Lavarack v Woods of Colchester Ltd: CA 1967

Damages for wrongful dismissal could not confer on an employee extra benefits that the contract did not oblige the employer to confer. There is a clear distinction between expectations, however reasonable, and contractual obligations.
Diplock LJ said: ‘the first task of the assessor of damages is to estimate as best he can what the plaintiff would have gained in money or money’s worth if the defendant had fulfilled his legal obligations and had done no more. Where there is an anticipatory breach by wrongful repudiation, this can at best be an estimate, whatever the date of the hearing. It involves assuming that what has not occurred and never will occur has occurred or will occur, ie that the defendant has since the breach performed his legal obligations under the contract and, if the estimate is made before the contract would otherwise have come to an end, that he will continue to perform his legal obligations thereunder until the due date of its termination. But the assumption to be made is that the defendant has performed or will perform his legal obligations under his contract with the plaintiff and nothing more.’

Diplock LJ, Lord Denning MR, Russell LJ
[1967] 1 QB 278, [1966] EWCA Civ 4, [1966] 3 All ER 683, [1966] 1 KIR 312, [1966] 3 WLR 706
England and Wales
CitedBrace v Calder 1895
The dissolution of the employing partnership brings a contract of employment to an end.
Rigby LJ said: ‘a contract to serve four employers cannot, without express language, be construed as being a contract to serve two of them . . the . .

Cited by:
ApprovedNorth Sea Energy Holdings Nv (Formerly Midland and Scottish Holdings Nv) v Petroleum Authority of Thailand CA 16-Dec-1998
The buyers repudiated an oil purchase agreement and the sellers accepted their repudiation. The sellers could not show that they would have been able to obtain the oil to sell.
Held: They were not entitled to substantial damages. . .
CitedGolden Strait Corporation v Nippon Yusen Kubishka Kaisha (‘The Golden Victory’) HL 28-Mar-2007
The claimant sought damages for repudiation of a charterparty. The charterpary had been intended to continue until 2005. The charterer repudiated the contract and that repudiation was accepted, but before the arbitrator could set his award, the Iraq . .
CitedBlackpool and Fylde Aero Club Ltd v Blackpool Borough Council CA 25-May-1990
The club had enjoyed a concession from the council to operate pleasure flights from the airport operated by the council. They were invited to bid for a new concession subject to strict tender rules. They submitted the highest bid on time, but the . .
CitedNestle v National Westminster Bank CA 6-May-1992
The claimant said that the defendant bank as trustee of her late father’s estate had been negligent in its investment of trust assets.
Held: The claimant had failed to establish either a breach of trust or any loss flowing from it, though . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Damages, Employment, Contract

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.252494