Market Investigations Ltd v Minister for Social Security [1969] 2 QB 173 a case that was heard by the High Court concerning employment and the test of control.


The claimant research company hired two groups of workers full time interviewers and part-time interviewers. Much of the facts point to the part-time interviewers being independent contractors:

  • they are not obligated to accept work when given;
  • they are free to work for other firms;
  • no sick pay and holiday;
  • mutual recognition of contract for services.


Cooke J made five points in this case, without building on previous UK cases:

  1. The most important question to be asked when determining employee or contractor is: whether the worker in question is performing the service as a person in business on his/her own account.
  2. The test of control is no longer conclusive, even if control is lacking a contract can still be of service.
  3. Approved of the first limb of MacKenna J's 'test' in Ready Mixed Concrete, the requirement of remuneration and personal services.
  4. Short term casual contracts can be contract of service: the interviews conducted by the part-time interviews on each occasion constituted a separate contract of service.
  5. If the contract is of short term basis then the absence of employment rights such as sick pay and holidays are immaterial to the determination of employment status.

Although this case is often referred to, its validity is also often questioned.