Mugni Islam-Choudhury - Employment
"He gets to grips with the facts quickly and makes witnesses feel at ease." "He is extremely good with cross-examination, recognising things as they are moving forward and managing client expectations."
Chambers UK, 2016
‘He has excellent people skills and is technically brilliant.’
Legal 500, 2015
"He is a very robust and fearless cross-examiner. He inspires confidence in witnesses, who are happy to work with him." "He is always very good on his feet, thoroughly prepared, technically very good and easy to work with."
Chambers UK 2015
Mugni is currently Head of the Employment Group of 32 barristers at No5.
Mugni is an experienced employment law specialist who has conducted employment-related hearings in the ET, EAT and civil courts for 20 years. Having qualified in 1996, he practised from chambers in London before moving to in-house employment law advocacy roles in Bevan Brittan LLP and then Eversheds LLP, where he was Head of the Employment Advocacy Unit, before returning to the Bar. Through his law firm experience, Mugni is a firm believer in client care and takes time to understand the needs of the client.
He is a specialist in complex employment litigation and has particular interest and expertise in dealing with high value claims, particularly in the field of discrimination, whistleblowing and/or where there is a High Court connection (e.g. injunctive relief involving confidentiality breaches or in doctors’ disciplinary hearings). He has appeared against or alongside leading employment silks.
He is a regular speaker on employment law and wider discrimination law issues in the delivery of goods and services. He has recently conducted training sessions for a wide range of clients on the Equality Act 2010. He has also hosted and delivered training through the Employment Lawyers Association (“ELA”).
Mugni takes an active part in government consultations through the ELA Legislative & Policy Committee, and has contributed to consultation responses on the Public Sector Equality Duty, reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Single Equality Bill (as it was then), and ACAS reform.
Mugni is currently Vice Chair of the Birmingham Law Society Employment Law Committee.
Recently, Mugni has been appointed as investigator in a number of whistleblowing complaints and grievances. He has also chaired Appeal Panels for universities under their specific Statutes.
Mugni appears regularly for a number of FTSE100 and FTSE250 clients that are household names. His wider practice also includes acting for airlines, aerospace and engineering, banks and professional services businesses such as accountancy and law firms.
Clients appreciate his commercial yet forensic approach, in particular in cases where the merits of settlement versus fighting a case are finely balanced - for example in whistleblowing claims where very serious allegations of impropriety have been alleged.
He is also experienced in representing employers who wish to protect themselves from their departing employees trying to poach their business, and appears in the High Court on restrictive covenant injunction cases.
Local Government, Education and NDPBs
Mugni is familiar with the specific needs of NDPBs and local authority clients (particularly in respect of schools) and the complex legislative framework in which they operate. He has many years of experience in acting in discrimination or whistleblowing claims for such clients, but also has experience in acting in niche areas by providing:
- Advice and representation in termination of employment of senior officers (e.g. Chief Executive or Finance Director) due to gross misconduct, including making submissions to “the designated independent person” under the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) Regulations 1993 (SI 1993/202).
- Advice and representation on career loss claims brought by senior employees.
- Advice and representation on transfer of liabilities relating to staff transferring when a maintained school converts to academy status, under TUPE and/or the Academy Act 2010 (as amended) upon dissolution of the governing body.
- Advice and representation for local authorities providing shared HR and/or legal services under SLAs to other public bodies such as the police.
- Advice and representation on specialist redundancy issues, e.g. in connection with age discrimination/early retirement, or counter notice issues arising from giving long notice to staff in service critical roles that are to be disbanded in the future.
Due to time at Bevan Brittan, Mugni has built up an extensive knowledge of the workings of the NHS/health sector, acting for a whole range of acute trusts, FTs, mental health trusts, and the newly formed CSUs and CCGs. He has experience dealing with:
- Issues concerning Agenda for Change.
- Representing NHS trusts and FTs in cases involving doctors’ disciplinary processes under MHPS, both internally, and in connected external proceedings in parallel high court and/or tribunal proceedings.
- Representing NHS trusts and FTs in cases involving professional misconduct of other healthcare staff and/or relating to Serious Untoward Incidents.
- TUPE issues arising from commissioning decisions, and advising on the NHS Standard Contract brought since the creation of CCGs.
- Advising on issues concerning Retention of Employment and/or secondment of staff that are now reaching maturity.
- Advising and representing NHS clients in cases concerning the use of bank staff.?
“Mugni is brilliant to work with, he really binds the team at tribunal together. He has been excellent throughout a difficult hearing.”
Peter England, HR Director, Biofocus UK Ltd.
“My experience of Mugni handling one of our complex TUPE claims was very positive. His advice explored all angles and risks, and the quality of his advocacy was first class.”
Ian Collier, CEO, Premier Manufacturing, part of the Voigt Group.
