Nethermere (St Neots) Ltd v Taverna and Gardiner: CA 1984

The court considered what elements must be present to create a contract of employment.
Held: Stephenson LJ said: ‘There must . . be an irreducible minimum of obligation on each side to create a contract of service.’
Kerr LJ said: ‘The inescapable requirement concerning the alleged employees however . . is that they must be subject to an obligation to accept and perform some minimum, or at least reasonable, amount of work, for the alleged employer. If not, then no question of any ‘umbrella’ contract can arise at all, let alone its possible classification as a contract of employment or of service. The issue is therefore whether the tribunal’s findings and conclusions show that they took account of this essential requirement.’
Dillon LJ said: ‘an arrangement under which there was never any obligation on the outworkers to do work or on the company to provide work could not be a contract of service’.


Stephenson LJ, Kerr LJ, Dillon LJ


[1984] IRLR 240, [1984] ICR 612


England and Wales


CitedChadwick v Pioneer Private Telephone Co Ltd 1941
Stable J said: ‘A contract of service implies an obligation to serve, and it comprises some degree of control by the master.’ . .
CitedReady Mixed Concrete Southeast Ltd v Minister of Pensions and National Insurance QBD 8-Dec-1967
Contracts of service or for services
In three cases appeals were heard against a finding as to whether a worker was entitled to have his employer pay National Insurance contributions on his behalf which would apply if he were an employee. He worked as an ‘owner-driver’
Held: The . .

Cited by:

CitedCarmichael and Another v National Power Plc HL 24-Jun-1999
Tour guides were engaged to act ‘on a casual as required basis’. The guides later claimed to be employees and therefore entitled by statute to a written statement of their terms of employment. Their case was that an exchange of correspondence . .
CitedClark v Oxfordshire Health Authority CA 18-Dec-1997
A nurse was employed under a contract, under which there was no mutuality of obligation; she could refuse work and employer need offer none. This meant that there was no employment capable of allowing an unfair dismissal issue to arise.
Sir . .
AppliedHellyer Bros Limited v McLeod CA 1987
The employer appealed saying that the EAT had wrongly substituted its own opinion for that of the Tribunal.
Held: The appeal was rejected. Looking at the totality of the facts found or otherwise referred to in the decision of the Industrial . .
CitedMontgomery v Johnson Underwood Ltd CA 9-Mar-2001
A worker who had strictly been employed by an agency but on a long term placement at a customer, claimed to have been unfairly dismissed by the customer when that placement ended.
Held: To see whether she was an employee the tribunal should . .
CitedDacas v Brook Street Bureau (UK) Ltd, Wandsworth London Borough Council EAT 12-Nov-2002
EAT Contract of Employment – Definition of Employee . .
CitedBrook Street Bureau (UK) Ltd v Dacas CA 5-Mar-2004
The applicant cleaner sought compensation for unfair dismissal. The issue was whether she was an employee of the respondents, of their client where she did her work, or was not an employee at all. She worked for an agency, who sent her out to . .
CitedCable and Wireless Plc v Muscat CA 9-Mar-2006
The worker was employed via an employment agency. The contract the company had was with the agency, and the agency had the contract with the worker. The worker claimed an implied contract of employment with the end-user.
Held: The end-user . .
CitedAutoclenz Ltd v Belcher and Others CA 13-Oct-2009
Car Valeters contracts misdescribed their Duties
The claimants worked cleaning cars for the appellants. They said that as workers they were entitled to holiday pay. The appellant said they were self-employed.
Held: The contract purported to give rights which were not genuine, and the . .
CitedAutoclenz Ltd v Belcher and Others SC 27-Jul-2011
Car Cleaning nil-hours Contractors were Workers
The company contracted with the claimants to work cleaning cars. The company appealed against a finding that contrary to the explicit provisions of the contracts, they were workers within the Regulations and entitled to holiday pay and associated . .
CitedUber Bv and Others v Aslam and Others SC 19-Feb-2021
Smartphone App Contractors did so as Workers
The court was asked whether the employment tribunal was entitled to find that drivers whose work was arranged through Uber’s smartphone application work for Uber under workers’ contracts and so qualify for the national minimum wage, paid annual . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 09 August 2022; Ref: scu.190043