Doyle Clayton > London, England > Firm Profile

Doyle Clayton
Berkeley Square

Public sector > Education: individuals Tier 1

The education practice at Doyle Clayton comprises ‘real experts in the education sector’ who offer extensive experience representing teachers and university lecturers in a variety of discrimination, contract breach, and misconduct claims. In addition to a record of handling high-profile cases related to free speech and harassment, the team is also capable of acting for students and parents in claims related to academic misconduct, discrimination, SEN issues, and safeguarding. The practice is led by Simon Henthorn, a ‘hugely experienced, clever and strategic‘ lawyer who acts for teachers and professors across a wide range of mandates related to misconduct, discrimination, and general employment issues. Peter Daly is also highly recommended for his employment and discrimination expertise and is noted for his work on freedom of expression issues and breaches of contract. Other key contacts in the team include Amara Ahmad, a specialist for SEN and disability issues, and Anna Blackden, who advises on immigration issues.

Practice head(s):

Simon Henthorn

Other key lawyers:


‘Amara Ahmad was able to give me good advice and lead me towards a successful resolution of my case.’

‘Doyle Clayton is an excellent firm with a range of genuine specialists in the education sector, covering all areas from FTT appeals to civil claims and higher education. They have a particular flair for discrimination work.’

‘Amara Ahmad is absolutely superb. She has unending patience and compassion for clients, but is also able to give very clear advice about a client’s best interests. Her written advocacy in terms of witness statements and applications is top-notch. I would unhesitatingly recommend her in this field. Simon Henthorn is similarly excellent.’

‘Doyle Clayton are building a strong reputation in the education law world.’

‘Amara Ahmad is a wonderful solicitor. She is bright, diligent and has an exceptional memory. Her handle of the facts on any case is exceptional. Peter Daly is also absolutely fantastic.’

‘Doyle Clayton are the market leaders in representing university lecturers. The education team consists of real experts in the education sector.’

‘Simon Henthorn is one of the best education lawyers there is. Hugely experienced, clever and strategic, emotionally intelligent, and dedicated to his clients.’

‘Simon Henthorn is unflappable. Excellent judgment with a great client manner and communication skills. Simon has handled cases with high levels of skill and care.’

Employment > Employment: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 1

Employment law firm Doyle Clayton fields a team of ‘true specialists’ that represents both employers and employees alike on the full-suite of employment law issues. Defending employment tribunal claims, specialist data protection, workplace investigations and discrimination claims are among the team’s core work streams in the space. Seasoned practitioner and team leader Tina Wisener is an expert on whistleblowing and complex discrimination cases. James Anderson is another key fee earner, representing both employers and employees. Paul Hayward arrived from Blake Morgan LLP in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Tina Wisener

Other key lawyers:

Piers Leigh-Pollitt; James Anderson; Karen Holden; Adam Murdoch; Kate Kapp; Paul Hayward; Mike Hibberd


‘The team at Doyle Clayton were fantastic. During a highly sensitive and stressful time they made me feel safe and supported. Their systems and ways of working were fluid. Everyone I spoke with seemed to genuinely want to help me as a client, whether it was my solicitor or the accounts team. I would highly recommend them.’

‘While undergoing an exceptionally sensitive and stressful time, Karen Holden made me feel safe, supported and listened to. She heard what I was saying and took the time to understand the situation and what I wanted to achieve. She quickly gave me confidence in her capability to support me, it goes without saying saying she has a solid grasp of law and proved to be a good strategist (even under a changing situation).’

‘Doyle Clayton in Reading have acquired a team of true specialists in the field of employment law. The spectrum and depth of knowledge is gold standard. The process of recruitment within the team has been based on passion for this field of law and therefore the standard of service is maintained as first rate.’

‘Kate Kapp is a highly able employment lawyer and a first class litigator. She manages the pressures that come with litigation with consummate ease, always maintaining high professional standards and makes good judgement calls, despite the demands that come in the context of a live hearing. She is a good lawyer and makes accurate assessments applying the law to the evidence that is available. She has all of the abilities of a stellar solicitor.’

‘Mike Hibberd prepares his cases assiduously. His knowledge of employment law and procedure is excellent which he applies meticulously. As instructed counsel, one will receive an armchair ride in terms of your brief and the advice provided by Mike given to the client and the identification of a realistic and accurate case theory.’

