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Scally & Ors v Southern Health & Social Services Board & Anor


House of Lords

Employer’s duty to explain rights in superannuation scheme.
Appeals by Northern Ireland Health Boards from decisions allowing their employees’ appeals against dismissal of claims for damages for breach of an implied term of their contracts of employment, breach of duty of care and breach of statutory duty in failing to inform the employees of a right set out in their superannuation scheme to purchase added years of pension entitlement at favourable rates.

HELD: The contracts of employment conferred a valuable right on the employees which however was contingent on them taking certain action. The terms of the contract had not been negotiated with individual employees but with a representative body or otherwise were incorporated by reference. The employee could not reasonably be expected to be aware of the term unless it was drawn to his attention. There was an implied term in each of the plaintiffs’ contracts of employment that these rights should be explained to the employee and the Boards were in each case in breach. There were no breaches of statutory duty.
Appeals dismissed and cases remitted back for assessment of damages.

[1991] 3 WLR 778,4 All ER 563,[1991] ICR 771.

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