HC Deb 29 July 1908 vol 193 cc1488-9
SIR FRANCIS CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the recent judgment of the County Court Judge at Kettering in the case of Bowler v. Foskett, under the Workmen's Compensation Act, in which it is held that Section 13 of the Act does not cover accidents to workmen employed on casual labour or peicework; whether he will take the opinion of the Law Officers as to whether the principle on which this judgment is based is likely to be upheld; and whether in that event, he will, in the interests alike of workmen, employees, and insurance companies, introduce a short declaratory Bill to make clear the intention of Parliament to include casual and piece labour under the provisions of the Act.


The Secretary of State has read the newspaper report of the case. The decision does not go so far as the hon. Member suggests. The main question of law before the Court was whether the applicant was employed as a workman, or whether he was a person who had undertaken to carry out an independent contract; and the Court decided the question in the latter sense. It is true that the Judge referred to the facts that the man was paid by the piece and that he was not regularly employed. But the Secretary of State does not consider that there is any need for fresh legislation, since there can be no doubt that piece-workers and casual labourers are entitled to compensation under the Act in all proper cases.