Leigh Day has a market-leading reputation for exclusively representing claimants in novel and high-profile group actions and individual claims. Under the joint leadership of Nigel Mackay and Emma Satyamurti, the national team is regularly seen in groundbreaking cases which make headline news. London-based partners Chris Benson and Michael Newman are working with practitioners in the Manchester office to represent over 45,000 supermarket workers (who are largely female) in an equal pay claim against ASDA; this is the largest ever private sector equal pay claim to date. Newman is also handling novel claims against national waste and recycling firm Biffa Waste Services and employment agency Smart Solutions, which have arisen from the largest criminal conviction for modern slavery. In another matter, employed barrister Elizabeth George (who rejoined the firm from didlaw in 2020) is leading a national group equal pay claim against Next. Kiran Daurka, recently promoted partner Paula Lee and associate Annie Powell are among other recommended individuals.
Employees/unions in London
Nigel Mackay; Emma Satyamurti
Other key lawyers:
Chris Benson; Kiran Daurka; Elizabeth George; Paula Lee; Michael Newman; Simon Cuthbert; Annie Powell; Nick Webster
‘When it comes to large scale employment and discrimination litigation for claimants, Leigh Day are entirely without equal. Over the past few years they have concentrated a genuinely impressive pool of talent guided first by Chris Benson and now by Kiran Daurka. They are innovators – they leverage technology like no other firm I know of.’
‘Thorough and conscientious. The team leads in important cases and is continually recognised for their excellence.’
‘Chris Benson is calm and practical; Paula Lee and Kiran Daurka burst with enthusiasm and dedication to their cases.’
‘Annie Powell is a very talented, bright and proactive solicitor. She took on my case fully and was very good explaining the legal position and was prompt in responding any queries I had.‘
‘The practice is very large, diverse and well resourced, people are encouraged to have their own interests which leads to a very vibrant and dynamic environment and an exceptional level of commitment by the solicitors. Led by visionary solicitor Chris Benson, this department is thriving and outstrips all other competitor firms.’
‘Leigh Day have changed the face of employment law over the past 10 years. They have been at the centre of the biggest and most important cases in that period.’
‘Chris Benson has an incredible instinct for the next big issue. Equal pay, blacklisting, discrimination in public sector pensions, gig economy. Without him, these massive cases may not have happened.’
Abdar & Others v Morrison Supermarkets Plc
10,000 police officers v Police Federations
Equal Pay Advisory Service on behalf of the Fawcett Society
- Acting for 10,000 police officers in claims against their Police Federations in England & Wales and Scotland, a new group action relating to the inaction of the Police Federations in relation to the implementation of discriminatory pension provisions.
- Acting for a large group of GMB members and non-union clients in the largest ever private sector equal pay claim brought by largely female supermarket workers against ASDA.
- Represented over 4000 Uber drivers in the seminal case in one of the most important and controversial areas of employment law – employment status and the gig economy. In February 2021, the Supreme Court awarded judgment in favour of our clients, changing the gig economy landscape.
Shah Qureshi leads Irwin Mitchell's employment and professional discipline team in London, which acts for employees (including senior executives and other professionals) in cases involving discrimination, bullying and harassment, whistleblowing and restrictive covenants, among various other matters. Qureshi is particularly well-known for his strengths in discrimination and whistleblowing cases against large companies and public bodies, and he also represents clients in regulatory matters before the General Medical Council and Financial Conduct Authority. In 2020, he assisted a senior employee of a well-known tech company with settling a disability discrimination claim. The firm recently recruited Deborah Casale and Danielle Parsons from Slater and Gordon, replacing Emilie Cole and Shazia Khan, who left to co-found Cole Khan Solicitors LLP. Casale led the national employment team at her previous firm.
Other key lawyers:
Deborah Casale; Danielle Parsons
‘Irwin Mitchell has a superior suite of individual lawyers each of whom are excellent in the field of employment law. They are innovative in employment and discrimination law and not afraid to challenge and take on thorny issues including appealing novel areas of law.’
