The Continuing Conceptual Crisis in the Common Law of the Contract of Employment

30 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2004

See all articles by Lizzie Barmes

Lizzie Barmes

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Barmes, Lizzie, The Continuing Conceptual Crisis in the Common Law of the Contract of Employment. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=536350

Lizzie Barmes (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law ( email )

67-69 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London, WC2A 3JB
United Kingdom

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