Employment in London Bar
11KBW is 'one of the best sets for employment law with a broad range of experience' and is 'a very strong set for complex employment law support' as well as 'high-quality, big-ticket cases', according to clients. Seán Jones QC represents the University of Oxford in a high-profile case regarding retirement ages for academics, while Richard Leiper QC acts for the NHS in relation to the monitoring and pay of junior doctors' breaks. John Cavanagh QC, recently appointed a High Court judge in the Queen’s Bench Division, acted for Virgin Atlantic in obtaining an injunction, which prevented a pilots' strike over Christmas and New Year, and was also involved in the important Supreme Court case of Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust v Haywood, which ruled that an employee is only legally notified of their redundancy when they have actually read the notification.
'Top-notch set' Blackstone Chambers has 'great strength in depth, from the QCs through to the juniors'. Recent case highlights include Paul Goulding QC representing Dyson Group in proceedings brought against its former chief executive, and for IBM in a High Court claim to enforce a non-compete covenant against a former senior employee. Dinah Rose QC acted for Uber in a seminal gig economy case where the Court of Appeal ruled that Uber drivers are workers, and therefore entitled to the national minimum wage and paid annual leave; the ride-sharing company will challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court. In another case concerning employment status, Jane Mulcahy QC successfully defend UK Sport against claims of unfair dismissal, discrimination, victimisation, and detriment following a protected disclosure by Jessica Varnish, a former Great Britain's women's cycling team member - the tribunal found that funded athletes are not employees or workers.
Littleton Chambers is 'a first-rate employment law set' with 'strength and depth of experience from juniors through to leaders in their field' and 'is viewed as the go-to set for complex employment-related work', particularly business protection and restrictive covenants, as well as 'sector specialisms such as sports law and professional disciplinary cases'. In one highlighted instruction, Gavin Mansfield QC acted for insurance broker Arthur J Gallagher in a major team move between sector rivals, successfully obtaining an interim springboard injunction. In a case with reportedly £400m at stake for the care sector, David Reade QC represents the charity in Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake, a Court of Appeal test case which concerns if on-call care workers are entitled to be paid the minimum wage while sleeping on site - Unison's appeal will be heard by the Supreme Court in February 2020.
Matrix Chambers has 'a formidable array of talent and expertise' with its members 'offering tremendous strength in employment cases'. James Laddie QC represented the employer in Supreme Court case Egon Zehnder v Tillman, the first employee restraint of trade case to reach the top level of the court system for more than a century. Karon Monaghan QC acted in Gilham v Ministry of Justice, in which the Court of Appeal held that judges are not workers and therefore cannot be covered by protections for whistleblowers. Elsewhere, Thomas Linden QC successfully acted for British Cycling, which was being sued by former track cyclist Jessica Varnish, who was found not to be an employee of the governing body or UK Sport, which funds elite athletes.
Old Square Chambers' 'expertise in employment law issues is second to none and it has good coverage at all levels', say instructing solicitors, who also note how members are 'very knowledgeable about the NHS and the health sector'. Mark Sutton QC represented the appellant in the Agarwal v Cardiff University regarding the scope of the Employment Tribunal's jurisdiction in unpaid wages claims. Among Lord Hendy QC's highlights was the high-profile gig economy case of R (IWGB) v Central Arbitration Committee and RooFoods in which a judicial review was sought on the grounds that denial of the opportunity for Deliveroo couriers, who have been found to not be workers, to bargain collectively is a breach of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Cloisters' members are highly regarded for their expert knowledge in all aspects of employment law across a broad range of sectors including financial services, transport, education, government, retail, and technology. The set's members act for both employers and employees, including trade unions. Robin Allen QC and Rachel Crasnow QC acted for part-time judges in O'Brien v Ministry of Justice, a high-value claim which considered discrimination against part-time judges in the calculation of pensions; in November 2018 the Court of Justice of the European Union found in their clients' favour, bringing the 13-year dispute to a close. Elsewhere, Paul Epstein QC represented Birmingham City Council and Tesco in a multimillion-pound mass equal pay disputes.
The 'extremely good' Essex Court Chambers has members who are 'great for complex commercial employment matters'. Andrew Hochhauser QC acted for a former senior banker who had worked for the respondent bank for four decades in a substantial claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. Meanwhile, Daniel Oudkerk QC is instructed by cyber-security company Secarma in a multimillion-pound damages claim and injunctive relief arising out of a poaching raid. Martin Griffiths QC has been appointed a High Court judge in the Queen’s Bench Division.
'Incredibly strong' Devereux is 'a great all-rounder set for employment litigation' with 'strength in depth across their employment practice, including connected areas such as tax and national minimum wage issues', according to instructing solicitors, who also note that chambers are considered a 'go-to set for trade union matters'. Bruce Carr QC was involved in the landmark Timis v Osipov, in which the Court of Appeal, for the first time, found two individual directors liable for whistleblowing-related detriment in a case following a disclosure by a company's CEO surrounding its oil business in Niger. Elsewhere, Akash Nawbatt QC acted for British Airways securing a High Court injunction to prevent pilots going on strike over the summer.
In addition to regularly appearing in the employment tribunal system and the High Court for high-stakes and high-profile work, such as restrictive covenant injunctions, members of Outer Temple Chambers are also involved in significant Court of Appeal and Supreme Court cases. Andrew Short QC is leading Naomi Cunningham and Paul Livingston in Brierley v Asda, representing thousands of shop workers in the largest-ever equal pay claim seen in the private sector; the case sees a large number of in-store employees seeking to use the overwhelmingly male warehouse workers as comparators for their pay.