The case of Anthony Chowles t/a Granary Pine v West in the EAT illustrates the importance of correct spelling when completing an ET1 form.

The Claimant spelt the Respondent’s name incorrectly and also entered the wrong postcode. The Respondent did not lodge a response and the Tribunal entered a default judgment and awarded the Claimant £18,310.

The EAT set aside the default judgment, holding that the form had not been sent to the Respondent and remitted the case to the Tribunal for hearing.

Interestingly, the judgment does not deal with the issue of time limits. It was long after the normal 3 month limitation period that the Respondent received notice of the claim. Of course the Claimant only has to get the ET1 to the Tribunal within the 3 month period – often the Respondent will receive a copy outside of the limitation period, but not usually in excess of 10 months after the dismissal! For employers who think they are safe if they haven’t received a claim within 3 months, this case suggests that in unusual circumstances, an unwelcome surprise could come much later!