Employment: employees/unions in London
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.
‘Chris Benson sees the whole field. He is pragmatic to his fingertips and impossible to unsettle.’
‘Annie Powell is an exceptional legal mind and strategist. She will leave no stone unturned and her commitment to her clients is admirable. Her skill wins cases long before they ever need to see the inside of an employment tribunal.’
‘Nigel Mackay is absolutely amazing. He was caring and compassionate, and expressed the necessary outrage when needed, but was also a top-notch lawyer. His advice was always very practical and he did an excellent job of keeping me, as the client, involved.‘
‘Kiran Daurka is fiercely committed to her clients and the causes she champions.‘
Addison Lee Drivers
Over 120 part-time judges
Over 230 judges including District, Employment, Circuit, Upper and First Tier Tribunal Judges and High Court Masters
Over 30,000 shop workers in the largest private-sector equal pay claim against Asda
Over 13,000 police officers in the largest discrimination claim against the government and the police commissioners
Tesco Equal Pay
Cherie Rogers, Sandra Darby & Muhamet Osmani
- Represented Uber drivers in their claim for workers’ rights, supported by the GMB.
- Representing Addison Lee drivers in a high-profile worker status case, successful at both tribunal and appeal tribunal levels.
- Represented 50 Deliveroo riders in their claim for employment rights.
- Continuing to act for multiple Asda employees in the largest private-sector equal pay claim.
- Acting for Protect in an intervention in a Court of Appeal case regarding liability for losses resulting from whistleblowing.
At Slater and Gordon, national practice head Edward Cooper and his team handle a wide scope of employment matters for their clients, such as corporate advisory work for unions, conducting judicial reviews, handling discrimination claims and advising on pensions. Emma Hawksworth is skilled in handling complex equal pay work and providing GDPR-related advice. The wider team also includes Paula Chan, who is currently acting head of the department for London and advises on contentious and non-contentious employment law issues; Clive Howard, who advises on high-level exits and whistleblowing cases; and new partner Peter Daly, who joined from Bindmans LLP in May 2019.
Edward Cooper; Paula Chan
Police Federation of England & Wales
Unite the Union
- Acting for the FDA, the PCSU and Prospect in a judicial review challenge to the consultation process leading to the decision of the Minister of the Cabinet Office to increase pay for civil servants post austerity by 1 – 1.5%.
- Acting for the Police Federation of England and Wales in the judicial review of the Home Secretary’s decision not to implement in full the recommendations of the Police Remuneration Review Body.
- Defending GMB against two separate certification officer complaints, both of which were dismissed.
- Acting for Phillip Horsley, formerly a fraud investigator for HMRC, who was dismissed after 40 years’ service.
The 'fresh and pragmatic' employment team at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors has expertise in complex discrimination claims, employment termination matters and senior-level exits. It acts for a wide range of industry sector clients. Described as 'first-class' by clients, Homa Wilson has considerable experience in complex multi-issue discrimination claims and is recommended for her ability to win high-value settlements for clients. Susie Al-Qassab is also a key practitioner in the team, having joined the partnership from Howard Kennedy LLP.
The Irwin Mitchell team has strengthened its offering recently with the hiring of several partners, including practice head Shah Qureshi, Shazia Khan and Emilie Cole, who arrived from Bindmans LLP in June 2018. The newly fortified team advises employees on a range of matters including whistleblowing, discrimination, harassment, parental rights, restrictive covenants, unfair dismissal and redundancy. The team has an especially strong reputation for advising senior executives and professionals in the medical and healthcare, banking and financial services, and legal professional services sectors.
‘Exceptional experience of claimant work and high-quality judgement‘
‘Emilie Cole, Shah Qureshi and Shazia Khan stand out for their exceptional client care and judgement‘
‘Emilie Cole is excellent – always calm, well prepared and strategic‘
Judge Claire Gilham
Sir Nicholas Mostyn and five other High Court judges
Independent Workers Union of Great Britain
Trustees of Hattron Pension Group Plan
- Representing Judge Gilham in an appeal against the decision that judges are not workers and therefore do not benefit from whistleblowing protection.
- Acting for Lynette Pratt in her disability and sex discrimination and harassment claims against the Marylebone Cricket Club, the world’s oldest cricket club.
- Acted in the successful age discrimination challenge to the government’s judicial pension scheme reforms, which were held to unjustifiably discriminate against younger judges.
- Represented a claimant in an age discrimination claim after it transpired that older managers’ contracts were being terminated in favour of younger managers under the guise of restructuring.
- Acting for a female associate solicitor in her sex and disability discrimination claims against a leading City law firm.
