Edmonds v Lawson, Pardoe, and Del Fabbro: CA 10 Mar 2000

A contract of apprenticeship is synallagmatic. The master undertakes to educate and train the apprentice (or pupil) in the practical and other skills needed to practise a skilled trade (or learned profession) and the apprentice (or pupil) binds himself to serve and work for the master and comply with all reasonable directions. In the case of a pupil barrister the freedom of the pupil to earn fees on her own account counted against her being an apprentice. The contract of pupillage did not require the pupil master to provide any work. The object of the Act was not to enlarge the categories of those entitled to be paid wages but to ensure that those entitled to be paid wages are not paid at anything less than a specified minimum level. A bar pupil was not a ‘worker,’ within the meaning of the Act, and was not therefore entitled to the national minimum wage. A pupil, though under contract, was not an apprentice. The pupil master was only one of several people for whom the pupil might carry out duties. The majority of obligations were set not by contract, but by regulations governing the profession, and there was insufficient mutuality.
Lord Bingham CJ said: ‘Whether the parties intended to enter into legally binding relations is an issue to be determined objectively and not by enquiring into their respective states of mind. The context is all important.’

Bingham LCJ, Pill, Hale, LJJ
Times 16-Mar-2000, Gazette 06-Apr-2000, [2000] All ER 31, [2000] EWCA Civ 69, [2000] 2 WLR 1091
National Minimum Wage Act 1998 54, National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (SI 1999 No. 584) 12
England and Wales
CitedWallace v CA Roofing Services Ltd 1996
An employer can less easily terminate an apprentice than other employees. An oral apprenticeship contract is enfoirceable, but only once it is acted upon. . .
CitedNewell v Gillingham Corporation 1941
A contract of apprenticeship is, in law, less readily terminable by the employer than an ordinary contract of employment. . .
CitedMcDonald v John Twiname Ltd 1953
Apprenticeships are less easily terminable by the employer than an ordinary contract of employment. An executory apprenticeship contract must be in writing to be enforceable, though an employer who has acted upon an oral contract of apprenticeship . .
CitedThe Parish of St Pancras, Middlesex v The Parish of Clapham, Surrey 1860
An attorney’s clerk, articled by indenture, was held to be an apprentice and to gain a settlement as such for poor law purposes. In legal acceptation an apprentice is a person who is bound to and who serves another, for the purpose of learning . .
CitedKirkby v Taylor 1910
Though an apprenticeship contract need no longer be by deed, an executory apprenticeship contract must be in writing to be enforceable. . .
CitedWaterman v Fryer 1922
Shearman J said: ‘The authorities show that in the early days there was the greatest reluctance to break any contract of apprenticeship. It was considered of very great importance that children should be taught a trade, and the Courts, in view of . .
CitedDunk v George Waller and Sons Ltd CA 1970
‘A contract of apprenticeship secures three things for the apprentice: it secures him, first, a money payment during the period of apprenticeship. . .’ the range of remedies may be wider than under standard form of employment contact. It is of a . .
Appeal FromEdmonds v Lawson QBD 13-Oct-1999
A pupil barrister was engaged in a form of apprenticeship, which had sufficient characteristics of employment to make the pupil a worker within the Act, and so entitled to payment of the minimum wage. The contract was either of employment or for . .

Cited by:
CitedParties Named In Schedule A v Dresdner Kleinwort Ltd and Another QBD 28-May-2010
The defendant merchant banks resisted two group claims for annual bonuses for 2008 made by the employee claimants. They now sought summary judgment against the claims. The employer had declared a guaranteed minimum bonus pool available to make the . .
CitedDresdner Kleinwort Ltd and Another v Attrill and Others CA 26-Apr-2013
The bank appealed against judgment against it on claims by former senior employees for contractual discretionary bonuses.
Held: The appeal failed. The bank’s unilateral promise made within the context of an existing employment relationship to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Employment, Legal Professions, Contract

Updated: 27 January 2022; Ref: scu.147102