‘The best employment lawyers in the M4 corridor by far. Always my top recommendation for anyone with employment issues.’

‘Tina Wisener is a partner with winning ways. Exceptionally good client skills. James Anderson has particular experience and expertise with education clients. Piers Leigh-Pollitt has a wealth of experience in data protection and regulatory issues. Kate Kapp is a very tough litigator who is clearly partnership material. Adam Murdock is very experienced at handling class actions and multi party disputes.’

‘I’ve been glad to have advice from Paul Hayward in the past in relation to a sensitive employment matter. He was always practical, always reassuring, and delivered a successful resolution with a creative angle that worked and frankly took a weight off my mind. I particularly appreciated his realism as to what might be possible and his explanations of the process and the likely timeframes, as well as his patience in explaining how, when, and when not, to challenge the most spurious elements of a claim.’

Key clients

Atrium Underwriters

Bank of Africa United Kingdom Plc

British Medical Association

Shepherd’s Bush Housing Association

Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal

Gillian Slovo

Bunzl UK Limited



Work highlights

  • Advising the Bank of Africa to defend whistleblowing, discrimination (sex, race, victimisation, sexual harassment and harassment) and unfair dismissal (both ordinary unfair dismissal and automatic unfair for whistleblowing) claims.
  • Instructed by Atrium to conduct an independent review of the conduct of various individuals and the employee culture at Atrium.
  • Instructed by the SDT to issue proceedings in the High Court to obtain an injunction, to prevent the harassment of SDT Members.

Employment > Immigration

Doyle Clayton delivers ‘the high quality of immigration service demanded by their clientele’ in both the routine and more complex immigration mandates. Anita de Atouguia heads the practice, leading primarily in relation to the firm’s business offering, yet with additional significant experience in asylum and human rights immigration issues, she is well-placed to advise clients with their complex matters. Malini Skandachanmugarasan leads in the firm’s personal immigration work, with a track record in cases reliant on Home Office discretion and experience in global mobility for business clients. Alfreda Joubert joined the team from Magrath Sheldrick LLP in April 2023, and has a specific focus on global corporate clients and SMEs across a range of sectors. Also of note are senior associates Adam Cotterill, who has experience handling international adoption and surrogacy cases, Anna Blackenden, who has a sector focus in education, and Elisabeth Kynaston, who has dual immigration and employment law practice.

Practice head(s):

Anita de Atouguia; Malini Skandachanmugarasan

Other key lawyers:


My lawyer was Adam Cotterill. He was outstanding, consistently professional and reassuring. My experience with him was extremely positive and resulted in the best outcome I could wish for.

The immigration team have always been very professional in approach, with an excellent understanding of client need. The team are readily available to discuss issues and to offer advice and support.’

The team at Doyle Clayton are the best I’ve used. They provide detailed advice but give that edge of making it easy for the layperson to comprehend.

Those individual team members that I’ve had the pleasure of working with are all extremely professional, whilst having that human element of making you feel at ease and comfortable in asking any relevant question (no matter how obvious it might be!).

Anita’s team is helpful, responsive and dependable, as they are always within reach, and consistently follow through their commitments made. The team gives clear, up-to-date information and advice to help clients navigate the complexities of visa requirements and issues. The team is also great at giving alternative solutions/workarounds to visa challenges.’

What most impresses me about Doyle Clayton’s approach, led by Anita de Atouguia, is that it is quality driven. Client’s interests are properly assessed, and the best solution offered, rather than the easiest. Anita’s leadership ensures that the entire team are supported to deliver a seamless and commercial service for their clients, and go the extra mile.’

Anita de Atouguia is a leader. She has built the Doyle Clayton team, orienting them to deliver the high quality of immigration service demanded by their clientele. Never one to rest on old understanding, she constantly liaises with the Home Office to ensure that advice is based on current Home Office practice and policy.

I was impressed by the speed of response and the level of expertise and resources that Malini Skandachanmugarasan and her team were able to offer. Moreover, Malini and her team listen well to the clients’ needs and make the clients feel really valued.’

Work highlights

  • Obtaining ILR in the UK for a victim of domestic violence despite a historical conviction for an offence committed under coercion by their partner.
  • Applying for discretionary leave to remain for an individual who became seriously unwell while visiting the UK and needs vital private medical treatment.
  • Navigated the UK immigration system to reunite a British-Afghan family when they were separated after the Taliban takeover.

