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UK Bar: Labour & Employment 2017

The following 103 barristers are recommended for their expertise in labour and employment law, including discrimination, TUPE, people moves, human rights and civil liberties cases before the High Court, county courts, employment tribunals, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) and appellate courts.

Most Highly Regarded
John Cavanagh QC 11KBW
Christopher Jeans QC 11KBW
Paul Goulding QC Blackstone Chambers
Paul Epstein QC Cloisters Chambers
Caspar Glyn QC Cloisters Chambers
Bruce Carr QC Devereux Chambers
David Reade QC Littleton Chambers
Thomas Linden QC Matrix Chambers
James Laddie QC Matrix Chambers
Paul Nicholls QC Matrix Chambers
Simon Forshaw 11KBW
Jane McCafferty 11KBW
Amy Rogers 11KBW
Thomas Croxford Blackstone Chambers
Diya Sen Gupta Blackstone Chambers
Anna Beale Cloisters Chambers
Tom Coghlin Cloisters Chambers
Claire McCann Cloisters Chambers
Caroline Musgrave Cloisters Chambers
Andrew Smith Matrix Chambers


Specialist employment, public and commercial law set 11KBW is widely regarded as one of the country’s leading employment chambers and its members are often seen acting on the big-ticket cases. It has performed well this year with eight nominations. We highlight some of the set’s standout silks.
John Cavanagh QC is recommended once again as one of the elite employment silks. He advises a wide range of clients in all aspects of employment law and is regarded for his “clarity of thinking, hard work, and excellence in advocacy". Peers say, “He is very supportive of clients and is able to express complex concepts in an accessible way.”
Christopher Jeans QC regularly acts for companies and individuals in tribunal and high court employment litigation. One respondent says, “He is very well established and one of the best at the Bar.”
Daniel Stilitz QC is “constantly busy”, regularly receiving instructions on high-value cases. He is also described as the leading silk in relation to whistleblowing claims.
Simon Devonshire QC has expertise in relation to injunction work, restrictive covenants, breach of fiduciary duty and whistleblowing and TUPE cases. One respondents notes, “He is without a doubt one of the most knowledgeable and effective barristers in the field.”
Sean Jones QC is “widely regarded as outstanding” and is recognised for his expertise across the whole gamut of employment law.
Akhlaq Choudhury QC acts for banks, interdealer brokers, financial institutions and public bodies and is an injunctions specialist. He is regarded as “a superb barrister who can quickly get to the crux of the matter”.
Richard Leiper QC is a newly appointed silk. He has often been instructed as junior counsel in high-profile cases before the High Court, employment tribunals and appellate courts. “He is a class act, extremely efficient and very clever.”

CLOISTERS is a leading employment focused set with a longstanding reputation of excellence in the field that ensures its members are regularly involved in the landmark cases before the High Court, employment tribunals and appellate courts. The set achieves seven listings this year.
Paul Epstein QC is an employment and discrimination law specialist who has acted for law firms, trade unions and public bodies. He described as "a really impressive figure, good at anything he turns his hand to, and brilliant with clients”, as well as “practical and approachable” by sources. ".
Caspar Glyn QC is “a formidable force” who has extensive advocacy experience in trial and appellate courts.
The “absolutely excellent” Jason Galbraith-Marten QC has experience in employment and equality cases in the financial, pharmaceutical and travel sectors and is considered by peers to be "a very slick advocate".
Robin Allen QC is an authoritative figure in the field with a track record for acting in ground-breaking employment litigation over the years. One peer says, “He is an innovator in the field, and certainly one of the most accomplished and brilliant employment barristers.”
Rachel Crasnow QC is praised for her “in-depth knowledge of complex areas of law and tenacity".  She is regarded as a leading specialist in discriminatory claims involving age, race and sexual orientation, and maternity rights, alongside whistleblowing and TUPE cases.
Schona Jolly QC is a newly appointed silk and earns high praise for from a number of respondents for her work as a junior. One interviewee notes that “her ability to deal with clients is second to none”, adding: “She breaks down complex issues very easily and gives clear, thoughtful advice. She always builds good rapport with tribunal judges and is in general a pleasure to work with." She is particularly experienced in equalities cases in the employment and human rights sphere.

