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Barrister - richard-hignett

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]

Richard Hignett - Employment

Richard practises exclusively in the field of employment and discrimination law. He is instructed by a wide range of clients in both the public and private sectors. Richard is listed in the Who’s Who of Employment Law Practitioners: The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.

Practice & Experience:-

• 18 years experience of advising and acting for clients on employment law matters
• Undertakes all aspects of employment law with an emphasis on discrimination 
• Standing counsel to an international logistics company, a broking house, a retail chain, a brewery chain, a car manufacturer, a constabulary, an NHS Trust and several local authorities
• Regularly appears in Employment Tribunals up and down the country
• High Court, Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal experience 
• Presents to solicitors and heads of HR on a wide range of employment law related issues
• Trains Managers in equal opportunities practices and giving evidence
• Licensed to undertake Public Access Work


Particular areas of expertise:-

High value complex claims 
Whistleblowing claims 
Disability claims 
Sex discrimination  
EAT Appeals 
Professional disciplinary Tribunals 

Particular sector experience:- 

Retail, Fashion, Banking, Finance, Leisure, Healthcare, Education, Social Care, local government, Police, Fire & Rescue and NHS.

Richard is an experienced investigator. He has undertaken investigations in the education sector, social services and legal sectors. Recent investigations include a complex sexual harassment complaint and infighting amongst staff in a stately home.

Richard acts as a barrister mentor for the citizenship foundation.

Notable Cases

• Employment Contracts & scope of PILON clauses: T&K Limited v Skilton [2000] IRLR 595 CA 

• Sexual harassment: Loosley v Moulton & Norfolk Probation Board [2004] EAT/0468/04 

• Dispute resolution, what constitutes a grievance: Shergold v Fieldway Medical Centre [2006] IRLR 76

• Statutory dismissal procedure: Dixon v Homeserve Emergency Services Limited [2007] EAT/0127/07 

• Judicial discretion: Degama v HSBC [2008] EAT 0532/08 

• Constructive dismissal: Muschett v Parkwood [2008] EAT0361/08

• Uplifts on compensation: Onley v Tim Arrow & Sons [2008] EAT/0527/08/RN

• Statutory construction: Allen & Others v Murdoch [2009] EAT0361/09 

• Contractual construction & incorporated terms: South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue v Beever and Others [2009] EAT/0533/09/DM

• Pregnancy discrimination and risk assessments for pregnant women: O’Neill v Buckinghamshire County Council [2010] IRLR 384

• TUPE & collective rights: Alemo Herron & Others v Parkwood Leisure Limited [2011] UKSC 26  [2013] ICR 1116

• Amendments to Notices of Appeal and mandatory requirement on Tribunal to explain remedy options: D King v Royal Bank of Canada Europe Limited UKEAT /0333/10/DM

• Interplay between unfair and wrongful dismissal: Griffin v Governing Body of Beechview School v BCC UKEAT/ 0162/ZT

• Whether a claim against a third party for knowingly aiding having any reasonable prospect of success: Finlay v Cyron & Ors UKEAT/0121/11/RN 

• Substitution and misapplication of the range of reasonable responses test, Norland Managed Services v Hastick UK EAT 0005/12/LA

• Perversity and substitution - X County Council & The Governing Body of Y School v Miss D and Ms C UKEAT/0155/12/RN

Directory Entries:-

"He's fiercely intelligent, focuses in on the issues quickly and gets right to the key two or three questions in a case." "He's good with judges and he's got a sympathetic manner with clients; he's able to draw them out."
Chambers UK, 2016

‘Very strong on the law, a super advocate, and fuss-free.’
Legal 500, 2015

"He is very good at cross-examination and you feel he is in control."
"He communicates well with clients. They find him straightforward to deal with and he always understands what they want to achieve."
Chambers UK 2015

