O'Brien v Ministry of Justice

9 July 2012

This appeal concerns questions of European Law about the rights of part-time workers, as well as questions of domestic law about the status and terms of service of judges in England and Wales.

Following the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union on a preliminary reference, the Supreme Court (Lord Hope, Lord Walker, Lady Hale, Lord Clarke and Lord Dyson) held a further hearing in this appeal on July 4.

The Supreme Court has today made a preliminary ruling that the appellant, Mr Dermod Patrick O'Brien, was at the material time a part-time worker within the meaning of clause 2.1 of the Framework Agreement on part-time work concluded by UNICE, CEEP and ETUC. The Court's reasons for this ruling will be given in writing at a later date.

On the issue of objective justification the Court has not directed an immediate remission to the Employment Tribunal. Remission will be appropriate only if there are significant disputed issues of fact to be determined. Directions have been given to the parties which are intended to enable that issue to be resolved and to make progress with the determination of the appeal. There will be a further hearing of the appeal on 21 November 2012 to determine what (if any) issues should be remitted to the Employment Tribunal and to decide any issues which are not remitted.

The judgment the Supreme Court gave on 28 July 2010 can be found here.