Etude Guy Rivalland

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De La Haye v Air Mauritius Ltd 2018 UKPC 14 (Privy Council Appeal No 0088 of 2016)

De La Haye v Air Mauritius Ltd 2018 UKPC 14 (Privy Council Appeal No 0088 of 2016)


The case is an appeal from the Supreme Court of Mauritius, which itself decided an appeal from a decision of the Industrial Court.


The plaintiff, Mr De La Haye, was employed by the Defendant, Air Mauritius Ltd, as a pilot under a series of separate four-year contracts. Each of the fixed term contracts contained similar terms. One of them was for termination by either side on notice to the other. When the fourth contract had about 17 months to run, the Defendant served written notice of termination on the Plaintiff.


The Plaintiff, unsuccessfully, claimed severance pay under the Employment Rights Act 2008 (as amended) (“ERA”) following the ending of his employment by the defendant, before the Industrial Court and the Supreme Court of Mauritis.



The Board of the Privy Council was concerned only with the question whether the plaintiff was qualified for severance pay at all.



After referring to sections 46 and 2 of the ERA, the decisions of the Industrial Court and of the Supreme Court, the Board was satisfied that the notice sent by the defendant to the plaintiff was a termination by it of his contract. The fact that it was a termination permitted by the freely agreed terms of the contract does not alter the fact that it brought the contract to an end, nor that it was undertaken by one party only. Subject to meeting the other requirements of section 46, the termination was perfectly capable of triggering entitlement to severance allowance.

The Board agreed that the employment of the plaintiff under the four successive fixed term contracts did indeed fall within the concept of continuous employment as defined in section 2 of the ERA. The question of the length of the plaintiff’s continuous employment would have been relevant to the calculation of his severance allowance if the termination had not been justified.

The Board held that the plaintiff’s contract was indeed terminated by the defendant, and the termination was justified based on the findings of the magistrate in the Industrial Court who determined that there was clearly sufficient economic justification for the termination of the plaintiff’s contract.

Thus, the plaintiff was not qualified for severance pay under section 46 of the ERA.

The plaintiff’s appeal was therefore dismissed.

Etude Guy Rivalland defended the interests of the Respondent.