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On 25 July 2019, the Court of Appeal heard the case of Coletta v Bath Hill Court (Bournemouth) Property Management Ltd. Paris Smith acted on behalf of Mr Coletta throughout the matter, from the Employment Tribunal through to the Court of Appeal, on a pro bono basis.

The Court of Appeal live streamed the hearing via You Tube due to its high profile nature and legal significance.

Mr Coletta had successfully pursued a claim in the Employment Tribunal that he had not been paid the national minimum wage for sleeping in duties at work. On behalf of Mr Coletta, we argued that he could recover the underpayments for the duration of this employment, and that he was not constrained by the 6 year limit as detailed in the Limitation Act 1980.

The Respondent had been successful in the Employment Tribunal in arguing that the 6 year limit should apply. However, Mr Coletta successfully appealed to the Employment Appeals Tribunal with the Respondent then appealing to the Court of Appeal.

It was successfully argued before the Court of Appeal (members including LJ Underhill, LJ Irwin and LJ Davies) that the 6 year time limit in the Limitation Act 1980 was not applicable. As a result, Mr Coletta could recover his underpayments for the duration of his employment, and not just for the previous 6 years.

Paris Smith acted throughout the case on a pro bono basis demonstrating the firm’s commitment to undertake pro bono case work as well as highlighting their commitment, time and resources in achieving a successful outcome. The lawyers involved worked on a preliminary hearing in the Employment Tribunal, through to the substantive hearing and finally the remedies hearing. In total, there were three appeals to the Employment Appeals Tribunal and two appeals to the Court of Appeal.

The Claimant, Mr Coletta, who could not have pursued this case without the firm’s support said:

“I am delighted with the outcome of the case and want to convey my thanks for Andrew Willshire and Clive Dobbin at Paris Smith for their hard work and commitment to my case over the years. Without Paris Smith taking on my case on a pro bono basis, I would not have been able to afford representation to bring my claims. I am also extremely thankful to Betsan Criddle of Old Square Chambers who also acted on a pro bono basis, for all her hard work and commitment”.

Andrew Willshire, Paris Smith said:

“I am very pleased for our client that the court of appeal has ruled in his favour. Paris Smith is committed to providing great service to all clients, and we have acted on a pro bono basis for our client over the years which has allowed him to pursue his case. It has been great to be involved in this case and I am delighted it has culminated in such a positive result for our client.”

Andrew Willshire and Clive Dobbin represented the Paris Smith team alongside Betsan Criddle and Ben Jones of Old Square Chambers who also acted on a pro bono basis.