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Smith & Wood's Employment Law

Smith & Wood's Employment Law (14th edn)

Ian Smith, Aaron Baker, and Owen Warnock
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date: 25 September 2022

p. 4206. Termination of the employment contract at common lawlocked

p. 4206. Termination of the employment contract at common lawlocked

  • Ian Smith, Ian Smithof Gray’s Inn, Barrister, Emeritus Professor of Employment Law at the University of East Anglia, General editor of Harvey on Industrial Relations and Employment Law
  • Aaron BakerAaron BakerAssociate Professor (Reader) in Law at Durham University
  •  and Owen WarnockOwen WarnockFormer Partner, Eversheds Sutherland, Solicitors, Emeritus Professor of Employment Law, University of East Anglia, An editor of Harvey on Industrial Relations and Employment Law

Abstract

This chapter looks at termination of employment at common law, and at the breach of employment contract action known as ‘wrongful dismissal’. It first discusses ways in which the contract might untypically end by operation of law rather than the ‘dismissal’ on which many employee rights rest. The chapter then considers the right of either party to terminate most contracts by giving notice—a major feature of UK employment law—and the ability of the employer to dismiss summarily for gross misconduct. It concludes with a detailed analysis of the principal remedy for an employee at common law—the action for wrongful dismissal—which is completely separate and different from statutory unfair dismissal despite an unfortunate tendency for the press to treat them as interchangeable.

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