Viewing: Employment for Richard Hignett


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 served as Head of Employment Law at No5 Chambers between 2012 - 2018. Richard is listed in the Who’s Who of Employment Law Practitioners: The Legal 500, Chambers and Partners and is described as “...a sharp blade in velvet.”
Practice and Experience
20 years plus experience of advising and acting for clients on employment law matters
Undertakes all aspects of employment law with an emphasis on discrimination, contractual disputes and whistleblowing
Standing counsel to an international logistics company, a broking house, a high street retailer, a brewery chain, a car manufacturer, a constabulary, several NHS Trusts and a local authority
Regularly appears in Employment Tribunals up and down the country
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 equality practises and how to recognise unconscious bias
Licensed to undertake Public Access Work
Richard acts as a barrister mentor for the citizenship foundation
Particular Areas of Expertise
High value complex claims, Whistleblowing, Interim relief, Disability discrimination, Sexual harassment, TUPE, Professional disciplinary tribunals, Professional misconduct of healthcare staff.
Sector Experience
Retail, Fashion, Banking, Finance, Leisure, Healthcare, Education, Social Care, local government, Police, Fire and Rescue, NHS, Airlines, Financial services.
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.
Client Recommendations
Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK Ltd, Liam Holmes, Senior Manager, Personnel and Employee Relations
“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.”
SSAFA Family Health Services, SSAFA Forces Help, Paul Branscombe CBE, Managing Director
“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.”
Cambridgeshire Police, Superintendent Mark Hodgson, Head of Professional Standards Department
“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.”
Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Tony Middleton, HR Director
“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”
Advantage Healthcare Group, Keith Nurcombe, Chief Executive
“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.”
James Fisher Tankships, Justin Tyler, Company Secretary
“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.”
What The Directories Say
“Richard is tenacious, has a great eye for detail and will leave no stone unturned. He is a great advocate and has a strong presence in the Tribunal hearing room.” - Legal 500 2023
“Richard has vast knowledge, not just on the legal position but on the tactical approach to take, which is invaluable. His manner is fantastic.” - Chambers UK 2023
“A tenacious advocate and good at getting the job done. He is excellent at cross-examination and ensuring efficiency throughout the hearing.” “Richard is always willing to provide support even outside of his instructions, and his knowledge is fantastic. He identifies and executes strategies on cases fantastically, thinking outside the box to achieve the best results for the client. He is very approachable and a pleasure to have conversations with.” - Chambers 2022
“Richard is incredibly approachable and always willing to assist – offering assistance beyond the scope of the instructions, not for want of more work but so as to best assist his instructing solicitors.” - Legal 500 2022
“Great manner with clients.” “An impressive performer who is bright and able to cut through a lot of information to get to the core of the case.” - Chambers UK 2021
“Clear, concise and pragmatic with good attention to detail.” - Legal 500 2021
“Very reassuring with clients and has the ability to digest vast amounts of information quickly.” “Knows the law.” - Chambers UK 2019
“A devastatingly sharp blade in a velvet holster.” - Legal 500 2019
Current Cases
Richard is currently acting for an NHS Trust whereby relationships in a body of consultants imploded over a disagreement surrounding the safety of a new clinical practice. The case concerns allegations of whistleblowing detriment brought by one of the consultants who considered the practice to be unsafe
Richard is representing a senior manager of one of the world’s largest corporations in a claim for age discrimination
Richard is investigating whistleblowing allegations at an international scientific laboratory
Appellate Cases
Iceland Food Ltd v Ms P Stevenson UKEAT 0309/19/RN
Overlap between unfair dismissal test and justification test in disability discrimination
Philander v Leonard Cheshire Disability UKEAT/0275/17/DA
Blackburn v Aldi Stores Ltd UKEAT/ 0185/12/JOJ
Grievance appeals and constructive dismissal
X County Council and The Governing Body of Y School v Miss D and Ms C UKEAT/0155/12/RN
Perversity and substitution
Norland Managed Services v Hastick UK EAT 0005/12/LA
Substitution and misapplication of the range of reasonable responses test
Alemo Herron and Others v Parkwood Leisure Limited [2011] UKSC 26 [2013] ICR 1116
TUPE and collective rights
Finlay v Cyron and Ors UKEAT/0121/11/RN
Whether a claim against a third party for knowingly aiding having any reasonable prospect of success
Griffin v Governing Body of Beechview School v BCC UKEAT/ 0162/ZT
Interplay between unfair and wrongful dismissal
D King v Royal Bank of Canada Europe Limited UKEAT /0333/10/DM
Amendments to Notices of Appeal and mandatory requirement on Tribunal to explain remedy options
O’Neill v Buckinghamshire County Council [2010] IRLR 384
Pregnancy discrimination and risk assessments for pregnant women
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue v Beever and Others [2009] EAT/0533/09/DM
Contractual construction and incorporated terms
Allen and Others v Murdoch [2009] EAT0361/09
Statutory construction
Onley v Tim Arrow and Sons [2008] EAT/0527/08/RN
Uplifts on compensation
Muschett v Parkwood [2008] EAT0361/08
Constructive dismissal
Degama v HSBC [2008] EAT 0532/08
Judicial discretion
Loosley v Moulton and Norfolk Probation Board [2004] EAT/0468/04
Sexual harassment
T and K Limited v Skilton [2000] IRLR 595 CA
Employment Contracts and scope of PILON clauses
Employment Lawyers Association
Employment Law and Bar Association
Industrial Law Society
Employment Law Advice and Assistance Scheme