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Court of Appeal resolves question of whether Employment Tribunals may construe contracts in Unlawful Deductions from Wages Claims

The Court of Appeal (Underhill, Bean and Hamblen LJJ) has today allowed an appeal against the decision of the EAT (Slade J) in Agarwal v Cardiff University & anor [2017] ICR 967.

The Court has held that employment tribunals have jurisdiction to engage in contractual construction on complaints of unauthorised deductions from wages under Part II of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Judgment was promulgated orally at the end of a two-day hearing in which the Agarwal appeal was conjoined with an appeal against the decision of the EAT (HHJ Hand QC) in Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive t/a Nexus v Anderson & ors UKEAT/0151/16/BA. Tyne and Wear also raised the question of tribunals’ contractual jurisdiction under Part II of the 1996 Act.

Today’s decision will no doubt be of great interest to practitioners. The conflict between diametrically opposed EAT authorities (on the one hand, Agarwal; on the other, Tyne and Wear and Weatherilt v Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd [2017] ICR 985) has now been clearly resolved in favour of the Tyne and Wear and Weatherilt approach.

David Reade QC and Joseph Bryan represented the appellants in Tyne and Wear. Judgment in that appeal has been reserved.

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