Schona Jolly KC

Year of Silk/Call: 2017/1999

Call Clerk on 020 7827 4000
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Arbitration & Mediation | Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning | Discrimination & Equality | Employment | Human Rights | Professional Discipline | Sport & Entertainment


According to an article in The Lawyer magazine in 2019, Schona Jolly QC was one of “top 10” female silks appearing in the Court of Appeal.

"A deadly cross-examiner, she achieves things other silks simply can't pull off.” Legal 500 2021

She is fiercely intelligent and uses her formidable intellect to pursue the best practical outcome for her clients. A creative thinker, she is able to think outside the box to devise avenues of argument to get the best outcome.Legal 500 2021

" Schona has a complete mastery of the facts, the industrial context and the legal issues at play. Her advice is both robust and sensitive, which is a rare combination, and her authority on the legal issues unparalleled." Legal 500 2022


Schona Jolly KC is renowned for her cutting edge practice, working at the confluence of equality, domestic and international human rights, employment, sports, artificial intelligence and public international law. She has extensive experience in leading teams of lawyers in domestic and international litigation, including in group claims. She is widely sought after for her strategic advice on litigation and policy.

Her domestic employment work includes complex whistleblowing, discrimination and equal pay claims. She acts for a range of (often high profile) individuals, corporations, civil society and institutions and has many years of experience conducting large group litigation.

Schona has developed a practice covering a broad range of international law. She has wide-ranging experience in international law, including in respect of international courts and tribunals as well as UN Special Procedures. She advises and litigates in matters relating to state immunities, violations of fundamental human rights (including on genocide and crimes against humanities), business and human rights, employment rights, forced labour, minority rights and international sports disputes.

She has been a longstanding Panel Counsel to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and their predecessor organisations.

Schona is Head of Cloisters Human Rights Practice Group and Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee from 2019-2021. She is a Visiting Professor at Goldsmiths University, London.

She is also a regular speaker on her specialist areas, and she writes widely in the national media, as well as specialist academic press. She is available to conduct mediations and to conduct complex and sensitive investigations. She has a strong interest in foreign policy, rule of law and human rights. She has longstanding experience relating to the protection of journalists internationally, trial monitoring and she conducts regular human rights training in projects with governments and civil society across the world. She is multilingual.


Shortlisted for The Lawyer Lawyer of the Year 2015

Shortlisted for International Bar Association

Pro Bono Lawyer Award 2021


Chambers & Partners 2022: She gets on top of the intricacies of the law and she is a skilful cross-examiner." "She wins over the tribunal with her style; she gets through what she needs to with a charming approach and she is a fearsome cross-examiner." "Schona is a keen intellect and a practical and yet creative thinker. She is a strong and unwavering advocate with in-depth knowledge and expertise of civil liberties and human rights with the domestic and ECHR frameworks."

Chambers & Partners 2021: "She has exceptionally good client management skills and draws on her experience with great aplomb." "She is an extraordinary legal brain and strategist who brings passion and diligence to a case." "She's very good at getting to grips with the detail quickly, is superb at cross-examination and her submissions are excellent."

Legal 500 2021: “A deadly cross-examiner, she achieves things other silks simply can't pull off; her advocacy is very convincing and she is able to read the judge perfectly, knowing when to focus on a point and when to move on.”

Legal 500 2020: "A very impressive silk." "Excellent tactical acumen and highly responsive."

Chambers & Partners 2019: "Admired silk whose employment practice is bolstered by her human rights knowledge. She is a regular counsel for banking clients and trade unions, and was recently instructed in one of the leading gig-economy cases in the court system. She also handles complex discrimination claims." "Very good on her feet and excellent with clients."

Legal 500 2019: "A rare talent who approaches every challenge with an open mind." "Creative and unafraid to use innovative arguments."


Visiting Professor, Goldsmiths University, 2021-

Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England & Wales 2019-2021; (Advisory Board 2022-)

Head of Cloisters Human Rights group

Council of JUSTICE 2014-2016

Memberships: ALBA, BHRC, Discrimination Law Association, Employment Law Association, ELBA, IBA, IBAHRI, JUSTICE, Lawyers for Liberty, Women in Sport.


Contributing author (international rule of law), to be published in Summer 2022

Contributing author to OUP 'Equal Pay' (Introduction to EU law, Brexit and Equal )Pay

Contributing author to Sweet & Maxwell, 'Human Rights Practice' (on Article 9 ECHR).

Contributor to 'Discrimination in Employment: A Claims Handbook', LAG, 2013.

Co-author: Age Discrimination Handbook, LAG 2006 with Declan O'Dempsey and Andrew Harrop.

2004 co-author Consultation paper for Age Concern: Addressing Age Barriers: An international comparison of legislation against age discrimination in the field of goods, facilities and services.

She frequently writes articles for professional publications, including European Human Rights Law Review and newspapers.

She was a former associate editor of the European Human Rights Reports.


Licence Special en droit Europeen, Université Libre de Bruxelles

BA Jurisprudence, Magdalen College, Oxford

Schona is legally fluent in French and also speaks high-level Spanish, Hindi/Urdu and Punjabi and has basic Arabic and Greek.


A selection across the range of some of her cases include:

• Caster Semenya v Switzerland (EcTHR – ongoing) – international human rights, sports, discrimination

• Buttet v UK (ECtHR) – Article 6 and Article 14 on the extent to which the law of state immunity can prevent nationals from bringing proceedings against their own governments in the UK.

• Liu & others v Norway (ECtHR) – Article 8 on the right of Taiwanese residents in Norway whose residency permits labelled them as coming from People's Republic of China

• (1) Timis (2) Sage v Osipov [2018] EWCA Civ 2321 (whistleblowing; acting for the intervenor Protect)

• Bou Simon v BGC Brokers LLP [2018] EWCA 1525 (Civ) (implied terms, breach of contract)

• Multiple Claimants v Roo Foods t/a Deliveroo (worker status, discrimination claims for Deliveroo riders in a gig economy employment case)

• Moyer Lee and others v Cofely Workplace Ltd UKEAT/0058/15 (meaning of "undertaking" in ICE Regulations/Directive - employment)

• US v Dr Nagarwala - amicus brief in US District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (FGM, international human rights, discrimination)

• X v Governing Body of a School (2015) UKUT 0007 (AAC) (education/equality)

• Kemeh v MOD [2014] EWCA Civ 91 (agency, discrimination, employment)

• Carol Howard v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis London Central Employment Tribunal, 30 June 2014, 1st September 2014 (discrimination/employment)

• Jivraj v Hashwani [2011] UKSC 40, Supreme Court (status of arbitrators, discrimination, human rights, commercial)

• Bikramjit Singh v France (2012) UN Human Rights Committee and ECtHR