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Leigh Day

Work 020 7650 1200
Fax 020 7253 4433

Chris Benson

Work 020 7650 1261
Leigh Day

Work Department

Employment: claimant.


Although a specialist in all areas of discrimination, Chris has particular expertise in disability discrimination, equal pay and pensions. He also has substantial Appeal and High Court experience, as set out below. He also has a wealth of experience acting for claimants who are part of multi party and large group actions. Chris is also instructed by trade unions. He provides head office and high level advice to UNISON and the GMB and provides legal advice to both unions in relation to all areas including internal HR, membership, internal employment, the rule book, claims before the certification officer and advice on industrial action. Chris also provides advice to trade union members in complex cases. Chris also provides advice to the British Association of Journalists and its members. Chris is currently advising around 5000 claimants in a number of multi party and individual equal pay claims for both Trade Union and on a private basis. He brought the first equal pay claims in the civil courts, successfully in Abdulla v Birmingham City Council [2012] UKSC 47 on 24 October last year. The case was hailed as a landmark in equality law. It meant that equal pay cases can be heard in civil courts, with the result that individuals have up to six years after leaving an employer to start proceedings, rather than only six months in an employment tribunal. Leigh day‚Äôs employment team was nominated employment team of the year at the legal business awards as a result of the case and their on-going equal pay work. Chris is also instructed by the GMB in relation to the unlawful Blacklisting of construction workers by 42 of the UK‚Äôs leading construction companies, including Carillion, McAlpine and Tarmac. The unlawful action has led to the loss of livelihoods for thousands of workers and the damages may run into millions of pounds. The activities of the construction companies are currently being investigated by the Scottish Affairs Select Committee and receives constant media coverage. The claim on behalf of more than 100 individuals is being brought in the High Court (McPherson & Others v Carillion & Others (HQ13X02998 & Others)). Chris represents over a 100 fee paid judges in relation to their claims that they were denied access to the MOJ pension scheme on the basis they work part time (Miller & Others ET case Number 1700853/2007). Chris also advises fee paid judges in appeals to the EAT in relation to part time pensions claims brought by fee paid judges. The first appeals relate to medical members, arising from the ET judgment of Moultrie & Others v MOJ (claim no 2001158/2012) and the second an appeal is on behalf of 71 judges in Gibb & others v MOJ (UKEAT/PA/0142/14). Chris is also instructed by in excess of 100 full-time salaried judges including those from the High Court, Crown Courts and Employment Tribunals in a challenge to the Ministry of Justice‚Äôs discriminatory changes to judicial pensions which have a negative impact on a range of judges on grounds of age, gender and BME background. Chris has also represented the claimant in a number of leading employment cases while at Leigh Day, outside the discrimination field, including: (A) Bailey v R & R Plant Hire (Peterborough) Limited, [2012] EWCA Civ 410 ‚Äď age discrimination; (B) Parekh v London Borough of Brent [2012] EWCA ‚Äď case management orders; (C) Garratt v Mirror Group Newspapers Limited [2011] EWCA Civ 425 (breach of contract); (D) RSA Consulting v Evans [2010] EWCA Civ 866 (strike out applications); (E) Regent Security Services v Power [2007] EWCA Civ 1188 (TUPE).


