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Barrister - helen barney

Senior Practice Manager
Martin Ellis

Practice Group Clerks
James Ashford
Mitchell Nash
Oliver Lee

Chief Executive & Director of Clerking
Tony McDaid

Tel: +44 (0) 845 210 5555
Fax: +44 (0) 121 606 1501
[email protected]

Helen Barney Employment

“Fiercely intelligent”, “undeniably fantastic”, “outstanding”, “highly skilled”, “goes the extra mile” (Legal 500, Who’s Who Legal and Chambers & Partners)

  • Ranked Band 1 - Employment barrister in the Midlands (C&P)
  • Employment and discrimination law specialist
  • Consistently recognised for her top rate performance in the legal directories (see below)

Helen is a modern, approachable barrister who is renowned for her excellent client-care skills and working in partnership with those that instruct her. She is well adept at explaining complex legal arguments in simple plain language and brings to every claim sound case management and tactical awareness.

Helen started her career as an in-house barrister in the employment team of a leading national firm. Since then Helen has accrued 15+ years experience as a practicing barrister with significant experience in the following fields:

Public Sector:

  • NHS Trusts - Police Authorities - Local Authorities
  • Education - Ambulance Service- Fire Service

Private Sector:

  • Security Industry - Engineering/manufacturing - Property Management
  • Social Housing - Gaming & Betting - Banking
  • Recruitment - Media - Food supply and distribution
  • Education - Delivery/transport - Care homes

Helen also undertakes work on behalf of claimants by way of union supported complaints, insurance backed claims and privately paying individuals. Helen has recently successfully represented a client who had been dismissed for reasons relating to her pregnancy/childbirth, and an individual who had been dismissed following a fatally flawed and biased performance process, achieving maximum compensation. She has a particular interest in disability discrimination, to include failure to make reasonable adjustments, direct discrimination and discrimination arising from disability.

Helen regularly appears before the Employment Tribunal, EAT and provides advice (oral and written) on the whole breadth of employment law issues. 

Helen has experience in advising employers on the adequacy of internal investigations, provided guidance on additional steps needed and conducted independent investigations. A recent investigation concerned an internal conflict within a reputable firm of solicitors. 

Helen has delivered countless training sessions to solicitors, HR personnel, business owners, managers etc.  More recently she has provided training on TUPE Reg 3(1)(b) transfers, and changing terms and conditions, harassment and practical tips on disability discrimination.

Helen is well known for her meticulous preparation of cases, contributing to her impressive success rates.  For more details please ask the employment clerks.


Approved for direct public access


Employment Lawyers Association, Discrimination Law Association, Employment Law Bar Association



"She is an impressive advocate who has the ability to grasp complex matters and distill key points quickly and effectively. She is responsive to queries, assists within tight timescales, and has an uncanny ability to put witnesses at ease in the most stressful of situations. She goes the extra mile and is highly recommended." "She is a fiercely intelligent lawyer and is always thoroughly prepared for any meeting or hearing. She is also practical, approachable and brings a great sense of humour to her work. She is robust and skilled in cross-examination and has excellent client care skills."
Chambers UK 2018

"Very personable and intelligent, with great client care skills."
Legal 500 2017

"She offers very straightforward, understandable advice and excels in cross-examination of witnesses." "Her advocacy is detailed, she knows the papers inside out and her questioning is very focused - a highly skilled advocate."
Chambers UK 2017

‘Succinct, focused and persuasive.’
Legal 500 2016

"Her strategy, her technical know-how and her ability to handle difficult clients is superb." "She has strong advocacy skills, gets to grips with the papers quickly, and adds value to what solicitors do."
Chambers UK 2016

‘Fiercely intelligent, but does not let that get in the way of the argument.’
Legal 500, 2015

"An outstanding junior…Helen Barney practices in both the public and private sector and is "undeniably fantastic" according to our sources".
Leading Employment Law Junior in Who's Who Legal 2015.

