Case Analysis Stevens V Brodribb Sawmilling Co Pty Ltd Essay

2198 Words Sep 27th, 2013 9 Pages
The Classification between an independent contractor and employee has raised a number of issues throughout the past 50 years. Failing to create an effective formality to be applied by the courts to any particular case, it has lead to commercial uncertainty through Australia. This essay will analysis Stevens V Brodribb Sawmilling Co Pty Ltd (1986) 160 CLR 16 decision regarding the high court process in distinguishing between whether there was an relationship between the employer of employer/employee or employer/independent contractor.

While working for Brodribb Sawmilling Co, Stevens and Gray were employed by Sawmilling Co Pty Ltd as a trucker and snigger. During 1985, while Gray was moving a Log onto Stevens truck,
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Furthermore, Stevens was self-employed, therefore in performing his contract, he used his own tools, which indicates that he was not a servant16. However, Stevens places too little emphasis on what defines a contractors tools, which was seen in 2001 Hollis v Vabu17. The court applied the legal principles held in Stevens18, however held that the courier was an employee, not a contractor. Although the couriers provided their own tools and equipment, it actually involved ‘little capital outlay as such tools were not only capable for use as a courier, but could be used for other general purposes’19. This provides a great example of the weight that Hollis places on another particular criteria that the test, when applied in Stevens, was able to effectively establish whether they were contractors, but left much open, leading to commercial uncertainty.

Impact on Subsequent Cases
The impacts that followed Stevens20 saw major changes in the Industrial Relations Act 1988, the Superannuation Guarantee Act 1992 and the liability to deduct pay as your earn installments21. Businesses started avoiding the statutory obligations owed to their employees, saving up to 17% by classifying its employees as contractors22. Consequently an entirely new industry rose, attempting to take advantage of the multi-test, structuring their business so it appeared to be one of employer to independent contractor, then employer to employee23. The consequences of this was subsequently seen
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