Notes Of Cases: Stratford and Son Ltd. v. Lindley

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1965.tb01058.x
Publication Date01 Mar 1965
AuthorK. W. Wedderburn
NOTES
OF
CASES
STRATFORD AND
SON LTD.
V.
LINDLEY
A
COMMENT
on
Strutford
4
Son Ltd.
v.
Lindley
must, at the
moment of writing, be an
interim report.” New deve1opment.s
are pending and the House of Lords decision was on the inter-
locutory proceedings and the evidence as then proved. Nevertheless,
the law pronounced in it is important enough for a preliminary
comment on four points.
I.
Liability for Inducing Breach
of
Contracts
The liability on which an interlocutory injunction was based by
the House of Lords was one that receives no protection from the
Trade Disputes
Act,
1906,
namely,
inducing breach
of
commercial
contracts (i.e.,
other than contracts of employment).
The defendant officials of the Watermen’s Union had, with
another union, the T.G.W.U., tried unsuccessfully on a number
of occasions to obtain negotiating rights with
B.K.
Ltd. The
company (a barge-operating firm, one of a group controlled by
S.)
employed forty-eight men, of whom three were Watermen, the
rest members of T.G.W.U. The Watermen’s Union, however,
organised some
3,000
of all the
3,350
men in this employment in the
Port of London.
In
1963
the Watermen’s officials learned that
B.K.
Ltd. had negotiated an agreement with the T.G.W.U. In
order to strike at
S.
(who had always refused them negotiating
rights), they declared an embargo on the handling of all barges
hired out and repaired by another
of
his companies,
S.
Ltd.
They
wrote to the Association of Master Lightermen (of which some
members were hirers of
S.
Ltd.’s barges) informing them of the
embargo and regretting the inconvenience. Their members,
workers employed by the hirers (to whom they were allocated
under the Dock Workers Scheme,
1947)
made sure that all the
barges coming from
S.
Ltd. were immobilised.
1
[1964]
3
W.L.R.
541;
[I9641
3
All
E.R. 102
(H.L.).
2
In particular, the trial in this case, and new litigation such as
Bowles
v.
Lindley,
The Times,
January 6 and
23,
1965. The question
of
damages in
Hovke.s
v.
Barnard
[1964]
A.C.
1129;
[1964]
1
All
E.R.
367
(H.L.),
itself
was settled on payment
of
24,000:
The Times,
February
10,
1965. The
Trade Disputes Bill, 1965, proposes to protect
an
act done in Icrtherauce
or
contemplation
of
a
trade dispute
from
being actionable on the ground
only that it consists iu a part threatening
“(a)
that a contract
of
employ-
merit (whether one to which
ge
is
a
party or not) will be broken, or
(b)
that he dl induce another to break a contract
of
employment to which that
other
is
a party.” In that form the Bill would provide protection ouly in
respect
of
certain liabilities discussed in Part
I11
of this note. In particular,
it would not protect threats to commit or procure breach
of
‘‘
any contract
as the
T.U.C.
General Council proposed:
T.U.C.
Report,
1964,
p.
355.
3
Dock Workers (Regulation
of
Employment) Scheme,
1947.
205

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