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Leigh Day

Work 020 7650 1200
Fax 020 7253 4433

Chris Benson

Work 020 7650 1200
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’s 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’s 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’s 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 – age discrimination; (B) Parekh v London Borough of Brent [2012] EWCA – 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’s 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’s 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 – 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’s 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

Leigh Day's employment team is 'at the forefront of important test cases affecting the UK workforce' and its expertise includes equal pay and complex group claims as well as solely acting for claimants and unions. Practice head Chris Benson is renowned for acting in high-profile and challenging employment and discrimination matters, with sector strengths in financial services, technology and health care. The team has acted on a number of landmark cases that have redefined the employment landscape; Nigel Mackay and associate and 'future star' Annie Powell led the high-value challenge for Uber drivers. Other noteworthy members of the team include Kiran Daurka, who has considerable experience in the sector and is currently advising Tesco.

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Employment: senior executives

Within: Employment: senior executives

The team at Leigh Day frequently acts on behalf of executives and senior professional clients in relation to a variety of matters including equal pay, unfair dismissal, breach of contract, whistleblowing, and all aspects of discrimination. High-profile recent work has included advising more than 230 judges on their discrimination claims against the Government over changes to their pensions. The department is active in a wide range of sectors, advising large private sector commercial enterprises, banks, law firms and industrial corporations, to public and government authorities. The experienced Chris Benson leads the team and focuses on discrimination claims and high-value multi-party litigation relating to pay and pensions.

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North West: Human resources

Employment: employee/union firms

Within: Employment: employee/union firms

Led by Chris Benson, who divides his time between Manchester and London, the team at Leigh Day has a strong track record of advising union members in claims for equal pay against public and private sector employers and supporting union causes in high-profile litigation. The team has an established relationship with the GMB Union, providing head office and other high level legal advice. Associate solicitor Mike Cain is praised for 'coming up with imaginative ways of ensuring clients can obtain representation'. The team was recently strengthened by the arrival of senior solicitor Claire Burton from Cumbria Law Centre in January 2019.

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