Ed Williams QC Employment

Call: 2000 | Silk: 2018

Door Tenant


Ed has a stellar appellate and multi-day trial practice in employment related commercial law and in discrimination law.

He is named by the Legal 500, Chambers and Partners, Who’s Who Legal and Legal Experts as a leader in his field.

Over the past twenty four months Ed has been instructed in a number of high profile and significant cases in the Court of Appeal, High Court, EAT and Employment Tribunal.

Ed receives instructions from a wide range of clients, including individuals, large national and multinational companies including investment and high street banks, trade unions, national and local broadcasters, local and police authorities, housing associations, universities, schools and FE colleges, charities and nation states.

Recent cases include, acting for the Claimant in one of the most valuable High Court share option claims for an individual worth in excess of £40 million, acting for one of the Birmingham schools named in Operation Trojan Horse as being subject to an alleged Islamist takeover, acting for 250 former IBM employees bringing claims for age discrimination and constructive dismissal arising out of changes made to their pensions “Project Waltz” as well as considering the scope of the GDPR on Courts and Tribunals.

In the last three years seven of his other cases have been reported in the law journals: 1) Henderson v GMB [2017] IRLR 340, CA (left wing democratic socialism as a protected belief.) 2) Rabess v London Fire Brigade Authority [2017] IRLR, CA (whether calculating time limits for unfair dismissal should be the same as in wrongful dismissal). 3) Sandle v Adecco UK Ltd [2016] IRLR 941, EAT (dismissal by omission of an agency worker). 4) Hyde Housing Association v Layton [2016] ICR 261, EAT (application of TUPE to joint and several employment. 5) Smania v Standard Chartered [2015] ICR 436, EAT (whistleblowing and its international jurisdiction). 6) Camurat v Thurrock Borough Council [2014] EWHC 2482, QB, [2015] ELR 1 (whether ex-empoyers owe any city of care when making safeguarding disclosures). 7) Moran v Ideal Cleaning and Celanese [2014] ICR 442, EAT (the meaning of the word “temporary” in European and UK law for agency workers).

Ed acts as a Mediator, who is praised for bringing his calm, authoritative and pragmatic style. He also has experience both of conducting complex internal investigations and chairing disciplinary and appeal hearings.

Ed is one of the co-founders and Directors of the premium witness familiarisation company Assurety ( www.assuretytraining.com) which helps witnesses perform to the best of thier ability in Court.

What the Directories Say:

  • “He is bright and provides exceptional client care.” “Very diligent, calm and a great team player. He has an excellent knowledge of the law and is client-focused.” Chambers and Partners 2018
  • “A strong advocate who provides clear and concise advice” Legal 500, 2018
  • “Very thorough. He shows outstanding commitment to his clients success.” Chambers and Partners 2018
  • Skilled employment and discrimination law practitioner who is often instructed in appellate cases by public bodies and clients from the banking and education sectors. Clients are keen to highlight his masterful advocacy style.”He is very thorough and shows outstanding commitment to the client’s success.” “He is very good, especially his skeleton arguments and his cross-examinations.” – Chambers and Partners 2017
  • “An excellent all-round lawyer with an unflappable and calm manner.” – Legal 500 2017
  • “His employment law knowledge is excellent and he is a great resource in litigation.” – Legal 500 2016
  • Rated very highly for the service that he provides to clients of all kinds, from major private companies to individual plaintiffs. His advocacy is also highlighted as a key strength. “A strong advocate, who is client-friendly and approachable.” “He provides very through and wellreasoned advice.” – Chambers and Partners 2016
  • “Very diligent and extremely bright” – Legal 500 2014
  • “He’s very strong on discrimination issues and we’d implicitly trust him to deal with matters in that area.” His manner with opposition witnesses is charming, although he remains steely and determined to expose any holes in the opposition’s case.” – Chambers and Partners 2014
  • “is commended for his representation of both claimant and employer clients.” – Chambers and Partners 2013
  • “has a brilliant, relaxed manner with clients which inspires confidence.” “Pragmatic and sensible,” he has the ability to “cut straight to the heart of a difficult problem.” – Chambers and Partners 2012
  • ‘a sensible junior with an impressive ability to keep cases on track against the odds. “Calm, sharp and tenacious”‘ – Chambers and Partners 2011
  • ‘excellent approach to discrimination cases and a diligent and friendly manner’ – Chambers and Partners 2010

Appointments and Memberships

  • Member of Industrial Law Society
  • Member of Employment Lawyers Association
  • Member of Employment Law Barristers Association
  • Member of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute
  • Accredited Mediator
  • Ed has been a visiting human rights lecturer at Nottingham Law School
  • Ed is currently a member of the College of Law’s higher rights teaching panel. He also teaches civil litigation courses (run by the College of Law) at city law firms.


  • BA Nottingham


Highlight Cases

  • Henderson v GMB [2017] IRLR 340, CA; [2015] IRLR 451, EAT: whether left wing democratic socialism is a protected belief under EA 2010.
  • Rabess v London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority [2017] IRLR 147, CA; whether calculating time limits for unfair dismissal should be governed by the common law (as per Societe Generale v Geys) or by statute.
  • Sandle v Adecco UK Ltd [2016] IRLR 941, EAT whether there can be a dismissal by omission in relation to an agency worker.
  • Hyde Housing Association v Layton [2016] ICR 261, [2016] IRLR 107, EAT whether there can be a TUPE transfer from sole to joint employment where the transferor is one of the joint and several employers post transfer
  • Smania v Standard Chartered Bank [2015] ICR 436, [2015] IRLR 271, EAT whether jurisdictional bar for whistleblowing should be set at lower level than for ordinary ERA 1996 claims.
  • Camurat v Thurrock Borough Council [2014] EWHC 2482, QB, [2015] E.L.R 1 whether employers and ex employers owe the employee any duty of care when making safeguarding disclosures to the relevant bodies.
  • Moran v Ideal Cleaning and Celanese [2014] 2 C.M.L.R 37, [2014] ICR 442, EAT, [2014] I.R.L.R. 172: the first appellate case re the scope of the Agency Directive and UK Regulations, in particular the meaning of the word "temporary".
  • X v. Mid-Sussex CAB [2011] ICR 460, CA whether volunteers are protected under the Framework Directive from discrimination);
  • Buckland v. Bournemouth University Higher Education Corporation [2010] QB 323, [2010] 3 W.L.R. [2010] ICR 908, CA, a case that attracted significant media interest concerning allegations of 'dumbing down' of academic standards and which raised a novel but important point of law on the correct legal test to be applied in constructive dismissal cases.
  • Governing Body of X Endowed Primary School v T [2009] IRLR 1007, [2010] E.L.R. 1 whether a manifestation/symptom of ADHD which is a tendency to violence can be a disability under DDA 1995;
  • Muschett v. Hounslow LBC [2009] ICR 424, EAT a case concerning when the EAT will extend time for serving a Notice of Appeal;
  • Bull v. Nottinghamshire & City of Nottingham Fire & Rescue Authority [2007] ICR 1631, CA. A national test case concerning 'co-responding' whereby fire-fighters were required to answer calls to the ambulance service.
  • HM Prison Service v. Johnson [2007] IRLR 951, EAT. A complex disability discrimination appeal concerning the scope of reasonable adjustments.
+ Add to Brochure