chapter  6
42 Pages

The Contract of Employment

Bob Hepple and Paul O'Higgins remark that, apart from apprentices, seamen are the only workers for whom a written document is 'essential to the effectiveness of the contract', the overstates the position slightly in fact. The code of Oleron is extremely unlikely that under any of the codes writing was used in contracts of employment, although it was certainly employed in contracts of affreightment and charter parties. The Contracts of Employment Act 1972 excludes 'seamen' and those 'ordinarily employed' as seamen while a ship is in port from the requirements relating to particulars of the contract. In certain circumstances other than agreements, normally written but exceptionally oral, must be read with the crew agreement to ascertain the full extent of the contract. A full analysis of the problems relating to a seaman's written contract is necessary, but is best conducted after a short review of the background to the current position.