Employment > Senior executives Tier 2

Doyle Clayton fields a ‘top quality team across the board,’ with particular strengths in sex discrimination in the public sector. The firm also acts in harassment, maternity and pregnancy discrimination cases, in combination with claims for unlawful conspiracy. Peter De Maria spearheads the practice and is known for his work on new service and settlement agreements. With expertise in both contentious and non-contentious exits, Dan Begbie-Clench regularly negotiates severances packages and employment terms. Other key names in the team are Peter Daly, who specialises in public sector discrimination and unfair dismissal claims.

Practice head(s):

Peter De Maria

Other key lawyers:

Dan Begbie-Clench; Peter Daly; Emma Hamnett; Robert Maddox


‘Peter De Maria is one of the most knowledgeable, pragmatic and user-friendly solicitors advising in this practice area.’ 

‘Peter Daly is a truly outstanding lawyer: completely on top of the law, creative and thoughtful, fantastic with clients, able to generate and navigate publicity and press interest, an absolute pleasure to work with.’ 

‘Emma Hamnett has fantastic knowledge and experience in High Court disputes on challenging and technical areas of employment law.’

‘Robert Maddox – excellent client care, ability to deal with both technical detail and think about wider strategy.’

‘Top quality team across the board.’

‘Dan Begbie-Clench was excellent as the partner in charge of this matter. He was empathetic yet robust throughout a difficult process.’ 

‘The Doyle Clayton team provide real strength in depth from partners to junior associates, and have a standout breadth of experience across many industry sectors including tech and private equity. They take a firm position in all cases but are also able to provide realistic commercial advice as to how to handle a case. The collaboration within teams is excellent.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for Allison Bailey, who alleged that she had been discriminated against by her chambers for holding gender critical beliefs, and that this discrimination had been induced, caused or instructed by Stonewall per s111 Equality Act 2010.
  • Instructed by professors at Oxford University to challenge the University’s statutes which impose enforced retirement.
  • Acted for Maya Forstater in a case which successfully established gender critical beliefs as protected under the Equality Act 2010.

Public sector > Education: schools Tier 3

Doyle Clayton excels at handling contentious education work and trusted by independent schools and multi academy trusts across the country to advise on employment and student issues of a reputationally sensitive nature. The team is well-regarded for its expertise in safeguarding and discrimination matters and has represented schools in a number of claims and judicial reviews, and it is also trusted to act on matters related to pensions, industrial relations, and disciplinary procedures. Practice head Simon Henthorn is a 'knowledgeable, calm, and efficient'employment and safeguarding expert who also provides schools with non-contentious governance advice. Amara Ahmad, who specialises in matters related to students with special educational needs, and employment expert Liz Timmins are further names to note.

Practice head(s):

Simon Henthorn

Other key lawyers:

Peter Daly; Liz Timmins; Amara Ahmad


A highly competent and personable team of experts who have given our school timely, detailed and helpful advice.’

‘The team have made an effort to get to know our school and our team very well’

‘I find Doyle Clayton to be extremely responsive and Simon Henthorn in particular to be knowledgeable, calm, efficient and overall simply excellent to work with.’

‘Simon Henthorn is excellent at putting things in perspective and giving calm, measured advice when I may be feeling the pressure.’

Work highlights

Employment > Employers Tier 4

Doyle Clayton, well known for its employee work, also has a strong employer side practice which is continuing to grow. The firm regularly handles sensitive tribunal litigation for major multinationals and is recommended for its experience in navigating potential restrictive covenant infringements, particularly with regard to LLPs. The team is led by the highly experienced Peter De Maria, who offers expertise on team moves, breach of fiduciary duties and misuse of confidential information. De Maria has an impressive record in litigation and regularly receives referrals from barristers’ chambers. Other key team members include Dan Begbie-Clench, an expert in senior employee contractual negotiations, and retail and tech sector employment specialist Alison Garrow, who was promoted to partner in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Peter De Maria

Other key lawyers:


‘Great depth of knowledge, commerciality, approachability and genuine interest in their clients.’

‘Dan Begbie-Clench – feels like a genuine partner to us, easy to deal with, talks in a language everyone can understand, provided training to our company that was practical and useful.’

