The erosion of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence in Australian employment law: are common law and statute necessarily uncomfortable bedfellows?

Sundra-Karean, Vanitha (2016) The erosion of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence in Australian employment law: are common law and statute necessarily uncomfortable bedfellows? Common Law World Review, 45 (4). pp. 275-297. ISSN 1473-7795

Abstract

Although the implied duty of mutual trust and confidence has long been established as an implied term in employment contracts under English common law, the Australian High Court has recently ruled that it is not part of the common law regulating employment contracts in Australia because the implication of such a term was better regulated under statute. While it is acknowledged that legislation is most effective in regulating substantive employment rights and
obligations, a political climate which lends itself to ideologically divergent policy reforms often robs the discipline of its stability. However, if there exists a legal framework apart from legislation, which coheres with it and has the ability to initiate juridical development in the law, as is the role of the common law, the result will be an enrichment of the discipline overall. This
paper traces selected English and Australian judicial approaches towards the implication of the duty of mutual trust and confidence in the context of terminations of employment within a statutory regime, culminating with an analysis of the recent Australian High Court decision in
Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Barker (Barker), which has diminished common law’s interpretive role in this regard. Consequently, this paper aims to revitalize common law reasoning by utilizing Dworkin’s judicial interpretive method as the necessary theoretical framework.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Third place winner for the USQ School-Specific 2016 Publication Excellence Awards for Journal Articles - School of Law and Justice. Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Law and Justice
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2017 05:02
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2017 05:59
Uncontrolled Keywords: mutual trust and confidence, employment law, implied terms, common law and statute coherence, Dworkin, Australia, UK
Fields of Research : 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180118 Labour Law
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1177/1473779516669680
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/30530

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