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Unfair dismissal: Tribunals empowered to make awards for non-economic loss

This report relates to 1 case(s)

Key points

In Dunnachie v Kingston upon Hull City Council, the Court of Appeal holds:

  • The comments by Lord Hoffmann in Johnson v Unisys [2001] IRLR 279, to the effect that the interpretation of (what is now) s.123 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 given in Norton Tool Co Ltd v Tewson [1972] IRLR 86 was too narrow in limiting unfair dismissal compensation to economic losses, were obiter and did not bind the Court in the present case.
  • Norton Tool (as a decision of the National Industrial Relations Court) did not bind the Court of Appeal, and was wrongly decided. On the true construction of the word "loss" in (what is now) s.123 of the ERA, "just and equitable" compensation may include an award for losses of a non-economic nature flowing from the manner of an unfair dismissal.
  • The original award of £10,000 made by the tribunal under this head in Mr Dunnachie's case could stand, although this made no difference to the total to be awarded to him since the statutory cap had already been reached.