Yewen v Noakes [1880] 6 QBD 530

The definition of an employee.


There was a statutory exemption for premises which were occupied by a “servant” or person occupying the premises “for the protection thereof.” A man and his family occupied a number of rooms within an office building on the alleged basis that he was the caretaker of the building owner. The man was a clerk who was paid a salary of 150 pounds per annum.


The question arose as to whether the man constituted an employee of the building owner for the purposes of exempting the premises from statutory tax duties. 


The Court of Appeal held that an employee, or a servant to adopt the Court’s nomenclature, is defined as a “person who is subject to the command of his master as to the manner in which he shall do his work.” (pp 3-4). On the facts of the case, the Court held that the man was not a “servant” or an employee of the building owner as the owner had no right to control the man’s work and manner in which it was done. The man earned a salary of 150 pounds per annum in his separate role as a clerk and merely enjoyed residence of the building with his family members. Thus, he did not constitute an employee of the building owner for tax purposes.

Word Count: 219 words.