Legislation overview

No specific legislation is devoted to wrongful dismissal: it is a branch of the law of contract which emanates from what is known as the 'common' law. Guidance on wrongful dismissal is based on contractual concepts and any changes stem in the main, from case law.

Some legislation does have an impact on wrongful dismissal claims. For example, the Employment Rights Act 1996 affects the length of an appropriate notice period and may therefore affect damages for wrongful dismissal.

Similarly legislation may govern jurisdictional aspects of wrongful dismissal claims, such as where claims can be brought or perhaps taxation issues - see for example:

  • The Jurisdiction (England and Wales) Order (SI 1994/1623), or
  • The Enactment of Extra-Statutory Concessions Order 2011 (SI 2011/1037).

However, most employment legislation since the 1960s and 1970s provides statutory employment rights (for example, unfair dismissal). Wrongful dismissal is an older contractual concept and should not be confused with unfair dismissal which is a statutory right emanating from legislation in the 1970s.

Q: What is a wrongful dismissal?

Q: Are wrongful dismissal and unfair dismissal claims based on the same concept?

Q: What are the differences between wrongful and unfair dismissal claims?

Q: When can an employer dismiss an employee with no notice and avoid a wrongful dismissal claim?

Q: How are damages calculated in wrongful dismissal claims?

Q: How are damages calculated to compensate an employee if the employer tries to go back on an offer of a new contract of employment?

Q: Are damages in wrongful dismissal claims affected if the employee has another job to go to?

Q: Why are damages for wrongful dismissal claims sometimes so substantial and are bonuses included?

Q: Why are wrongful dismissal claims sometimes brought in a court and sometimes in an employment tribunal and what are the relevant time limits?

Q: Are there any future developments expected in the area of wrongful dismissal?

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