Declan O’Dempsey > Cloisters Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Cloisters Chambers

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Administrative and public law, employment.


Declan O’Dempsey is a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s A panel. He specialises in sensitive and difficult employment, discrimination, public and regulatory law. He practises in all areas of employment work, including trades union, injunction, data protection and confidentiality and human rights law. He has been involved in the major age discrimination cases: Heyday (challenge to the default retirement age); Seldon v Clarkson Jakes & Wright (retirement and partners); Homer v West Yorks Chief Constable (indirect discrimination and age); Lockwood v DWP. In disability discrimination: Coleman v Attridge Law (associative discrimination); X v Mid-Sussex CAB (volunteers and discrimination); Goodwin v Patent Office (definition of disability). Other discrimination cases include: Azmi v Kirklees (niqab); Ashton v Chief Constable of Mercia (gender reassignment); Begraj & Anor v Heer Manak Solicitors & Ors (caste discrimination, bias). He acted in many redundancy and TUPE cases, including: Manchester College v Hazel (TUPE ETO reasons); Mugford v Midland Bank (fair selection procedures); Shawkat v Nottingham City Hospital NHS Trust; High Table v Horst (redundancy definition cases). In administrative law he acts for councils and individuals, particularly in relation to the Public Sector Equality Duties now under the Equality Act 2010. He acted in R (Kaur v Shah) v Ealing BC. He co-drafted the EHRC’s statutory codes on Parts 3 and 7 of the Equality Act 2010 and its guidance on the Public Sector Equality Duties for public authorities. He acted for the Brigade of Gurkhas Welfare Society in its human rights challenge to the pension rights of Gurkha veterans. He advises on policy formulation and law reform issues and is a founder member of the Halsbury Law Exchange think tank. He has an international reputation as an expert on EU anti-discrimination law. He has trained NGOs, trade unions, judges and practitioners in several EU states. He is on the Executive Committee of the Industrial Law Society, and is on LNTV’s expert panel for employment law.


Called 1987; first full-time employment case worker Free Representation Unit 1987-88; pupil supervisor 1993 to date; part-time fee paid employment judge. Publications include: ‘Employment Law and The Human Rights Act’ (Jordans 2001); ‘Age Discrimination Handbook’ (Legal Action 2006); ‘Disability Discrimination: the Law and Practice’ (1st ed 1996); ‘The Right Side of the Law’ (on the local authority publicity code); he is a contributor to ‘C’llr’ magazine published by the LGIU and co-edited: ‘Legal Action Discrimination in Employment’ (2013).


Employment Law Bar Association; Administrative Law Bar Association; Employment Law Association; ELAAS Scheme; Bar Pro Bono Unit; vice-chair of Bar Standards Board’s Equality and Diversity Committee.


Council for Legal Education; Inns of Court School of Law; City University, London (Dip Law); Clare College, Cambridge (MA Cantab Philosophy).