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Employment tribunal jurisdiction: Flexibility used in applying Lawson v Serco

This report relates to 1 case(s)

Key points

In Crofts and others v Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd and others [2005] EWCA (Civ) 599, the Court of Appeal holds:

  • Applying a degree of flexibility to the test expounded in Lawson v Serco, pilots who worked for a Hong Kong airline but who were based in or residing in England and who were subject to contracts of employment with a UK-based subsidiary of the airline, could bring unfair dismissal claims in a domestic employment tribunal because, as a matter of fact, the way in which the pilots were required to live and work by their contracts meant that the pilots were "employed in Great Britain".
  • Lord Phillips MR, dissenting, found that as long as Serco remained binding authority, s.94(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (the right not to be unfairly dismissed) could not apply to international airline pilots as according to Serco, "the place of employment" was "the place where the person works". Therefore, as airline pilots do not have "a terrestrial place of employment", their employment could not necessarily be said to be in Great Britain.
  • In relation to the cases where the Court had decided the tribunal did have jurisdiction to entertain the unfair dismissal claims, the Court further held that the tribunal would also be the appropriate forum to hear related breach of contract claims.