Wagner -v- Aviation Staffing Company Ltd JET case no. 1903-38/09

On 4 June 2009, the Jersey Employment Tribunal (the "Tribunal") handed down its judgment in the case of Wagner -v- Aviation Staffing Company Ltd. This was the first occasion on which Article 101 of the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 (the "Law") was considered by the Tribunal.

The case confirmed that, under Jersey law, while the parties to a contract may elect that the contract will be governed by the law of a specific jurisdiction, such election cannot, of itself, operate to apply or disapply statute.

The case concerned a Russian airline pilot who was engaged to provide services to clients of the respondent under a contract (the "Contract") "made subject to the laws of Jersey" and the parties "submitted to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the Royal Court of Jersey." The Contract confirmed that the applicant's "homebase" was in Russia.

The relevant part of Article 101 of the Law states that: "this Law shall only apply to employment where the employee works wholly or mainly in Jersey."

Article 102 of the Law adds: "For the purposes of this Law it is immaterial whether the law which (apart from this Law) governs any person’s employment is the law of Jersey or not."

The Tribunal held that: "Not one shred of evidence was produced to show that the Applicant did work 'wholly or mainly in Jersey'."

As a consequence, while the Contract was governed by Jersey law, the Tribunal (a creature of statute) had no jurisdiction to hear the applicant's complaint, which was therefore struck out.