Pridham v. Nfld. (1994), 118 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 244 (NFCA);

    369 A.P.R. 244

MLB headnote and full text

Mary Pridham (appellant) v. Her Majesty The Queen In Right of Newfoundland (respondent)

(1991 No. 98)

Indexed As: Pridham v. Newfoundland

Newfoundland Supreme Court

Court of Appeal

Goodridge, C.J.N., Gushue and O’Neill, JJ.A.

June 9, 1994.


A civil servant resigned her position to accept an appointment to the staff of a Cabinet Minister as a political support employee. The civil servant received sever­ance pay for her 18 years of service. Four years later the employee was dismissed. The employee claimed that under the new sever­ance agreement, she was entitled to a higher rate of severance pay for the 18 years served as a public employee. The province sub­mitted that the agreement did not apply to the earlier period because the employee’s resignation meant that the employee was not a public employee when she accepted the political position.

The Newfoundland Supreme Court, Trial Division, in a decision reported at 91 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 229; 286 A.P.R. 229, dismissed the employee’s claim. The employee appealed.

The Newfoundland Court of Appeal allowed the appeal.

Crown – Topic 5129

Officials and employees – Appointment and employment – Termination of em­ployment – Compensation – Pridham, a civil servant, resigned in 1985 to accept a political support position with the Minister of Labour – She received severance pay – In 1989 Pridham was dismissed – She claimed severance pay based on a 1989 contract – The contract granted severance pay at the rate of one month per year of service – Pridham also claimed entitlement to severance pay for her years of service prior to 1985 based on the 1989 contract – The Newfoundland Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and held that Pridham had a contractual right to the benefits claimed, even though that result may not have been contemplated or intended when the contract was drafted.

Statutes Noticed:

Judgment Interest Act, R.S.N. 1990, c. J-2, generally, [para. 40].

Order-in-Council (Nfld.), No. 307-’75, [para. 7].

Order-in-Council (Nfld.), No. 461-’85, [para. 9].

Order-in-Council (Nfld.), No. 218-’89, [para. 18].


Robert Sinclair, for the appellant;

John McCarthy, Q.C., for the respondent.

This appeal was heard before Goodridge, C.J.N, Gushue and O’Neill, JJ.A., of the Newfoundland Court of Appeal, on March 30, 1994.

The decision of the court was delivered on June 9, 1994, and the following opinions were filed:

Goodridge, C.J.N. – see paragraphs 1 to 40;

Gushue, J.A. (O’Neill, J.A., concurring) – see paragraphs 41 to 46.


Pridham v. Newfoundland

(1994), 118 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 244 (NFCA)

Newfoundland Court of Appeal
Reading Time:
14 minutes
Goodridge, Gushue, O’Neill 

Goodridge, C.J.N.
: The appellant, who had worked for the Government for a num­ber of years as a public employee and subsequently as a member of the Political Support Staff, upon termination claimed to be entitled to more severance benefits than the Government was willing to pay her. She unsuccessfully sought relief in the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of New­foundland and now appeals from the deci­sion that denied her the relief which she claimed.

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