“Fiercely intelligent”, “undeniably fantastic”, “outstanding”, “highly skilled”, “goes the extra mile” (Legal 500, Who’s Who Legal and Chambers UK)
- Ranked Band 1 - Employment barrister in the Midlands (Chambers UK)
- 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:
- NHS Trusts - Police Authorities - Local Authorities
- Education - Ambulance Service- Fire Service
- Private Sector
- Universities - Security Industry - Engineering/manufacturing - Property Management
- Social Housing - Gaming and 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 regularly appears before the Employment Tribunal in complex and lengthy hearings, invariably involving multiple allegations of discrimination on varying grounds, whistle-blowing and thorny unfair dismissal complaints. She is often the go-to barrister for difficult and complex preliminary hearings to include jurisdictional issues, TUPE complaints and interim relief hearings. Helen also appears before the 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 international company, looking into the issue of alleged bullying and harassment by its HR Director and counter-allegations.
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.
"Nothing gets past Helen. Her thorough preparation and steely determination makes her our barrister of choice."
Chambers UK 2023
'Helen is thorough in her preparation and cross-examination. She has a strong grip on the key issues and secures the right outcome for clients. She understands the importance of a team approach, which makes onboarding seamless for clients.'
Legal 500 2023
"Helen is a standout barrister; she's very good at the more emotive kinds of cases and cutting to the issues in those cases." "Extremely thorough in her preparation; no stone will go unturned. Helen is very driven and will always do her very best. Helen knows how to handle clients and witnesses, and provides solid advice." "Helen is knowledgeable, quick to grasp the issues and thorough. She brings a levity to proceedings that makes it a pleasure working with her."
Chambers UK 2022
“Helen is very thorough and is excellent in terms of detailed analysis, yet is still down-to-earth and speaks in plain English, which clients value.”
Legal 500 2022
“Her engagement with the judges and her understanding of how they operate is second to none.” “She is very pragmatic and cooperative, and strongly defends her clients’ interests.”
Chambers UK 2021
“Clear and focused in cross-examination, with excellent knowledge and application of legal principles.”
Legal 500 2021
“Her approach to cross-examination is an art.” “She excels at setting clients at ease but keeping opponents on their toes.”
Chambers UK 2020
“Incredibly shrewd, personable and easy to work with.”
Legal 500 2020
“Astute and extremely well prepared.” “An excellent advocate, focused and firm in her questioning but able to adapt her strategy as needed. Her preparation and knowledge of cases is exemplary.”
Leading Employment Law Junior in Who’s Who Legal 2015
“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 and 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
Read v University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust - 2021 - ET
10 day case - Discrimination arising from disability, failure to make reasonable adjustments and unfair dismissal. On conclusion of cross-examination, all claims withdrawn.
Amaro v Jaguar Land Rover - 2020 - ET
Age discrimination – Applicability of the Pension Exemption Order - Justification - high value claim dismissed.
Hussain v i.) University of Sussex ii.) Professor Schot - 2020 - ET
10 day multi-discrimination complaint successfully defeated.
Ijomah v Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – UKEAT/0228/19 – HHJ Auerbach
Guidance given on the approach to be taken by Tribunals in striking out claims for non-compliance of an unless order.
Dr Rahim v i.) Heart of England NHS Trust ii.) Dr Shakher - ET
6 week hearing - lengthy and hard fought complaint of race discrimination, victimisation and disability discrimination involving consultants. The allegations spanned over a period of 10 years. All claims successfully dismissed.
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  ICR 91 considered.
Thon Hak v St Christopher’s Fellowship  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 commended for her “well-structured and carefully considered argument”
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.
Employment Lawyers Association
Discrimination Law Association
Employment Law Bar Association
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