CASE REF: 425/02 FET
APPLICANT: Andrew S Loughlin
RESPONDENT: Adria Limited
The unanimous decision of the Tribunal is that the application is out of time but that it is just and equitable to extend the time limit in all the circumstances.
The applicant was represented by Mr Ham, Barrister-at-Law, instructed by Richard Monteith, Solicitors.
The respondent was represented by Mr Hampson, Barrister-at-Law, instructed by Campbell Fitzpatrick, Solicitors.
On 8 May, the applicant was prescribed anti-depressants and diazepam for anxiety type symptoms. He remained on the anti-depressants for four months and a week or two on diazepam.
Due to the applicant's erratic behaviour, and his failure to turn up for one of the sessions, his mother concluded that there was no point in further counselling.
The Citizen's Advice Bureau also arranged to send out "forms" to the applicant, however the "forms" did not arrive. The applicant's mother did not pursue the issue because she was busy with her own business, and she was worried about the health of her son.
(a) the presence or absence of any prejudice to the respondent if the claim is allowed to proceed (other than the prejudice involved in having to defend proceedings);
(b) the presence or absence of any other remedy for the applicant if the claim is not allowed to proceed;
(c) the conduct of the respondent subsequent to the act of which complaint is made up to the date of the application;
(d) the conduct of the applicant over the same period;
(e) the length of time by which the application is out of time;
(f) the medical condition of the applicant taking into account, in particular, any reason why this should have prevented or inhibited the making of any claim;
(g) the extent to which professional advice or making a claim was sought and if it was sought, the content of any advice given.
(a) The medical evidence provided to the Tribunal confirms that the applicant suffered from a depressive illness from May 2002, and that he required medication until September 2002. We are also satisfied that he depended on his mother to arrange his affairs during that period. We conclude that this illness impeded the presentation of the claim within the statutory time limit.
(b) It was not suggested on behalf of the respondent that it would suffer any prejudice if time were to be extended, other then the prejudice of having to defend the case. In particular, there was no suggestion that the cogency of evidence would be affected by the delay. Indeed, the applicant gave a statement to his supervisor at the time of the alleged incidents in which he named his alleged harassers.
(c) If the claim is not allowed to proceed the applicant will have no other remedy. Although the applicant's mother did seek help from the Citizen's Advice Bureau, that advice appeared to be mainly concerned with involving the Press in the situation.
She did not seek advice from a Solicitor until October 2002, and we are satisfied that the reasons for her delay were the pressures in her own life, and her worry about the welfare of her son. Having consulted a Solicitor the originating application was lodged promptly.
Date and place of hearing: 9 February 2004, Belfast
Date decision recorded in register and issued to parties: