Home > Cases > Slee v Secretary of State for Justice [2007] EWHC 2717 (Admin)

The appellant former employee (S) appealed against part of a decision of the employment tribunal rejecting her claim for compensation under the Justices of the Peace Act 1949 (Compensation) Regulations 1978. S had been employed by the respondent (J) as a training manager with additional duties as a court clerk. Whilst S had been on a lengthy period of sick leave, J had restructured the hierarchy of justice’s clerks and replaced those roles with new manager positions. Without returning to work S had begun maternity leave. Before the end of her maternity leave S had been informed by letter from J that her former role had been removed. A further letter had been sent explaining what would happen on her return to work. S resigned and successfully claimed for constructive unfair dismissal and unlawful sexual discrimination. However, the tribunal found that although she had satisfied the eligibility requirements in reg.3 and reg.4 of the Regulations, she was not entitled to long-term compensation under Part IV of the Regulations, or retirement compensation under Part V of the Regulations as she had not satisfied the qualifying condition in reg.11(1)(e)(ii), because she had received notice in writing of termination of her employment and had received a written offer of reasonably comparable employment. S argued that the tribunal had erred in construing the letters sent to her as constituting notice of termination and an offer of employment within reg.11(1)(e)(ii), because a notice of termination had to specify the date on which it was to take effect, and because the second letter contained an instruction not an offer. She further argued that it had erred in its assessment of whether any offer of employment was reasonably comparable. J argued that S had not suffered a loss of office within the meaning of reg.4 at a time when she would have been entitled to make claims for compensation under the Regulations. J also argued that S had not satisfied the requirements of reg.3 because S had not been employed “in assisting the holder of the office of Justices’ Clerk”.

HELD: (1) The wording of reg.11(1)(e)(ii) showed that it could be satisfied not only by a prospective notification of termination but also by a notice recording that an office had been or was being terminated. With regard to the second letter, it had instructed S what to do on her return and had not given her a choice, with the consequence that if she had not followed what was said in the letter she would have been liable to have been treated as having acted in breach of an instruction from her employer. Accordingly, reg.11(1)(e)(ii) did not preclude S’s claim for compensation.

Click here for the judgment

icon-accordion-chevron icon-arrow-left icon-arrow-right icon-chevron-down icon-chevron-left icon-cross icon-download icon-letter icon-linked-in icon-phone-outline icon-phone icon-search icon-search icon-select-chevron icon-top-right-corner icon-twitter