In the ‘gig economy’ era of zero-hour contracts and flexible working, the employment cases handled by Old Square Chambers are at the cutting edge of law. Barristers at the set have been acting for the Independent Workers of Great Britain in their collective bargaining case against Deliveroo, which promises to be an important step in defining workers’ rights in this emerging area.
Other employment law highlights include Ben Cooper QC and Mark Greaves’ work on a huge multiple equal pay claim against UK supermarkets, the largest private sector claim of its type having been estimated to cost the retail sector up to £4 billion. Another member, Nadia Motraghi, represented the British Medical Association as the doctor’s union intervened in Dr Bawa-Garba’s case at the Court of Appeal.
Most barristers at the set have considerable experience before the Employment Tribunal at first instance and the appeal stage. Rookies cut their teeth here, gaining experience through advocacy and the negotiation of settlement agreements.
Old Square members have also amassed considerable experience in sports law. Both newly appointed silk Simon Cheetham and junior Katherine Fudakowski are panel members of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) anti-doping committee appeal boards. Simon Cheetham advised Andy Gray when the presenter had his employment with BSKYB terminated after making sexist remarks. Nicole Newbegin was junior counsel when Dr Eva Carneiro made claims of unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination against Chelsea FC and Jose Mourinho. The list of other clients represented by Old Square reads like a ‘Who’s who’ of Premiership football, with Sir Alex Ferguson, Roberto Martinez and Roy Keane among them.
Other fascinating cases include James Chegwidden acting pro-bono in a case where the court ruled that a father’s religious beliefs did not justify him forcing his sons to be circumcised. John Hendy QC and Lance Harris worked as senior and junior counsel for the National Union of Journalists during the Leveson Inquiry.
Though this work is interesting, it demands long hours. Members at the set can expect to rack up between 60-69 hours a week, above average at the bar. Outside of this, the social life at Old Square is unremarkable.
The set is relatively large, with almost 80 members, 14 of whom are QCs. Old Square Chambers has two premises, with the head office on Bedford Row in London and an annexe in Bristol. It takes on two pupils each year. Out of 20 pupils and juniors under ten call, 13 attended either Oxford or Cambridge. This intake also has a 50:50 gender balance.