The EAT (HHJ Richardson) has handed down judgment in Weathrilt v Cathay Pacific Airways Limited.
The case is likely to attract interest given the decision of this division of the EAT not to follow the recent decision of another division of the EAT (Slade J) in Agarwal v Cardiff University UKEAT/ 0210/16/RN. Agarwal had held that Employment Tribunals did not have jurisdiction to determine disputes over contractual construction in the context of unlawful deductions claims.
The main ground for the Weatherilt EAT’s decision not to follow Agarwal was that Agarwal had been reached per incuriam, with Counsel not putting material Court of Appeal authority before the EAT. In light of these concerns in Weatherilt the parties put before the EAT authorities tracing the history of the unlawful deductions jurisdiction back through the Wages Act to the Truck Acts.
The question of whether Weathrilt or Agarwal are more consistent with the Court of Appeal’s decisions in Southern Cross and Delaney v Staples may nevertheless remain open for debate given the “tension” between those decisions noted by the EAT.
On the substance of the appeal (a test case over aircrew terms and conditions) Cathay Pacific succeeded on the question of contractual construction, as it had at first instance.
James Bickford Smith appeared for Cathay in the EAT as at first instance.