In re P (a minor by his mother and litigation friend); P v National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers: HL 27 Feb 2003

The pupil had been excluded from school but then ordered to be re-instated. The teachers, through their union, refused to teach him claiming that he was disruptive. The claimant appealed a refusal of an injunction. The injunction had been refused on the basis that this was an employment dispute. The union had failed successfully to ballot all its members at the school.
Held: A trade dispute is a dispute between workers and their employers which relates wholly or mainly to terms and conditions of employment. The court noted a clear mistake in the provisions of the Act relating to ballots, and hoped that it would be corrected. The Act allowed a vote of all members so far as was reasonably practicable.


Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough, Lord Scott of Foscote and Walker of Gestingthorpe


Times 06-Mar-2003, [2003] UKHL 8, Gazette 01-May-2003, [2003] IRLR 307, [2003] ELR 357, [2003] 1 All ER 993, [2003] ICR 386, [2003] 2 WLR 545, [2003] 2 AC 663


House of Lords, Bailii


Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992 244(1), School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Act 1991, Education (School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions)(No. 3) Order 2000 (SI 2000/2321)


England and Wales


Appeal fromP v National Association of School Masters/Union of Women Teachers CA 25-May-2001
Industrial action taken by teachers refusing to teach a disruptive pupil was related to their terms and conditions of employment. Encouragement to take such action by the teachers’ union made the union responsible for such action. The breach related . .
CitedBritish Broadcasting Corporation v Hearn CA 1977
Union members working for the BBC threatened to refuse to transmit its television signal to a satellite over the Indian Ocean during the Cup Final because the satellite broadcast would be receivable in South Africa. The refusal followed a union . .
CitedHadmor Productions Ltd v Hamilton HL 1982
The Court of Appeal was not in general entitled to reverse the decision of the Administrative Court in the grant of discretionary interlocutory relief: ‘it is I think appropriate to remind your Lordships of the limited function of an appellate court . .
CitedUniverse Tankships Inc of Monrovia v International Transport Workers Federation HL 1-Apr-1981
A ship belonging to the appellants had been blacked by the defendant union. Negotiations to clear the threat resulted in payment by the appellants to a welfare fund of the defendant. The company sought its refund saying that it had been paid under . .
CitedWestminster City Council v National Asylum Support Service HL 17-Oct-2002
The applicant sought assistance from the local authority. He suffered from spinal myeloma, was destitute and an asylum seeker.
Held: Although the Act had withdrawn the obligation to provide assistance for many asylum seekers, those who were . .
CitedLondon Underground Ltd v National Union of Railwaymen, Maritime and Transport Workers (NURMT) CA 9-Oct-1995
A Union’s immunity from action was not lost where employees who had joined the company after the strike ballot had been completed, were encouraged by the union to join in the strike. The constituency defined in section 227(1) must include all . .
CitedPepper (Inspector of Taxes) v Hart HL 26-Nov-1992
Reference to Parliamentary Papers behind Statute
The inspector sought to tax the benefits in kind received by teachers at a private school in having their children educated at the school for free. Having agreed this was a taxable emolument, it was argued as to whether the taxable benefit was the . .
CitedMercury Communications Ltd v Scott-Garner CA 1984
To count as a trade dispute, the dispute must ‘relate wholly or mainly’ to terms and conditions of employment and must not merely be ‘connected’ with them. The application of this test requires the court: ‘to consider not merely the occasion which . .
CitedHadmor Productions Ltd v Hamilton HL 1982
The Court of Appeal was not in general entitled to reverse the decision of the Administrative Court in the grant of discretionary interlocutory relief: ‘it is I think appropriate to remind your Lordships of the limited function of an appellate court . .
CitedPost Office v Union of Communication Workers CA 1990
De minimis principle inindustrial relations ballots. . .
CitedNWL Ltd v Woods HL 1979
The phrase ‘trade dispute’ was defined by reference to (i) the parties to it and (ii) the subject matter. Lord Scarman referred to the legislative history of attempts to regulate strike actions by trades unions: ‘It is wrong to attempt to construe . .
CitedLondon Underground Ltd and Others v National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Worker CA 16-Feb-2001
When a union gave notice to the employer that it intended to hold a ballot as to industrial action, the union was obliged to give details of the members to be balloted, so as to permit the employer to exercise its own rights. ‘Information as to the . .
CitedExpress Newspapers Ltd v McShane HL 1980
There had been a dispute over pay between the proprietors of local newspapers and journalists employed by them, the majority of whom were members of a trade union, the NUJ. Strike action was taken against the local newspapers. Those newspapers . .
CitedBlackpool and the Fylde College v Naitonal Association of Teachers In Further and Higher Education CA 23-Mar-1994
A trades union is to tell the employer who is being balloted for strike action. Its notice of industrial action must identify those to be ballotted. . .
CitedDuport Steels Ltd v Sirs HL 3-Jan-1980
Judiciary must Interpret, not Remedy the Law
The House emphasised the need for courts to be even handed in interpreting statutes dealing with industrial relations. Where the words of the statute are plain and unambiguous, the Court ought to give effect to that plain meaning.
Lord Diplock . .
CitedBritish Railways Board v National Union of Railwaymen CA 1989
The court discussed section 11(2) of the 1984 Act: ‘Simplifying that a little bit and reading it with section 11(1), which defines who is qualified and entitled to vote, section 11(2) is saying ‘If you do not allow somebody to vote, if you say ‘You . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Employment, Education

Updated: 07 June 2022; Ref: scu.179611