‘Shah Qureshi is a top lawyer, and has a terrific reputation in the industry.’
‘All communication and interaction with Irwin Mitchell was very efficient, with prompt replies. I was very impressed with the team, who communicated in a timely fashion.’
- Successfully represented a former female managing director of a multibillion pound company in a £1.8m whistleblowing and sex discrimination claim after she was dismissed by the board of directors after concerns about potential illegal practices and breaches of health and safety.
- Represented a disabled account executive of a technology company in a £580,000 settlement of her disability discrimination claim.
- Appointed to advise the Police Service and Fire Service Medical Appeal Boards on their legal duties and the legal implications of medical appeals by police officers and fire service personnel.
Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's team has a strong pedigree for acting for trade unions, staff associations, employees and union members. It notably excels in cases concerning industrial actions and other collective labour law issues, including reorganisations and mass redundancies. It is also experienced in discrimination and whistleblowing claims. Reflective of the breadth of expertise at the firm, the group in London includes practitioners with specialist knowledge of police injury pensions, issues arising from ill health retirement and judicial reviews, as well as Employment Tribunal claims. The team is prominent in group actions and other novel, precedent-setting cases. In 2020, Binder Bansel led the advice to the Communications Workers Union (CWU) on a high-profile challenge of an injunction preventing industrial action by Royal Mail workers over the Christmas period in 2019 and the general election. In addition, he represented the claimant in Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, a test case on pay and treatment parity between mothers and fathers sharing parental leave. Anthea Christie and recently promoted senior associate Clare Walsh are other key individuals.
Other key lawyers:
Anthea Christie; Clare Walsh
‘Binder Bansel is an excellent communicator. Easy to discuss issues with him.’
‘This firm has an innovative and diverse practice, combining a commercial approach with a broad trade union based practice. Clients include the Police Federation and the Communication Workers Union.’
‘Anthea Christie. Great team player and very switched on.’
‘Certainly on the claimant side, Penningtons is my favourite firm to work with.’
‘They are a top notch set of individual lawyers each of whom are extremely adept in the field of employment law (employees/unions) They are at the forefront of employment and discrimination law, creative innovators who are not afraid to challenge and take on thorny issues including appealing novel areas of law.’
‘The whole team are very approachable, which stems from the partners and the leadership within the team. They speak openly and concisely regarding claims and advise on all aspects and do not hold anything back but they do it in a way that clients understand an except even when the advice is difficult for clients to hear.’
Police Federation of England & Wales
Communications Workers Union (CWU)
Civil Nuclear Police Federation
United Road Transport Union
First Division Association
Police Superintendents’ Association
Association of School & College Leaders
National Association of Schoolmasters & Union of Women Teachers
- Handling a test claim for hundreds of sub-postmasters seeking to establish worker status in the wider economy.
- Acted for the claimant in Geldart v the Commissioner of the City of London in a successful claim for direct sex discrimination. The EAT upheld the decision in the Claimant’s favour and the matter was recently heard before the Court of Appeal. The case relates to payments made whilst an officer is on maternity leave and the outcome of this case may impact on every police officer in the Metropolitan Police and City of London seeking to take maternity leave.
- Representing approximately 38,000 police officers in claims for discrimination arising from the transitional provisions of the Police Pension Regulations 2015. The case will consider the government’s proposed remedy and whether this is sufficient.
Simpson Millar LLP
Widely recognised as a leading trade union firm, the national employment practice at Simpson Millar LLP benefits from strong relationships with longstanding clients such as the FDA, the Aircrew Officers Association Europe (AOAE) and the Immigration Service Union (ISU). In addition, the firm acts for union members and other employees. London-based partner Joy Drummond has over 36 years of experience advising clients on employment, industrial law and trade union constitutional matters. She has been particularly active in equal pay claims recently. Drummond has also been advising the AOAE on the possible legal avenues to challenge Cathay Pacific Airway’s proposed imposition of new less favourable contracts (which remove the contractual terms requiring redundancy selection to be 'last in, first out'). Nicola Hardy and Michael Keenan, who are both based in Manchester, co-head the practice. Aneil Balgobin, who was the former head of the employment department, joined Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP in September 2020.
