Fall v Hitchen

(1972) 49TC433

Mr Hitchen was a professional dancer who, after finishing his training, was engaged by Sadler’s Wells Trust under a standard ballet dancer’s contract. Mr Hitchen had applied for, but had been unsuccessful in obtaining, other work.

Although Mr Hitchen had been carrying on his profession as a ballet dancer, HMRC contended that the contract with Sadler’s Wells was a contract of service. He was earning a steady income whether or not he was called upon to perform or rehearse. The particular engagement with Sadler’s Wells was “in the nature of a post”.

Held: It was held that Mr Hitchen was employed under a contract of service with Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

The principle established was that, in the case of a professional person, the nature of a particular contract has to be determined first of all. Only if the contract is a contract for services could it be considered to be an incident in the carrying on of that profession.