Booth v Oldham establishes the principle that once a person has failed to use a statutory dispute resolution mechanism at his disposal, he cannot then seek redress in the courts.
Mr Booth was a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme, who had been dismissed from his employment on capability grounds in August 2001, having been signed off work suffering from stress and depression in March 2000. He claimed that his employer was in breach of contract by refusing to refer him to a medical examiner in order to determine whether he was eligible for an immediate enhanced pension on the grounds of permanent disability. Before bringing a claim in the High Court, Mr Booth submitted a claim to the Employment Tribunal (ET) for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. The claim was dismissed on the grounds that the ET found Mr Booth was not disabled for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and this finding was later upheld by the EAT.
The CA held that the evidence before the ET established that Mr Booth was not permanently incapable of carrying out his employment duties because of ill-health or infirmity of body or mind. The CA reasoned that as the nature of Mr Booth’s disabilities meant he was not disabled for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, then he was not permanently incapable of carrying out his employment duties. In addition, as Mr Booth had failed to exhaust the remedies available to him under the scheme’s dispute resolution mechanism, or to refer his case to the Pensions Ombudsman, he had no right to bring proceedings in the High Court.
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