Thomson and Co v Mackay: HL 24 Jun 1921

The respondent after the war resumed work as a member of the Barry Dock Pilots Association, his remuneration being a fixed share in the pool made up from the payments by the various shipowners for services rendered by the pilots. On the 23rd July 1919 after he had been working for a short time he met with an accident while getting on board the steamship ‘Cramond’ and claimed compensation from her owners, the present appellants. The claim was resisted substantially on the ground that the respondent was not a ‘workman’ within section 13 of the Act. It was agreed at the hearing (1) that the respondent had resumed his occupation as dock pilot since the war within ten weeks of the happening of the accident and that his earnings during that period were pounds 6 a-week; that the amount earned by the members of the association amounted to pounds 6 per week, and that the average amount earned by persons in the same grade and employed at the same work was pounds 6 a-week. The arbitrator held that the respondent’s remuneration did not exceed pounds 250 a-year and made an award in his favour, and his award was affirmed by the Court of Appeal. Held that as there was no evidence before the County Court Judge beyond the fact that the respondent had been earning pounds 6 a-week and that men similarly engaged had received that sum during the previous year, it was open to him to consider the possibility that the employment might become irregular and that the rate of earnings might fall; that the question was one of fact, and that accordingly there being evidence on which the arbitrator could decide as he did, the award could not be disturbed.
Decision of the Court of Appeal (reported sub nom. Mackay v. Owners of the Steamship ‘Cramond,’ 123 L.T.R. 794) affirmed.

Lords Buckmaster, Sumner, Parmoor, Wrenbury, and Carson
59 SLR 586, [1921] UKHL 586
Workmen’s Compensation Act 1906
England and Wales

Employment, Personal Injury

Updated: 30 November 2021; Ref: scu.632637