Serco Ltd v Lawson and Foreign and Commonwealth Office: CA 23 Jan 2004

The applicant had been employed to provide services to RAF in the Ascension Islands. He alleged constructive dismissal. There was an issue as to whether somebody working in the Ascension Islands was protected by the 1996 Act. The restriction on jurisdiction in s196 had been removed. The question now was as to what test applied in its stead. Some limitation must be implied. The test is as to employment in Great Britain.
Held: A principle of statutory interpretation is that ‘an enactment applies to all persons and matters within the territory to which it extends, but not to any other persons or matters’ Some provisions of the Act explicitly extended jurisdiction to employments abroad, which implied that other provisions did not so extend. It was claimed that the Directice was intended to protect workers posted abroad, but that was complied with by the repeal of s196. It was wrong to try to revert to the ‘base test’ in Todd, since this was part of the background leading to s196. The tribunal had no jurisdiction to hear the complaint. The applicant was not employed in Great Britain.


Lord Justice Mummery Lord Justice May Lord Justice Pill


[2004] EWCA Civ 12, Times 30-Jan-2004, [2004] ICR 204




Employment Rights Act 1996, Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2001, Directive 96/71/EC


England and Wales


Appeal fromLawson v Serco Ltd EAT 12-Dec-2002
EAT Jurisdiction . .
CitedCarver (Nee Mascarenhas) v Saudi Arabian Airlines CA 17-Mar-1999
The applicant was recruited in Saudi Arabia in 1986 as a flight attendant under a contract expressed to be subject to Saudi Arabian law. After being trained in Jeddah, and then employed in India for four years, she was transferred to be based in . .
CitedTomalin v S Pearson and Son Ltd CA 1909
A widow claimed compensation for her husband’s death overseas.
Held: The Act did not provide for compensation to be payable. ‘What is the widow’s claim here ? She is claiming, not as a party to the contract, not as claiming any rights under a . .
CitedClark (Inspector of Taxes) v Oceanic Contractors Inc HL 16-Dec-1982
HL Income tax, Schedule E – Non-resident employer – Employees working in U.K. sector of North Sea – Whether employer liable to deduct tax from emoluments – Income Tax (Employments) Regulations 1973 – Income and . .
CitedJackson v Ghost Ltd and Another EAT 2-Sep-2003
The EAT rejected jurisdiction over a claim for unfair dismissal. The employment must have ‘a sufficient, that is substantial connection with this country’. . .
CitedFinancial Times Ltd v Bishop EAT 25-Nov-2003
The Tribunal considered the applicability of the 1996 Act to those employed abroad after the repeal of s196: ‘In our view the repeal of section 196 (2) cannot be taken to have had the effect that employees who had or whose employment had a . .
CitedTodd v British Midland Airways CA 2-Jan-1978
The court discussed the test to be applied to an employment to see whether a British court had jurisdiction over it: ‘But in other cases there is more difficulty. I refer particularly to the type of case we have here of the airline pilot. He is . .
Appeal fromLawson v Serco Ltd EAT 11-Mar-2003
. .

Cited by:

CitedCrofts and others v Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd and others CA 19-May-2005
The claimants were airline pilots employed by the respondent company with headquarters in Hong Kong. The court was asked whether an English Tribunal had jurisdiction to hear their complaints of unfair dismissal.
Held: The pilots were employed . .
Appeal fromSerco Ltd v Lawson; Botham v Ministry of Defence; Crofts and others v Veta Limited HL 26-Jan-2006
Mr Lawson was employed by Serco as a security supervisor at the British RAF base on Ascension Island, which is a dependency of the British Overseas Territory of St Helena. Mr Botham was employed as a youth worker at various Ministry of Defence . .
CitedRegina (on the Application of Mazin Mumaa Galteh Al-Skeini and Others) v The Secretary of State for Defence CA 21-Dec-2005
The claimants were dependants of Iraqi nationals killed in Iraq.
Held: The Military Police were operating when Britain was an occupying power. The question in each case was whether the Human Rights Act applied to the acts of the defendant. The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Employment, European

Updated: 08 June 2022; Ref: scu.192100