Nicola Hardy; Michael Keenan
Other key lawyers:
‘Expert knowledge on working with trade unions and their members relating to all matters within employment law.’
‘Joy Drummond is exceptional in helping, advising and achieving the right result.’
Aircrew Officers Association Europe
Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union
Communication Workers Union (branches)
Immigration Service Union
- Advising the FDA official representing their member in her equal pay claim against the Ministry of Defence.
- Advising the FDA official representing their member in claims against the Crown Prosecution Service in claims for pregnancy/childbirth/maternity detriment and discrimination and direct and indirect sex discrimination and harassment arising from treatment suffered by the claimant during and following maternity leave.
- Advising the FDA official representing their registered blind member who was made redundant when he was unable to relocate due to failures to make reasonable adjustments.
Slater and Gordon fields two specialist sub-groups within its employment department; one team provides organisation and member services (OMS) to unions, the Police Federation and their members, while the other acts for privately funded clients. The firm has seen its portfolio of union clients grow, in particular, with it handling a wide ambit of employment and day-to-day operational issues. Key names include Edward Cooper, whose high-profile recent work has included acting for the special adviser to former Chancellor Sajid Javid who was fired by Dominic Cummings. Associate Doreen Reeves and senior associate Justin Quinton (who was hired from BMA Law) are other notable individuals at the firm. The team has seen a number of recent departures, with Deborah Casale and Danielle Parsons leaving for Irwin Mitchell, Clive Howard joining Keystone Law and Peter Daly moving to Doyle Clayton.
Other key lawyers:
Edward Cooper; Doreen Reeves; Justin Quinton
Unite the Union
College of Podiatry
- Acted for senior civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam from prior to his resignation to his claim for constructive dismissal relating to his treatment by Home Secretary.
- Acted for the special advisor for former Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid , who was sacked by Dominic Cummings in circumstances where she was marched out of 10 Downing St by an armed police officer. The claim was for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination.
Thompsons Solicitors LLP
Thompsons Solicitors LLP works closely with unions nationwide to defend workers' rights - the firm has a long history of featuring in groundbreaking cases. The team is called in for matters covering the entire spectrum of employment law, including those concerning unfair dismissal, redundancy and discrimination. Emma Game has a notable interest in maternity discrimination claims. In 2020, Richard Arthur acted for European Public Services Union (EPSU) at the European Court of Justice in a case arising from the EC's decision not to make proposals for a directive on consultation rights; this case is of constitutional significance for unions across the EU. Arthur also represented Unite the Union in the matter of Carluccio's Limited (in administration); this was the first case to consider the application of the Coronavirus job retention scheme. The team has also seen a significant amount of other work arise from Covid-19, including advice to clients on the right to picket, among other issues. Brian Wilson and Rakesh Patel co-head the practice. Victoria Phillips and Charlotte Moore are among other key individuals.
Brian Wilson; Rakesh Patel
Other key lawyers:
Victoria Phillips; Caroline Underhill; Roger Ellis; Kate Fox; Richard Arthur; Neil Todd; Iain Birrell; Brian Wilson; Charlotte Moore; Emma Game
‘The go-to firm for claimant side trade union matters, bar none.’
‘Richard Arthur – lives and breathes industrial action law. Vicki Phillips – has enormous credibility in this area. Charlotte Moore – a great tactician and excellent lawyer.’
‘Thompsons’ depth of experience of employment and trade union law, and their commitment to their union clients and their members, is exceptional. In particular, their trade union law group, headed by Richard Arthur, is able to bring creative legal minds and strategic overview to bear on the litigation which they run for their union clients – helping to focus on cases that can lead to broader developments in the law that are in those clients’ interests.’
‘At the forefront of trade union work. Their knowledge of collective issues is second to none. Totally dedicated.’
