Rachel Crasnow QC

Year of Silk/Call: 2015/1994

PRACTICE AREAS

Commercial Law | Discrimination & Equality | Employment | Human Rights | Regulatory

Highlights

Renowned as an employment specialist appearing in complex, high-value claims involving race, age, sex and sexual orientation, disability and religion as well as TUPE, equal pay and whistleblowing cases. ‘A determined, gutsy advocate’ Chambers and Partners. 

Overview

Rachel Crasnow QC is renowned as an employment specialist appearing in complex, high-value claims involving race, age, sex and sexual orientation, disability and religion as well as TUPE, territorial jurisdiction, injunctions, equal pay and whistleblowing cases.

Rachel represents a wide variety of clients (including the EHRC, city firms, public authorities, charities and trade unions) on all aspects of employment law with a particular emphasis on discrimination and human rights. Her work often overlaps with medical law, education and public law issues. She also has extensive experience with inquests and regulatory matters including disciplinary hearings.

Rachel has acted for the Claimant in the ground-breaking case of O'Brien v MOJ since 2009. She has appeared in the Supreme Court three times in this case in 2010 and 2012 (see [2013] ICR 499) and [2015] IRLR 1005) and 2017: where she and Robin Allen QC obtained a reference to the CJEU: see O'Brien v MOJ No.2 [2017] IRLR 939 SC. Rachel will appear before the Court of Justice in June 2018: this stage of the litigation raises the issue of post-Brexit references to the CJEU as well as the current interpretation of EU Directives.

Rachel has been Counsel of choice for hundreds of judicial office holders on the implications of the O'Brien judgment for their pension rights and has represented them at all their hearings. One of the various test cases she has been instructed in involves a whistleblowing judge who argues, for the first time in a UK court, that she works under a contract: see Gilham v MOJ- awaiting permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. It also concerns whether depriving judges of whistleblowing rights deprives them of their human rights under Article 10 of the ECHR.

Rachel's other “status” casework includes representing foster carers in their fight to be declared “workers” – which will give them many UK statutory rights including the right to join a trade union: see National Union of Professional Foster Carers (NUPFC) v Certification Officer: EAT hearing later in 2018.

Appearing in SC appeal in October 2018 in Williams v Swansea University on meaning of detriment in disability related discrimination: section 15 Equality Act 2010

Rachel is a leading practitioner in equal pay work. She specialises in both public and private sector work undertaking cases against local authorities representing thousands of carers and school –based women and against universities. Other private sector work has involved cases against RADA as well as trade unions and educational institutions.

Rachel's specialism in whistleblowing cases has seen her engaged in complex cases involving the NHS and such as allegations involving fraud and the storage of toxic drugs, as well as in the financial arena.

Outside the employment sphere Rachel has recently advised about religious discrimination and human rights as well as disability discrimination in the goods and services arena and in particular how this interplays with the public sector equality duty.

In 2015 Rachel was appointed a Police Appeals Tribunal Chairman and has long standing experience in defending and presenting cases of professional misconduct for regulatory bodies including the British Psychological Society and the GMC. This part-time judicial role augments her long-standing work in the regulatory sphere, including her appointment as Legal Advisor to the United Kingdom Board for Health Care Chaplaincy (UKBHC). As well as working as an appeal judge in this jurisdiction, she adjudicates over high profile misconduct hearings for senior police officers.

Rachel sits as a mediator and is frequently instructed to mediate in areas such as public sector equal pay disputes as well as discrimination conflicts. She carries out complex investigations for large bodies especially where there are reputational issues at stake.

Rachel is ranked as a leading silk in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 who call her ‘Incredibly knowledgeable on all things discrimination and very constructive and commercial in her approach.' Chambers praise her “very strong reputation”, calling her “very knowledgeable” say she is “Recognised by peers and clients alike as a very strong advocate, praised for her killer cross-examination skills and her unflappable nature in the courtroom.” They say "Rachel is a gutsy advocate who is good on her feet and provides excellent tactical advice."

