Judges do qualify as ‘workers’ for the purposes of whistleblowing


Re: Gilham v Ministry of Justice [2019] UKSC 44

On appeal from: [2017] EWCA Civ 2220

The issue in the appeal is whether a District Judge qualifies as a ‘worker’ or a ‘person in Crown employment’ for the purpose of the protection given to whistle-blowers of the Employment Rights Act 1996, Part IVA. If not, is this discrimination against her in the enjoyment of her right to freedom of expression, protected by the ECHR, art 10 and art 14?

Held: The Supreme Court unanimously allows the appeal and remits the case to the Employment Tribunal on the basis that the appellant is entitled to claim the protection of  of the 1996 Act, Part IVA. The issue is whether the appellant’s work is performed pursuant to a contract with the recipient of that work or services, or pursuant to some different legal arrangement. Judges hold a statutory office, and office-holders do not necessarily hold office pursuant to a contract. It depends on the intention of the parties, which is reflected in the manner of engagement, the source and character of the rules governing service and the overall context. The failure to extend the Part IVA protections to judicial office-holders is a violation of the appellant’s right under article 14 not to be discriminated against in her enjoyment of the rights under the ECHR.

Karon Monaghan QC was involved in this case.


For judgment, please download: [2019] UKSC 44

For Court’s Press Summary, please download: Press

For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII