Tom Coghlin QC

Year of Silk/Call: 2018/1998


Commercial Law | Discrimination & Equality | Employment | Regulatory | Sport and Entertainment


“A multi-talented barrister who impresses with his ability to handle the most complex and significant employment disputes.” Chambers & Partners. "A masterful and fearless advocate with an unparalleled eye for detail," “An amazing advocate and brilliant tactician." Legal 500


Tom Coghlin QC specialises in employment and discrimination law and a range of related fields including contractual claims arising from the employment relationship (such as claims to enforce restrictive covenants and obligations of confidentiality), professional negligence claims, and disciplinary, whistleblowing and grievance investigations. He has a wealth of experience in handling sensitive and important matters both at first instance and on appeal.

His current and recent cases includes appeals in the Court of Appeal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal; a variety of common law matters in the High Court and County Court; High Court litigation relating to post-termination obligations on the part of departing employees; and employment cases of all kinds. He acts in complex and high value litigation involving discrimination, whistleblowing, cross-border jurisdictional issues, TUPE, commercial agents, and disputes involving partners and LLP members. He has significant experience in high-profile litigation in international arbitral tribunals.

Tom is experienced in conducting investigations at the highest levels of organisations.

He lectures and trains diverse audiences on employment law and procedure, and has extensive experience in delivering familiarisation training enabling witnesses to perform to their best in court.

Tom sits as a Fee-paid Employment Judge based in the Birmingham region.

Before coming to the Bar, Tom read Law at Worcester College, Oxford (MA 1995, BCL 1996). He has been in practice at Cloisters since undertaking his pupillage in 1997-1998.


Nominated for the Bar Pro Bono Award 2017


For many years Tom has been rated by the legal directories as a leader in the field of employment law, recognised for his advocacy, his legal skills and his user-friendly approach.

Comments from the current editions of the legal directories:
• "Very client-friendly and an amazingly hard worker. He has a razor-sharp brain and he is engaging and charming in court." Chambers and Partners
• "Impressive and versatile." Chambers and Partners
• "A fearless advocate with a clear focus on the details." Legal 500
• "Always very well prepared, leaving no stone unturned ... A quick-thinking and tenacious advocate, who can distil complex legal issues.” Who's Who Legal

Comments from previous editions:
• "A standout barrister who is equally excellent when acting for employers or employees." Chambers and Partners 2018
• "Great strategic skills. Incredibly knowledgeable." Chambers and Partners 2018
• "Approachable, responsive and flexible." Legal 500 2018
• "A masterful and fearless advocate with an unparalleled eye for detail." Legal 500 2017
• "He displays excellent technical knowledge and his cross-examination skills are impressive." Chambers and Partners 2017
• "He works incredibly hard, is very incisive about how he thinks and he has a fantastic way about working with clients." Chambers and Partners 2017
• "An amazing advocate and brilliant tactician." Legal 500 2016
• "A multi-talented barrister who impresses with his ability to handle the most complex and significant employment disputes." Chambers and Partners 2015
• "His ability to cut through masses of paperwork and present his case is great." Chambers and Partners 2015
• "He commands respect." Chambers and Partners 2015
• "He just 'gets' his clients' businesses, and comes across as another member of their team." Legal 500 2015
• "Has a growing reputation in the discrimination arena, founded on a number of recent high-profile instructions within this sphere." Chambers and Partners 2014
• "He leaves no stone unturned, totally engages with the case and looks at every angle." Chambers and Partners 2014
• "A great forensic cross-examiner and a strong tactician." Chambers and Partners 2014
• "The 'hugely impressive' Tom Coghlin has a 'rare combination of a first-rate mind and excellent people skills'." Chambers and Partners 2012

Appointments and memberships

Fee-paid Employment Judge (Birmingham region)
Director, Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund
Employment Law Bar Association
Employment Lawyers Association
Discrimination Law Association
Industrial Law Society
Professional Negligence Bar Association


MA (Oxon), BCL

Highlight cases

• Ojiambo v Commonwealth Secretariat (2018): Acted for the former Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth challenging the non-renewal of her contract
• Venuprasad v Commonwealth Secretariat (2018): Acted for a senior Commowealth official who had been accused of leaking confidential information to the Press
• Efobi v Royal Mail Group Ltd [2018] ICR 359 (EAT and CA): Burden of proof in discrimination claims
• Oni v Unison [2018] ICR 1111: Contractual claims against non-employer respondents in tribunals
• B v N (2016-2018): Defence of £5m whistleblowing claim brought by a consultant surgeon against an NHS Trust; claim dismissed with an order that the respondent's costs be paid in full
• Fox v British Airways (2012-2018) [2013] ICR 1257 (CA and EAT): Claim by the estate of a deceased employee for life cover which was lost when he was unlawfully dismissed
• C v S (2014): Strike-out of exceptionally complex £10m race/whistleblowing claim brought against an NHS Trust
• Sivanandan v LB Hackney [2013] ICR 671 (CA): Apportionment of awards in discrimination cases
• Community Law Clinic Solicitors v Methuen [2012] Eq. L.R. 880 (CA): Age discrimination case concerning the interplay between age, experience and pay
• Hine Marketing Partnership v. Talbot and others: EAT time limits
• Jackson v. Cambridgeshire County Council and Others: Wasted costs against solicitors
• Sheffield Forgemasters v Fox; Telindus v Brading [2009] ICR 333: The effect of receipt of incapacity benefit on awards for loss of earnings
• The Chagos Islanders' Group Litigation (QBD, CA and European Court of Human Rights): Claims brought by thousands of Indian Ocean islanders displaced to make way for US military base at Diego Garcia
• Orthet Ltd v Vince-Cain [2004] EWCA Civ 1613. Assessment of damages in discrimination cases
• BCCI v Ali [2002] 1 AC 251. Leading case on the enforceability of settlement agreements