Awards

Chair of Bar Council Legislation and Guidance Committee

Employment Law Bar Association elected Committee Member

Member of the Bar Council's Equality and Diversity Committee

Member of ELA, ELAAS, DLA. ILS and the Human Rights Lawyers' Association.

Shortlisted for Employment Silk of the Year 2018, Employment Junior of the Year 2013 and for the 2013 Chambers & Partners Bar 100

References

Rachel has been named as a leading Junior for many years by Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500.

The Legal 500 has singled her out as a leading silk, saying she is 'Incredibly knowledgeable on all things discrimination and very constructive and commercial in her approach.'

Chambers & Partners 2017 described Rachel as "a gutsy advocate who is good on her feet and provides excellent tactical advice" "very knowledgeable" and having "a very strong reputation in the disability discrimination field". They reported her being praised for her "killer cross-examination skills and her unflappable nature in the courtroom".

Appointments and memberships

Police Appeals Tribunal Chairman

Legal Advisor to the United Kingdom Board for Health Care Chaplaincy (UKBHC)

Chair of Bar Council Legislation and Guidance Committee

Employment Law Bar Association elected Committee Member

Member of the Bar Council's Equality and Diversity Committee

Member of ELA, ELAAS, DLA. ILS and the Human Rights Lawyers' Association.

Shortlisted for Employment Junior of the Year 2013 and for the 2013 Chambers & Partners Bar 100

Publications and training

Editor and co-author of Family Rights in Employment Law (Jordans, 2012)
Co-author with Robin Allen QC and Anna Beale of Employment Law and Human Rights (OUP 3rd edition 2018)
Co-author of Blackstone's Guide to the Equality Act (2nd ed OUP 2017)
Contributor and editor to Bullen, Leake and Jacob: Human Rights and ECJ sections
Editor of the Educational Law Journal's Case Commentaries until 2004
Rachel is a much sought-after speaker and lectures in the UK and internationally, including to lawyers and jurists at the prestigious European Commission funded European Rights Academy. Her many regular speaking engagements include the annual TUC/EOR Discrimination Law Conference, the ILS Spring Conference and the 22 QCs conference.
Rachel gave evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability on behalf of the Bar Council in September 2015 arising from her expertise in disability discrimination law. For more details see here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/equality-act-2010-and-disability/news-parliament-2015/lawyers-evidence-session/).
Recent talks have been around the topic of dress codes, diversity and the the Prevent Duty as well as post Brexit employment issues. She addressed the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sex Equality on the EU Withdrawal Bill in September 2017.

Qualifications

BA (Oxon)

Highlight cases

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Local Health Board v Morgan CA [2018] EWCA Civ 640; successfully defended appeal on reasonable adjustments for disability claim including time limits under s.123(4) EqA 2010.

Gilham v MOJ [2018] I.R.L.R. 315 CA on the employment status of judges

O'Brien v Ministry of Justice Supreme Court [2017] I.C.R. 1101 judgment and reference to CJEU concerning how whether compensation utilised pre-Directive years of service for the purpose of determining judicial pensions.

Miller v Ministry of Justice [2016] UKEAT 0003_15_1503 (15 March 2016) appeal regarding determination of primary time limits for judicial pension cases.

Birmingham City Council v Bagshaw EAT [2017] I.C.R. 263 pre action disclosure in equal pay litigation

O'Brien v Ministry of Justice [2017] IRLR 939 Please click here for reference SC

Moutrie v Ministry of Justice - [2015] IRLR 264 appeal concerning medical members seeking judicial pensions.

O'Brien (respondent) v Ministry of Justice (appellant) (No.2) - [2014] IRLR 440 EAT appeal concerning determination of the Year 2000 point appeal for judicial pension cases.

Dziedziak v Future Electronics Ltd [2012] UKEAT/0271/11; [2012] Eq. L.R. 543. Being ordered not to speak in your "own language" amounts to direct race discrimination.

Miles v Insitu Cleaning Co Ltd [2012] EAT- TUPE guidance on what changes to the function of the workforce mean in an ETO context.