Elizabeth Hodgetts

Barrister CV

Call 1998

Elizabeth Hodgetts

Introduction

Described in the legal directories as having “a razor-sharp mind” with “formidable” cross-examination skills, an “outstanding” knowledge of employment law, and “exceptional” client care, Elizabeth is a sought-after advocate for high value and complex Employment Tribunal cases. She has extensive public sector work, including work on behalf of Government departments & agencies as a member of the Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel (“A” panel), and on behalf of local authorities, NHS Trusts, and educational institutions. She also undertakes work for private sector clients, and welcomes instructions from claimants.

Elizabeth has extensive experience of advising and representing in:

  • Discrimination claims, citing the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy & maternity, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

Her recent cases include:

  • advising and representing a local authority in a 13 day hearing defending complaints of disability discrimination, race discrimination, victimisation and unfair dismissal;
  • advising and representing a respondent company in a 7 day hearing defending complaints of race discrimination, race-related harassment, victimisation and constructive unfair dismissal;
  • advising and representing the Secretary of State defending a claim for age and sexual orientation discrimination arising out of the refusal to pay a survivor’s pension to the same-sex partner of a former local authority employee

Her previous cases include:

  • advising and representing a local authority in a 4 week hearing defending complaints of direct race discrimination, victimisation and unfair dismissal, brought by an individual who had previously successfully claimed race discrimination and victimisation against the same employer and who claimed that his subsequent dismissal, some years later, was part of the same sequence of events
  • advising and representing a university in a 6 week hearing defending complaints of direct disability, race, and sex discrimination, harassment, and victimisation, and unfair dismissal, arising from the response of the university to the conduct of an individual with a significant mental health condition

 

  • Equal pay claims.

Her recent cases include:

  • advising and representing a government agency defending a claim for equal pay

 

  • Protected disclosure (“whistleblowing”) claims, relying on detriments and/or dismissal including constructive dismissal.

Her current cases include:

  • advising and representing a local authority defending a claim for detriments on the ground of PDs, in which the claimant has asserted more than 30 PDs and 14 (ongoing) detriments

Her previous cases include:

  • advising and representing a local authority in a 3 week hearing defending complaints of detriments on the ground of protected disclosures as well as complaints of direct discrimination and harassment citing age, disability and sex, and victimisation
  • advising and representing a claimant claiming detriments on the ground of PDs, resulting in a very significant 6 figure settlement and agreed termination of employment

 

  • Trade union detriment claims.

Her current cases include:

  • advising and representing in an appeal relating to a trade union detriment claim

 

  • Protective award claims.

Her previous cases include:

  • acting as junior Counsel in a case on behalf of a local authority defending protective award and unfair dismissal claims pursued by 4 trade unions on behalf of some 1000 employees following dismissal and re-engagement on new terms and conditions
  • advising and representing a group of employees seeking a protective award and pursuing additional claims of unfair dismissal and sex discrimination

 

  • TUPE transfers and consequent disputes including in relation to the existence of a relevant transfer, assignment, changes to terms and conditions, and dismissals

 

  • National Minimum Wage claims; including in relation to the category of worker, the basic hours of work, and the hours deemed to be worked

 

Employment Appeal Tribunal

Elizabeth’s cases in the Employment Appeal Tribunal include:

  • Fakhura Nissa v Waverley Education FoundationUKEAT/0685/17: concerning the point at which there was a disability, where a tentative diagnosis of fibromyalgia had been made a few months after the onset of symptoms

 

  • Nyathi v Secretary of State for JusticeUKEAT/0465/17: concerning the duty of the ET to make reasonable adjustments for a claimant with a mental health condition

 

  • Birmingham City Council v Udemma Lawrence UKEAT/1082/16: concerning the need for the ET, in applying s. 15 EA 2010 and s. 20 EA 2010, fairly to evaluate the employer’s position as to objective justification and reasonableness, and to weigh that in the balance with the disadvantage to the claimant

 

  • Newage Transmission Ltd v Transport & General Workers Union UKEAT/0131/05: concerning whether the amendment to s. 189(4) TULRCA 1992 effected by the 1999 Regulations was ultra vires, and the proper approach to the assessment of the protective award

Employment in the High Court

High Court

Elizabeth undertakes employment-related litigation in the High Court,  including claims for breach of contract relating to contractual redundancy payments and the implementation of job evaluation schemes; and claims arising from alleged breaches of restraint of trade and confidentiality covenants, and in respect of trade union action.

Her current cases include:

 

  • as lead Counsel, advising and representing a government department defending a group action for breach of contract arising from a job evaluation scheme;
  • advising and representing a local authority defending claims for breach of contract arising from a job evaluation scheme.

Her previous cases include:

  • advising and representing a company seeking injunctive relief against three former employees in respect of breaches of their restrictive covenants and use of confidential information
  • acting as junior Counsel in Birmingham City Council v Wetherill [2007] EWCA Civ 599, CA, which decided that a local authority could, on proper notice, unilaterally change the basis of the rate at which an employee’s essential user car allowance was paid from a rate appropriate to the engine capacity of the car actually used to a rate appropriate to the nature of the duties performed, even if the employee had acquired a contractual right to payment at the former rate

Education

University of Oxford (Mansfield College) : BA Hons, Exhibitioner, MA
Harmsworth Scholar and Exhibitioner of Middle Temple

Appointments and Memberships

Attorney General’s Panel of Regional Counsel: appointed 2012; reappointed 2018 (‘A’ Panel)

Testimonials

"Her razor-sharp mind and very impressive powers of recollection make her a formidable cross-examiner:" Legal 500 2021
"An excellent advocate who is businesslike and responsive." Legal 500 2020
"She always impresses with her exceptional client care, the standard of work and her outstanding knowledge of her subject areas." Chambers UK 2020
"An impressive and inspiring advocate." Chambers UK 2019
"A formidable cross-examiner with a razor-sharp mind." Legal 500 2019
"Knowledgeable advocate." Chambers UK
"She's very thorough; an extremely intellectual individual who provides advice in a very practical fashion instead of just stating the law." Chambers UK
"She is intellectually savvy and very clued-up - there was never an issue which she could not unravel and simplify." and "Very good with witnesses and she can deal with them across different levels of understanding. She also cross-examines very well.” Chambers UK
"She has extremely good advocacy skills and a good level of expertise in public sector work, and is able to build a strong rapport with all of our clients." Chambers UK
"A ferocious litigator with many a fan amongst instructing solicitors due to her no-nonsense approach and extensive knowledge of respondent employment law litigation." Chambers UK
"Highly rated with a large amount of public sector respondent work." Chambers UK
"Forthright, meticulous and attentive, she is well known for getting the job done." Chambers UK