McMillan v Guest: HL 1942

The House considered whether the taxpayer held a public office.
Held: Lord Wright: The word ‘office’ as applied in an employment law context is of indefinite content. Lord Atkin said: ‘Without adopting the sentence as a complete definition one may treat the following expression of Rowlatt J. in Great Western Ry. Co. v. Bater, adopted by Lord Atkinson, as a generally sufficient statement of the meaning of the word: ‘an office or employment which was a subsisting, permanent, substantive position which had an existence independent of the person who filled it, which went on and was filled in succession by successive holders.’


Lord Wright


[1942] AC 561


England and Wales


AdoptedGreat Western Railway Co v Bater 1920
At common law, and office is ‘a subsisting, permanent, substantive position, which had an existence independently of the person who filled it, and which went on and was filled in succession by successive holders.’ . .

Cited by:

CitedPercy v Church of Scotland Board of National Mission HL 15-Dec-2005
The claimant appealed after her claim for sex discrimination had failed. She had been dismissed from her position an associate minister of the church. The court had found that it had no jurisdiction, saying that her appointment was not an . .
CitedSharpe v The Bishop of Worcester CA 30-Apr-2015
Reverend Sharpe applied for the post of Rector of Teme Valley South. The right to present (or nominate) a member of the clergy to this living was vested in Mr and Mrs Miles but a person could not be nominated without the Bishop’s approval, which was . .
CitedGilham v Ministry of Justice SC 16-Oct-2019
The Court was asked whether a district judge qualifies as a ‘worker’ for the purpose of the protection given to whistle-blowers under Part IVA of the 1996 Act, and if not then was the absence of protection an infringement of her human rights.
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 21 April 2022; Ref: scu.236484