Employee/unions in London
The employee and trade union team at Leigh Day is headed by Chris Benson , who is hailed as a 'truly inspirational leader'. The team only acts for claimants, and regularly takes on cases turned down by other firms, working with unions and supporting regional and national officers. The team also acts for union members on individual claims and complex group actions, frequently representing thousands of claimants. Particular areas of expertise are equal pay cases, as well as cases concerning the gig economy, representing drivers and couriers challenging their exploitation by large tech companies. The team has been very successful in pension discrimination claims, paving the way for other public sector employees to challenge discriminatory changes to their pensions. Kiran Daurka chairs Leigh Day’s BAME Network and has contributed to a number of government consultations including race pay reporting. Nigel Mackay and Annie Powell are also recommended.
‘Leigh Day are without doubt the most important employee firm. The impact the team has had upon modern employment litigation is unrivalled. They have driven the most important test cases in the UK for the last few years and that pattern will continue.’
‘Chris Benson is at the heart of this term. His impact on UK employment law cannot be overstated. A truly inspirational leader with an eye for the big point.’
‘The team I deal with are very approachable and friendly as well as being invaluable knowledgeable. They always inform with detail and if they need any information from myself are excellent in expressing what they need and any timeframes.’
‘Kiran Daurka is exceptional.’
‘They are extremely dedicated and passionate in their work and very professional.’
‘Of all the firms I work with, they have the most striking team ethic, are very relaxed and friendly and have a real passion for the cases they pursue, particularly the equal pay work.‘
‘Chris Benson is laid back but wholly in control. Kiran Daurka is also very involved in her cases and is a pleasure to work with.’
‘The team is excellent, engaging and brave – they take stuff on that would make lesser firms flinch.’
‘Elizabeth George has a strong professional and empathetic approach that is very reassuring.’
‘Elizabeth George is clearly incredibly experienced and competent. Able to interpret complex legislation for non-lawyers. Very patient despite us asking the same question several times to ensure we understood what we were signing up to! Very personable and approachable. Empathetic – able to step into our shoes to understand how we might be impacted personally by various restrictions.’
Bob Matheson (Protect – Gilham)
Asda Equal Pay – over 40,000 shop workers
Over 14,000 police officers in the largest discrimination claim against the Government and the Police Commissioners
Over 200 teachers
McCloud & 250 others v Ministry of Justice
Multiple employees of Tesco
Multiple employees of Morrisons
- Successfully represented 68 Uber drivers in the Court of Appeal in a seminal case in an important and controversial area of employment law – employment status and the gig economy.
- Following the successful judicial pensions claims, the team acted for increased numbers of public sector workers in claims for discriminatory pension treatment.
- Acted for thousands of of mainly female supermarket workers in ASDA, Tesco and Morrisons, including GMB members and non-union clients, in equal pay cases in the private sector.
The employment department at Slater and Gordon is divided into two distinct teams - OMS Employment, the organisation and member services team, headed by Edward Cooper, acts for a wide range of trade unions, staff associations and their members as well as privately funded individuals, while Employment Private, headed by Deborah Casale, acts for clients who are not union-funded. The practice has a unique offering to unions, catering to their 'corporate' needs such as advising on constitutional changes and challenges against them before the Certification Officer. The team is also regularly consulted and acts in professional negligence cases against other firms in respect of employment cases.
‘Ed Cooper has a brilliant brain and great expertise in the employee-side of employment law, including judicial review, internal trade union matters and collective disputes. The perfect solicitor for sorting out a complicated large claim.’
Police Federation of England & Wales
Unite the Union
- Successfully defended a union before the Northern Ireland Certification Officer concerning a challenge to the eligibility of the most senior elected officers of the union to continue in office.
- Defended a union against a claim that the general secretary should vacate office on continuing in office after statutory period of 5 years; including advising on the position and defending Certification Officer complaint.
- Acted for a consultant surgeon who was dismissed for misconduct in breach of NHS’ Maintaining High Professional Standards in the Modern NHS contractual dismissal procedure in the Court of Appeal.
