Q&As

Does the small claims court have jurisdiction to determine whether an individual is an employee of a party?

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Published on LexisPSL on 10/07/2018

The following Employment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Does the small claims court have jurisdiction to determine whether an individual is an employee of a party?

Does the small claims court have jurisdiction to determine whether an individual is an employee of a party?

The issue of whether an individual is an employee of another may comprise two questions:

  1. whether an individual A has a contract to work for party B, ie whether B is A’s employer (eg where B disputes that that relationship exists at all)

  2. assuming that such a relationship with B does exist, whether A’s status in that relationship under statutory employment law is that of an ‘employee’ or a ‘worker’, and/or whether A is in ‘employment’ within the meaning given to that term in the Equality Act 2010

The latter question, concerning status, will determine what statutory employment rights apply to A (for further information, see Practice Notes: Deciding appropriate employment status, Employee status, Worker status and Employment events which give rise to prohibited conduct claims—The meaning of 'employment'). Claims brought to enforce such statutory employment rights are, however, brought (almost) exclusively in the employment tribunal, not the County Court, and hence the question of what statutory employment status an individual enjoys would be of no relevance in the context of the small claims court, so would not arise for determination in any sensible claim brought in that venue.

The former question, however, is one of contract law, ie whether B has

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