Ready Mixed Concrete (South East) Ltd ('RMC') was in the business of making and selling ready mixed concrete. The company had engaged an independent haulage contractor to deliver the concrete to customers but that contract was terminated and RMC decided to introduce a scheme whereby concrete was delivered by owner-drivers working under written contracts. The owner-drivers entered into a hire purchase agreement with Readymix Finance Ltd to purchase a lorry but the mixing equipment on the lorry was the company's property. In 1965 the company asked the Minister of Social Security for a determination of the employment status of one of the owner-drivers, Mr Latimer.
Mr Latimer's written contractual terms included the following:
- he was entitled with the consent of the company to appoint a competent and suitably qualified driver to operate the truck in his place but this was subject to the company's entitlement to require him to drive the truck himself unless he had a valid reason for not doing so;
- he was responsible for paying any substitute;
- he had to wear a company uniform;
- he had to carry out all reasonable orders from any competent servant of the company;
- he had to maintain the lorry at his own expense and pay its running costs;
- there was a mutual intention that Mr Latimer was an independent contractor.
Other facts found were:
- he did not work set hours and had no fixed meal break;
- the company did not tell him how to drive the truck or what routes to take;
- the nine owner-drivers in the depot arranged the dates of their own holidays to ensure that only one driver was away at any time and between them. They engaged a relief driver contributing equally to his weekly wage of £25;
- during the busy season the company engaged three or four additional drivers under contracts of service.
It was held that Mr Latimer was self-employed.