‘Thompsons solicitors frequently go ‘above and beyond’ in considering ways in which claims can be brought on behalf of our membership, and convey a thorough understanding of what is industrially important for our union.’
‘Brian Wilson is always available to address any glitches in the provision of high quality employment law advice and representation to our membership and has a deep understanding of what is industrially important to the union.’
‘Victoria Phillips – great legal knowledge, fantastic with clients, calm, very committed and hard-working. Neil Todd – good, practical lawyer, strong on industrial action, great with clients. Richard Arthur – one of the best solicitors around on collective disputes and industrial action – great legal knowledge, really good practical approach to litigation, clients love him.’
Unite the Union
- Represented the Prison Officers Association in litigation in the UK and now in the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the complete ban on industrial action by Prison Officers was a disproportionate interference with its right to freedom of association under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
- Acted for the European Public Services Union in its appeal to the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union of the EU General Court’s decision to reject EPSU’s application for annulment of a decision of the European Commission not to make a proposals for a directive on consultation rights.
- Acted for Unite the Union as intervenor on behalf of affected employees in the Matter of Carluccio’s Limited (in administration) which was the first case to consider the application of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Associate Robert Maddox is the key name at Bindmans LLP for employment and equality law matters, following former practice head Elizabeth McGlone's move to Harrison Clark Rickerbys in February 2021 and a number of other departures. Maddox has continued to lead on a range of interesting cases, including acting for six Court of Appeal and High Court judges in a discriminatory pension dispute against the Lord Chancellor and Ministry of Justice, and is praised for 'punching well above his weight for his years of experience.'
Other key lawyers:
‘Rob Maddox punches well above his weight for his years of experience. He has a great eye for detail, is pragmatic but knows when the case is one that you have to fight.’
‘I have worked on many occasions with Robert Maddox and I have recommended friends and family to Bindmans and him. He is a team player with excellent knowledge as well as strategic thinking; but his efficiency and dedication to his clients probably make him stand out.’
‘Robert Maddox is very bright, diligent and thorough.’
‘I have worked with Robert Maddox, who was very impressive. He had excellent legal analysis and judgement, and was very dedicated to his client’s cause.’
‘Robert Maddox handled our case on a day-to-day basis. He has always been available and responds extremely quickly and efficiently. I consider him to be a rising star.’
- Acting on a multi-party discrimination claim on behalf of six Court of Appeal and High Court judges against the MoJ and Lord Chancellor.
- Acting for an agency worker in a multi-party Court of Appeal matter on interpretation of agency regulations that impact a very large number of agency workers.
Curzon Green Solicitors has built up a young and predominantly female-led team, under the leadership of Jennifer Sole, and it is mainly noted for its work in the recruitment, financial and media industries. The department undertakes a mix of mandates for senior executives (directors and CEOs), SMEs and other employers. On the employee-side, discrimination claims are one notable area of strength, including cases concerning maternity/pregnancy, sex and disability. Matters relating to Covid-19 have formed a key part of the workload across a range of issues, such as health and safety, furlough provisions, business reorganisations and redundancies. Lauren McLaughlin and Jessica Bass were promoted to the partnership in February 2021.
Other key lawyers:
Lauren McLaughlin; Jessica Bass
‘A great team that always respond on time with the right advice and help.’
‘Exemplary. I can’t praise Lauren McLaughlin enough for helping me to successfully appeal my unlawful dismissal and subsequently achieve a fair settlement. Her ability to carefully analyse the specific situation, offer clear and pragmatic advice, whilst also considering her client’s financial situation at such a difficult time, clearly demonstrates her high levels of personal and professional integrity. Lauren is always reliable, prompt with her responses (no matter how busy she might be) and offers clear insight when guiding you through the process. My experience of working with Lauren and Curzon Green has been absolutely first class and I have no hesitation in recommending her and them in the highest terms.’
‘Rob Green sees straight to the heart of the matter.’
