Hewcastle Catering Ltd v Ahmed and Elkamah: CA 1991

The employers devised a VAT evasion scheme depending in part on the co-operation of the employees, but the employees themselves received no benefit. After giving evidence against their employers, the plaintiffs were dismissed. The employer appealed a finding of unfair dismissal, saying the employees were to be prevented from relying upon their unlawful agreement.
Held: Public policy would be against making such a claim impossible. A contract would be void for illegality if in all the circumstances it would be an affront to the public conscience to allow it to be enforced. Such a defence should not succeed where the defendant’s own conduct was signficantly more reprehensible than the claimant’s.


[1992] ICR 626, [1991] IRLR 473


Value Added Tax Act 1983 2(3) 39(1) 39(2), Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 152


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedSamuel Gyaniao v Design Corner Ltd EAT 15-Jun-2001
The employee sought to appeal a decision at a preliminary hearing that he had not been dismissed. He had asserted that the employment contract was illegal because income tax and NI contributions were not being deducted properly, and therefore was . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Employment, Contract

Updated: 20 April 2022; Ref: scu.179875