On appeal from: [2011] EWCA Civ 1581.


By a majority, the Court considered that the claimant Church Minister was not an employee for the purpose of the Employment Rights Act 1996, s 240. The modern authorities made clear that the question whether a minister served under an employment contract could no longer answered by classifying the minister’s occupation by type: office or employment, spiritual or secular. Nor could it be answered by any presumption against the contractual character of the service of ministers. The primary considerations were the manner in which a minister is engaged, and the rules governing his service. This depended on the intentions of the parties and, as with all such exercises any such evidence of the parties’ intentions fell to be examined against the factual background. Part of that background was the fundamentally spiritual purpose of the functions of a minister of religion.

For judgment, please download: [2013] UKSC 29
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII