Employment tribunals, jurisdiction, insurer of insolvent respondent (Watson v Hemingway Design Ltd (In liquidation) & Ors)

Employment tribunals, jurisdiction, insurer of insolvent respondent (Watson v Hemingway Design Ltd (In liquidation) & Ors)

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that an employment tribunal has jurisdiction to determine a claim made by an employee against the insurer of an insolvent respondent under the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 2010 (TP(RAI)A 2010). It was necessary to interpret the word ‘court’ in TP(RAI)A 2010, s 2 as including an employment tribunal in order to give effect to the clear purpose of TP(RAI)A 2010, which was to enable the liability of the insolvent insured and the claim against the insurer under TP(RAI)A 2010 to be determined in the same set of proceedings. It rejected the insurer’s contention that an employment tribunal was not a ‘court’ and so any claim against the insurer by an employee pursuing a claim against their insolvent employer in an employment tribunal had to be brought as a separate claim in the county court or High Court. Written by David Gray-Jones, barrister at The 36 Group and counsel for the appellant.

Watson v Hemingway Design Ltd (In liquidation) & Ors (UKEAT/0007/19/JOJ)

What are the practical implications of this case?

The case has important practical implications for employees who are bringing claims in an employment tribunal against an employer who is, or who becomes in the course of the proceedings, insolvent. If the employer has insurance covering liability for the employment tribunal claims, the benefit of the cover will pass to the employee under TP(RAI)A 2010, s 1, and the employee can recover compensation from the insurer if it establishes liability against the insolvent employer. The EAT’s judgment means t

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About the author:

Zahra started working as a paralegal at Lexis Nexis in Banking and Insolvency teams in April 2019. Zahra graduated with a 2.1 honours in a BA French and Spanish, completed the GDL at BPP University and is seeking some experience before commencing the LPC. She has undertaken voluntary work for law firms in London, Argentina and Colombia.