The one (maybe two) sentence rule

In general, any good ground of appeal is capable of being summarised in a single sentence.

It is useful to do this. It acts as a check that you have identified a proper error of law. With very rare exceptions, errors of law do come down to a simple mistake that can be briefly stated. If you cannot produce a few brief sentences that summarise your complaint then something is wrong. It is likely that either you have not identified a real error of law, or that you have the beginnings of an idea, but have not properly defined the error yet.

A simply stated error of law also assists the appeal court, and increases your chances of success. If the judge can immediately understand what it is you complain of, he will find it much easier to follow your argument.

Some examples, taken from recent EAT cases:

  • The tribunal treated a failure to consider reasonable adjustments as a failure to make reasonable adjustments.
  • When considering whether it was not reasonably practicable to bring the claim in time, the tribunal failed to take account of what knowledge the claimant would have had if he had made reasonable investigations
  • The tribunal failed to make relevant findings of fact to support its conclusion that the claimant was redundant

Of course, all these appeals would need far more explanation and justification to succeed, but the starting point is a single sentence summarising the point of appeal.

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