Pattinson & Brewer
Pattinson & Brewer's employment group handles discrimination matters and a range of contentious and non-contentious work. Practice head Elizabeth George and her team have experience in advising private sector clients on a range of workforce equality and contractual matters. Deputy head of practice Elizabeth Stephenson and Gordon Quilty are also key contacts.
‘The team is always on hand to give authoritative opinions in response to difficult questions.’
‘Elizabeth Stephenson and Gordon Quilty are very accessible when I need advice and time is pressing.’
The 'class act team' at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is 'incredibly knowledgeable, professional and easy to work with'. The practice stands out for its extensive experience in industrial actions and trade union law, and is also developing a track record for representing groups of employees in precedent-setting cases. The types of claim advised on relate to discrimination, whistleblowing, reorganisations and collective redundancies, and regulatory issues, and the team also handles judicial reviews and complaints before the certification officer. Niche specialist knowledge in discrimination cases involving police officers is another notable feature of the firm. Paul Mander and Binder Bansel jointly lead the practice, while Anthea Christie is also recommended.
Paul Mander; Binder Bansel
Other key lawyers:
‘The team have a great leadership structure and are able to deal with a wide breadth of employment and HR queries. Their scope runs from highly controversial and publicised commercial employment disputes to union-backed discrimination claims. The professionalism and good advice of the team is well known and I have received significant amounts of feedback about the exceptional care given to individual clients‘
‘The team at Penningtons are extremely knowledgeable and capable lawyers. They take on high-level and sensitive work, including appellate work at all levels. They are a pleasure to work with and always show their human side‘
‘Penningtons hold one of the gems of the labour law market in trade union and collective employment law matters – Binder Bansel. He is truly one of the best in this field‘
‘The team has acquired deep knowledge of this area over many years and has an understanding of the practical needs of the client‘
‘Very professional with high-quality work, but without being the pressure-cooker that other top firms can be‘
‘Hugely experienced in cases involving complaints by police officers about police disciplinary proceedings and Independent Office for Police Conduct investigations‘.
‘They have a huge amount of experience in representing the Police Federation and individual police officers.‘
‘The employment team at Pennington Manches really know their stuff and are particularly attuned to the needs of their clients in the union sector‘
‘Binder Bansel possesses unparalleled knowledge of trade union and collective labour law. Binder is also one of a small handful of lawyers in the UK who can navigate around the labyrinthine laws concerning industrial action. His knowledge is impressive in every area of collective labour law and he has tremendous experience in cases involving an equalities dimension. Binder impresses for his energy, commitment and creative input in every single case he is instructed on. There is nothing routine about his drive, zest and determination when handling cases‘.
‘Mike Cole displays considerable acumen and nous when seeking to find pragmatic solutions for his clients. Mike is to be credited for his creative outlook. He is inspirational and on my shortlist of lawyers when asked for recommendations‘
‘Anthea Christie is calm and unflappable, tactically astute and very wise. A consummate professional‘.
‘Anthea Christie is bright and careful and possesses brilliant legal knowledge and excellent communication skills. Clients love her and know that she is fully committed to their cases. She misses nothing‘.
National Crime Officers’ Association
Police Federation of England and Wales
Communication Workers Union (CWU)
Civil Nuclear Police Federation
United Road Transport Union
First Division Association
Association of School and College Leaders
National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers
- Instructed by the Communication Workers Union to defend one of the first cases of industrial action following changes to the industrial action legislation as a consequence of the Trade Union Act 2016.
- Represented four police officers making a claim for damages against their employer, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), for failing to exercise its duty of care to them following the arrest of a terrorist suspect in December 2003
- Advised a serving police constable on his successful appeal against a tribunal ruling that he could not take statutory paternity leave on full pay.
- Successfully represented a claimant in a claim for direct discrimination which is now being appealed.
- Successfully represented a female police officer in a claim for indirect sex discrimination relating to the method of testing officers to be dog handlers.
Simpson Millar LLP
At Simpson Millar LLP, Joy Drummond and Aneil Balgobin co-lead the employment practice group, which is renowned for its work with trade unions. The team has vast expertise in whistleblowing matters and represents clients at all levels of seniority across a variety of industry sectors.
Joy Drummond; Aneil Balgobin
Other key lawyers:
Aircrew Officers Association of Europe
Communication Workers Union
Hong Kong Air Officers Association
Immigration Service Union
RSPB Staff Association
Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union
Thompsons Solicitors LLP
Thompsons Solicitors LLP has a strong reputation for acting for trade unions, and, according to one client, is the 'go-to firm for almost every trade union'. The firm acts exclusively for claimants, which include some of the largest and most prolific trade unions in the country. A history of winning landmark cases is another notable feature of the practice, which is led by discrimination law specialist Rakesh Patel. Also of note is associate Brian Wilson, who recently handled a number of claims for detriment and dismissal due to whistleblowing.
