David Stephenson > Doughty Street Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Doughty Street Chambers

Work Department

Employment, Discrimination and Equality Law


David practises principally in the fields of employment and discrimination law and has a proven track record of dealing with complex employment litigation. He has been recommended by Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 as a leading Junior since 2014/15 and was nominated for Employment Junior of the Year in the 2017 Chambers UK Bar Awards.

He is regularly instructed in high-value multi-day cases dealing with complex and intricate issues of fact and law. He has developed a broad practice covering all aspects of discrimination in the employment and non-employment fields.

He regularly appears before the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal and more recently, the Court of Appeal. He appeared as Junior Counsel (Led by Karon Monaghan Q.C) in the Supreme Court in February 2018 in Pimlico Plumbers v Smith, a case concerning the vexed question of employee status. David represented Mr Smith throughout his protracted battle against Pimlico Plumbers, appearing as sole counsel before the Employment and Employment Appeal Tribunals and as Junior counsel in Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is due to give judgment soon. The case is significant  and has attracted wide publicity as it presents an opportunity for the Supreme Court to consider the issue of “gig economy” jobs. As the Court of Appeal put it: “The case puts a spotlight on a business model under which operatives are intended to appear to clients of the business as working for the business, but at the same time the business itself seeks to maintain that, as between itself and its operatives, there is a legal relationship of client or customer and independent contract rather than employer and employee or worker”.

David’s non-employment work consists of discrimination in the fields of services and public functions, housing and education. He has a particular interest in disability discrimination and holding public bodies to account under the public sector equality duties contained in s.149 EqA 2010.  He appeared as Junior Counsel in the important case of Pieretti v London Borough Enfield [2010] EWCA Civ 1104, concerning the application of the equality duties contained in what was then section 49A Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to individual decisions made by local housing authorities under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996. He also represented the appellants (sole counsel) in the Court of Appeal in the case of Lalil Singh v Spirita Housing[2012] Eq.L.R. 560 CA.


Year of Call: July 2005 (Lincoln’s Inn).

Director on the Discrimination Law Association Executive Committee 2011-2016

Appointed to the Panel of Counsel for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2015 and 2019.


University of London (LLB with Honours) (1998-2002);

University of Middlesex (LLM Employment Law – Dissertation: Playing the Race Card – Dispelling the myths in proving race discrimination – Distinction) (2002-2004).

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Employment

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 2

David StephensonDoughty Street ChambersHe is a tenacious, brave and persuasive advocate. He is not afraid to take on difficult cases and run difficult arguments and he won’t give up, and he’s never daunted by acting against more senior opponents. His written advocacy is clear and comprehensive, while his oral advocacy is compelling but polite.

Doughty Street Chambers‘ ‘employment, discrimination and equality team’s reputation for excellence is well deserved‘. Acting for both claimants and respondents, chambers’ members are particularly well known for their expertise in high-value and complex discrimination and whistleblowing claims. Among the set’s senior-level juniors, David Stephenson is regularly instructed in high-value, multi-day, whistleblowing, discrimination, employment status and holiday pay cases; and Amanda Hart‘s enviable track record includes successfully representing clients in the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeals Tribunal, and the Court of Appeal. In late 2021, former founding member of chambers, Heather Williams KC, was appointed a High Court Judge to the King’s Bench Division.