Bindmans LLP has a strong reputation for claimant-focused work, specialising in complex discrimination and whistleblowing claims and professional discipline issues. The employment and professional discipline team, headed by 'the strong and well-rounded' Elizabeth McGlone, works across all sectors of employment law but has particular expertise in healthcare, financial services, banking, legal, higher education, local authorities and civil service. The team also provides tailored advice to regulated individuals and practitioners that find themselves facing disciplinary proceedings by their professional bodies and regulators. A focus of the work over the last year has been acting for those who have suffered sexual harassment and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and the firm has contributed in government consultations on the use of non-disclosure agreements in claims of sexual harassment.
‘Bindmans has a longstanding reputation and market presence for representing individuals.’
‘I was genuinely impressed with by the commercially and tactically astute approach to the case. Robert Maddox was extremely committed to the case and the needs of the client. He was a pleasure to work with and in my view provided an outstanding service to his client.’
‘Attention to detail, client care, knowledge and ensuring that all aspects of a case are investigated.’
‘Elizabeth McGlone is a strong and well-rounded leader of the team, who is influential in the area. She thinks outside the box.’
‘Daniel Zona is mature beyond his years in practice, detail oriented and academic in his approach to difficult questions of law.’
‘Robert Maddox is punching above his weight and has great client-handling skills.’
‘Bindmans have been at the forefront of creative cutting-edge legal challenges for many years. They are fearless in bringing cases and will use technology effectively such as with crowd funding. They obtain excellent results often in difficult circumstances and are a pleasure to work with.’
‘The firm is always at the forefront of legal innovation and development. They take on cases which make law.’
‘Sheetul Sowdagur, Robert Maddox, Daniel Zona and Elizabeth McGlone are all highly motivated, talented lawyers. Their attention to detail is meticulous and they always go the extra mile for their clients. They are true class and above their competitors.’
‘Robert Maddox provides advice well beyond his seniority – he is very astute tactically and has an eye for detail.’
Nicholas Mostyn & Ors (six Court of Appeal and High Court judges) (RM)
A&B v X&Y and Times Newspapers Ltd
Gray v Mulberry
- Acted for Court of Appeal and High Court judges in the ongoing discriminatory pension dispute against the Lord Chancellor and Ministry of Justice. Successfully defeated the MOJ’s appeal to the Court of Appeal with a unanimous judgment in favour of the judges.
- In A&B v X&Y & Ors, acted for the claimants from the outset of their claims for sexual harassment whilst working in a private household. The claims were withdrawn and later dismissed.
- In Gray v Mulberry, acted for the claimant in her Court of Appeal case to determine whether a belief in her own copyright was capable of affording protection under the Equality Act 2010.
didlaw is a specialist employment and discrimination law practice set up by the 'superb' Karen Jackson in 2008. The firm has a focus on disability discrimination and other health-related workplace issues, such as stress PI claims for psychiatric injury, with a growing emphasis on cases relating to sex, maternity and other forms of discrimination. Through Jackson’s specialism in disability discrimination, the firm continues to focus on this area with a majority of this work being around stress and mental health issues and often involving senior people.
‘I appreciate the strong professional and interpersonal approach.’
‘Karen Jackson is superb at what she does; one of the best negotiators I have ever met; excellent client care skills; measured; knows both the law and how to use it. Provides good instructions at the right time and with the right degree of detail. A pleasure to work with.’
‘A friendly, inclusive firm who do what they can to serve their clients to the best of their ability. They take responsibility very seriously and I get the impression that they would do what it takes to get the best outcomes for their clients. Their new branding makes them appear modern and fresh but they clearly have a great deal of experience behind them.’
‘The practitioners that I have worked with have had excellent interpersonal skills and a good understanding of how to speak to, advise and guide those who are especially emotionally vulnerable.’
‘Expertise in disability discrimination; expert client handling; superb negotiation skills‘
‘Karen Jackson and her team are diligent and timely, but much more importantly given their specialism they have empathy and go to great lengths to make sure the client is completely comfortable with what can be an anxiety-inducing process.’