Between 1998 and 2000 Chris worked in the voluntary sector (Salford & Bradford Lane Centres) and the public sector (Disability Rights Commission) between 2000-06. At the Commission, as a legal officer, and then senior legal officer, Chris developed the Commission‚Äôs legal strategy and was involved in a number of leading cases in the field of disability discrimination. (1) Paul v National Probation Service [2003] UKEAT/0290/03; (2) Kirton v Tetrosyl [2003] EWCA Civ 69; (3) Nottinghamshire County Council v Miekle [2004] EWCA Civ 859; (4) Smith v Churchill‚Äôs Stairlifts PLC [2005] EWCA Civ 1220. Chris has also been involved in a number of Human Rights cases involving disabled people, presenting submissions on behalf of the Disability Rights Commission in its role as an intervener including: A & B, X & Y v East Sussex (no1) [2002] EWHC 2003; A & B, X & Y v East Sussex (no2) [2003] 167 Admin; Burke v General Medical Council & Others [2005] EWCA; R ‚Äď ota Johnson & others v London Borough of Havering [2006] EWHC 1714 (Admin). He also represented the Claimant in the first Services discrimination case under the Disability Discrimination Act to reach the Court of Appeal Roads v Central Trains [2004] EWCA Civ 1541. Chris was also involved in the drafting of the Disability Rights Commission‚Äôs statutory codes of practice. Chris joined Leigh Day in 2006 to build up a discrimination and employment law practice to complement the Human Rights work at the firm.


Discrimination Law Association; Employment Lawyers Association; Industrial Law Society.


University of Leeds (1997 BA Hons, professional studies: learning difficulties; 1999 MA, disability studies); University of Huddersfield (2001 postgraduate diploma in law; 2003 legal practice course).


Cycling, running, swimming and spending time with my family.

London: Human resources

Employment: employees/unions

Within: Leading individuals

Chris Benson - Leigh Day

Within: Employment: employees/unions

'Unquestionably a leader in the field', Leigh Day 'combines robustness and empathy in a way most firms could only dream of'. Key areas of expertise include equal pay issues, working time rights, trade union rights, discrimination claims and National Minimum Wage work. The group has also been highly active in the employment status space; recent highlights include representing 68 Uber drivers in a tribunal claim relating to gig economy issues, acting for three drivers in a self-employment challenge against Addison Lee, and representing 50 Deliveroo riders in an employment status claim. Other mandates included associate solicitor Shubha Banerjee representing 230 judges in direct age discrimination claims relating to judicial pensions, and the 'outstanding' Chris Benson and Michael Newman acting for multiple Asda shop workers in an equal pay claim. Benson leads the group, which includes Kiran Daurka, newly promoted partner Nigel Mackay and the 'unbelievably knowledgeable' Emma Satyamurti. Elizabeth George joined Pattinson & Brewer.

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Employment: employers and senior executives

Within: Employment: employers and senior executives

Leigh Day 'combines both legal knowledge and practical advice' with highly regarded experience in equal pay, race and sex discrimination claims; associate solicitor Shubha Banerjee recently acted for over 230 judges in direct age discrimination, indirect race and sex discrimination and equal pay claims relating to the judicial pension scheme. In addition, 'committed fighter' Kiran Daurka, who is an expert in discrimination and whistleblowing cases, represented an individual in litigation concerning whether a dismissal can be fair following an act of disability discrimination. Group leader Chris Benson is 'excellent', newly promoted partner Nigel Mackay is 'very impressive' and Emma Satyamurti is 'an absolutely fantastic discrimination lawyer'.

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North West: Human resources

Employment: employee/union firms

Within: Employment: employee/union firms

Leigh Day¬†¬†‚Äôs work ‚Äėis absolutely first-class especially for equal claims. Few firms compete with this firm for class action claimant work‚Äô.Chris Benson¬† who divides his time between London and Manchester heads the team. The ‚Äėtenacious and very committed‚Äô Mike Cain¬† is ‚Äėnot only knowledgeable but also very friendly and compassionate‚Äô.¬†Linda Wong¬† is ‚Äėdedicated and inspirational‚Äô and Lauren Lougheed¬† has an ‚Äėextraordinary grasp of detail without ever losing sight of the big picture‚Äô. The team‚Äôs expertise ranges from large group claims for employees to advice on policy. It routinely represents unions (such as the GMB Union), senior executives and individuals. In a case that is attracting a lot of media interest and is a very large equal pay claim in the private sector, the group is advising in excess of 20,000 individuals (mostly female supermarket workers) on their equal pay claims for sex discrimination against ASDA.

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