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TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION: Courts revisit working in Britain test

31 October 2014  

Two recent decisions which have helped to clarify which employees have a sufficiently strong connection with Great Britain to qualify for unfair dismissal protection, explains Sarah Ozanne

The Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) contains many key statutory employment rights, including the right not to be unfairly dismissed, but is silent on the issue of territorial scope. Interpreting ERA literally, it applies to any individual who works under a contract of employment anywhere in the world, but this would give it a breadth of scope that it would not appear was ever intended. Originally, the ERA applied only to employees who ordinarily work in Great Britain. This position was, however, amended by the removal of the relevant provision in 1999. The ERA now contains no clarification on what connection, if any, the employee or their employment must have with Great Britain in order to benefit from its provisions. This left the issue to be determined by case law, with the key case in this area being Lawson v Serco [2006].

Additional Info

  • Case(s) Referenced:

    Creditsights Ltd v Dhunna [2014] EWCA Civ 1238

    Fuller v United Healthcare Services [2014] UKEAT/0464/13

    Lawson v Serco [2006] UKHL 3

    Ravat v Halliburton Manufacturing and Services [2012] UKSC 1