Ms M Thandi & Ors v Next Retail Ltd (Case Nos. 1302019/2018 & Ors)
Equity (incorporating the Variety Artistes’ Federation)
The 'outstanding' Susie Al-Qassab heads the employment team at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors which has a strong track record of representing both employees and employers. This gives the team the ability to see things from both sides and provide clear strategic advice for both types of clients. The team has a varied client base covering all manner of sectors. 'Passionate and committed' Homa Wilson specialises in complex and multi-issue discrimination claims involving sex, maternity, race and religious discrimination. Discrimination matters are pursued at all levels, but in particular the team continues to be successful in helping senior women and ethnic minorities take action against discrimination at the highest levels of management. A unique offering of the practice is for individuals facing allegations of gross misconduct based on criminal or regulatory wrongdoing as the team works closely with the criminal defence team.
‘Susie Al-Qassab is extremely knowledgeable, hardworking and compassionate. She has significant experience acting for both individuals and employers, which helps ensure her advice is highly pragmatic.’
‘The team is passionate and professional in acting for their employee clients.’
‘I respect very highly Homa Wilson. She is an excellent all-round employment lawyer who has a very good attention to detail.’
‘Susie Al-Qassab is an outstanding lawyer. She combines the ability to operate on both the strategic and tactical plains. She manages complexity with ease. She is astute, honest and transparent. Having previously worked extensively with magic circle firms, Susie would be my first recommendation for employment law.’
‘Great team, approachable, knowledgeable and pragmatic.’
‘Susie Al-Qassab went above and beyond acting for the (very senior) individual I referred to her. Her client service was exceptional, her attention to detail meticulous, and she is extremely committed.’
‘Homa Wilson is an excellent employment lawyer. She is always willing to provide clear and coherent advice to both employers and employees.’
‘Susie Al-Qassab is a stand-out lawyer who brings her passion and intelligence to acting for her clients and focuses on solutions and resolution of issues.’
- Acted for a black lawyer who worked in a large US firm. The claim involved race discrimination – including racist remarks made by a partner. He was sidelined and unable to hit his target, due to a concerted effort to divert work away from him. A significant compensation was negotiated on his behalf. An ex gratia payment of £80,000 was secured.
- Acted for an individual who was successful in her claim against a large high street bank for their failure to make reasonable adjustments for her under the Equality Act 2010. Despite being a large and well-resourced organisation, the respondent failed to make necessary adjustments in relation to the claimant’s light sensitivity disability and was criticised by the judge for unreasonable and inexplicable delay in dealing with the claimant’s health concerns.
- Acted for a client who was accused of breaching confidentiality and post termination restrictions when she left to join a competitor and was threatened with an injunction and breach of contract claim (plus costs) running to tens of thousands of pounds. The allegations and the enforceability of the post termination restrictions were successfully disputed. The employer conceded and did not pursue action against the client.
The employment and professional discipline team at Irwin Mitchell focuses on acting for employees, senior executives and professionals, with particular expertise in discrimination, victimisation and harassment, whistleblowing, pay and bonus disputes, restrictive covenants and post-termination restrictions, unfair dismissal and redundancy as well as settlement and mediation. The team combines employment law advice with professional discipline expertise enabling it to advise regulated professionals on overlapping employment and professional discipline issues. The practice head, Shah Qureshi, has an excellent reputation in pursuing discrimination and whistleblowing cases against large corporations and public bodies. Shazia Khan acts in particular for senior executives, focusing on complex high-value discrimination and sexual harassment, whistleblowing and contractual disputes whilst Emilie Cole focuses on representing professionals in high value and complex whistleblowing actions and is regularly instructed by solicitors.
‘A team which has gone from strength to strength since the arrival of three stellar partners: Shah Qureshi, Emilie Cole and Shazia Khan. Operates at the cutting-edge of employment law and is adored by clients.‘
Judge Claire Gilham (v Ministry of Justice)
Mohamed Al-Obaidi (v Frimley NHS Foundation Trust)
Matthew Weston (v Eurogroup Consulting)
Charles Raw (v JLT Re & Guy Carpenter)
British Dental Association
Judge Kumrai (v Ministry of Justice)
Meena Agarwal (v Cardiff University & another)
Pauline Leonard (v the Whittington Hospital NHS Trust & others)
Mr AG Bailie –v- ADM Investor Services International Limited & Others
- Successfully represented Judge Claire Gilham in her appeal to the Supreme Court. The landmark case established that public office holders including judges are entitled to whistleblowing protection.