Other key lawyers:
‘Thompsons are routinely involved on one side or another in the majority of appellate cases which test or extend the frontiers of labour law. It has a truly fantastic team of lawyers and strength and depth in quality at all levels. The team of partners contains some of the best and most experienced in the country‘.
‘They provide no-nonsense advice and are gritty in holding their ground when it comes to litigation‘.
‘Victoria Phillips’ expertise and experience in trade union and labour relations law is both unmatched and unparalleled amongst her counterparts. She is one of the very few go-to lawyers in the country who advises on industrial action disputes‘.
‘Iain Birrell is particularly impressive for his strategic and creative approach to cases, which he deploys to great effect for his clients. He is devastatingly intelligent and possesses superb tactical nous. Iain is always able to navigate around the labyrinthine maze of industrial action law‘.
‘Neil Todd is highly regarded for his formidable knowledge of collective trade union rights, particularly disputes about union recognition, trade union detriment and blacklisting‘.
‘Gerard Airey is a go-to lawyer with almost infinite knowledge of the Working Time Regulations. His gritty and determined approach to cases is supported by his knowledge of European law. A star in the making‘.
‘Charlotte Moore commands respect from both clients and opponents and gets great results in thorny cases‘.
Unite the Union
- Successfully represented a work coach at the Department of Work and Pensions in a claim of direct sex discrimination
- Successfully represented a journalist in the BBC languages services in a constructive dismissal claim
- Represented a claimant dismissed by their employer after testing positive in a random drugs test.
- Represented a claimant in successful claims for unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal and holiday pay and successfully appealed against a disability discrimination judgment to obtain a wider interpretation of the definition of cancer for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.
- Successfully represented claimants in claims for unfair dismissal, part-time discrimination and indirect sex discrimination.
The departures of Shah Qureshi, Shazia Khan and Emilie Cole from Bindmans LLP in June 2018 were swiftly followed by the arrival of new practice head Elizabeth McGlone from Neves Solicitors in September 2018. According to one client, 'the newly fortified team is thriving and demonstrates a real understanding and compassion for the employee relations difficulties faced by employees, trade union representatives and officials'. Litigating on behalf of employees is a key area of expertise at the firm, which regularly acts for senior executives across various professions, including the judiciary, academia, financial services and the arts.
‘The team demonstrates a dedicated commitment to its clients’ interests‘
‘Bindmans’ employment team has been recently invigorated by the arrival of Liz McGlone, who now heads up the team. The team’s claimant focus is a strength in relation to claims brought by individual claimants or unions‘
Five High Court judges and one Court of Appeal judge
A senior consultant physician
Gray v Mulberry (Design) Ltd
Application Support Officer
Agarwal v Cardiff University & Cardiff and Vale University Local Health Board
- Acting for one Court of Appeal and five High Court judges in bringing a discrimination challenge to the Lord Chancellor’s changes to the Judicial Pensions Scheme.
- Represented Dr A, a consultant endocrinologist, in a claim for race and disability discrimination, harassment and victimisation against a major NHS foundation trust.
- Acting for a claimant in the Court of Appeal who is seeking to establish that her belief in the ‘statutory human or moral right to own the copyright and moral rights of her own creative works and output’ is a philosophical belief.
- Acting for a claimant in his claim for race discrimination against a London bus company.
- Representing a claimant seeking to establish ethical veganism as a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010.
'Business savvy, responsive and client friendly', the three partner-strong employment department at Rahman Lowe Solicitors handles a wide range of employment claims relating to complex discrimination, whistleblowing, unfair dismissal, redundancy, breach of contract, working time and status issues, and collective labour law. The group's enviable client roster includes both senior executives and more junior employees at global investment banks and financial institutions, charities, local authorities and NHS trusts. Since the firm handles both employee and employer side mandates, it has invaluable insight into the tactics used by counterparties. Name partner Jahad Rahmad is a key contact. Zillur Rahman and Sarah Lowe are also highly recommended.
‘The team really listen to the issues and quickly distill the information into the most salient points to work on‘
‘Zillur Rahman was very knowledgeable, efficient and clear. He dealt expediently with my case and managed my expectations, clearly explaining the next steps, the possible timelines and outcomes, and the options I had in progressing the case‘
- Successfully represented a client in his Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal, race discrimination and unpaid wages.