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Law for Business

Knowhow - guidance - precedents

11 SEP 2012

Unambiguous notice of termination

In the recent case of CF Capital v Willoughby, the Court of Appeal confirmed that an employer cannot normally retract notice of termination once it has been given. The claimant had been in ongoing discussions with her employer about becoming self-employed and working for them on a consultancy basis only, when she was given a letter terminating her employment contract and offering her self-employment. The claimant told the employer that she did not accept the new arrangements and regarded herself as dismissed, despite assurances from her manager that if she did not want to be self-employed then her employment would continue.

The Court of Appeal agreed that the letter gave unambiguous notice of termination and judged that she had been dismissed. After reviewing the case-law on resignations and dismissals done in the heat of the moment, the Court of Appeal confirmed that a notice of resignation or dismissal had effect according to the ordinary interpretation of its terms. Once a notice had been given it could not be withdrawn except by consent.

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