- In D v Defence Unlimited International & Others, successfully represented a client in sexual harassment and victimisation case against her former employer, a billionaire arms dealer.
- Successfully represented a senior employee of a well known tech company, with a rare skin disorder, Eosinophilic Disorder, in the £580,000 settlement of her disability discrimination claim.
Paul Mander heads the employment team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP. The growing team has extensive experience in advising on industrial actions and trade union law and regularly acts on group claims and precedent setting claims, while the firm's defamation and privacy lawyers take action on behalf of member organisations and their members who are subject to defamatory allegations. The 'calm and supportive' Binder Bansel and 'tactically astute' Anthea Christie represent trade unions, staff associations and individual clients on issues covering trade union law, industrial disputes, collective bargaining, staff associations and member claims, with significant experience and expertise in industrial action claims, large group actions, discrimination and whistleblowing claims. The team has a multidisciplinary approach and can advise on employers, employees as well as act in cases of unionised workplaces. The firm's recent merger with Thomas Cooper LLP saw industrial relations expert Nick Humphreys join the team.
‘This practice has significant experience in numerous areas of litigation which is of considerable help when dealing with highly complex matters. They are very quick to respond to urgent requests for advice and assistance and go the extra mile in the service they provide.’
‘The individuals who work for Penningtons are very experienced especially the partners of the firm. They are very open and honest with their advice regarding matters you speak to them about. They are very professional and very approachable. ‘
‘Binder Bansel has great empathy and understanding. Never flustered. Always available and readily replies to enquires. A true professional who really cares for his clients. Ensures you are informed and updated. Has a calm and supportive manner. He is honest and a man of stature.’
‘Anthea Christie has an awesome ability to quickly to master the detail of cases and to identify points of difficulty both in relation to the law and tactics.’
‘Binder Bansel has extremely impressive knowledge across a range of subject areas, combined with excellent client care skills and strong strategic sense. ‘
‘They show great empathy and understanding. They provide reassurance without over-promising. There is always a point of contact when the main solicitor is away or unavailable. Keep you up to date and informed. Well prepared and knowledgeable. Make you feel valued and cared for.‘
‘Expert litigators. Leading specialists in the law relating to police organisation and terms and conditions. Able with ease to manage the interface between public law and employment issues.’
Police Federation of England & Wales
Communication Workers Union (CWU)
Civil Nuclear Police Federation
United Road Transport Union
First Division Association
Association of Schools & College Leaders
National Association of Schoolmasters & Union of Women Teachers
- Acted on a test case affecting all Authorised Firearms Officers and Taser Officers nationally on whether the colour blindness test for such officers discriminates against male officers.
- Acted in several industrial action challenges brought against the Communication Workers Union by Royal Mail, in the High Court and Court of Appeal, with potential impact on the general election and Christmas post and extent to which lawful industrial action can take place.
- Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police – a test case fought to the Supreme Court for parity between mothers and fathers sharing parental leave, affecting the rights of all working parents.
Simpson Millar LLP is recognised as an experienced trade union firm, with longstanding relationships with several unions; the team provides a personal and tailored service to both larger and smaller unions. Individual employees, from the most junior to high-level managers and executives, are also advised. The employment department, headed by Aneil Balgobin, has particular expertise in equal opportunities, whistleblowing and in working time, including running numerous sets of multiple holiday pay claims on the application of the developing law on holiday pay, to complicated working patterns and payments. Joy Drummond specialises in all aspects of employment, industrial law and trade union constitutional matters and in the past year, disability discrimination, harassment and collective redundancy have been a particular focus.
Other key lawyers:
‘Joy Drummond is modest but few rival her in terms of knowledge and analysis.’
‘Patient, informed and willing to respond to an evolving legal situation.’
‘Joy Drummond navigated my particular experience, bringing to bear her superior experience and practical advice in negotiating a successful uplift in the offer made to the employees.‘
Aircrew Officers Association Europe
Communication Workers Union
Hong Kong Air Officers Association
Immigration Service Union
RSPB Staff Association
Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union
- Advised the FDA union on their member’s claims for disability discrimination and representing the member in the Employment Tribunal proceedings, and negotiating a financial settlement and valuable adjustments to enable the member to progress her career with her employer.
