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Smith v Seghill Overseers (1875) LR 10 QB 422

The owners of a mine had 340 cottages which were used to accommodate miners. The miners did not pay rent, but the miners who provided their own accommodation were given an allowance to help pay for their accommodation.  Rates were paid by the workers. The employment could be terminated by one week’s notice and there was no separate notice period for the accommodation. It was not necessary for the workers to live in the accommodation to carry out their duties although it may be more convenient for them to do so.


The arrangement was not a service occupancy as the occupancy was not necessary for the miners to perform their duty. The workers occupied under a tenancy.

Mellor J:

"Where the occupation is necessary for the performance of services, and the occupier is required to reside in the house in order to perform those services, the occupation being strictly ancillary to the performance of the duties which the
occupier has to perform, the occupation is that of a servant;"

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