Ed Williams QC

Year of Silk/Call: 2018/2000


Arbitration & Mediation | Commercial Law | Discrimination & Equality | Employment | Human Rights | Professional Discipline


"He's unflappable, hard-working and extremely bright." "He is so down-to-earth and accomplished he makes everyone feel at ease; he's exceptional." Chambers & Partners 2021


Ed Williams QC has a stellar appellate and multi-day trial practice in employment related commercial and discrimination law.

He is named by the Legal 500, Chambers and Partners, Who's Who Legal and Legal Experts as a leader in his field.

Ed receives instructions from a wide range of clients, including individuals, large national and multinational companies including investment and high street banks, trade unions, national and local broadcasters, local and police authorities, housing associations, universities, schools and FE colleges, charities and nation states.

Over the past twenty four months Ed has been instructed in a number of high profile and significant cases in the Court of Appeal, High Court, EAT and Employment Tribunal as well as in internal investigations involving breaches of the Senior Managers Regime and the Financial Services and Markets Act.

Recent work includes:
• Acting for the Claimant in one of the most valuable High Court share option claims for an individual worth in excess of £40 million.
• Chairing a grievance appeal for a US Bank around allegations of sexual harassment against an FCA regulated person and whether the Senior Managers Regime was engaged.
• Acting for one of the Birmingham schools named in Operation Trojan Horse as being subject to an alleged Islamist takeover.
• Acting for 250 former IBM employees bringing claims for age discrimination and constructive dismissal arising out of changes made to their pensions "Project Waltz”.
• Acting for a senior Coutts Banker in a breach of confidence and Data Protection claim in the High Court.

Additionally, seven of his other recent cases have been reported in the law journals:
• Henderson v GMB [2017] IRLR 340, CA (left wing democratic socialism as a protected belief.)
• Rabess v London Fire Brigade Authority [2017] IRLR, CA (whether calculating time limits for unfair dismissal should be the same as in wrongful dismissal).
• Sandle v Adecco UK Ltd [2016] IRLR 941, EAT (dismissal by omission of an agency worker).
• Hyde Housing Association v Layton [2016] ICR 261, EAT (application of TUPE to joint and several employment.
• Smania v Standard Chartered [2015] ICR 436, EAT (the international jurisdiction of whistleblowing and its interplay with the EU Charter, the European Convention and the Brussels and Rome Conventions.)
• Camurat v Thurrock Borough Council [2014] EWHC 2482, QB, [2015] ELR 1 (whether ex-employers owe any city of care when making safeguarding disclosures).
• Moran v Ideal Cleaning and Celanese [2014] ICR 442, EAT (the meaning of the word "temporary" in European and UK law for agency workers).

Ed acts as a Mediator, who is praised for bringing his calm, authoritative and pragmatic style.

He conducts complex internal investigations including those involving FCA regulated organisations as well as chairing disciplinary and appeal hearings.

Ed appears as an expert in employment related matters in other jurisdictions, including in criminal trials.

He also advises regulated bodies, banks and individuals across a broad spectrum of financial service matters, including the applicability of sexual harassment and bullying to the Financial Services and Markets Act.

Ed is one of the co-founders and Directors of the premium witness familiarisation company Assurety (www.assuretytraining.com) which helps witnesses perform to the best of their ability in Court.


Chambers & Partners 2021: "He's unflappable, hard-working and extremely bright." "He is so down-to-earth and accomplished he makes everyone feel at ease; he's exceptional."

Chambers & Partners 2020: "He's a very bright lawyer who is very considered and excellent at putting clients at ease." "On the ball and hard-working. He's approachable and is a real team player."

Legal 500 2020: "Relates to clients well and is excellent at acting for vulnerable individuals."

Chambers and Partners 2019: "Skilled employment and discrimination law practitioner who is often instructed in appellate cases. He acts for employers and employees from a range of sectors including finance and education." "He is bright and provides exceptional client care. His good preparation invariably leads to good results." "Very diligent, calm and a great team player. He has an excellent knowledge of the law and is client-focused."

Legal 500 2019: “A strong advocate who provides clear and concise advice.”

Chambers and Partners 2018: "Very thorough. He shows outstanding commitment to his clients success."

Legal 500 2017: "an excellent all-round lawyer with an unflappable and calm manner."

Chambers and Partners 2017: Skilled employment and discrimination law practitioner who is often instructed in appellate cases by public bodies and clients from the banking and education sectors. Clients are keen to highlight his masterful advocacy style."He is very thorough and shows outstanding commitment to the client's success." "He is very good, especially his skeleton arguments and his cross-examinations."

Legal 500 2017: "An excellent all-round lawyer with an unflappable and calm manner."

Legal 500 2016: "His employment law knowledge is excellent and he is a great resource in litigation."

Chambers and Partners 2016: "Rated very highly for the service that he provides to clients of all kinds, from major private companies to individual plaintiffs. His advocacy is also highlighted as a key strength." "A strong advocate, who is client-friendly and approachable." "He provides very through and well-reasoned advice."

Chambers and Partners 2015: "Very diligent and extremely bright."

Legal 500 2014: "An employment law barrister expert at handling complex discrimination cases, who impresses peers through his diligence and courtroom performances."

Chambers and Partners 2014: "He's very strong on discrimination issues and we'd implicitly trust him to deal with matters in that area." "His manner with opposition witnesses is charming, although he remains steely and determined to expose any holes in the opposition's case."


Member of Industrial Law Society

Member of Employment Lawyers Association

Member of Employment Law Barristers Association

Member of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute

Accredited Mediator

Ed has been a visiting human rights lecturer at Nottingham Law School

Ed is currently a member of the College of Law's higher rights teaching panel. He also teaches civil litigation courses (run by the College of Law) at city law firms.

Ed is a co-founder and trustee of ‘Cricket Without Boundaries' - a charity dedicated to using cricket to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and bridging ethnic divisions in Africa (www.cricketwithoutboundaries.com).


Ed is co-author of the chapter on Employment Tribunal Procedure and the Dispute Resolution Regulations in Sweet and Maxwell's Discrimination Law for Employment Lawyers.

Ed regularly writes for national media on issues ranging from industrial disputes to race discrimination.


BA Nottingham


• University College London v Brown [2021] IRLR 200, EAT: the first appellate case to consider the degree of protection offered to a Trade Union official when using work email communications to exercise Trade Union freedom.

• Henderson v GMB [2017] IRLR 340, CA; [2015] IRLR 451, EAT: whether left wing democratic socialism is a protected belief under EA 2010.

• Rabess v London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority [2017] IRLR 147, CA: whether calculating time limits for unfair dismissal should be governed by the common law (as per Societe Generale v Geys) or by statute.

• Sandle v Adecco UK Ltd [2016] IRLR 941, EAT: whether there can be a dismissal by omission in relation to an agency worker.

• Hyde Housing Association v Layton [2016] ICR 261, [2016] IRLR 107, EAT: whether there can be a TUPE transfer from sole to joint employment where the transferor is one of the joint and several employers post transfer

• Smania v Standard Chartered Bank [2015] ICR 436, [2015] IRLR 271, EAT: whether jurisdictional bar for whistleblowing should be set at lower level than for ordinary ERA 1996 claims.

• Camurat v Thurrock Borough Council [2014] EWHC 2482, QB, [2015] E.L.R 1: whether employers and ex employers owe the employee any duty of care when making safeguarding disclosures to the relevant bodies.

• Moran v Ideal Cleaning and Celanese [2014] 2 C.M.L.R 37, [2014] ICR 442, EAT, [2014] I.R.L.R. 172: the first appellate case re the scope of the Agency Directive and UK Regulations, in particular the meaning of the word "temporary".

• X v. Mid-Sussex CAB, [2011] ICR 460 CA: whether volunteers are protected under the Framework Directive from discrimination);

• Buckland v. Bournemouth University Higher Education Corporation [2010] QB 323, [2010] 3 W.L.R. [2010] ICR 908, CA: a case that attracted significant media interest concerning allegations of 'dumbing down' of academic standards and which raised a novel but important point of law on the correct legal test to be applied in constructive dismissal cases.

• Governing Body of X Endowed Primary School v T [2009] IRLR 1007, [2010] E.L.R. 1: whether a manifestation/symptom of ADHD which is a tendency to violence can be a disability under DDA 1995;

• Muschett v. Hounslow LBC [2009] ICR 424, EAT: a case concerning when the EAT will extend time for serving a Notice of Appeal;

• Bull v. Nottinghamshire & City of Nottingham Fire & Rescue Authority [2007] ICR 1631, CA: A national test case concerning 'co-responding' whereby fire-fighters were required to answer calls to the ambulance service.

• HM Prison Service v. Johnson [2007] IRLR 951, EAT: A complex disability discrimination appeal concerning the scope of reasonable adjustments.