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Entries for July 2008:

Associative Discrimination

17 Jul 2008, 11:06 by Joseph Neville

Labels: barrister, disability-discrimination, discrimination, employee, employment, european-court-of-justice

The European Court of Justice has now handed down its judgment in the employment law case of Coleman v Attridge Law. This is where a non-disabled employee claimed disability discrimination based on being harassed due to her having a disabled son.

The court has confirmed that this ‘associative' discrimination is prohibited by the Equal Treatment directive. This applies for all forms of discrimination.

When a court decides on whether or not the decision can have effect under the UK's Disability Discrimination Act, or when the government amends the Act, this will be of considerable advantage to employees needing flexibility and time off work to care for disabled dependants.

Written by Joseph Neville, Barrister at New Walk Chambers, specialising in Employment Law.


Compromise Agreements

16 Jul 2008, 15:23 by Robert Rees

Labels: compromise-agreements, direct-access, employment-law, public-access

Compromise agreements between employer and employee can be a means under which employer and employee can part company amicably. For example in a redundancy, the employee can achieve an   enhanced lump sum on leaving the employment and the employer by virtue of the agreement can be assured that he will not face a claim in the employment tribunal.

However to be valid the compromise agreement must be handled and certified by a qualified person. Barristers hold such qualification and under Direct Public Access are able to advise the employee concerned. Compromise agreements are thus important pieces of work which the employment team in Chambers carry out.

A member of the team Robert Rees has recently advised and certified a number of compromise agreements for employees under the Direct Public Access. In one case he was contacted on a Friday, saw the client on the Saturday, and the certified compromise agreement was immediately in the post.

The Direct Access team as well as having the necessary skill to advise on compromise agreements are able to advise on them with minimal delay.

Visit a new employment Direct Public Access website of Robert Rees:


By Robert Rees, part of Chambers employment law team. Certified to carry out work.


Clergy Terms of Service - Employment Rights in the Church of England

11 Jul 2008, 14:16 by Ian Jones

Labels: church-of-england, clergy, diocesan, ecclesiastical, employment

The Church of England's decision-making body, General Synod, is meeting at present (July 2008).  If the press have noticed this at all, they have commented on the emerging split over the Archbishop of Canterbury's stance on gay bishops in the Anglican Communion and on the consecration of women bishops in the Church of England.

Even the most detailed reports in the general press (such as the Independenton Saturday 5th July) have overlooked the other crucially important issues on the general Synod agenda.  These include the expected ratification of a Measure (church law) to change fundamentally the employment rights of Church of England clergy.  I commented in an earlier blog on the outline of these proposals, contained in the Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Draft Measure.  Essentially, these include national terms of service for clergy, gradual changes to clergy housing status, the introduction of guidelines for clergy appointment and the creation of Human Resources departments indioceses to facilitate these changes.  I will provide further details and analysis if/when the Measure is passed.

Ian Jones, Barrister, whose specialist areas include Ecclesiastical Law and Employment Law.  Ian Jones is also a member of Leicester Diocesan Synod.


Legal Privilege is only for qualified lawyers

11 Jul 2008, 09:20 by Robert Rees

Labels: employee, employer, employment-appeal, legal-advice, public-access, settlement

Many companies, and an increasing number of employees, are utilising consultancy or Internet companies to resolve workplace disputes, rather than a firm of solicitors or a barrister. A recent decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal confirms that legal privilege does not attach to communications between these unqualified representatives and their clients.

What does this mean for you? Let's say an employee or an employer took legal advice from one of these companies prior to raising or dealing with a grievance. If the dispute subsequently went to an employment tribunal, that party could be forced to disclose the legal advice he or she received. This could be very harmful to settlement negotiations, especially if the legal advice was the not-so-uncommon "Your prospects are weak but you should proceed in the hope of settlement!"

Advice from barristers to their clients in employment disputes is always confidential, and can't be produced in evidence at the tribunal. New Walk Chambers has public access barristers who can provide valuable and tactical advice at a reasonable cost. If done at an early stage this can ensure that you don't put a foot wrong later and risk failure in any subsequent tribunal case.

Please contact us with any queries.

Written by Robert Rees, Direct Access Barrister at New Walk Chambers, specialising in Employment Law.


School Appeals - Beyond the appeal

09 Jul 2008, 13:35 by Ian Jones

Labels: advice, direct-access, education, judicial-review, ombudsman, school-appeal

School appeals don't always go in the parents' favour.  One of our direct access barristers, Ian Jones, has recently received several requests for advice from parents who have represented themselves and lost their appeal.  Generally, the decision of the independent appeal panel is final and binding on parents and schools alike.  Only in rare circumstances can the result be set aside, either after pursuing a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman or by an application for judicial review.  Otherwise, seeking legal advice after the hearing will be too late.


Ian Jones, direct access barrister specialising in school appeals and education law.


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