We are expecting three important equal pay decisions from the Court of Appeal and Court of Session later this year.

The first to be heard is likely to be an appeal in the Potter case mentioned above, which is currently scheduled to be heard by the Court of Appeal in April. Later in the same month the Court of Appeal is due to hear a group of local authority appeals from the North East involving male "piggy-back" claimants. When these appeals reached the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) last year, it was prepared to accept that men could bring such claims contingently - in other words they did not have to wait until the pay of their female comparators was boosted as a result of those women's successful equal pay claims. If the EAT's decision is upheld by the Court of Appeal employers will face considerably higher claims for back-dated pay from piggy-back claimants, who will not have to wait until the main litigation has been concluded before starting proceedings.

In September the Court of Session plans to hear an appeal from the EAT's decision in and Dumfries and Galloway v North about comparators from different establishments. A comparison across establishments is possible if common terms and conditions are observed, but according to the EAT such a comparison cannot be made unless there is a real possibility of the chosen comparators doing a similar job under similar terms and conditions at the woman's establishment. The EAT thought the idea of leisure attendants or groundsmen being employed at a Scottish school was a stretch too far and dismissed the claim. We shall have to wait and see whether the Court of Session agrees.