LITTLETON CHAMBERS is regarded as one of the leading sets for labour and employment and specialises in employment litigation. It achieves seven recommendations this year.
David Reade QC is once again recognised as of the top silks in the area. He has extensive experience representing commercial entities, football clubs and high-ticket individuals, among others. He recently appeared for Uber on the headline matter of whether its drivers are self-employed or employees. One solicitor-client says: “He breaks down complex factual and legal issues with ease. He inspires complete confidence and is a pleasure to work with."
Gavin Mansfield QC specialises in employment issues including business protection disputes and team moves. One respondent notes, “He is a real standout, with a very impressive junior silk practice.”
Selwyn Bloch QC is recognised as “one of the great practitioners” with a particularly outstanding reputation in restrictive covenant matters.
Jonathan Cohen QC appears in both tribunal and High Court employment claims and has a strong commercial background. He is described as “one to watch”.
Daniel Tatton-Brown QC is noted for his experience in employment competition litigation and has appeared in the Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal in numerous high-value cases. In particular, sources highlight his “very appealing manner”. As one respondent notes, “He is pleasantness personified, but equally effective.”

OLD SQUARE CHAMBERS is highly recommended for its employment and discrimination work, and sees six barristers listed for their expertise.
John Hendy QC is an esteemed specialist in industrial relations and trade union cases, appearing before the High Court and European Court of Human Rights. Peers regard him as “an elder statesman of employment law”.
Michael Ford QC focuses on individual and collective labour law, with a strong emphasis on working time cases. One peer remarks, “Michael has a huge reputation and should certainly be considered a leading employment silk.”
Jane McNeill QC is noted for her discrimination, personal injury and clinical negligence practice. She is also considered “a very skilled advocate in equal pay cases".
Mary O'Rourke QC has expertise relating to the medical and professional healthcare sector and has represented NHS Trusts and individuals in both tribunal and High Court cases. One instructing solicitor is particularly effusive: “Mary gets straight to the heart of the matter and sets a clear route map from day one; she is clear and concise and inspires complete confidence with clients; and she is unfazed by even the most aggressive of tactical litigation."

MATRIX CHAMBERS is highly regarded in the field of employment law, where it specialises in a range of issues including discrimination, commercial employment law, data protection and free movement of labour.
The “exceptional” Thomas Linden QC is the most highly regarded individual in our research. He receives widespread endorsements, particularly for high-value tribunal work.
James Laddie QC represents trade unions and blue-chip companies both in the UK and abroad, often receiving high-profile instructions. Interviewees recommend his courtroom advocacy, referring to him as a “superb cross-examiner” and “a fluid speaker”.
Paul Nicholls QC is recommended for his "strong intellect and grasp of the law, excellent advocacy, practical assistance and good judgement”. He has particular expertise in commercial injunctions, restrictive covenant and team move cases.

ESSEX COURT CHAMBERS achieves four listings.
Daniel Oudkerk QC is known for his broad commercial employment law practice, particularly High Court and employment tribunal cases. He is regarded as “right at the top of his game”.
David Craig QC has vast experience of employment disputes in the High Court alongside whistleblowing, competition and team moves cases. He is described as “the best of the next generation”.

FOUNTAIN COURT has four silks in this year’s listings.
Adam Tolley QC is an employment litigation specialist and regularly appears before both the High Court and the Employment Tribunal, particularly in issues of post-termination restrictions and confidentiality, discrimination and whistleblowing claims. He is recommended by one lawyer who instructed him as “an extremely good silk, my personal favourite”.
Paul Gott QC is a highly rated junior silk with a core focus on industrial relations, specifically in relation to strike action injunctions.

At BLACKSTONE CHAMBERS, a trio of silks is recommended.
The “superb” Paul Goulding QC is widely placed among the top three employment law silks. He is regularly involved in the highest-profile employment cases in the High Court and Employment Tribunal, and has acted both as arbitrator and counsel in employment arbitrations. Peers say he is “hugely popular” and “a giant of the field” with an “unsurpassed reputation”.
Dinah Rose QC is a preeminent public law silk. Her focus in employment lies in discrimination and equal pay. She is regarded as “one of the foremost silks practising today”.
Jane Mulcahy QC is also strongly endorsed as a “notable, established name”.

DEVEREUX CHAMBERS earns two listings.
Bruce Carr QC is recommended as one of the very best silks for industrial action work, with a reputation for being a “superb fighter”.
Andrew Burns QC is a notable junior silk with extensive experience in employment and industrial disputes and has considerable expertise in appellate cases. One respondent remarks, “Andrew is a really thoughtful and knowledgeable barrister who works hard to get results for his clients.”

OUTER TEMPLE CHAMBERS sees Andrew Short QC recommended for his work acting for public and private bodies, trade unions and individuals. He is considered to be “one of the best” and “deserves his great reputation”, according to peers.


