Teachers’ appeal allowed over payment during strike


Re: Hartley & Ors v King Edward VI College [2017] UKSC 39

On appeal from: [2015] EWCA Civ 455

This appeal considered what the correct approach is to quantifying the amount an employer can withhold from a teacher who has lawfully gone on strike. In particular, it considered what the correct interpretation is of the Apportionment Act 1870, ss 2 and 7 and, if s 7 allows parties to exclude the principle under s 2, whether the parties did so in this case. The Supreme Court allowed the teachers’ appeal. The Court held that the Act was intended to address the problems which arose in the context of periodic payments which are entire indivisible payments and it concluded that the appellants’ salaries were such payments. In relation to the Apportionment Act 1870, s 2, the Court submitted that the word “considered” showed that the section deems that payments were to accumulate day by day at an equal rate, and thus an annual employment contract must be apportioned on a daily basis over 365 days. Similarly, the Court held that in relation to s 7, the principle of daily apportionment would apply except where the contract states otherwise in clear terms. There was nothing in the appellants’ contracts that stipulated for any apportionment other than on a daily basis. Therefore under the Apportionment Act 1870, s 2, the Court held that the appellants’ salaries accrued at an equal daily rate and this was not excluded by s 7.

Thomas Linden QC was involved in this case.

For judgment, please download: [2017] UKSC 39
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII