Court of Appeal holds constructive dismissal claim not barred by judicial proceedings immunity

Heather Williams QC and Althea Brown, instructed by Bindman & Partners, represented the claimant in Singh v Governing Body of Moorlands Primary School, a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal against the decisions of the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal to strike out the “last straw” allegation she relied upon in support of her claim for constructive unfair dismissal and discriminatory dismissal.


Mrs Singh had sued her employers for discrimination when she was still in post as a primary school head teacher.  Following service of witness statements in those proceedings, she concluded that her employers had improperly pressurised a fellow employee who had been supportive of her up to then, to change her account to one that assisted the respondent in defending the case.  She felt that her employer’s act was  the “last straw” in terms of the destruction of the parties’ relationship of trust and confidence and she resigned claiming constructive dismissal.


The Court of Appeal rejected the argument that had found favour below, that because the allegation concerned the respondents’ conduct of litigation, it was precluded by judicial proceedings immunity.  The Court held that the allegation fell outside the immunity as it was not a claim founded upon evidence given in proceedings, but one that was based on the free-standing antecedent act of the employer allegedly suborning a witness.  Further, the damage caused by that act was the destruction of the employment relationship, not the outcome of the (still ongoing) Tribunal litigation.

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