The claimant's employment ended in 2009, and he brought claims in the tribunal for race discrimination and whistleblowing. For various reasons that were not the claimant's fault the hearing was delayed until 2012. That hearing could not go ahead because of the claimant's medical condition. The tribunal then made a number of attempts to fix the matter for a full hearing in 2013, but two further scheduled hearings were postponed because of the claimant's state of health. The hearing was then fixed for February 2014.
The claimant again applied for an adjournment, supported by a medical report that indicated that a further six month delay was required to allow the claimant to receive treatment so that he could manage and plead his own case. The tribunal refused the application and struck the claim out. It took the view that a fair hearing was no longer possible after the time that had passed, particularly given the further six month delay that the claimant indicated he needed.
The EAT upheld the tribunal's decision. It had been entitled to express a doubt that the claimant would in fact be fit to argue his case in another six months, given the history of the proceedings, despite the medical evidence. This was no more than the doctor's opinion and no further medical evidence was needed. In practice the delay was likely to be longer than six months, as further time would be needed to re-fix the hearing. The tribunal had taken into account the likely impact on the claimant of striking his claim out, but had recognised that a "tipping point" had been reached at which a fair trial was no longer possible, particularly given the serious nature of some of the allegations made against the employer.