Notcutt v Universal Equipment Co (London) Ltd

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Notcutt v Universal Equipment Co Ltd
Anatomy Heart English Tiesworks.jpg
Court Court of Appeal
Citation(s) [1986] ICR 414
Case opinions
Dillon LJ

Notcutt v Universal Equipment Co (London) Ltd [1986] ICR 414 is an English contract law and UK labour law case, concerning the frustration of an agreement.


Mr Notcutt had a heart attack. The doctor said it was unlikely he would ever work again. His employers gave the statutory 12 week notice to terminate his contract, but made no payment of wages on the ground that the employee was not entitled to sick pay. Mr Notcutt sued under Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978[1] section 88(1)(b) which says that normal wages must be paid in the period of notice if an employee is incapable of work due to sickness. Then the employer argued the contract was frustrated.


Dillon LJ held the contract was frustrated. He referred to Hare v Murphy Brothers Ltd[2] where Lord Denning MR held a contract was frustrated when a man was sentenced to 12 months prison, on a supposed analogy with someone that was grievously injured an incapacitated in a road accident.

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