Mutuality of Obligation in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Stringfellow Restaurants Ltd v Nadine Quashie
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 21 Dic 2012

    An issue that arises in this case is the significance of mutuality of obligation in the employment contract. Every bilateral contract requires mutual obligations; they constitute the consideration from each party necessary to create the contract. Typically an employment contract will be for a fixed or indefinite duration, and one of the obligations will be to keep the relationship in place until it is lawfully severed, usually by termination on notice.

  • Montgomery v Johnson Underwood Ltd
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 09 Mar 2001

    Whatever other developments this branch of the law may have seen over the years, mutuality of obligation and the requirement of control on the part of the potential employer are the irreducible minimum for the existence of a contract of employment, see Nethermere (St Neots) Ltd v Gardiner [1984] ICR 612, 623 per Stephenson LJ approved in Carmichael v National Power Plc [1999] 1 WLR 2042, 2047 per Lord Irvine of Lairg LC.

  • Protectacoat Firthglow Ltd v Szilagyi
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 20 Feb 2009

    In a case involving a written contract, the tribunal will ordinarily regard the documents as the starting point and will ask itself what legal rights and obligations the written agreement creates. But it may then have to ask whether the parties ever realistically intended or envisaged that its terms, particularly the essential terms, would be carried out as written.

  • Nethermere (St. Neots) Ltd v Gardiner
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 03 May 1984

    There must, in my judgment, be an irreducible minimum of obligation on each side to create a contract of services. I doubt if it can be reduced any lower than in the sentences I have just quoted and I have doubted whether even that minimum can be discerned to be present in the facts as found by the industrial tribunal, particularly in paragraph 8 of its decision, and what the appeal tribunal said about it and counsel's interpretation of it. Mr. Justice Tudor Evans said:

  • Stevedoring & Haulage Services Ltd v Fuller and Others
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 09 May 2001

    They found that the documents containing the terms upon which casual work was offered and accepted "expressly negative mutuality of obligation". Like the documents in Carmichael they provided no more than a framework or facility for a series of successive ad hoc contracts.

  • Carmichael and Another v National Power Plc
    • House of Lords
    • 18 Nov 1999

    The documents contained no provisions governing when, how, or with what frequency guide work would be offered; there were no provisions for notice of termination on either side; the sickness, holiday and pension arrangements for regular staff did not apply; nor did the grievance and disciplinary procedures. Significantly, as Kennedy L.J. in his dissenting judgment with which I agree emphasised, in 1994, for example, Mrs. Carmichael was not available for work on 17 occasions nor Mrs. Leese on 8.

    The evidence of a party as to what terms he understood to have been agreed is some evidence tending to show that those terms, in an objective sense, were agreed. Of course the tribunal may reject such evidence and conclude that the party misunderstood the effect of what was being said and done.

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Legislation
  • Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1985
    ...... . (2) This section does not affect any obligation of a person. other than the employer to repair a house to which this ...a lack of mutuality or otherwise. . (2) In this section— .   . ( a . ) ‘tenant’ ......
  • Companies Act 1981
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1981
    ......meeting. . (9) If a company fails to satisfy an obligation imposed on it. by subsection (8) above to annex information to a return, ...legally binding unless it involves mutuality in the undertakings,. expectations or understandings of the parties to it. ......
  • Companies Act 2006
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 2006
    ...... . (3) Any such amendment does not affect any rights or obligations of the company or render defective any legal proceedings by or against it. ...) to an agreement that is not legally binding unless it involves mutuality in the undertakings, expectations or understandings of the parties to it; ......
  • Companies Act 1985
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1985
    ......not affect any rights or obligations of the company or render. defective any legal proceedings by or against ...which is not legally binding unless it involves mutuality in the. undertakings, expectations or understandings of the parties to. ......
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Books & Journal Articles
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Law Firm Commentaries
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