*Usdaw v Ethel Austin Ltd (in administration); Usdaw and another v Unite the Union and others

Redundancy Award. The proceedings concerned appeals by the claimants in two sets of proceedings and related to breach of the duty to consult over mass redundancies by two businesses which were insolvent at the time of the proceedings. The Employment Tribunals concluded that the claimants' claims for breach of the duty to consult over redundancy would succeed and made protective awards for failure to consult in advance of redundancies. However, those made redundant in establishments where fewer than 20 workers had been dismissed were excluded (the exclusion conclusion). The claimants appealed against the exclusion conclusion. In allowing the appeal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal, taking into consideration s188 of the and article 1 of Council Directive (EC) 98-59 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies, held that the question was whether s188 of the Act could be construed in the light of the directive to exclude the words 'at one establishment' or to add the words 'at one or more establishments', or whether such a construction would go against the grain of the legislation. Applying settled principles, the court was entitled to construe s188 of the Act so that it complied with the obligation under the directive. The words 'at one establishment' ought to be deleted from s188 of the Act as a matter of construction pursuant to the court's obligations to apply the directive's purpose.

*Vestergaard Frandsen A/S and others v Bestnet Europe Limited and others

Employment Duty of servant. The Supreme Court, in dismissing the claimant companies' appeal, held that a former employee could not be liable for breach of confidence in circumstances where she had not ever acquired the confidential information in question, whether during the time of her employment or afterwards, and had been unaware that the relevant product had been developed using the companies' trade secrets.

Engel v Joint Committee for Parking and Traffic Regulation Outside London (PATROL)

Employment Protected disclosure. The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the appeal of the employee, a fee paid parking adjudicator, and held that the employment tribunal had not erred in finding that the decision not to allocate further personal or postal cases to the employee had been a decision taken in the exercise of judicial functions and did not amount to subjecting the employee to a detriment for the purposes of of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Ward v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Unfair dismissal Calculation of award. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (the EAT) dismissed the employee's appeal in respect of a claim of disability related discrimination and unfair dismissal against his employer brought before the employment tribunal (the tribunal). The tribunal had upheld one claim of a failure to make reasonable adjustments but had dismissed the employee's other claims.

*UK Uncut Legal Action Ltd v Revenue and Customs Commissioners

Tax Avoidance. The claimant company campaigned against the harmful effects of tax avoidance and the use of tax havens. It issued proceedings against the Revenue and Customs Commissioners for entering an agreement with two Goldman Sachs companies, allowing them to avoid paying interest on unpaid National Insurance contributions. The Administrative Court held that the Revenue had not failed to apply its policy or breached the principle of equality. Although one commissioner had considered an irrelevant consideration, the decision would have been the same in any event.

*President of the Methodist Conference v Preston

Employment Contract of service. The respondent former minister had sought to bring proceedings in the employment tribunal for unfair dismissal. The tribunal dismissed her claim, as she was not an employee. That decision was reversed by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in a decision subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal, Civil Division. The President of the Methodist Conference appealed. The Supreme Court, in allowing the appeal, held that the respondent's relationship with the church was governed by its constitution, a Deed of Union and by standing orders of the conference. Further, a special arrangement of a contractual nature had not been entered through an exchange of letters.

Romero Insurance Brokers Ltd v Templeton and another

Covenant Breach. The first defendant, T, an insurance broker, was employed by the claimant company as the manager of a small new office. A meeting subsequently took place which led to T's resignation claiming constructive dismissal. T commenced employment with the second defendant company, the aim of which was for T to bring a substantial number of the claimant's ex-clients to the second defendant company, which he succeeded in doing. The claimant issued proceedings against T and the second defendant alleging breaches of covenant. The Queen's Bench Division held, amongst other things, that there had been no constructive dismissal, a restrictive covenant signed by T in favour of the claimant was enforceable and that the claimant would be entitled to damages for breach of covenant.

Ashcourt Rowan Financial Planning Ltd v Hall

Restraint of trade by agreement Employer and employee. The defendant was employed by the claimant financial services company. He resigned and went to work for a competing company. The claimant commenced proceedings seeking to enforce a non-compete clause contained in the defendant's contract. The Queen's Bench Division dismissed the claim as the additional restraints of the non-compete clause would, if enforced, have prohibited the defendant from work in many parts of the financial services industry where, and in ways in which, it could not reasonably have been said that the claimant's legitimate interests would or might have been compromised.

Lonsdale v Redcar and Cleveland Primary Care Trust

Employment Disability. The employee was made redundant. She claimed that her dismissal had been unfair and discriminatory as she had not been permitted to apply for an alternative role which, but for her disability, she would have been able to apply for. The employment tribunal held that the employee had been indirectly discriminated against and that her dismissal had been unfair, but that her dismissal had not been discriminatory. The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the employer's appeal and allowed the employee's cross appeal.

Shetty v Al Rushaid Petroleum Investment Company and other companies

Employment Dismissal. The claimant was summarily dismissed from his employment with the first defendant Saudi company. He claimed that his entitlement to a bonus had been reserved, notwithstanding that he had signed a settlement letter releasing the company and associated companies from any future claim. The defendants, all members of a group formed as part of a joint venture, counterclaimed against the claimant, and the third and fourth parties alleging that they had received secret commissions in breach of duties they owed to the defendants under Saudi law. The Chancery Division, in dismissing the claimant's claim and allowing the counterclaim and additional claim, held that the language used in the release as a whole meant that all claims connected with the claimant's employment had been released and that the receipt of the secret commissions amounted to a breach of the duties. It further held that the third defendant company, of which the claimant and third party had acted as directors, was entitled to recover loss.