A solicitor who would only accept correspondence by post has won an appeal after it was found important emails were not sent to him. The practitioner, named as S Wakeman, has taken Kent firm Boys and Maughan Solicitors to an employment tribunal.

But his claims - of automatic unfair dismissal; age and sex discrimination or harassment; protected disclosure detriment, failure to pay notice pay; unpaid holiday pay; and being owed 'other payments' - were struck out after he failed to comply with an Unless Order.

Boys and Maughan had been pursuing the order via emails, many of which had not been copied to Wakeman by post ‘the only method of communication that he would accept’, the court heard.

In the Employment Appeal Tribunal Judge James Taylor said: ‘The claimant was correct in his assessment that correspondence had been sent by the respondent to the Employment Tribunal that had not been copied to him. While the emails were, in large part, chasing the original application for an Unless Order, they also criticised the way in which the claimant was conducting the litigation.’

The Employment Tribunal issued the order in December 2020, requiring the claimant to provide his disclosure of documents and witness statements in 23 days or have his claims struck out.

Wakeman did not comply, arguing he did not have enough time and said it had been obtained after the tribunal had considered correspondence from the respondent he had not seen. 

A second Unless Order was issued in May 2021, with which Wakeman also did not comply by not sending his witness statement.

Employment Judge L Burge, striking out his claim, said: ‘Unless Orders are an important part of the tribunal’s procedural armoury. The claimant did not take it seriously, if he had done he would have complied with it.’

But Judge Taylor said the tribunal had erred in law in its approach and ordered the case to be remitted for redetermination with a different judge.

‘The claimant has not helped himself by insisting on only accepting correspondence by post and by the combative tone of his letters’, the judge said. ‘While it is correct that the claimant had seen the original application for an Unless Order he had not seen the myriad of emails sent by the respondent chasing for an Unless Order that included further complaints about the conduct of the claimant. 

‘Before the second Unless Order was made the claimant had not been provided with the emails and did not have a proper opportunity to comment. The parties are not on an equal footing if an order is produced on the basis of correspondence that the other party has not seen and/or without a fair opportunity to make submissions in opposition to the application for an order.’