Leyden v Attorney General

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court (Irish Free State)
Judgment Date21 Dec 1926
Docket Number(1924. No. 4.)

Supreme Court.

(1924. No. 4.)
Leyden v. Attorney-General and Others.
MARTIN LEYDEN
Plaintiff
and
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE IRISH FREE STATE, EOIN Mac NEILL, P. O'BROLCHAIN, S. O'NEILL, and the COMMISSIONERS OF NATIONAL EDUCATION IN IRELAND, Defendants (1)

Education - National teacher - Contract of service with Commissioners of National Education - Construction - Ambiguity as to amount of salary - Whether amount fixed by reference to antecedent regulations of the Commissioners - Power to vary - "Permanent salary" - War bonus - Application for fixed increase - Matter referred to Civil Service Arbitration Board - Binding effect of Board's award - Validity of subsequent reduction of salary - Transfer of jurisdiction from Commissioners of National Education to National Education Commissioners - Validity of Statutory Order - Appointments made thereunder - Action claiming a declaration of rights against a Government Department - Enforceability of contract where payment is dependent upon a grant from Parliament - Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Éireann éireann) Act, 1922 (No. 1 of 1922), Sch. I, Arts. 73 and 80 - Adaptation of Enactments Act, 1922 (No. 2 of 1922), sect. 7, sub-sects.1, 3, and 4; sect. 15, sub-sect. 1 - Provisional Government (Transfer of Functions) Order, 1922 (Stat. R. & Or., 1922, No. 315) - National Education Commissioners Order, 1923 (Stat. R. & Or., No. 10 of 1923).

Witness Action.

The plaintiff, Martin Leyden, entered into an agreement, dated 13th September, 1912, with the Commissioners of National Education and the local manager of the Central Boys' Model School, whereby the manager agreed to employ the plaintiff as the assistant teacher of the school, and the plaintiff brought this action claiming a series of declarations in reference to his salary as such teacher. The agreement signed by the plaintiff was as follows:—

"Memorandum of Agreement made the 13th September, 1912, between the Commissioners of National Education and local manager of the Central Boys' Model School (hereinafter called the manager) of the one part and Mr. Martin Leyden, assistant teacher of the said school (hereinafter called the teacher), of the other part:—

1. The manager agrees to employ the teacher as the assistant teacher of the Central Boys' Model School from the 13th day of August, 1912, henceforth until the expiration of three calendar months from the date at which notice in writing shall have been given by either side to the other to determine the said employment.

2. The manager shall have absolute power to determine the said employment at any time without previous notice on the payment by him to the teacher of three months' grade salary.

3. The manager shall also have power to determine the said employment, without previous notice, for misconduct or other sufficient reason; but in every case of such determination the teacher shall be entitled to three months' grade salary, to be paid by the manager, unless such manager shall obtain the declaration of the opinion of the Commissioners of National Education that such determination of employment was for sufficient cause, in which latter case the teacher shall not be entitled to any compensation.

4. In the event of the employment being determined by the manager on the ground of misconduct or other sufficient reason (under Article 3), the opinion of the Commissioners of National Education that such determination was or was not justified shall be conclusive and final to all intents and purposes, and a letter to that effect signed by the Acting Secretaries or Secretary of the Commissioners shall be conclusive evidence between the parties of such opinion.

5. In case the teacher shall determine the said employment at any time without giving three calendar months' notice as hereinbefore provided (except for good and sufficient reason in the opinion of the Commissioners and evidenced by a letter signed as above mentioned) he shall forfeit any salary and emoluments or any part of such salary and emoluments then due to him as the Commissioners may order.

6. The duties of the teacher shall be such as are in accordance with the Rules of the Commissioners.

7. The salary and emoluments of the teacher are as follows:—

As determined by the Commissioners of National Education.

Signed in the presence of—

William B. Joyce, Head Master,

W. E. Lemass, Secretary for Manager.

C. M. Schools.

Martin Leyden, Teacher.

Note.—Any entry in this form of agreement at variance with the spirit and conditions of Rule 106 (c) of the Commissioners' Rules and Regulations will render the agreement invalid. The responsibility of a manager under this agreement ceases from the date of his retiring from the office of manager or of the withdrawal of salary from the teacher by the Commissioners."

The facts were set out in the statement of claim as follows:—

"1. The Commissioners of National Education in Ireland are a Body incorporated by Royal Charter, granted by Letters Patent dated August 26th, 1845, and duly enrolled on the 1st day of September in the same year "in order to promote the welfare by providing for the Education of the Poor in-Ireland,"and empowered for that purpose, inter alia, to erect, maintain, and support in Ireland such and as many Schools as they should think proper. By a Supplemental Charter, granted by Patent dated the 11th day of March, 1861, and duly enrolled on the 26th day of March in the same year, "in order further to promote the welfare by providing for the Education of the Poor of Ireland" the number of the Commissioners was increased from fifteen to twenty, of whom ten, and not more than ten, should be Protestants, and ten, and not more than ten, should be Roman Catholics.

