Pimlico Plumbers – case update

Pimlico Plumbers – case update

The latest and seemingly final edition of the long running battle between Gary Smith and Pimlico Plumbers was deliberated in the Supreme Court last week. For a breakdown of the preceding Court of Appeal decision see here: http://www.lawson-west.co.uk/articles/pimlico-plumbers-b0576a93-ee94-4d10-b75c-f58aedc8eb8d. The finding of worker status was based on the lack of an effective right to substitution and the level of control that was exerted by Pimlico.

As the final appeal court in the UK, the decision the Supreme Court reaches will be binding on lower courts. As always, it is important to note that claims regarding worker status are clearly case dependent, and so the precedent value will therefore depend on the particulars of any similar cases. The overarching trend and theme of worker status claims (which I refer to in the broad as claims predicated on an assertion that said person is an employee/worker rather than self employed) is that the courts have shown willingness to step in and look beyond the core contractual position. If the final decision on the Smith vs Pimlico Plumbers case remains that Mr Smith was a worker, rather than self employed, then this case will be one of the most high profile illustrations of the attitude generally held by the courts on the issue of employment status.

The Government recently produced the Taylor Report on modern working practices:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/good-work-the-taylor-review-of-modern-working-practices. No statutory definition of self employment was provided, but it was recommended that a new category of ‘dependent contractor’ should be established to replace the loosely defined category of worker.

How can Lawson-West help:

Our dedicated Employment law team can help to shed some light on employment status and allow your business to stay away from long running litigation disputes such as this. If you would like some advice on the contracts you have in place, the please contact our Employment team on 0116 212 1000 / 01858 445 480.


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