"She is a highly skilled and extremely intelligent advocate. She is detailed and thorough in her approach but also pragmatic."
"I would be happy to instruct Helen on a range of issues. She displays attention to detail, tenacity and a willingness to drive hard for the interests of the clients."
Chambers UK 2015

"Clients like her because she's very down-to-earth. She will get her point across. If she feels like the other side is getting away with something, she will make that point. Some barristers are in awe of judges – she's not." adding "She says things as she sees them. You get an up-front and honest view, which is helpful. She doesn't tell you just what you want to hear."
Chambers UK 2014

The ‘extremely intelligent’ Helen Barney is a ‘focused and tenacious advocate’, who is noted for her ‘excellent relationship with clients’. Legal500 2013

Chambers UK 2013 states: Employment specialist Helen Barney continues to endear herself to instructing law firms. She impresses them with her "ability to explain the complexities of employment law in layman’s terms" and her knack for putting the client at ease. Her clients include local authorities and NHS trusts. 

Helen Barney ‘works well with witnesses and puts them at ease’
Legal 500 2012

Chambers & Partners 2012 states: The "switched-on and sensible" Helen Barney commands the respect of judges thanks to her "robust cross-examination style." Barney dedicates her practice solely to employment matters, from discrimination complaints to unfair dismissal and contractual disputes.

Chambers & Partners 2011 states: “Helen Barney is well known for her respondent work for public sector bodies and the NHS, but is also an adept claimant lawyer with strong experience in discrimination cases. She is regarded as “an impressive performer who goes the extra mile for clients”. 

Legal 500 2011 states: "Helen Barney 'absorbs papers and information quickly', and is 'personable and easy to deal with'.

 “I have worked with Helen for some years, I have every confidence that when I instruct Helen she will be well prepared and ready for a challenge. Her can do and pragmatic approach appeals to a wide range of clients from the large international corporates to individuals and her success rate with the work we have instructed her on has been second to none. Helen’s client care skills are exceptional as are her advocacy skills, she has a fearless approach to advocacy and combined with her attention to detail in her preparation she becomes the most formidable opponent. I would not hesitate to recommend Helen.” - Eileen Schofield, Principal, Schofield & Associates, Employment Law Specialists

"I’ve instructed Helen Barney in numerous matters over the years. Helen’s preparation is second to none, and her ability to articulate complex, technical arguments to a lay client is particularly impressive. She has excellent client care skills. I’ve instructed Helen to advise some high profile clients, and she never ceases to impress. If you seek a bright, articulate, thorough and no nonsense Barrister, I would not hesitate to recommend Helen." - Fergal Dowling, Partner, Irwin Mitchell LLP

"I had the pleasure of working with Helen on a complicated and important TUPE case that we pursued against another company. Her advice and support in bringing the claim was pragmatic and very thorough and helped to ensure our ultimate success. In the tribunal itself, her manner was extremely impressive, especially her incisive approach to cross examination and her clear presentation of the issues to be decided. Helen is very approachable, sees the issues very clearly and is formidable in the courtroom". - Martin McGowan-Scanlon, Managing Director, Profile Security Services Ltd


Dr Rahim v i) Heart of England NHS Trust ii) Dr Shakher - 2017 - 6 week hearing - lengthy and hard fought complaint of race discrimination, victimisation and disability discrimination involving high functioning individuals.  The claim was allged to have spanned over a period of 10 years.

Andrews v i) Automotive & Insurance Solutions Group Plc ii) Accident Exchange Ltd - 2017 - 3 day Preliminary Hearing - a former CEO sought to bring a high value claim of unfair dismissal for allegedly having made a protected disclosure.  The claim was successfully defeated on grounds that no such disclosure had been made. 

Hesson v University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust - 2017 - 9 day unfair dismissal and race discrimination case - during cross-examination 48 of 53 allegations of race discrimination were conceded, culminating in withdrawal of the claim of race discrimination.  The Tribunal also dismissed the claim of unfair dismissal.  

