I2.202 The Duke of Westminster
In the Duke of Westminster's1 case, the Duke executed deeds of covenant in favour of employees in such amounts that the covenantees, if they remained in the Duke's service, would receive sums equivalent to their wages and salaries. If they left the service of the Duke, the payments would still have been due. In nearly all instances it was explained to the employee that, while the deed did not prevent his claiming ordinary wages in addition to the amounts due under the deed, it was expected that he would not do so. It was argued for the Crown that, although in form the transaction was a grant of an annuity, the transaction was in substance merely one whereby the annuity must be treated as salary. The Special Commissioners accepted this contention but the Court of Appeal allowed the Duke's appeal and the House of Lords upheld the CA decision (by a 4–1 majority, with Lord Atkin dissenting). The majority of the Lords held that to regard the payment under the deed as in effect payments of salary would be to treat a transaction of one legal character as if it were a transaction of a different character.
Referring to the suggested contrast between the form and
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