Is Ravat “Old hat”?


Just when it seems that a particular area of employment law looks like it might be entering a period of calm, a decision comes along to disturb the anticipated serenity.

After two Supreme Court decisions – Duncombe v. SOS for Children’s Schools and Families (No.2) [2011] ICR 312 and Ravat v. Halliburton Manufacturing and Services Limited [2012] ICR 389, the position had been reached that the test for territorial jurisdiction, where there were no specific statutory regimes such as appeared in the legacy discrimination legislation, was relatively clear.

The Lawson v. Serco test had not stood still, it had been refined. As His Honour Judge Clarke put it in a recent jurisdiction case in the EAT – Bates Van Winkelhof v. Clyde & Company and Another UKEAT/0568/11“…it would appear that Lord Hoffmann’s equally strong connections test has now morphed into a stronger connection test”. That observation was based on Lord Hope’s Judgment at paragraph 27 in Ravat where he said: “I agree that the starting point needs to be more precisely identified. It is that the employment relationship must have a stronger connection with Great Britain than with the foreign country where the employee works”.

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