A judge has thrown out Norwich Union's (NU) attempt to use the Human Rights Act to gain a second hearing in an employment rights case.

His Honour Judge Kennedy QC sitting at Brighton County Court rejected the insurer's claim that it had been deprived of a fair hearing in the case brought by former London & Edinburgh (L&E) underwriting manager Russell Griffiths.

Griffiths won his case for breach of contract against the insurer on January 3.

Judge Kennedy found that he had effectively been made redundant by NU after it took over L&E in 1998 and that he had subsequently lost up to 40% of his responsibilities.

Griffiths was obliged to re-apply for his underwriting job in a way the judge described as having “the dignity of a rugby cup final in driving rain”.

Judge Kennedy also criticised the way NU had handled Griffiths' case for adding to his “uncertainty and distress”.

But the insurer lodged an appeal in which it claimed its basic rights were infringed, alleging its counsel was prevented from making a crucial submission in the case.

Rejecting the insurer's request for the case to be heard by the court of appeal, Judge Kennedy said: “I regret I cannot accept that the defendants (NU) were deprived of the opportunity to say all they wanted.”

Griffiths said he has been awarded a payment in lieu of redundancy costs. He added that NU had agreed to settle his legal costs, estimated to be up to £55,000.

He said he was glad the financial worry of the case was at last over: “If (my case) helps any employee of CGNU or in any other organisation, who has had to ‘bite the bullet' and just accept changes forced upon them, I will be extremely pleased.”

He added: “Employees are expected to be loyal and I don't think it is too much to ask for the same courtesy from employers, no matter how big they are.”

NU said it did not feel the judge had considered all aspects of the case. But after permission to appeal was refused it has decided not to take the matter further.