CLOISTERS CHAMBERS garners the largest number of endorsements at the junior level, earning 13 listings.
Claire McCann has expertise in employment law relating to human rights and civil liberties. One solicitor responds, “She has excellent attention to detail and is invariably well prepared. Her advocacy style is always well pitched; her cross-examination is always focused and robust; and her client handling skills are also superb.”
Anna Beale specialises in employment and discrimination law and acts on numerous high-profile and appellate cases. A solicitor notes, “Anna is very impressive, very pragmatic and commercial. She is responsive to enquiries, and very easy and pleasant to deal with. She has good client-handling skills, even under serious pressure."
Caroline Musgrave represents companies and individuals in employment and discriminatory cases where “her abilities defy her number of years’ call”. Sources add that she is “clear, succinct and inspiring on her feet” and note her “incisive and compelling advocacy style”, as well as her “exemplary client care".
Dee Masters is well regarded for her expertise in discrimination law. One respondent notes, “She has a strong grasp on the intricacies of the law and in particular discrimination law, which she can express very simply in such a manner that the client is able to easily understand.”
Tom Coghlin is regularly engaged in employment disputes at both first instance and appellate courts. One peer notes, “He is always very well prepared, leaving no stone unturned.” Another remarks, “He is a quick-thinking and tenacious advocate, who can distil complex legal issues.”
Paul Michell is recognised as an expert in discrimination, whistleblowing, TUPE and unfair dismissal claims. He is “at the cutting edge”, and “a junior of choice” for a number of commentators.

11KBW sees seven juniors listed, underpinning its outstanding strength and depth in this field.
Amy Rogers is again listed as one of our most highly recommended juniors, with one source noting that “when you consider her year of call, it is astounding how good she is”. Her focus is on breaches of fiduciary duty, bonuses and remuneration disputes.
Simon Forshaw focuses on executive disputes, team moves and equal pay and discrimination cases. One solicitor remarks, “He is extremely clever; his attention to detail is first rate; he is a highly effective cross-examiner; and he is also great with clients.”
Jane McCafferty has expertise in multi-jurisdictional employment disputes including issues relating to team moves and restrictive covenants. She is recognised as “a sharp and tenacious barrister”.

OLD SQUARE CHAMBERS achieves six listings.
Stuart Brittenden is noted for handling matters of collective and individual employment law. One solicitor sums up: “Stuart is an excellent barrister. He is very personable and popular with the clients he has represented for me. He has vast legal knowledge and is prepared to take arguments which may push legal boundaries. He is also a superb advocate."
Katharine Newton is an employment law specialist and has acted for employers and employees on discrimination issues of all types. One respondent praises her as “approachable, responsive and good with clients; fun to work with; sensible; and good with tribunals.”
Melanie Tether is recommended for her expertise in collective and individual employment issues in numerous sectors.

LITTLETON CHAMBERS has five juniors listed in this year’s research.
Nicholas Goodfellow has extensive experience with statutory employment cases and acts on whistleblowing and discrimination matters. One respondent says, “Nicholas is thoughtful, reliable and extremely hardworking. He is extremely collegiate, working very much as part of the team – achieving good results.”
Craig Rajgopaul acts in restrictive covenant, complex discrimination and High Court team-move claims. One respondent remarks, “He leaves no stone unturned. He is extremely thorough and razor-sharp on legal issues, frequently thinking outside the box to produce impressive results.”
Mohinderpal Sethi has an “excellent reputation”; one source recommends him as “a senior junior for complex employment claims”.

BLACKSTONE CHAMBERS sees three juniors recommended.
Thomas Croxford is one of our most highly regarded juniors and is very active before the High Court and Employment Tribunals, covering a wide range of disputes, including employee competition, whistleblowing, TUPE, and discrimination. “He is at the top of most lists at the senior junior level,” claims one respondent.
Diya Sen Gupta is an employment litigation specialist. She is placed among the top juniors in our research and regularly receives instructions from Magic Circle firms.
Nick De Marco is highly regarded for acting in sports-related employment disputes for players, clubs and agents.

MATRIX CHAMBERS achieves three recommendations.
Andrew Smith is recognised in our research for his employment and discrimination law expertise – particularly in relation to tech employment claims. One respondent says, “Andrew operates at a significantly higher level than his level of call; he has a no-nonsense, practical and focused approach which clients love, and he is a tenacious advocate."
Thomas Kibling and Claire Darwin are also highly rated.

The Scottish Bar

At Hastie Stable, Brian Napier QC acts in complex high-value employment issues including sex and race discrimination cases. Respondents note him to be “head and shoulders above the competition”.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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