- Advised client on collective redundancy consultation in his capacity of Employee Representative in closure of hedge fund employer, which included age discrimination issues.
- Advised the Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union on various issues in connection with several different instances of industrial action called by the client.
Thompsons Solicitors LLP
The employment rights and trade union law group at Thompsons Solicitors LLP is headed by Rakesh Patel and Brian Wilson in London and Richard Arthur in Bristol. The firm has a long history of working alongside the UK trade union movement to defend workers’ rights, and represents some of the largest and most influential unions. In addition, the firm is committed to claimant and trade union only representation and acts for the majority of unions and their members in all major forums, including the Employment Tribunal, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Head of employment rights Victoria Phillips regularly handles rule book and industrial action matters as well as TUPE transfers and working time issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘Thompsons is the leading firm for trade unions in both employment and personal injury. As well as covering all the standard areas, such as unfair dismissal, discrimination and breach of contract, it is the leading firm in areas that few other firms touch, such as strikes and injunctions; judicial review and employment law; internal trade union issues (e.g. Certification Officer); collective claims (e.g. for inadequate consultation in mass redundancies); black-listing claims; and test cases in areas such as paid annual leave.’
‘Richard Arthur and Vicky Phillips have unparalleled expertise in industrial action and trade union internal disputes, for example: I cannot think of any other solicitors who can deal with strike cases, which demand urgent work and quick tactical decisions, so quickly, effectively and pragmatically: any union client would want them on their side. Both have also done cases on human rights and employment, including claims to the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice, demonstrating the width and depth of their abilities.’
‘Richard Arthur combines razor-sharp mind with excellent pragmatic judgement. Probably the leading expert in the country on industrial action and defending injunction claims, but also with specialist expertise in internal union affairs, blacklisting, collective disputes and human rights and employment.’
‘Vicky Phillips – the UK’s other leading expert on strikes and internal union affairs. She knows the whole sweep of employment law and has unrivalled expertise in areas such as strikes, annual leave and internal disputes. Pragmatic, tactical, charming and tough – exactly the sort of person a union wants on its side in a difficult dispute.’
‘Rakesh Patel – clever, thoughtful and always one step ahead in spotting the potential consequences of decisions. Especial expertise in discrimination, public law and difficult areas such as legal issues surrounding zero-hours contracts.’
‘Tremendous strength and depth of legal and practical expertise in representing employees and trade unions. the clear leader in its field. Wide geographical coverage where appropriate.’
‘Excellent firm of lawyers who are committed to representing trade union members with no conflict of interest of acting for employers or insurance companies.’
William Barclay and other members of Unite the Union
Mr Dunkley and other members of Unite
Unite the Union
Prison Officers Association
European Public Services Union
Unite the Union and UNISON
Fire Brigades Union
- Acted on a high-profile Unite the Union multi-claimant case arising from blacklisting of trade union activists which settled shortly before a eight-week High Court trial for a sum of over £1m.
- Acted on an equal pay case against RBS which settled for £150,000.
- Acted for presenter Samira Ahmed on an equal pay case against the BBC which was successful at Tribunal in January 2020.
Curzon Green Solicitors
With a niche in the recruitment, financial and media industries, the employment team at Curzon Green Solicitors predominantly advises high-profile senior executives and partners in the City, as well as SMEs and businesses. The young and largely female team, led by Jennifer Sole, has built up strong relationships with recruitment firms and executives within the insurance industry. Restrictive covenant work and equality issues have become specialisms of the firm, acting for both employee and employer. The team particularly focuses on discrimination law, regularly managing high-value claims of harassment, sex and pregnancy/maternity discrimination, and complex equal pay complaints.
Feliciana EFL Ltd o.b.o Wycombe Wanderers FC
Create Recruitment Specialists Limited
Next Employment Limited
Four Seasons Recruitment Limited
Attrax Limited (formerly 4MAT.COM Limited)
Bond Recruitment Limited
Pattinson & Brewer
Pattinson & Brewer acts for both individuals and unions and has represented clients at all levels and in all courts and tribunals. The employment department works on all types of employment claims, such as dismissals, discrimination, or wage disputes.
