Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Master and Servant, the relationship arising out of the contract of hiring. Such contract may either be for an expressly definite period or for an indefinite or unexpressed period, but a general hiring, in the absence of any custom to the contrary, is presumed to be a yearly hiring, and in all cases a hiring at so much per month is hiring for a year. With regard to domestic servants, such hiring may be determined by a month's notice or a month's wages in advance, given or paid at anytime; but in the case of clerks and superior servants the hiring, if general, is construed to be a hiring for one year, and so on from year to year, and must be determined with the year, at least in the absence of misconduct. Every person suffering himself to be hired as a skilled artisan warrants that he possesses the requisite ability and sufficiency, and upon proof of his want of such ability or sufficiency, i.e. his incompetency, his employer may discharge him. The not providing with food, etc., or ill-treatment of a servant by his master, is an indictable offence, and punishable, on summary conviction, by a fine of £20 or six months' imprisonment, with or without hard labour, under the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875, which repealed many earlier Acts and provides that in trade disputes no agreement or combination shall be indictable, unless the act contemplated would be indictable if done by one person, while it also makes special criminal provisions in the case of persons employed by gas and water companies. It imposes penalties on masters for not taking proper care of their servants, and on persons intimidating or using threats or violence to others, and provides for a summary process in such cases, with an appeal to Quarter Sessions. By statutes passed in the reign of George IV. and the present reign, provision is made for arbitration between workmen and their employers in case of trade disputes, and by the Employers and Workmen Act, 1876, special powers are conferred on County Courts as to obtaining payment of money set off and rescission of contracts, and taking security for performance of contracts in trade disputes between employers and workmen; and the same jurisdiction is given to justices by the Act up to the value of £10, which extends also to disputes between master and apprentice.