Employment Law

Employment Law5 Essex Court has a highly regarded employment law team. Its expertise extends to every aspect of employment law. Its employment law specialists represent and advise employers and employees in both the private and public sectors. Many have had commercial experience before joining the Bar. Members of 5 Essex Court regularly appear in cases before the High Court and Court of Appeal as well as in Employment Tribunals across the country and the Employment Appeals Tribunal in London. Its members include Queen’s Counsel, members of the employment tribunal judiciary and counsel appointed to the Attorney General’s panel of counsel to advise and represent HM Government.

5 Essex Court’s employment law specialists are renowned for their thoroughness and ability to handle complex, specialist and delicate cases and, in particular, those involving sensitive confidentiality issues and security aspects. Many of 5 Essex Court’s members are security cleared with some to the level of Developed Vetted. Its members deliver advice which is accessible, timely and practical. 5 Essex Court also has a reputation for being approachable with a first class clerking team.

Direct Access – a number of the employment law team are able to accept instructions directly without having to go to a solicitor first. In addition, many instructions to the team come via in-house legal departments within large private and public sector enterprises.

5 Essex Court’s employment law team has a clear understanding of the “employment law world” and it advises and represents:

Public sector – police forces, NHS trusts, local authorities, schools and colleges; and

Private sector – investment banks, financial institutions, utilities & energy companies and SMEs.


The Employment team is a one stop shop for all employment law concerns and covers:

  • Discrimination, harassment and victimization: Whether on the basis of gender, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, religion and belief, race or sexual orientation, the team have the expertise to guide employers and employees;
  • Unfair dismissal: Still the most common claim in the Employment Tribunal. Our team’s experience will be invaluable;
  • Redundancy claims: We deal with both individual and collective redundancy issues;
  • Industrial relations: We give advice on TU recognition & collective bargaining;
  • Wrongful dismissal and other disputes arising under contracts of employment: We provide assistance in cases involving employee / partner remuneration, bonus entitlement, pension schemes and share options;
  • Business protection: Applications for injunctive relief arising from breach of restrictive covenants, directors duties, confidentiality and data protection issues are commonly dealt with by the team;
  • Whistleblowing: The ramifications of an employee making a protected disclosure cannot be underestimated;
  • Business acquisitions: Members provide advice and guidance on transfers of undertakings (TUPE), consultation rights and employment protection issues;
  • Stress at work: The team provides representation in high value stress at work claims;
  • Disciplinary procedures and internal hearings: Member of the employment team are available to conduct internal disciplinary investigations, hearings and appeals;
  • Regulatory: Members of the employment team both sit as independent chairpersons and present internal disciplinary cases for the Appropriate Authority under the Police (Misconduct) Regulations 2012;
  • Drafting: The team draft contracts of employment, staff handbooks, internal policies and other documentation required by employers to conform with their legal requirements;
  • Training: Members provide in-house training to businesses and public entities on all human resources matters;
  • Settlement Agreements: Members undertake the negotiation and drafting of settlement agreements under the direct public access scheme.

A selection of the team’s recent cases

  • Essop & Others v The Home Office [2015] EWCA Civ 609, Court of Appeal: Examination of the use of statistics in establishing discrimination (presently on appeal to the Supreme Court).
  • Way v Spectrum Property Care Ltd [2015] EWCA Civ 381, Court of Appeal: A warning given in bad faith cannot be relied upon to subsequently dismiss an employee.
  • NHS Direct v Gunn [2015] UKEAT/0128/14/BA, EAT: TUPE transfers and the interplay with the duty to make reasonable adjustments.
  • Yapp v The Foreign & Commonwealth Office [2014] EWCA Civ 1512, Court of Appeal: Case clarifying the criteria to be considered when determining foreseeability of psychiatric injury at work.
  • Mardner v Gardner & Others [2014] EAT/0183/12/DA, EAT: A party’s legal expense insurance is to be ignored when considering whether to make a costs award in their favour.
  • Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v Keohane [2014] ICR 1073, EAT: Case concerning discrimination on grounds of maternity and pregnancy.
  • Chief Constable of West Midlands Constabulary v Gardner [2014] Eq LR 23, EAT: On the question of whether the ET had exceeded the scope of the remittal to it by the EAT.


Employment Tribunals Handbook by John-Paul Waite (founding author) (4th edition February 2014, Bloomsbury)

Tottel’s Employment Tribunals Handbook: Practice, Procedure and Strategies for Success by Alan Payne, Jean-Paul Waite & Alex Ustyche

Collective Bargaining section for British Personnel Management by Victoria von Wachter (Croner)

Disability Discrimination in Employment by Richard Oulton (co-author) (2009, Oxford University Press)

Bi-Monthly Bulletin – Five from 5

The employment team produces a free, bi-monthly employment law update edited by barristers Clare Harrington and Daniel Hobbs. The bulletin, Five from 5is published in partnership with Bloomsbury Professional. If you would like to be added to the email list, contact the clerks@5essexcourt.co.uk