The Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 has been in operation now for nearly 40 years and is frequently litigated. Yet despite this frequency practitioners, employees and employers can often fail to understand how the statutory regime operates or fall foul of one of its strict requirements. What follows is an analysis of the legislation and an up-to-date examination of the frequent case law. We examine how the Act defines a dismissal and the different types of dismissal, who can take a case under the legislation and who cannot and we look at how the Act regards continuity of service and the need for a valid legal contract and the distinction between a contract of service and a contract for service. Importantly, we highlight the Code of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures provided under The Industrial Relations Act 1990 as a Court or tribunal can take account of the adherence to this “Code”.