Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Recommended Theatre Events For the London Autumn

When the weather turns brisk after a wet and none-too-warm summer we Brits well know that now is the time to enjoy London. The winter is too cold and miserable and the summer is generally blighted by hordes of tourists. But the Spring and Autumn are the highlights of the year with the best cultural events and reasonable weather to enjoy them. This Autumn there is heaps to do with theatre a particular highlight.
Recommended London theatre
Right now there are a number of particularly good productions on stage in London. Whether you are interested in musicals or serious theatre there are in excess of 75 plays in production. However, as I know that many visitors in London are after a jolly show I have profiled three musicals below as well as a serious piece theatre which promises to be one of the most talked-about productions of the decade.
The 39 Steps has just past its second birthday at the Criterion and has just announced that its run has been extended yet again. The play is adapted from the novel by nineteenth century novelist John Buchan and the 1935 film of the book by Alfred Hitchcock. The play is a comedic spoof-thriller about Richard Hannay a London gentleman who is drawn into a foreign plot and ends up on the run himself after a woman is found murdered in his flat. I saw the original London show at the Tricycle before it opened at the Criterion and it is heartily recommended. The production won "Best New Comedy" at the Olivier Awards in 2006. A Broadway spin-off won two Tony Awards this year.
Grease. London revival of the 1972 Broadway hit immortalised by Olivia Newton John and John Travolta in the 1978 film. This 2007 revival has been much acclaimed by critics and audiences. It is full of life and energy and will leave you singing the songs and feeling great.
The Donmar Warehouse is known in London for its confronting dramas. It is an intimate theatre around a horseshoe stage with only three rows so you can feel the actor's effort and sweat throughout. The theatre attracts major stars returning to the stage for intellectual refreshment. In its latest production Shakespeare veteran Kenneth Branagh has cast Hollywood heart-throb Jude Law as Hamlet. Will Law succeed in such a cramped domain? Many stars have returned to the stage in London to sold-out runs but critical panning. I think Law is cut above the rest and will enhance his reputation in this performance which is certain to be one of the most talked-about shows of the year.
The Phantom is back. Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic romance has been revived at Her Majesty's theatre. For those who remember the London launch of the musical in the 1980s, relive the magic.
After the show catch a late supper at Gaucho Piccadilly. Gaucho is a chain of Argentinean restaurants which are recognised as having the best steaks in London. Try an Argentinean merlot with your steak; it should have much more spice and body than the typically soft European and Californian versions of the grape.
Getting to the theatre district is easy. On the Central Line you have stations at Holborn, Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Circus. On the Piccadilly Line Leicester Square, Covent Garden and Holborn (again) may all be helpful. In addition there are plenty of buses from all over London.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Employment Law: Time Limits for Bringing Employment Tribunal Claims

In the case of Chouafi v London United Busways Ltd [2005], the claimant was employed as a bus driver by the defendant company. In October 2003, he was diagnosed with severe depression and was signed off work until February 2004. He was dismissed in January 2004 on the grounds of his medical condition and complained to the employment tribunal of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.
The Employment Rights Act 1996 provides that an employment tribunal shall not consider a complaint for unfair dismissal unless it is presented to the tribunal within three months of the effective date of termination of employment. However this three-month limitation period may be extended if the tribunal considers that in the relevant case, it was not reasonably practicable for the complaint to be presented within the three months. There are similar provisions under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
The tribunal decided that:-
The complaint of unfair dismissal had not been presented within the three-month time limit, pursuant to s 111 of the Employment Rights Act 1996;
The complaint of disability discrimination had not been presented within the three-month time limit, pursuant to the para 3 Schedule 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and 
Accordingly, the tribunal did not have jurisdiction to hear the claims. 
The employee appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal ("EAT") against the decision. The EAT held that:-

Decisions on whether or not a claim would be admitted out of time, for unfair dismissal or disability discrimination, were essentially questions of facts on which the tribunal should decide based upon the evidence submitted by the parties;
The onus of proof was on the claimant to show it was not reasonably practicable to bring an action within the three-month time limit;
If the claimant failed to discharge that burden of proof, his/her case would inevitably fail;
In this case, the claimant failed to attend the hearing and provide more evidence about his mental health; and 
The Tribunal was right in concluding that the employee had failed to provide an adequate explanation for filing his claim outside the time limit; and

The tribunal's decision would be upheld.