*President of the Methodist Conference v Preston

Employment Contract of service. The respondent former minister had sought to bring proceedings in the employment tribunal for unfair dismissal. The tribunal dismissed her claim, as she was not an employee. That decision was reversed by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in a decision subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal, Civil Division. The President of the Methodist Conference appealed. The Supreme Court, in allowing the appeal, held that the respondent's relationship with the church was governed by its constitution, a Deed of Union and by standing orders of the conference. Further, a special arrangement of a contractual nature had not been entered through an exchange of letters.

Romero Insurance Brokers Ltd v Templeton and another

Covenant Breach. The first defendant, T, an insurance broker, was employed by the claimant company as the manager of a small new office. A meeting subsequently took place which led to T's resignation claiming constructive dismissal. T commenced employment with the second defendant company, the aim of which was for T to bring a substantial number of the claimant's ex-clients to the second defendant company, which he succeeded in doing. The claimant issued proceedings against T and the second defendant alleging breaches of covenant. The Queen's Bench Division held, amongst other things, that there had been no constructive dismissal, a restrictive covenant signed by T in favour of the claimant was enforceable and that the claimant would be entitled to damages for breach of covenant.

Ashcourt Rowan Financial Planning Ltd v Hall

Restraint of trade by agreement Employer and employee. The defendant was employed by the claimant financial services company. He resigned and went to work for a competing company. The claimant commenced proceedings seeking to enforce a non-compete clause contained in the defendant's contract. The Queen's Bench Division dismissed the claim as the additional restraints of the non-compete clause would, if enforced, have prohibited the defendant from work in many parts of the financial services industry where, and in ways in which, it could not reasonably have been said that the claimant's legitimate interests would or might have been compromised.

Lonsdale v Redcar and Cleveland Primary Care Trust

Employment Disability. The employee was made redundant. She claimed that her dismissal had been unfair and discriminatory as she had not been permitted to apply for an alternative role which, but for her disability, she would have been able to apply for. The employment tribunal held that the employee had been indirectly discriminated against and that her dismissal had been unfair, but that her dismissal had not been discriminatory. The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the employer's appeal and allowed the employee's cross appeal.

Shetty v Al Rushaid Petroleum Investment Company and other companies

Employment Dismissal. The claimant was summarily dismissed from his employment with the first defendant Saudi company. He claimed that his entitlement to a bonus had been reserved, notwithstanding that he had signed a settlement letter releasing the company and associated companies from any future claim. The defendants, all members of a group formed as part of a joint venture, counterclaimed against the claimant, and the third and fourth parties alleging that they had received secret commissions in breach of duties they owed to the defendants under Saudi law. The Chancery Division, in dismissing the claimant's claim and allowing the counterclaim and additional claim, held that the language used in the release as a whole meant that all claims connected with the claimant's employment had been released and that the receipt of the secret commissions amounted to a breach of the duties. It further held that the third defendant company, of which the claimant and third party had acted as directors, was entitled to recover loss.

Yapp v Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Employment Contract. The claimant former High Commissioner to Belize was removed from his position following allegations of misconduct. He sought damages against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (the FCO) for breach of his employment contract and breach of duty. The Queen's Bench Division, in allowing the application, held that the FCO had breached the employment contract and its duties to the claimant by: (i) not conducting a basic analysis of the allegations before withdrawing him from his post; (ii) having the same person conduct a fact-finding investigation and disciplinary hearing; and (iii) withdrawing the claimant from his post without informing him of the case against him.

Langford v Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust

Unfair dismissal Calculation of award. An employee successfully brought proceedings against her employer, a primary care trust, for unfair dismissal. However no damages award was made on the basis of her contributory conduct. The employee appealed and the employer cross-appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). The EAT allowed the appeal and the employer's cross appeal and remitted the matter to the original tribunal for a re-hearing.

Hay and others v Gilgrove Ltd and another

Employment Contract of service. The employees had had provisions of a collective agreement relating to the payment of 'porterage' incorporated in their terms of employment. When the collective agreement was terminated, new employees did not have its terms incorporated into their contracts and were not entitled to a share of the porterage. However, the employers retained a proportion of the porterage and used that towards the new staff members' salaries. The employees issued proceedings alleging unauthorised deductions from wages on the basis that they had been entitled to all of the porterage fees, whether earned by them or the new staff. Their claim was allowed by the employment tribunal, but the employer's appeal was allowed by the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the employee's appeal, holding that, on the true construction of the collective agreement, it had referred to everyone who had undertaken the role of porter and not only those who had commenced after termination of the collective agreement.

*Attrill & others v Dresdner Kleinwort Ltd and another company

Contract Variation. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, upheld a decision that the claimants, who were employees of the first defendant bank, had been entitled to enforce a promise made by the bank that they would receive a retention bonus for the year 2008. The promise had amounted to a legal enforceable obligation on the bank to pay the bonus.

Walsh v Shanahan and others

Agent Fiduciary duty. The claimant had pulled out of the purchase of a property. He had been represented in the transaction by a company and its defendant directors. Subsequently, the defendants purchased the property themselves, making use of the legal advice and valuation report that had been prepared for the claimant, and made a substantial profit. The claimant sought an account of profits for breach of fiduciary duty arising from misuse of his confidential information. The High Court rejected that claim, but awarded him nominal damages for the defendants use of the information. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the claimant's appeal, finding that, in the circumstances, the judge had been correct not to order an account of profits.