2. Plaintiff on the 12th August, 1912, was appointed to the office of teacher by the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, and has been continuously in their employment ever since, and has discharged his duties as teacher in accordance with the terms of his appointment and in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland.

3. Prior to, and at the date of the outbreak of the European War in 1914 the salaries of teachers in the employment of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland were fixed by the said Commissioners in consultation with the Irish Government and with the sanction of the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury. During the war and after its termination the teachers in the employment of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland put forward claims for higher salaries, and requests were made by the teachers to the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland for increases in the then existing scale of salaries. Certain increases in salary were made by way of war bonus, which were considered inadequate by the teachers.

4. In the early part of the year 1917 the British Government set up a Tribunal, entitled "The Conciliation and Arbitration Board," to consider the applications that were being made by employees in Government departments for increased remuneration for their services. The title of the said Board was afterwards altered to that of "The Civil Service Arbitration Board." The teachers employed by the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, through their Organization, known as the Irish National Teachers' Organization, applied to the said Civil Service Arbitration Board to have their claim to a war bonus considered and determined. The said Board considered and adjudicated upon the claim then put forward by the teachers, and made, in the year 1918, a certain award of a temporary war bonus.

5. In the year 1918 a Vice-Regal Committee of Inquiry under the Chairmanship of Lord Killanin was set up by the British Government to consider the application of the teachers for permanent salaries at a higher rate than that at which they were then being paid, and for improved conditions of employment. After the publication of the report of the said Vice-Regal Committee, which found, inter alia, that the general rates of remuneration of the teachers were altogether insufficient, the teachers renewed their agitation for permanent higher salaries, and in June, 1919, put a claim for an increased scale of permanent salaries before the Civil Service Arbitration Board.

6. Nothing came of that application, but early in the year 1920 the teachers again applied to the Civil Service Arbitration Board "to fix a permanent scale of salaries for Irish National Teachers." The Treasury raised objections to the teachers' salaries being determined by the Civil Service Arbitration Board, and submitted to the said Board a statement giving reasons against the fixing of a permanent scale of salaries. Ultimately the Treasury withdrew their objections and agreed to the arbitration of the said Board, and the claim of the teachers was heard by the Civil Service Arbitration Board in London on the 20th September, 1920. The Treasury, the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, and the teachers were represented at the hearing. The said Board, having heard all the parties concerned, unanimously decided that a permanent scale of salaries should be established.

7. The three parties to the arbitration then agreed to confer together with a view to fixing a permanent scale of salaries, and a certain scale of salaries and conditions of service was agreed on, and was subsequently submitted by them to the Civil Service Arbitration Board for ratification. One of the conditions under which the said Board heard claims was that all parties appearing before them should pledge themselves beforehand to accept and abide by any decision arrived at or any award made by the Board. The said scale of salaries and conditions were embodied by the said Board in a Memorandum of Agreement, and on the 29th November, 1920, the said Memorandum of Agreement was signed by the representatives...

To continue reading

Request your trial
5 cases
  • Bohane v Driscoll
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court (Irish Free State)
    • 19 February 1929
    ...[1907] S. C. 1102. (13) [1908] S. C. 1034, at p. 1039. (14) [1899] 2 I.R. 1. (15) [1917] 2 I.R. 73, 621. (16) [1900] 1 Q. B. 535. (17) [1926] I.R. 334. (18) 68 J. P. 158. (1) 4 C. B. (N.S.) (2) L. R. 2 C. P. 371, at p. 375. (3) [1913] 1 K. B. 398, at p. 415. (4) 12 P. D. 58, at p. 92. (1) [......
  • Crowley v Ireland
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 21 July 1978
    ...In support of this contention the plaintiffs referred to the Judgment of Mr. Justice Murnaghan inLevden .v. Attorney General and ors. ( 1926 I.R.334 at p 354) in which the history of the State control over primary education in Ireland since 1831 is described. The rules and regulations issue......
  • Crowley v Ireland
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 1 January 1980
    ...4 Meskell v. Córas Iompair Éireann éireannIR [1973] I.R. 121. 5 Murphy v. StewartIR [1973] I.R. 97. 6 Leyden v. The Attorney GeneralIR [1926] I.R. 334. 7 McEneaney v. The Minister for EducationIR [1941] I.R. 430. 8 O'Callaghan v. The Minister for Education (Supreme Court-31/3/55) 9 Doyle, I......
  • Re McEneaney v Minister for Education
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 17 December 1941
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT