image-description

A warning to self-represented litigants

In a recent decision of Reeve v Ramsay Health (May 2013), an employee tried to make an unfair dismissal claim after being dismissed for what her employer termed ‘performance and communication concerns’. The employee was unsuccessful on technical grounds as the claim was incorrectly framed and taken to the wrong place.

In order to save her claim, the employee lodged a general protections claim which was now 46 days out of time. Her application to the Court to extend the time to commence the claim was rejected by the Court. She lodged an appeal which was also denied.

The judge found ‘she had failed at every hearing along the way principally because she had failed to understand and meet the legal requirements which govern the kind of relief she pursued’.

While this case was related to a workplace dispute, the same principles apply in all legal matters. Justice Gilmore sums up “the consequences of not taking legal advice are sadly self-evident”.

If in dispute, it is important to obtain legal advice and assistance from the outset to ensure you meet the strict timeframes required by the Courts. If you need assistance with any of your disputes please contact the team at Watkins Tapsell.