Anthony Johnston, led by Ed Willams KC, represented the Respondent University in the Court of Appeal

Ed Williams KC & Anthony Johnston
Written by:

Janita Patel


Simon Pipe v Coventry University Higher Education Corporation [2024] EWCA Civ 191

Anthony Johnston, led by Ed Williams KC, represented the Respondent University in the Court of Appeal. Anthony had previously represented the University at both the Employment Tribunal (“ET”) and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) levels.

The Appellant was a former BBC journalist, who had been employed by the Respondent as a grade 6 assistant lecturer. The Appellant suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”) and a sleep disorder. During the time period relevant for the purposes of his claim, he was aged in his late 50s. The Appellant had made a number of applications for promotion to a grade 7 lecturer role under the University’s Framework for academic progression between 2017 and 2019. Each of those applications had been unsuccessful.

The Appellant subsequently resigned and brought a number of complaints in the ET in respect of the University’s repeated failure to promote him, including complaints of discrimination arising from disability, indirect disability discrimination, a failure to make reasonable adjustments and indirect age discrimination. All of his claims were successfully resisted by the University at first instance. The Appellant subsequently appealed to the EAT. The EAT upheld the decision of the ET in respect of all of the Appellant’s applications for progression in 2017-2019.

The appeal to the Court of Appeal focused upon:

  • whether the ET and the EAT had properly applied the correct causation test in determining the Appellant’s complaints for discrimination arising from disability, 
  • whether the ET and the EAT had erred in failing to find that the Appellant had been put to particular disadvantage for the purposes of his indirect discrimination complaints, and 
  • whether, in respect of both discrimination arising from disability and indirect discrimination complaints, the ET and the EAT had correctly dealt with the issue of objective justification.

The Court of Appeal unanimously found in the University’s favour on all four grounds of appeal.

Written by Janita Patel