‘He is always well organised and knowledgeable.’
Legal 500 2014

Noted for his ability to handle complex discrimination cases, and for his extensive work with public sector clients. "Public sector clients value Richard’s pragmatic and user-friendly approach to cases." "He's very well prepared... Richard adapts his style depending on who is in front of him."
Chambers UK 2014

The ‘personable’ and ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Richard Hignett now heads the employment group at No5 Chambers and ‘excels where the issues are of a sensitive and high-risk nature.’
Legal 500 2013

Richard Hignett heads the practice group, and his 'commercial approach' and 'down-to-earth' manner make him an 'excellent choice for employment law cases,' sources say. He recently represented Parkwood Holdings in a high-profile TUPE case before the Supreme Court. 
Chambers UK 2013

Richard Hignett is ‘extremely pragmatic and commercial.’
Legal 500 2012

'noted for his straightforward, down-to-earth and user-friendly style.'
Chambers and Partners 2012

'client-focused and determined. Impressive in his speed at identifying the key issues and admired for his self-evident knowledge and the fact that he uses plain English with the clients' Chambers and Partners

'receives recognition on a national scale… Clients flock to him' Chambers and Partners

'judges the opposition very well and modifies his approach accordingly' Legal 500

'popular with Employment Judges and proficient at handling difficult opponents, especially litigants in person' Legal 500


• Employment Lawyers Association
• Employment Law and Bar Association 
• Industrial Law Society 
• Employment Law Advice & Assistance Scheme 


Client Recommendations:- 

“Richard is organised, prepared and focused on the key issues. He is quick to grasp complex manufacturing issues. His natural style is calm and logical which is well accepted by Employment Judges. He makes strong closing submissions which the tribunal in our experience have found very compelling. From a customer perspective one key measure of the working relationship must be based on success and in our experience Richard has been faultless.”
Liam Holmes 
Senior Manager, Personnel and Employee Relations 
Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK Ltd 

"In a highly complicated and confused case involving unfamiliar jargon, regulations and spanning three different countries, Richard most ably focussed on the essentials which won the day. He is very quick to absorb new information, adaptable, decisive in applying his advocacy talents, and calm under pressure. Importantly he has an intuitive sensitivity to client needs, a quiet diplomacy with difficult people, and an outstanding sense of humour - essential at times of stress."
Paul Branscombe CBE
Managing Director, SSAFA Family Health Services 
SSAFA Forces Help

"Richard not only understood the case but understood the context and associated issues surrounding it. His cross-examination of the Claimant was particularly good. I also liked and appreciated the way that he challenged the Chair and the panel, not in an aggressive or theatrical way, but in a way that clearly allowed the panel to get and take the point on board. Richard was also prepared to work with some witnesses who were feeling rather "wobbly" - this was an added extra in terms of his support for the Constabulary and appreciated."
Superintendent Mark Hodgson, Head of Professional Standards Department, Cambridgeshire Police 

“Richard Hignett represented our organisation on a complex employment tribunal case, which was successfully defended. Thanks to Richard, our witnesses, from all levels of the organisation felt more relaxed and at ease with the tribunal process. We were particularly impressed at the level of preparation and understanding he had for both the case and the organisation as a whole. We will definitely work with Richard and No.5 Chambers again”
Tony Middleton, HR Director, Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

“Richard provided my organisation with high quality advice regarding a complex matter in relation to the national minimum wage and on call coverage. On the day of the hearing Richard brought a considerable level of relevant experience which I believe swung the case in our favour and his argument was powerful and extremely pertinent to the matters raised by the tribunal.”
Keith Nurcombe, Chief Executive, Advantage Healthcare Group

“Richard displayed great skill at imposing structure on the chaotic case presented by the claimant, enabling the defence team to focus on the key issues. He interacted effectively with the client and has an approachable style. The hearing was handled by Richard in a firm but not antagonistic manner, well suited to the personalities involved, and he was quick to modify his cross-examination where necessary best to blunt the line of attack adopted by the claimant.”
Justin Tyler, Company Secretary, James Fisher Tankships