Neha Patil (Editor)

Addis v Gramophone Co Ltd

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Decided  26 July 1909
End date  July 26, 1909
Transcript(s)  Full text of judgment
Court  House of Lords
Addis v Gramophone Co Ltd httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Citation(s)  [1909] UKHL 1, [1909] AC 488
Similar  Jarvis v Swans Tours Ltd, Farley v Skinner, Ruxley Electronics and Cons, Anglia Television Ltd v Reed, Jackson v Horizon Holidays

Addis v Gramophone Co Ltd [1909] AC 488 is an old English contract law and UK labour law case, which used to restrict damages for non-pecuniary losses for breach of contract.



Mr Addis was Gramophone’s manager in Calcutta. In October 1905, he was given six months' notice of dismissal as legally required and appointed a successor. However, Gramophone also immediately took steps during this 6-month period to prevent Addis acting as manager, resulting in Addis leaving his job 2 months later and returning to England. This was humiliating. The jury awarded Addis £340 for loss of commissions and £600 for wrongful dismissal. Could there be damages for the manner of dismissal?

The Court of Appeal had allowed damages for the manner of the dismissal.


Duke KC and Groser, for the appellant.
Lush KC (Schiller with him), for the respondents.


Lord Loreburn held that £600 was not allowed, that he could only recover his six-month salary and no more. At 491 he said,

‘If there be a dismissal without notice the employer must pay an indemnity; but that indemnity cannot include compensation either for the injured feelings of the servant…’

Lord Collins dissented. Lord Atkinson said the case was in fact about libel.

Lord Loreburn LC

Lord James of Hereford.

Lord Atkinson.

Lord Collins.

Lord Gorell.

Lord Shaw of Dunfermline.


The case was met with immediate disapproval in a number of quarters. Sir Frederic Pollock, the editor of the Law Quarterly Review, and contrasted "an artificial rule or mere authority" to "the rationale of the matter" as follows.

Slowly the case has been repealed as a matter of contract and employment law, illustrated by Farley v Skinner and Johnson v Unisys Ltd.


Addis v Gramophone Co Ltd Wikipedia