Illegal worker’s claims not barred by statutory illegality


Re: Okedina v Chikale [2019] EWCA Civ 1393

The case concerned contractual claims (including unfair dismissal) brought by Malawian national whose leave to remain (and right to work) in the UK had expired.

The issue in the case was whether Immigration Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, ss 15 and 21 meant that an employee, who unknowingly worked when they had no right to work in the UK, was barred from bringing contractual claims by virtue of the doctrine of statutory illegality.

The Court of Appeal held that given that in this case that the claimant did not know of the illegality, the defences based on statutory and common law illegality must both fail. This means her claims would not be barred.

Laura Prince and Emma Foubister were involved in this case.