Key points
§  Add a note here'Lack of qualifications' is one of the permitted (or legitimate) reasons for dismissal listed in section 98(2) of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The expression qualifications means any degree, diploma or other academic, technical or professional qualification relevant to the position that a dismissed employee held (ibid. section 98(3)(b)).
§  Add a note hereAlthough an employee can legitimately be dismissed for not having the qualifications needed to do his (or her) job, that is not necessarily an end to the matter. What an employment tribunal must decide is whether the dismissal was fair. Given the particular circumstances (including the size and administrative resources of his undertaking) did the employer act reasonably or unreasonably in treating the employee's lack of qualifications as a sufficient reason for dismissing him? That question, says section 98(4) of the 1996 Act, shall be determined 'in accordance with equity and the substantial merits of the case'.
§  Add a note hereTo dismiss an employee because he (or she) does not have the qualifications needed to do the job he is paid to do is tantamount to an admission by an employer that his recruitment and selection procedures are fundamentally flawed. If the evidence shows that an employee deliberately concealed his lack of qualifications at the employment interview, or lied about them, or produced phoney or falsified certificates, an employment tribunal is unlikely to challenge the fairness of the employer 's decision to dismiss him. But, an employment tribunal might well adopt a different stance if the evidence suggests that the employee was recruited on the basis of glowing and essentially accurate references provided by previous employers, or that his employer failed to ask the right questions at the employment interview, or that he acted on the assumption that a clearly experienced job applicant also had the necessary technical or professional qualifications.
Add a note hereThe test of 'reasonableness'
§  Add a note hereThe question that an employment tribunal might well ask in doubtful cases (and there are very few reported decisions turning on a complainant's lack of qualifications) is whether the qualifications in dispute are relevant to the job that the employee was employed to do. Although every case will turn on its merits, it may well be held to have been unfair to dismiss an otherwise respected and competent employee with many years service on discovery that he (or she) does not have the qualifications specified in the job description. Although the employee may have been economical with the truth when first interviewed for the vacancy, his performance in that job over the intervening years will undoubtedly be a factor in deciding whether or not his employer had acted reasonably in treating his lack of qualifications as a sufficient reason for dismissing him.
Add a note hereQualifications in this context are not to be confused with skill. To dismiss an employee who is unable to perform his (or her) job satisfactorily has more to do with his level of competence than with his lack of formal qualifications, although the two may be linked. 
Add a note hereComplaint of unfair dismissal
§  Add a note hereAn employee who has been dismissed for a reason related to his (or her) qualifications may present a complaint of unfair dismissal if continuously employed for one year or more and under normal retiring age at the effective date of termination of his contract of employment. Such a complaint must be presented within three months, although a tribunal will occasionally accept a complaint presented 'out of time' if satisfied that it was not reasonably practicable for the complainant to have presented it sooner (ibid. sections 108, 109 and 111). If the employee's complaint is heard and upheld, the employer will be ordered either to reinstate or re-engage the dismissed employer and/or to pay compensation