Procedure: Interim Relief

When considering the postponement of an interim relief hearing, can counsel’s availability amount to “special circumstances”?

Yes, held the EAT in Lunn v Aston Derby.

Interim relief is obscure. It’s a special remedy that employment tribunals can grant if an ET1 is presented within seven days of dismissal, and the Claimant can prove (at a very swiftly arranged hearing, usually within days) that s/he will probably establish that the dismissal was on grounds of whistleblowing or trade union activities at a full hearing. When interim relief is granted, a ‘continuation of employment’ order is made, meaning they are guaranteed their salary up until the final hearing – even if they ultimately lose.

Mr and Mrs Lunn pursued whistleblowing claims and included applications for interim relief in their ET1s.

The interim relief applications were listed for hearing on a date the Claimants’ direct access barrister could not attend due to prior court commitments. Their barrister requested that the hearing be relisted and provided dates of availability as soon as five days later.

Pursuant to s128(5) Employment Rights Act 1996, the tribunal should not postpone such hearings “except where it is satisfied that special circumstances exist which justify it in doing so”. The tribunal refused the Claimants’ application for postponement on the basis that counsel’s convenience did not amount to special circumstances.

The EAT disagreed and held that, although not usually considered as such, counsel’s availability was a special circumstance in this case as the Claimants were faced with a real difficulty of finding alternative representation at such short notice. The special circumstances did not have to be ‘exceptional’.

The EAT found that the tribunal had fettered its discretion. It went further and found perversity on the basis that there was a lack of prejudice to the Respondents, a very short delay and the interests of justice so overwhelmingly fell in favour of granting the application.

Case Summary by Caroline Jennings.

Caroline is part of the Employment Group at No5 Barristers’ Chambers. 

Getting to Know Equal Pay Morning: No longer be Afraid!

The very mention of equal pay can send shivers down the spine of the most seasoned employment specialists.  With the introduction of gender pay gap reporting and media gaze fully on the disparity of pay between men and women, all involved in employment law need to acquire an understanding behind equal pay claims.  This seminar is aimed to provide HR advisors, employee representatives, solicitors, and anyone with an interest in employment and equality with a basic understanding of how equal pay works sufficiently, to arm them with the basic tools to advise and address equal pay issues.

Date: Thursday 19th July 2018
Time: 08:45 – 13:00
Venue: Browne Jacobson, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham B2 4BU
Cost: Free

Register here


08:45 – 09:15 Registration and pastries
09:15 – 10:00 Key Concepts (Part 1), presented by Anthony Korn
10:00 – 10:45 Key Concepts (Part 2), presented by Naomi Owen
10:45 – 11:00 Refreshment Break
11:00 – 11:45 Top tips on handling Equal Pay claims and the overlap with Gender Pay Gap Reporting, presented by Mugni Islam-Choudhury
11:45 – 13:00 Equal Pay Workshop, presented by Helen Barney
13:00 onwards Nibbles and networking


Helen Barney
“She is a fiercely intelligent lawyer and is always thoroughly prepared for any meeting or hearing. She is also practical, approachable and brings a great sense of humour to her work. She is robust and skilled in cross-examination and has excellent client care skills.”  Chambers and Partners 2018

Mugni Islam-Choudhury
“He is very commercial and instills confidence in clients. He gives clear advice and clients always feel that he is fighting their corner in tribunal. He gets to the essence of the issue very quickly and works exceptionally well as part of the barrister-solicitor team.” Chambers and Partners 2018

Anthony Korn 
“He’s a leading expert on judicial mediations and where quantification of claim is very complicated. He is extremely competent.” “He has an academic precision for the law.” Chambers and Partners 2018

Naomi Owen
“She can tailor her approach to the particular circumstances of the case. She was fantastic with the client – it was a difficult case and she knew it inside out; she knew exactly what the issues were (and there were lots of different legal aspects).” Chambers and Partners 2018


Free – Register here