Key Point

The directors of City Link which infamously went into administration last Christmas Eve have been found not guilty of failing to give the Secretary of State adequate notice of proposed redundancies

Facts

Several directors of City Link were charged with an offence under section 194 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 of failure to notify the Secretary of State of proposed redundancies. The charge was brought despite the fact the directors were making decisions against a very fast moving set of circumstances which eventually resulted in the administration of the company. The prosecution argued that at the point a decision was made to put the company in administration the redundancies became inevitable and a notice should have been served immediately.

Decision

The Court held the directors were not guilty of any offence.

Comment

The decision is a victory for common sense. The simple fact was that administration did not make redundancies inevitable and so no decision to make people redundant had been taken at the time the board resolved to apply for administration. It is unlikely any system to protect employees that relies upon a conviction for failing to file a form as some kind of proxy for an effective sanction against behaviour which is regarded as unfair towards those employees would ever be workable in practice.