It is not often that we see applications pursuant to section 33 of the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 at Tribunal. Applications such as these are heavy weight and few and far between as they essentially prohibit individuals from making any further applications to any Employment Tribunal. Such orders are called Restriction of Proceedings Orders and are only made where the Tribunal are satisfied that an individual has, habitually and persistently, and without any reasonable grounds, instituted vexatious proceedings.
This was certainly the case in relation to Ms McCluskey against whom the Employment Appeal Tribunal have made a Restriction of Proceedings Order. The judgment certainly makes for interesting reading! Snippets include reference to Ms McCluskey bringing ‘a plethora of unsuccessful and mostly unarguable and hopeless litigation since 2004’. This included 12 applications to Employment Tribunal, 31 appeals to the Employment Appeal Tribunal and application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. The Respondents to her claims (which were described as ‘ever more fantastic’) included previous employers, trade union but then also the President of Employment Tribunals, President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the Regional Chairman, various administrative assistants at the Tribunal, the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s Office, an M.P, a firm of solicitors, the local council and the police force!
In reaching its decision to prohibit her from bringing future claims, the EAT stressed that there is a balance to be drawn between the right of access to the court on one hand and, on the other hand, the protection of the availability of those courts to others and protection of the resources of the court.
The EAT summarised the decision by stating ‘in the circumstances of this case we conclude it is appropriate to make on order that remains in force indefinitely. We have no confidence whatever that the Respondent has learnt anything from the constant warnings she has received, and the only way in which her continued abuse can in our judgment be prevented is by imposing a filter on a permanent basis’.