Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2013] All ER (D) 174 (May)
Neutral Citation: [2013] UKSC 29
Court: Supreme Court

Lord Hope DP, Lady Hale, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption and Lord Carnwath SCJJ

Representation Dinah Rose QC, Oliver Hyams and Emma Dixon (instructed by Pothecary Witham Weld Solicitors) for the appellant.
  John Bowers QC, Mark Hill QC and James Bax (instructed by Nalders LLP) for the respondent.
Judgment Dates: 15 May 2013


Employment - Contract of service - Church - Respondent being minister of Methodist Church - Respondent subsequently issuing proceedings in employment tribunal alleging unfair dismissal - Proceedings being dismissed as respondent not employee - Decision being reversed by Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) - Court of Appeal, Civil Division upholding EAT's decision - Appellant appealing - Whether respondent employee.

The Case

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.

Practice Areas

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