“Mugni was a great advocate and cross examiner in a complex employment tribunal case which we won with a unanimous verdict from the panel. His preparation was exemplary and he was a great attorney to have on your side.”
Nicholas Finney OBE, Commissioner at Independent Transport Commission.
“Mugni provides clear and effective professional advice with the focus on the business needs of his clients. He is a good communicator and enjoyable to work with.”
Charlie Millard, Director, M Moser Associates.
‘Mugni is a top class advocate. He gets into the detail very quickly, and is able to identify the key issues. He is also quick to build a rapport with clients and put them at ease.’
David Beswick, Partner and Head of Birmingham Office, Eversheds LLP.
'Mugni has been instructed by myself and colleagues in complex discrimination claims against public bodies. He has provided sound advice in a helpful and pleasant manner and has been well liked by clients. He is highly regarded as an advocate.'
Kate Levy, Employment Solicitor, Warwickshire County Council.
“Mugni is a barrister who can see the whole picture yet able to focus on the key issue to resolve issues in an efficient and cost effective manner.”
Vaikunthan Rajaratnam, Consultant Hand Surgeon, UB, NHS Foundation Trust
“Mugni was always on top of his brief and, unlike some employment lawyers, able to frame his advice around his client's commercial needs. The client feedback I had about his advice and client service was always first rate and I recommend his work wholeheartedly. He's also a pleasure to work with and a technically very strong lawyer.”
Stuart Whitfield, Chief Executive, Bevan Brittan LLP
Notable recent cases include:
- Dr Parums v West Dorset NHS Trust (2004) (EAT) – successfully appearing against a leading silk in this doctors’ disciplinary case.
- Dr Hassan v Leicestershire Partnerships (2007) (EAT) – appropriate comparator in race discrimination claim.
- Odoemelam v Whittington Hospital NHS Trust (2007) (EAT) – statutory grievance procedures.
- Allen v Worcester City Council (2012) (EAT) – test for re-instatement after a finding of unfair dismissal
- Haggan v Southampton City PCT (2012) (EAT) – time limits for lodging an appeal
- Ransom v Smith Medical International (2013) (EAT) – test for valid finding of constructive dismissal
- Dr Simawi v Barking Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust (2015) EAT – correct test for indirect race discrimination re qualifications to apply for a post.
- Dr Srivatsa v Sec of State for Health and The Practice Surgeries Ltd (2016) EAT – withdrawal, dismissal in ET and res judicata in parallel High Court proceeding
- Farmah & Others v Birmingham City Council (2016) EAT – to be heard, but will be leading authority on procedure for multiple claimants using single ET1 claim form.
- Pannu & others v (1) Premier Manufacturing (2) General Motors & others (2010) (ET) – Successfully appearing for Premier in a complex and novel TUPE case with 35 claimants and 1 Trade Union, co-defending with James Goudie QC, acting for GM.
- Myburgh v Diageo (2010) (ET) – Successfully appearing for Diageo in an indirect sex discrimination complaint about contractual terms that would affect thousands of part-time female employees.
- Oakley v Unipart (2011) (ET) – Successfully appearing for Unipart in this very serious whistleblowing case where the Claimant alleged serious fraud against various directors. The Tribunal awarded Unipart all its substantial costs subject to detailed assessment.
- North v Centrica plc (2012) (ET) – Successfully appearing for Centrica in this whistleblowing case, where a risk manager who was made redundant, alleged breaches of the FSA regulatory regime in its trading of oil and gas.
- Johnson v Tuntun Housing Association (2012) ET – Successfully appearing for the Respondent in this race discrimination and unfair dismissal claim brought by a residential manager who had assault vulnerable young adult residents.
- Baladi v Leicester PCT (2012) ET – Successfully acting for the employer in the dismissal of a manager of district nurses where poor nursing care had led to the death of a patient resulting a Rule 43 direction from the Coroner.
- Burley v Warwickshire Police (2012) ET – Successfully acting for the police force in defending a pregnancy and breast feeding related discrimination claim brought by a police constable.
- Ringer v Isle of Wight NHS Trust (2012) ET – Successfully acting for the employer in the dismissal of a nurse investigated for assisting the suicide of her partner, but with the investigation later dropped by the police.
- Piotrowski v Ocado (2013) ET – Successfully acting for the employer in this race discrimination and unfair discrimination claim when the employee was able to point to an actual comparator who had been treated differently.
- B v AB Council (2013) – successfully representing the Council in an internal disciplinary hearing in front of panel of councillors concerning a very senior manager who was dismissed for rape and sexual harassment of his secretary.
- Winston v South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (2013) ET – successfully representing the trust in this race claim brought by the Finance Director (one of only 4 BME Finance Directors in the NHS) who was summarily dismissed for failing to meet CIP – at total of 5 executive directors gave evidence and the claimant called 3 finance directors on his behalf.