Feliciana EFL Ltd o.b.o. Wycombe Wanderers FC
Next Employment Limited
Bond Recruitment Limited
Skilled Careers Limited
Leasehold Management Services Limited
Locum Vision Limited
- Appointed and retained by Rob Couhig of Feliciana EFL Limited to act in an advisory capacity across all employment law areas following his £3.2m acquisition of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club.
- Retained by one of the UK’s leading professional search and recruitment consultancy firms in the construction, engineering and property sectors, regularly advising the company on HR/ER matters in both non-contentious and contentious matters, including advising on restrictive covenant issues and providing guidance and drafting advice regarding the legislative changes effective from April 2020, which required a refresh of employment contracts and internal processes.
- Advised Leasehold Management Services on a wide range of employment law related issues throughout 2020 and 2021, acting as the company’s go to firm for general HR advice as well as commercial and litigious matters.
At didlaw, the team has extensive expertise with regards to all protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010; it is also instructed in stress-related personal injury claims and whistleblowing cases, among other matters. The firm particularly distinguishes itself in the disability discrimination space, with Karen Jackson being a noted thought-leader in this area; she took the first section 15 Equality Act case to the Supreme Court and is also the author of a book on the subject. Jackson also has experience of undertaking employment cases involving women’s issues, such as pregnancy, maternity and sex discrimination. Another key individual is legal director Anita Vadgama, who is dual-qualified to practise in England & Wales and the US. In 2020, senior solicitor Caroline Oliver joined from DC Employment Solicitors, while Elizabeth George moved to Leigh Day. Solicitor Mark Alaszewski was recently hired from Acuity Law.
Karen Jackson; Anita Vadgama
Other key lawyers:
Caroline Oliver; Mark Alaszewski
‘Very committed senior team in Karen Jackson and Anita Vadgama. Always pushing the boundaries of discrimination law and practice.’
‘Very visible in discrimination practice. Caring and committed. Karen Jackson is a talented leader. Anita Vadgama is the lawyer I would want to have fighting for my rights.’
‘Claimant only specialists. Small firm with real expertise in employment law.’
‘Anita Vadgama is very good, sensible and practical.’
Hodge Jones & Allen has been standing up for the employment rights of individuals for over 40 years. In addition to acting for employees, the firm handles employer-side mandates, which gives its team an important insight into all the intricacies of complex cases. Led by Susie Al-Qassab, the group handles a varied caseload, which includes matters involving workplace bullying, harassment, and disciplinary and redundancy processes. It is particularly skilled in whistleblowing and multi-issue discrimination cases, and notably excels in cases concerning senior women and ethnic minorities. Criminal and disciplinary investigations are another area of strength. In 2020, Al-Qassab acted for a hotel manager in a constructive dismissal claim, which involved allegations of bullying and harassment. In another matter, Al-Qassab is assisting an environmental activist with challenging the withdrawal of an employment offer by a large company on the basis of previous convictions for peaceful protesting. Neil Emery joined the firm as a partner from Bindmans LLP in April 2021.
Other key lawyers:
Homa Wilson; Neil Emery
‘Homa Wilson is an excellent lawyer who is really committed to obtaining the best outcome for her clients.’
‘Susie Al-Qassab is very down to earth and highly knowledgeable in the employment area.’
‘A solid team with good employee expertise.’
‘Homa Wilson is an excellent lawyer particularly in discrimination cases – race and sex. She is vastly experienced and provides a good service.’
‘Aside from her great legal skills, Susie Al-Qassab is incredibly responsive and I know the individual will be in good hands.’
‘Susie Al-Qassab is very down to earth and highly knowledgeable in the employment area – we felt empowered knowing we had her on our side. I have been working with her for over a year and cannot find any weakness or fault her.’
- Advised a personal banker on a grievance process and successful claim against a high street bank for failure to make reasonable adjustments in relation to her medical condition, against a backdrop of several years’ worth of informal complaints, formal grievances, office moves and continual hurdles and barriers to effective measures being put in place.
