment tribunal
stated that applying the conventional range of reasonable
responses test, the employer had acted reasonably and in accordance
with equity and the substantial merits of the case.
They regarded the case as marginal where a decision to dismiss
or not would be reasonable: see Haddon v Van den Bergh Foods
Ltd ((1999) ICR 1150).
In Foley v Post Office (The Times August 17, 2000; (2000)
ICR 1238) an unsuccessful challenge was mounted to the conventional
range of reasonable responses test. However, Haddon was disapproved.
When the application for permission to appeal was made, Foley
was not drawn to the attention of Lord Justice May. Thus,
the employer made the application to set aside the permission
In his Lordship's judgment, in dealing with its discretion
under rule 52.9 of the Civil Procedure Rules, the court had
to bear in mind the overriding objective in rule 1.1 to deal
with the case justly.
If the court were to accede to the application it would result
in an unappealable decision in an area of law recognised in
Foley as being the subject of considerable controversy in
unfair dismissal cases.
In his Lordship's judgment, the court should take the alternative
course of dismissing the appeal, which Mr Millar had conceded
That left it open to the employee to apply for permission
to appeal which, if refused by the Court of Appeal, could
be renewed at the House of Lords.
Lord Justice Aldous and Lord Justice May agreed.
Solicitors: Simmons & Simmons; Russell Jones & Walker.