CoA to rule on status of fixed share partners

The Court of Appeal will tomorrow decide whether fixed share partners should be classed as employees of a firm.

Former Lester Aldridge partner Martin Tiffin had instructed Matrix Chambers’ Claire Darwin to argue that he was an employee of the firm rather than a partner after it switched his employment status overnight to make him liable for national insurance contributions.

The firm directly instructed Old Square Chambers’ Jennifer Eady QC and Mark Whitcombe in the case.

Both the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) rejected arguments that because Tiffin was not involved in the firm’s management and received only a nominal share of the firm’s profits he should be classed as an employee.

The EAT rejected the claim stating that there was no minimum threshold of partnership contributions that could change Tiffin’s partnership status.

“There’s no statutory provision or any decided case which specifies that the share of profits of a person or his or her contribution must reach a certain level before he or she can be regarded as being a partner,” Mr Justice Silber said in his ruling.

The CoA will give its verdict tomorrow.