Legal News

The Court of Appeal has held that court interpreters employed on an assignment-by-assignment basis were not within the EqA.

The interpreters were not employees, and the employment tribunal had held that nor where they within the extended EqA definition of employment, as being employed under a contract ‘personally to do work’. The EAT overturned the tribunal decision on the basis the tribunal should not have taken into account the lack of an umbrella agreement operating between assignments. The Court of Appeal in Secretary of State for Justice v Windle, 2016 www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2016/459.html has now restored the tribunal decision, so the interpreters are not protected by the EqA. The lack of an umbrella agreement could indeed be relevant, though was not in itself conclusive.

The Court of Appeal quoted a Supreme Court decision which had distinguished on the one hand people who carry on a profession or a business undertaking on their own account and enter into contracts with clients or customers to provide work or services for them, and on the other hand people (defined as ‘workers’) who provide their services as part of a profession or business undertaking carried on by some-one else and have greater protection. The interpreters here effectively fell within the first category.

For more on the case, see EqA: Employees and others covered by the employment provisions> Extended definition of ‘employment’.