Court dismisses appeal in relation to the striking out of a claim concerning termination of membership and losses flowing from that termination


Re: Wilsons Solicitors LLP & Ors v Roberts [2018] EWCA Civ 52

This case was an appeal from the Employment Appeal Tribunal after it quashed the Employment Tribunal’s decision to strike out “the element of the Claimant’s claim that relates to his termination of his membership, and the losses that flow from that termination”.  The Claimant, a member of a LLP, contended that he had been subjected to whistleblowing detriments which made his working environment untenable.  He withdrew his labour and was then expelled from the partnership.  He did not contend that the act of expulsion was itself an unlawful detriment, but argued that the losses that flowed from the expulsion were caused by the earlier acts of detriment.

The Court dismissed the appeal holding that the decision of the EAT did not fall into error. Simler J in the previous instance was concerned “with issues of causation, not the meaning of constructive dismissal” and “in particular she was concerned with the provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996, s 49”.  The Court held that a “but for” test applied to causation in whistleblowing cases.  Accordingly, if the Claimant was able to demonstrate that, but for his having been subjected to detriments, he would not have been dismissed, he would succeed in his claim for post-expulsion financial losses.  The Court rejected the LLP’s contention that a lawful expulsion necessarily broke the chain of causation.

James Laddie QC was involved in this case.