Rahman Lowe Solicitors is a specialist employment firm which handles all types of claims, including complex discrimination, whistleblowing, unfair dismissal, redundancy, breach of contract and collective labour law matters. The team, headed by the 'astute' Jahad Rahmad, acts for employers, senior executives and employees and has particular expertise in discrimination and whistleblowing claims. Notably, the firm has made use of crowdfunding platform CrowdJustice to pursue cases and to help improve access to justice for those with limited funds.
Other key lawyers:
‘Rahman Lowe are a small niche firm with particular expertise in employment and discrimination law. What makes the practice unique is having genuine employment and discrimination specialists who cut their teeth working at some of the largest claimant/trade union firms in the UK. They have experience in all areas of employment law. They have developed a particular expertise in whistleblowing and advising high end executives. However, they also handle cases for claimants who are less well resourced.’
‘Jahad Rahman and Zillur Rahman, in my experience, were both very dedicated, hard working solicitors who will go the extra mile for their clients. They are both capable of dealing sensitively with difficult issues, respecting and understanding the needs of their clients. They have been able to gain the confidence of clients where other firms have failed.’
‘Calm specialist support, understanding and non-judgemental of our position. Concise and specific support provided flexibly on an hour-to-hour basis.’
‘Zillur Rahman was calm and knowledgeable and provided us with detailed advice in a complex case. He was particularly understanding of our unique position and we were partially successful in our claim at the employment tribunal. Partial success is still success particularly in that tribunal and so we very much appreciate Zillur’s help and encouragement through what was an exceptionally difficult time.’
‘Rahman Lowe solicitors are very friendly and reassuring.’
‘Jahad Rahman was polite, approachable, friendly and most importantly he believed me. I felt like I finally had someone with power and influence on my side which was a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel very fortunate indeed that I contacted Rahman Lowe. Jahad discussed every part of my case with me, in depth. His professional skill he shared, he explained points of the law which many fall foul of if they attempt to conduct their own defence; at every point I felt we were a team working together, with the help and support of many others at Rahman Lowe, and it was as a team that we achieved the result that we did. The staff are always kind and courteous and you are always greeted like a friend, being made to feel very welcome and safe.’
‘Zillur Rahman is very experienced and very professional’
‘The Rahman Lowe team provides a very personal service which is extremely important when the client is undergoing a great deal of stress and trauma from their work situation and environment.’
Dr Chris Day
- Acted on behalf of Dr Chris Day in relation to his high profile complex claim for whistleblowing detriment. Dr Day exposed and successfully challenged a Government agency’s attempt to argue the nation’s junior doctors out of whistleblowing protection in order to prevent his whistleblowing case being heard.
- Acted on behalf of a Sue Allison, a radiographer, in relation to her high profile whistleblowing claim against an NHS Trust. She was employed in the breast screening unit and raised concerns about patient safety issues, including misdiagnoses of cancer.
The employment law department at Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP is jointly headed by the 'exceptional' Gerard Airey and Rebecca Roberts; Airey having joined from Thompsons Solicitors LLP in mid-2019. The team has continued to build up its international client base, acting for both employers and employees. The team handles a wide variety of employment matters, such as unfair dismissal, breach of contract, redundancy, pregnancy and maternity discrimination, detriment due to adoption leave, equal pay, complex discrimination, employee status and IR35 issues.
‘Gerard Airey is tactical, astute, hardworking whilst delivering an outstanding service.’
‘Attention to detail, level of focus and ability to explore multiple avenues.’
‘Gerard Airey is a very good litigator – smart, innovative and a tough negotiator.’
‘They have a team with a wide range of expertise in-house and they can share it easily where it’s needed.’
‘Gerard Airey is an exceptional litigator with an ideal personality for running a successful department. He is definitely one to look out for in the future.’
‘Gerard Airey is a exceptional litigator who is willing to push the boundaries of conventional legal thinking in achieving outstanding results for his clients. He operates often at a higher level to legal practitioners with greater experience.’
- Acted for a senior executive in a claim involving unfair dismissal and data breaches.
- Advised a charity employee in a bullying claim.
- Advised on a complex case of pregnancy discrimination and obtained an extremely favourable settlement for the client.