- Acted for a chartered accountant following allegations of underperformance. The client suffers from dyspraxia, and the firm was able to link the allegations of underperformance to his disability as well as the employer’s failure to provide him with adequate support.
- Assisted an IT business partner with obtaining a settlement in a case involving allegations of race and disability discrimination.
Employment boutique Rahman Lowe Solicitors is a well-known name for matters concerning employers, senior executives and other employees. On the union side, the firm regularly wins work from trade union officials at well-known unions, and the team has notable expertise in collective employment law issues. Its work spans a wide range of areas, such as workplace stress and equal pay, among others. It is also notably strong in dismissal cases involving complex whistleblowing and discrimination issues. The practice is led by Jahad Rahman, whose expertise includes advising senior executives from the financial services sector on issues such as bonus disputes and FCA regulatory matters. His other employee-side clients include head teachers, doctors/consultants and VPs.
Other key lawyers:
Zillur Rahman; Sarah Lowe
‘I have always received the greatest respect from the team at Rahman Lowe – they believed in me and we built a solid relationship where I became part of the team and I genuinely felt their support and encouragement to fight on.’
‘Jahad Rahman has always given my whistleblowing case the greatest support and confidence.’
‘Jahad Rahman cares for the client and does his best for them. He is driven by compassion and moral compass, not financial gain.’
‘I found Jahad Rahman to be understanding, calm, and caring. He explained the salient points in a clear, easy to understand manner. His approach is professional and he has extensive knowledge of employment law.’
‘Jahad Rahman has built an enviable reputation in very little time as a go-to solicitor for whistleblowing disputes, particularly in the medical sector. Utterly dedicated to his clients and always looking for a novel solution to an apparently intractable problem.’
‘Rahman Lowe is very committed, very user friendly and a very sympathetic source of advice and representation.’
‘Jahad Rahman will persevere where others fear to tread.’
- Advised Sue Allison, a radiographer, on her high-profile whistleblowing claim against an NHS Trust. The case attracted considerable press attention and settled following mediation.
- Representing Dr Christopher Day in relation to his high profile complex claim for whistle blowing detriment against an NHS Trust and Health Education England.
- Successfully acted on behalf of a store employee in her claim for race discrimination, harassment, victimisation, whistleblowing and unfair automatic dismissal against Tesco. A settlement was agreed after Employment Tribunal proceedings were issued.
Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP recently bolstered its employment practice with the hire of senior associate Michael Michaeloudis from Thompsons Solicitors LLP in April 2021. He works with Gerard Airey - both practitioners are noted for their experience of advising unions - and Rebecca Roberts. Airey has advised on and litigated in more than 1000 cases in his career. The team's expertise spans a multitude of areas, including discrimination, unfair dismissal, redundancy, whistleblowing and harassment.
Gerard Airey; Rebecca Roberts
Other key lawyers:
‘A team with a diverse range of expertise – they are reliable, careful and precise.’
‘Very friendly and professional, available to discuss when there is any changes within my case. Knowledgeable with all aspects of my case and the legislation to assist me, made me have full confidence in taking my case forward.’
‘The firm provides premium quality and transparency in its client interactions and systems for onboarding and billing. The disclosures of firm practices and proactive survey after the engagement show a strong commitment to serving clients with respect.’
‘Gerard Airey was outstanding all around in concluding a settlement agreement for me and truly behaves like a partner to his clients.’
‘Potential clients can be assured that Ronald Fletcher Baker will focus fully on any employment issue and provide advice and guidance on how best to proceed.’
‘I am struck by Gerard Airey’s ability to set and keep to deadlines in what must be a very busy legal environment.’
‘Gerard Airey is technically very good and someone who thinks outside of the box.’
- Representing a client in his claims for unfair dismissal, which was allegedly due to raising health and safety concerns and whistleblowing.
- Acting for a client in a complex data protection and breach of contract claim.
- Negotiated a significant amount of compensation for a client in a complex pregnancy discrimination claim.