The test for a fundamental breach of an employment contract is a unitary test – there is no avoiding the breach by claiming that actions constituting the breach fell within the "range of reasonable responses" to the circumstances – and, once fundamentally breached, it cannot be cured.

In this case, Bournemouth University breached the fundamental requirement of mutual trust and confidence in Professor Buckland's contract by arranging to re-mark a set of papers which had been marked by the Professor, endorsed by a second marker and confirmed by the Board of Examiners. The Court of Appeal found that the correct test for a repudiatory breach is an objective one – the contract was breached when the re-marking occurred. The university then sought to 'cure' their breach by arranging an inquiry to vindicate Professor Buckland and criticise the marking system. The Court of Appeal found that this did not undo the breach – once a contract has been breached, there is no going back.

Buckland v Bournemouth University