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Smith & Wood's Employment Law

Smith & Wood's Employment Law (15th edn)

Ian Smith, Aaron Baker, and Owen Warnock
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date: 25 September 2022

p. 4837. Unfair dismissallocked

p. 4837. Unfair dismissallocked

  • Ian Smith, Ian Smithof Gray’s Inn, Barrister Emeritus Professor of Employment Law at the University of East Anglia General editor of Harvey on Industrial Relations and Employment Law
  • Aaron BakerAaron BakerLate Associate Professor (Reader) in Law at Durham University
  •  and Owen WarnockOwen WarnockFormer Partner, Eversheds Sutherland, Solicitors Emeritus Professor of Employment Law, University of East Anglia An editor of Harvey on Industrial Relations and Employment Law


This chapter focuses on unfair dismissal, beginning with a consideration of the necessary procedures for a fair dismissal and the vital role of the ACAS Code of Practice. It continues by looking at the statutory definition of ‘dismissal’ and then tackles the central question of what the statute means by ‘fair’ and ‘unfair’. The meaning and limitations of the basic test here, the ‘band of reasonable responses’ test, are considered. Particular cases—including incapability, misconduct (including the relevance of human rights protections and of online misconduct), and the open-ended category of ‘some other substantial reason’—are dealt with in detail, as are automatically unfair dismissals that exist to give extra protection to certain employees. The chapter concludes with the complex law on remedies if a dismissal is unfair.

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