Charity Worker fails in petition for Judicial Review
In August 2016, an Employment Tribunal in Scotland found that charity worker Anela Anwar had been harassed by her line manager on grounds of sex, race and religion. Mrs Anwar was awarded £75,000 in compensation.
At the time of the judgment, bank statements indicated that the Respondent charity had £68,000 in its account. By October 2016, a mere £4,000 remained. Mrs Anwar’s suspicion was that the charity intentionally disposed of the funds in order to avoid paying her compensation. She never received the money.
Consequently, in February 2021, she issued a petition for judicial review against the secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. She claimed that because Scottish Law doesn’t provide a statutory provision for the granting of freezing of assets by an Employment Tribunal, it failed to properly implement EU Directives which provide for equal treatment in employment and the right to an effective remedy.
Her petition failed. In the judgment issued last week, Lord Hodge said that EU law did not require claimants vindicating EU rights to have access to a ‘one stop shop’ whereby the Tribunal ruling on the success or failure of a claim can also grant recovery measures. Lord Hodge said member states were merely obliged to provide effective remedies for the implementation of EU rights that do not render the exercise of such rights excessively difficult.
Mrs Anwar’s solicitor could have tried to recover the money by seeking a warrant in the sheriff court and such a process would not have been excessively difficult. Lord Hodge remarked that the sheriff court route was a ‘modest departure’ from the Employment Tribunal regime.
Although this involves the Scottish law system for recovering money owed from an Employment Tribunal ruling, it could be potentially relevant to the English law system which also doesn’t provide statutory power to Employment Tribunals to enforce their own decisions. In England, routes to recover what you are owed include use of a High Court Enforcement Officer, or going through the civil courts.
It’s a reminder to solicitors and claimants to pursue every avenue available, and in a timely fashion, to ensure recovery of your Employment Tribunal award.
This blog was written by Jack Dooley, Paralegal at didlaw.