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On 5 June 2013, we reported on the joined cases of in USDAW and others v WW Realisation 1 Ltd (in liquidation) and USDAW v Ethel Austin Ltd (in administration) (colloquially known as the Woolies cases).

As an aide memoire, the result of those cases was to remove the requirement that in order for dismissals to count towards the 20+ threshold which triggered collective consultation obligations on redundancy, they must be at a single establishment. This meant that where an employer was making mass redundancies across several premises, the collective consultation requirements would be triggered, even where there were less than 20 redundancies at each particular branch. The cases turned the issue of collective consultation on its head.

It has now been reported that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has requested permission to appeal the decision. It did not attend or send representatives to the previous hearings and so perhaps was caught on the hop. For the moment however, we have to assume that the case remains good law.

Sarah Rushton

Tel: 0207 539 4147

This is intended for general information only and should not be considered as giving advice in relation to any individual case nor be taken as applying to any particular case. No liability is accepted for any such use of the information. 


Standout firm known for its personal insolvency work for clients including private companies, individuals and governmental institutions. Frequently acts for insolvency practitioners, assisting with the realisation of assets, both in the UK and abroad.

Chambers and Partners

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