Unless orders

One of the types of order that the tribunal can make is an ‘unless order’. This is an order in the form: “Unless you do that, this will happen”.

For example, the tribunal may order “Unless the Claimant discloses all the documents on which he intends to rely by the 1st May, his claim will be struck out”.

Unless orders are usually made when a party has failed to comply with previous orders. They are a way of the tribunal saying “This is your last chance. Sort this out, or else.”

Your aim should be not to get into a situation where the tribunal makes this type of order. But if they do, it is vital that you comply with it – to the letter and on time.

This is even more important following the case of Chukwudebelu v Chubb Security. The Court of Appeal has ruled that an unless order takes effect automatically if not complied with.

In other words, if, in the example above, the claimant fails to disclose his documents by the 1st May, his claim will be considered struck out at that point. The tribunal will not have to make a second order to do so. This means there will be no opportunity for explanation, apologies or excuses. It will have happened.

If the worse happens and it really is impossible to comply with the unless order, it is vital that you make an application to vary it before it takes effect. This should be done in sufficient time that the tribunal can make a decision to change the order before the deadline for compliance.

Chukwudebelu v Chubb Security

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