Many thanks for your patience. Your rights will very much depend on your employment status first and then any contract you had in place.
To have any decent rights you need to be an employee, rather than self employed. That is because on termination only employees have protection against unfair dismissal, get a minimum notice period by law and potentially get redundancy pay if the reason for termination is redundancy. However, if you are self employed you do not get any of these rights.
In essence, your only rights will be in relation to a notice period on termination. Whether a contractor is entitled to a notice period will depend on their written contract. If there is a termination clause which specifies a notice period on termination, the employer would be expected to give that notice if they wish to end the employment relationship. The contract may also specify situations when notice may not be due, such as if the contractor has acted in breach of contract or is guilty of gross misconduct.
It may actually be the case that no written contract exists, or there is no termination notice clause in it. In such circumstances, the contractor can still expect a 'reasonable' notice period to have their working arrangement terminated. This is because even in the absence of a written contract they will be working under an implied common law contract and to terminate such a contract a reasonable notice period is required.
What is a reasonable notice period will vary greatly and will depend on the individual circumstances, industry practices, length of employment, frequency of payment, etc. A useful starting point would be to look at the usual invoicing and payment cycle, which may provide the length of the notice period that could be reasonable (e.g. invoicing for work on a monthly basis can potentially require a month’s notice to terminate).
In reality, there are far too many variables to consider, which means it is usually impossible to give a precise indication as to what would be a reasonable notice period in each case. It is therefore down to the courts to make that decision. The contractor can nevertheless raise this issue with the employer and attempt to negotiate a reasonable notice period with them, a period that they will both be happy to accept.
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