- 2017 -  5 day pregnancy related dismissal clam.  The Claimant was dismissed on grounds of alleged redundancy in circumstances where she was set to return to work from maternity leave.  Following cross-examination as to the seemingly superficial basis for the Claimant's redundancy, positive settlement was reached, far out-stretching any previous offers on both sides.

i) O'Toole ii) Rohan v DHL Services Ltd - 2017 – 5 day unfair dimissal claim concerning postings made on Facebook. The two Claimants sought to argue that they had been i) unfairly dismissed and ii) that the real reason for dismissal was because of their union membership or union activities.  Both claims were shown to be without merit and defeated.

Sinclair v Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust - 2016 - Lengthy 2 week disability discrimination, victimisation and unfair dismissal complaint, concerning a 3.5 year suspension and eventual dismissal. Sizeable areas of factual dispute.  Successfully defeated all discrimination and victimisation claims.

Hussain v Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust - UKEAT/0080/16/DM - Consideration of when an Employment Judge can hear an application for costs following Judgment, in circumstances where a costs warning had been given during the trial. The case of Oni v NHS Leicester City [2013] ICR 91 considered.

Hoonjan v (1) Leicester City Council 2) Governors of Soar Valley School - 2016 - 9 day constructive unfair dismissal claim, concerning the dismissal of a teacher.  Allegations of unfair treatment spanning a number of years. Claim successfully defeated.

Patrick v Landscape Company - 2016 - Interim relief application arising from a whistle-blowing complaint. Insufficient evidence to justify a continuation of contract order.

Mangleshkar v Dudley Group NHS Trust - 2016 - Consultant surgeon dismissed following serious complaints about his conduct. Hotly contested unfair dismissal claim dismissed by the Tribunal.

Thon Hak v St Christopher’s Fellowship [2016] IRLR 342 - Guidance given by President Langstaff on the use of interpreters and the correlation with the Article 6 right to a fair hearing - Counsel was commended for her “well-structured and carefully considered argument”

Hinksman v Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police - 2016 - 2 week disability discrimination complaint. Factually complex, and multi-tiered discrimination claim.

Birring v Michael Rogers and Carolyn Moore t/a Charity Link UKEAT/0388/14/RN - 2015 - Correct composition of an employment tribunal - guidance given by President Langstaff as to when a Judge should sit alone or with members in dual or multiple claims

Beacham v West Midlands Ambulance Service - 2015 - Unfair dismissal and failure to make reasonable adjustments claim - mid way through cross-examination all complaints withdrawn   

City Council - 2015 - 4.5 week trial, involving a senior employee and factually complex complaints of direct and indirect disability discrimination, failure to make reasonable adjustments, harassment, victimisation, and unfair dismissal 

Thon Hak v St Christopher’s Fellowship UKEAT/0446/14/DA - 2015 -Guidance given by President Langstaff on the use of interpreters and the correlation with the Article 6 right to a fair hearing - Counsel was commended for her “well-structured and carefully considered argument”

Joanne Quick v Leicester City Council - 2014 - Unfair dismissal complaint -failure to follow a reasonable management instruction.  Case withdrawn on day 4 during robust cross-examination.

2014 - 8 day whistleblowing claim - successfully negotiated a positive settlement for the Claimant on the first day of hearing.

Mark Davis v (1) Alere Inc (2) Mologic Ltd (3) IG Innovations - 2014 - Interim relief application - alleged whistleblowing - former CEO - application for a continuation of contract order defeated.

Enno Kuttner v Black Country Partnership & NHS Trust - 2014 - Unfair dismissal claim pursued by former Clinical Director.  Factually complex and fiercely contested dispute.  Claim dismissed.

Hussain v Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust - 2014 - 3.5 week hearing.  All claims for race and disability discrimination, victimisation and unfair dismissal rejected by the Tribunal.