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Judicial review of the Unfair Dismissal compensation cap

As featured in the Law Society Gazette (4 November 2013) we issued judicial review proceedings against the government’s cap on unfair dismissal compensation, reduced from £74,200 to one year’s salary.

The cap disproportionately affects elderly, disabled and pregnant employees on lower incomes.

Now if you’re dismissed whilst pregnant for example, you will only be able to claim a maximum of one year’s salary, even if you’re out of work for over a year (which you probably will be). So you will have to claim benefits, and the taxpayer will pick up the bill.

 

There are no austerity savings for Britain here, and the only ones to win from this law are unscrupulous companies who have been proved to have unfairly dismissed an employee. That’s why we decided to fight the government in court in order to overturn this law.

 

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Video – issuing the Judicial Review

 

In this video our Alex Monaco explains the difficulties faced when issuing this judicial review. This was a mammoth task which involved taking the government to court. We expected the government to play fair but instead they used every trick in the book to stop us from succeeding. In the end we were defeated in the Court of Appeal, but not without a fight. We even had Peter Oldham QC (Queen’s Counsel – the most senior type of barrister) and Patrick Halliday (another senior barrister) help us ‘pro bono’ (meaning for free) as they believed in the cause.

We appreciate all the support which we had in fighting this case. As you can see from the comments which were left by members of the public underneath the Law Society Gazette article, emotions were running high as the rights of disabled, pregnant and older workers were eroded in this way. Dean Morris summed it up when he said:

Indeed, a further example of the persistent erosion of fundamental employee employment rights. I bet it will never be reversed even when the economy is back in full swing and employers no longer need the governments helping hand to ease the financial burden upon them of legitimate employment claims.

Legal documents used for this case:

Below we set out the legal documents which we prepared for this case which are still useful guides for those who are currently looking to continue the challenge in individual cases.

Witness statement of Alex Monaco

On 24 December 2013 Alex Monaco issued this witness statement in support of the Judicial Review:

On 24 December 2013 we issued this revised statement of facts and grounds.

This document was the original Statement of Facts and Grounds which was submitted prior to Peter and Patrick helping us to produce the revised version, above:

And as part of our claim we also applied for a ‘Protective Costs Order’, here:

 

 If you are being affected by the unfair dismissal compensation cap then you will still be able to challenge the outcome of your individual claim by way of an appeal on the grounds that the cap itself is discriminatory – don’t give up.