- Farrant v Isle of Wight NHS (2013) ET – successfully representing the Trust in this unfair dismissal claim brought by a trainee paramedic who performed various procedures on a pregnant patient in transit, in breach of his training and which put the patient and child at risk.
- Mears & Others v Shropshire Council (2013) ET – successfully represented the council in defending a test case concerning variation of contractual terms concerning redundancy which affected hundreds of staff saved the Council £millions in redundancy pay.
- C v A Ambulance Service (2013) ET – successfully represented the trust in this claim for sex discrimination and unfair dismissal where a trainee paramedic had forged her log book of designated activities signed by her mentor when she was involved in a sexual relationship with him.
- Hannaford v Lancashire County Council (2013) ET – successfully represented an educational psychologist in this detriment claim when she was issued with a warning for breaching safeguarding rules in respect of a child who had made allegations against her.
- A v B Hospital Trust (2014) ET – successfully represented this hospital in a disability discrimination and unfair dismissal claim brought by a male nurse accused of sexually assaulting a female patient – the nurse is currently being prosecuted in the criminal courts.
- Berrrisford v Alliance One International (2014) ET – successfully represented the respondent US company, which had been fined $25 million dollars by the Federal US Government, for foreign corrupt practices, in a whistle-blowing claim brought by one of its auditors in the UK in respect of an alleged defective audit process in Thailand.
- Pettitt v NHS Business Services Authority (North Staffs) (2014) ET – successfully represented the CSU in a claim for redundancy pay worth £125,000 brought by the former PCT associate finance director when his was offered a contract manager role as suitable alternative work after the PCT was abolished.
- Cooper v Black & Veatch Ltd (2014) ET – successfully represented the employer in this test case affecting 150 employees, who had historically inherited Thames Water employees under TUPE and the issue concerned the incorporation of a redundancy policy through custom and practice.
- Dr FB Babapulle v Isle of Wight NHS Trust (2015) ET – successfully representing this NHS trust against a whistleblowing claim brought by a consultant haematologist.
- Ford v Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust (2015) ET – successfully represented the NHS Trust in a whistleblowing claim brought by a psychiatric nurse who alleged that children were being regularly misdiagnosed with psychiatric conditions and patient records were regularly being lost.
- Maiara-Kiande v Lloyds Register (2015) ET – successfully represented this City institution in a “sex in the City” discrimination complaint that got wide press coverage.
- Howes v Buckinghamshire County Council and Carter Jonas (2015) ET – acting for second respondent, successfully argued that claimant was not an employee so that TUPE did not apply in a tripartite agency arrangement.
High Court and Injunction Cases:
- Acting for a NHS Trust in an injunction case in a doctors’ disciplinary case with parallel ET litigation brought by a consultant psychiatrist.
- GH v T (2013) High Court – acting for the employer in obtaining injunctive relief, including springboard relief, against an employee who had stolen confidential schematics of technical systems concerning military aircraft.
- G Parking v G (2013) High Court – acting for the employer in obtaining injunctive relief against former MD who had set up a competing business in breach of restrictions
- PP v S & H (2013) High Court - acting for two former employees who had left to set up their own business together in the care sector, regulated by the CQC.
- B & L (Shipping) v B (2013) High Court – acting for the employer in obtaining a springboard injunction against a former employee who had stolen its client database and pricing information and moved to a competitor.
- Mirza v Birmingham City Council (2013) County Court – representing the employee in this equal pay claim in the civil courts, successfully defending application to strike out, which led to settlement of the claim.
- Drs A & B v CD NHS Trust (2014) High Court – advising on merits and drafting application for an injunction for 2 consultant surgeons seeking to challenge an internal investigation of poor clinical outcomes in their department as being a breach of MHPS - as my advice was that merits were poor, no application issued.
- A & B v WCL (2014) High Court – successfully obtaining a spring board injunction against two former employees of a recruitment consultancy who had stolen the client’s database and set up a competing business.
- Dr S v (1) Secretary of State for Health and (2) TP plc (2014) High Court – acting for the Second Defendant in this breach of contract and conspiracy claim brought by an employed GP investigated for sexual assaults on patients, whose contract we say did not transfer to the Second Defendant under TUPE when the GP surgery was taken over by the client from the PCT.
- MC Ltd v DL ltd and SS (2015) High Court – acting for claimant company, and obtaining a springboard injunction to prevent the abuse of confidential information re: pricing models that would have put a £5m contract at risk, as re-tender was imminent.
- CD Ltd v L and others (2015) High Court – obtaining interim and final injunctions and damages and costs for claimant company where 5 senior employees had set up a shadow company and made secret profits.