'A very capable and approachable advocate who gets directly to the point.’ - The Legal 500 2020
"Excellent, very pragmatic and sensible, gets to the point, and is good with clients." "He has a good level of experience in tribunals and he also acts as a deputy district judge, which adds a certain level of gravitas and gives the client confidence." Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2020
Sam’s practice divides into three broad specialisms: Employment, Chancery/Commercial and Personal Injury. He has been on the Attorney General’s Regional Panel of Counsel since 2007 and has been consistently recommended for Employment work by the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. In 2015, he was appointed a Deputy District Judge sitting on the North Eastern Circuit.
Sam practises in all aspects of employment law but has particular interest in the following:
- Discrimination and victimisation;
- Employment litigation in the civil courts including contractual redundancy, wrongful dismissal, restrictive covenants and commercial agent disputes.
Cases before the Tribunal (in both England and Scotland) have recently included the following (in several of which Sam has acted against leading counsel);
- A successful complaint of automatically unfair dismissal on the grounds of trade union activities brought by a teacher within a special school;
- Claims for protective awards arising out of the following:
- A rail franchising exercise;
- The administration of a nationwide courier company;
- The administration of a nationwide mobile phone retailer
- Whether a consultant doctor’s contract of employment was frustrated following a 10 year absence from the workplace;
- Whether a consultant doctor had been subjected to a campaign of discrimination and victimisation by male colleagues;
- A successful claim for constructive unfair dismissal and breach of the contract of apprenticeship brought by a trainee solicitor against a local authority legal department;
- A whistleblowing complaint brought by a medical research scientist against a leading university.
- A Bear Scotland claim for holiday pay brought by multiple Claimants in the context of a complex “rolled up” holiday pay scheme.
- A claim brought by a director for over £150,000 owed in respect of wages, successfully defended and dismissed at Tribunal.
- A successfully defended claim of so-called ‘reverse’ sexual orientation discrimination.
- Successfully defending a two-week whistleblowing/disability discrimination claim against a leading comprehensive school.
- Successfully defending a claim for c. £30,000 in back pay claimed by a Director who argued he had not been paid the NMW.
- A dispute before the ET about whether there had been a Service Provision Change following the winning of a ground handling contract at an international airport.
- Successfully defending a claim for over £200,000 in unpaid holiday pay brought by a dentist on the grounds that he was a worker within the meaning of the WTR 1998 and European Law, the ET finding that the Claimant was self-employed.
Sam is regularly instructed in employment appeals in the EAT and beyond.
Recent appeals before the EAT have covered:
- Whether there can ever be a “pool of one” in a redundancy dismissal;
- The victimisation provisions of the Equality Act 2010 and their interplay with the guidance given in Martin v. Devonshire Solicitors.
- Whether a TUPE “transferor” is entitled to offset against compensation it is ordered to pay the claimant an amount the claimant has received from a “transferee” under a COT3.
- Whether an employee who moves to live outside the UK but who, by reason of online access, remains a ”virtual” presence in her employer’s UK office, can bring unfair dismissal proceedings before a UK Tribunal.
- Whether knowledge of the effects of disability is required before an employer can be held to have discriminated against an employee under s15 of the Equality Act 2010 (Discrimination arising from disability).
- The causal test to apply to s15 disability discrimination, including at the Court of Appeal (led by John Bowers QC).
Over 15 years of practice, Sam has gained wide experience in litigation over a range of areas, but with a particular emphasis on ‘traditional Chancery’. Particular areas of interest to him include:
- Real Property, including proprietary estoppel, sale of land, adverse possession, boundary/easement disputes, nuisance and restrictive covenants.
- Landlord & Tenant, including residential (possession, disrepair, anti-social behaviour) and commercial disputes (forfeiture, dilapidations, breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment)
- Wills & Probate, including administration disputes, contentious probate and Inheritance Act claims.
- Professional negligence, particularly against architects, developers and solicitors.
- Commercial contract disputes.
Recent cases upon which Sam have acted include:
- A commercial partnership dispute between father and son, concluded at Arbitration.
- Application for rectification of a Trust Deed.
- A claim for an order vacating an obsolete land charge;
- A boundary dispute between neighbours, concluded following 5 day Trial;
- A claim for proprietary estoppel based on property improvements carried out by cohabitant.
- A dispute about the incidence of costs following the settlement of a partnership dispute at an earlier mediation (Resolved at Trial).
- A dispute between brothers and executors of their parent’s estate (Settled at mediation).
- A dispute between home owner and highway authority on the position of the boundary between adjacent parcels of land (Trial).
- A claim brought by a mortgagee against squatters of a property.
Sam has practised in Personal Injury all his professional life. He now has a wide-based Industrial Disease practice (particularly deafness, but also WRULD, HAVS, asbestos-related conditions and stress at work). He has a wealth of experience in employers and public liability matters. Sam also deals in clinical negligence disputes.
Sam is regularly instructed by Government departments, most frequently the Ministry of Defence in military claims.
See below for details of Sam’s reported cases in employment law;
- Grosset v. City of York Council  IRLR 746
- Lodge v. Dignity & Choice in dying  IRLR 184
- Hall v. Durham County Council UKEAT/0256/14/MC
- Optimum Group Services v. Muir Plc  IRLR 339
- Woodhouse v. West North West Homes Leeds Ltd.  IRLR 773
- Wrexham Golf Club v. Ingham UKEAT/0190/12/RN
Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2020
“Excellent, very pragmatic and sensible, gets to the point, and is good with clients.” “He has a good level of experience in tribunals and he also acts as a deputy district judge, which adds a certain level of gravitas and gives the client confidence.”
The Legal 500 2020
‘A very capable and approachable advocate who gets directly to the point.’
Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2019
Excellent on his feet. He provides timely advice and is completely dependable.” “Very bright. He cuts through to the key issues and has good judgement.” “Friendly, responsive and approachable.”
The Legal 500 2019
‘He provides pragmatic and frank advice.’
Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2018
“He is completely adaptable to the type of client involved and consistently produces great results.” “He’s very pleasant to deal with and extremely competent.”
Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2017
“He’s very pleasant to deal with and extremely competent.”
“A specialist employment advocate with a vast abundance of experience to offer to his clientele across the breadth of the practice area. He has been particularly commended by market commentators for his impressive experience handling TUPE and discrimination claims.
Strengths: “He is completely adaptable to the type of client involved and consistently produces great results”
The Legal 500 2017
“Clients and judges love his calm demeanour.”
Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2016
” A specialist employment advocate with a vast abundance of experience to offer to his clientele across the breadth of the practice area. He has been particularly commended by market commentators for his impressive experience handling TUPE and discrimination claims.”
Strengths: I found him to be very friendly, approachable and tenacious as an advocate.”
”A pleasant and fair opponent.”
The Legal 500 2016:
“A personable barrister and tenacious advocate”
The Legal 500 2015:
“He has a calming influence in difficult situations”
- Employment Law Association
- Bar Pro Bono Unit
- Chancery Bar Association
- North Eastern Circuit
- North Eastern Circuit Commercial Bar Association
- 1994-98 Trinity College, University of Cambridge, Law (with European option), MA (Cantab.)
- 1996-97 Université de Poitiers, France.