The Continuing Conceptual Crisis in the Common Law of the Contract of Employment
30 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2004
The effects on the common law of the contract of employment of the decision of the House of Lords in Johnson v Unisys Ltd are considered. The focus is on liability rather than remedies. It is argued that the case created conceptual instability in the common law understanding of a breach of a contract of employment. The logical consequence of the majority reasoning is that in some cases the existence or not of a breach by an employer is contingent on an employee's reaction. Relevant case law history and developments since the Johnson decision inform a detailed critique of the arguments that underpinned it. A solution is suggested according to which, prima facie, contracts of employment would be required to be performed in accordance with terms that have been implied by law.
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