‘The team has been cohesive and attentive throughout a two-year long matter.’

‘Very practical and easy to use. All around a pleasure to deal with.’

‘They have an excellent team, with great attention to detail.’

‘Their team comprises professionals from diverse backgrounds, allowing them the ability to offer us comprehensive and holistic solutions.’

Key clients

Bank of Africa United Kingdom PLC

Work highlights

  • Acts for Bank of Africa, its CEO and one of its non-exec directors in respect of claims brought against them by their former head of HR, for unfair dismissal and whistleblowing.
  • Advising an accountancy practice on recruitment of an LLP member from a competing firm and his non-compete restrictions.
  • Advising a law firm on recruitment of partners from rival London-based firms and advising on the LLP restrictive covenants for those individuals.

Employment > Employees/unions

Employment > Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

South East > Employment > Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

Doyle Clayton is the UK’s largest and most successful specialist workplace law firm. It is a recognised market leaders for its work with both employers and individuals.

About the firm. Doyle Clayton was set up by Peter Doyle and Darren Clayton in 1997 as specialist employment law boutique. Over the years it has expanded its services to include immigration, pension, regulatory, data protection, employee benefits, share schemes and remuneration, health and safety, start-up support and employee ownership trust services. It also has one of the UK’s leading education teams providing services for the education sector, its employees as well as students/parents. This also includes a specialist team providing SEND (special educational needs) help and advice so that children and young adults get the help and support they need at the right school, college or university.

Today the firm operates from four offices (City, Mayfair, Canary Wharf and Reading) and employs over 50 specialist lawyers and advisors. It is also a founder member of ELLINT (, an international network of specialist employment law firms.

Types of work undertaken: Doyle Clayton advises on a wide range of workplace legal issues (both contentious and non-contentious).

Employment: specialist employment lawyers provide high-quality advice and support which covers the full range of employment law matters including: contracts, policies and procedures; employment disputes in the High Court and tribunals; TUPE; redundancy situations and termination of employment; settlement agreements; injunctions and team moves; and partnership and minority shareholder disputes.

Business immigration: this specialist team has a wealth of experience in all areas of business immigration law, including the points-based system (PBS), and keeps abreast of the latest developments so that it can guide both individual and employer clients through the immigration process. The firm has expertise in relation to applications under each tier of the PBS, including applications for investors and entrepreneurs under Tier 1 and Tier 5 (GAE) visas. It advises employer clients on applying for sponsor licences, related compliance issues, and issuing certificates of sponsorship (under Tier 2 of PBS, which includes the general skilled category and the intracompany transfer category). It has a 100% success rate for clients’ sponsor licence applications and knows how to expedite matters when required. The team is expanding its global immigration visa assistance capabilities, including advising on Schengen visas. In addition, the team advises on other non-PBS visas including sole representative applications, as well as assisting individuals to obtain settlement and British citizenship. The team also has particular expertise in EEA matters in relation to obtaining immigration documentation for EEA nationals and their dependant family members.

Employee benefits: the pensions team has experience of all forms of UK-based pension arrangements, advising employers, trustees and intermediaries. Doyle Clayton’s employee share incentives experts can help design and deliver the right share scheme solution for each business, guiding clients through the increasingly challenging tax, corporate governance, employment law and regulatory issues. It also advises on the operation and administration of share schemes, helping on the grant of new awards, processing vested awards, dealing with departing employees and advising on corporate transactions.

Other areas: data protection, regulatory, corporate/commercial, employee ownership trusts, notary public and health and safety.

Sectors: finance, insurance, professional services, manufacturing, media, education, retail, hospitality, leisure, transport and logistics, technology, pharmaceuticals and startups.

Department Name Email Telephone
CEO Peter Doyle
Employment - Reading TIna Wisener
Employment - London Peter De Maria
Business Immigration Anita de Atouguia
Pensions Andrew Campbell
Regulatory Charlie Herbert
Corporate Liz Barton
Data Protection Piers Leigh-Pollitt
Employee Ownership Trusts Garry Karch
Education Simon Henthorn
Notary Public Sukhpal Matharoo
Number of UK partners : 16
Number of other UK fee-earners : 34
ELA (Employment Lawyers Association)
ILPA (Immigration Lawyers Practice Association)
Solicitors Regulation Authority