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Master and

contract, married, service, husband, woman, property and womens

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MASTER AND relation subsisting between master and servant is one created by contract ; the master agrees to hire the servant and to pay him wages, and the servant agrees to serve the master. As a general rule, every person of the full age of twenty-one years, and not under any legal disability, is capable of entering into this contract. But in order that it may be legally binding, it is necessary that, at the time the contract is entered into, the party about to be hired should be free from any other engagement incompatible with that into which he is about to enter; in other words he must, in the fullest sense of the term, be sui juris. The contract should be in writing if the service is intended to extend over a certain period of more than a year, and should be signed by the party intended to be charged. A formal agreement is not necessary, for the requirements of the law in this respect will be satisfied by a signed letter, note, memorandum, or ether writing, provided it contains a sufficient indication of the nature and terms of the contract and of the parties thereto. Of those who are under a legal disability may be mentioned married women, infants, and lunatics; and consequently, in accordance with the above rule, these persons, as a general principle, are incapable of entering into a valid contract of service. That this should be so in the case of lunatics is only just and inevitable; but the cases of married women and infants have necessitated some niodification of the rule. Married women.—A married woman who is living apart from her husband, whether by agreement or desertion, is eutitled to enter into a contract of service, but her husband may put an end to it upon his resump tion of cohabitation with her. A married woman who has obtained a judicial separation from her husband is also entitled to enter into a contract of service. And of course any married woman who has the consent of her husband is in a position to effectively contract, and such consent, if not expres.sly given, may be inferred from the husband's acts or his mere acquiescence. Under the Alarried Women's Property Acts she can sue for any monies due to her under a valid contract of service, these monies, and in fact all her personal earnings, being her separate property and beyond the control of her husband. Her receipt for her earnings is therefore a sufficient

discharge. On the question whether the Married Women's Property Acts conferred upon a married woman the right to enter into a contract of service, the following extract from Mr. W. P. liversley's Law of thr Domestic Relations is both instructive and interesting. "The 'Married Women's Property Act, 1870," writes the author, "has been held not to have conferred upon her any further contractual power than she at that time possessed in equity. Though the Married Women's Property Act, 1882, is niuch wider in its effects than the earlier Act of 1870, which it repeals, and does confer upon the married woman enlarged contractual powers, yet it is subniitted these are confined to matters involving her proprietorial relations to her separate estate, and does not confer upon her the power of entering into a binding contract of service without the assent of her husband ; and for this reason, that she might put an end to the matrimonial cohabitation without his consent and for no fault of his—a power which it would never have been intended by the Legislature to confer upon her. If then the wife leaves the husband and goes into service against his wish, and the latter gives the employer notice of his dissent, who notwithstanding keeps her in his service, the husband will be able to maintain an action for harbouring his wife, and depriNing him of the comfort of her society." Our own opinion, however, is that though a N% leaves her husband and goes into service against his wish, and lie gives notice of his dissent to her employer, yet the latter, if the whole circumstances of the employment are bonafidc, will incur no liability whatever to the husband should he continue to retain her in his employ. INFANTS, in their relation to the contract of service, axe dealt with in a separate article.

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