Allan Roberts

Year of call: 2004

"He is astute, commercial and tenacious." "Clients find him approachable and inspiring of confidence."
Chambers UK 2017

Allan Allan

Allan is a specialist employment barrister with experience of employment related disputes, including Tribunal and Civil Court claims; disciplinary panels (both internal and regulatory) and actions for restrictive covenants and breach of confidentiality. He is recognised for having a particular expertise in complex whistleblowing and discrimination claims.

Employment & Discrimination

Allan acts for both claimants and respondents in all areas of employment law. Key clients include:

  • Royal College of Nursing
  • Chief Constables
  • FTSE Indexed companies, including the World's largest company for outsourced communications
  • A class action on behalf of over 100 Claimants

Of the solicitors who regularly instruct Allan, three have asked him to defend employment disputes brought against their firm. Allan is frequently instructed in high value and media sensitive cases including those involving the Ministry of Defence, Crown Prosecution Service and several Police Forces.

Allan regularly appears before the Employment Appeal Tribunal, including having received instructions only at the appeal stage. Issues dealt with at this level include:

  • Employee status
  • Whistleblowing
  • Disability discrimination
  • NHS pay policies
  • Perversity appeals

He has also appeared before the Court of Appeal with success in Launahurst v Larner. In a Judgement of Underhill. J sitting in the Employment Appeal Tribunal, Allan's arguments were described as "vigorous" and "effective" and in referring to his presentation stated "the exercise is a tribute not only to the quality of Mr Roberts' notes but also to the industry and care with which he has prepared for this appeal."

Allan prides himself on being very client-friendly, a quality recognized in Chambers & Partners. This involves taking a proactive role in case preparation and analysis, enabling him to provide clear and effective advice. At each stage, Allan maintains a view on achieving a successful outcome in line with the client's objectives.

Allan undertakes all aspects of employment work covered by the specialist employment team at Guildhall. He has a particular interest in the following areas:

  • Discrimination
  • Whistleblowing
  • TUPE including issues of insolvency
  • Internal and Regulatory Discipline
  • Restrictive Covenants

Training & Seminars

Allan has provided a number of talks and seminars on employment law, both as part of the chambers lecture series, in-house events and to the ELA. He is happy to receive requests for either update talks or on specific topics of interest.

Significant Cases

  • Thornhill v Chief Constables of Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire (2013) - ET - After his success in Sher, Allan was instructed to represent the Chief Constables in a whistleblowing claim brought by a counter terrorist police officer. This case involved a detailed focus of the claimant's lack of reasonable belief in his alleged disclosure and the lack of any link between the disclosure and the issues raised regarding the claimant's attitude. Following a successful cross-examination of the claimant and his witnesses, the claimant withdrew his claims.
  • Sher v Chief Constable of Derbyshire (2012) - ET - Allan represented the claimant who alleged he had been victimised as a result of a previous race discrimination claim against the constabulary. Following a successful cross-examination of two senior officers, the matter was resolved between the parties.
  • Rixon v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (2012) - ET & EAT - The claim related to an alleged protected disclosure, namely witness interference during the Stockwell Inquest (the shooting of Jean-Charles De Menezes). The claimant further alleged that high-ranking officers sought to damage his career prospects. Allan was instructed as the trial advocate and appeared in a number of complex preliminary hearings dealing with questions of res judicata. The claimant had previously brought proceedings for similar matters but withdrew the claims. Allan also acted for the claimant before the EAT on the issue of appealing out of time.
  • Webber v NHS Direct (2012) - EAT - Allan successfully represented the claimant before the EAT. The NHS operated a pay protection policy, temporarily fixing the salary of staff redeployed through redundancy. The NHS declined to afford the claimant the full extent of the protection, unilaterally declaring this was not the intended agreement. The case clarifies the application of the NHS protection policy as well as being persuasive authority for extending the "corresponding date rule" of contractual interpretation to employment contracts.
  • Launahurst v Larner (2010) - Court of Appeal - Allan was instructed to act at the appeal stage to deal with the question of employee status and sham contracts. Allan succeeded in the EAT on the former and was successful before the Court of Appeal on the whole appeal. This case is authority for the proposition that a Tribunal will err if it finds a contract to be a sham without having put the parties on notice of its intention to consider the issue. It supports the proposition that a contract will only be a sham if it did not represent what the parties had agreed.
  • C v GS - This was a complex whistleblowing claim, wherein the disclosure concerned matters of unlawful imprisonment and the alleged detriments included bullying and harassment over an extended period and ultimately dismissal. The case was listed for a one month trial and involved several important professional witnesses. However, following detailed negotiations Mr Roberts successfully settled the claims for a six figure payment representing 80% of the Claimant's schedule of loss.
  • Lewis v Magmatic - Mr Roberts represented Magmatic Limited who, following a successful series of programmes on BBC's Dragon's Den, became a high profile company. The company became known not only for its inventions (the Trunkie) but its innovative approach to creativity, including its playground style office (e.g. beanbags for chairs, slides for stairs) and unusual job titles (e.g. job whizzers and stuff doers). The case concerned an allegation of discrimination based on the company's intrinsic ageism. Mr Roberts successfully argued the innovative work method did not equate to ageism as it was about inspiring creativity not discrimination.
  • Shora v North Somerset Council - Allan successfully defended the local authority from allegations of racism and fabricating evidence. The Claimant - a social worker - alleged managers had fabricated reports on service users, alleged the fabricated documents were made by the Claimant and then dismissed him on the basis they were poor. The Employment Tribunal dismissed the claims in their entirety. They are presently considering the exceptional step of awarding costs against the Claimant.
  • Rixon v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis - Allan presently acts for the Claimant, a senior police officer within Counter Terrorist Command. The Claimant blew the whistle over witness interference during the inquest into the shooting of Jean-Charles De Menezes. The claim focuses on the actions of senior police officers involved both in the witness interference and the actions taken against the Claimant. Those actions are alleged to have included threats to kill. The claim is presently stayed pending an appeal in relation to a connected claim.
  • Larner v Launahurst Limited [2010] EWCA Civ 334, [2010] All ER (D) 282 - This case is authority for the proposition that a Tribunal will err if it finds a contract to be a sham without having put the parties on notice of its intention to consider the issue. It supports the proposition that a contract will only be a sham if it did not represent what the parties had agreed.
  • Rossiter v The Cavanna Group UKEAT/0060/09 - This involved a number of issues relating to the procedural fairness of a dismissal, including the extent to which an employer can rely upon an extant warning and the extent to which it must analyse the allegations it has made.
  • Clarke v South Gloucestershire County Council UKEAT/0201/06 - This involved issues of perversity, adequacy of judicial reasoning and note-taking. The case is authority for the proposition and employment Tribunal is not confined to determining a case in accordance with the pleadings of either party. 

Professional Discipline

Allan has acted for a number of professionals in disciplinary hearings, both internally and before regulatory panels. He has a particular interest in acting for social workers and for nurses before the NMC.

In a recent case (2013) Allan successfully represented a social worker before a local authority's appeal panel. The employee had been dismissed over 18 months before the appeal hearing. The hearing was initially listed for a review only, but Allan was able to persuade the panel to conduct a rehearing. He then successfully argued the allegations of gross misconduct should be dismissed. This led to the employee being reinstated and awarded back pay.

Recommendations


CHAMBERS UK 2017

Employment

Leading Junior - Band 3

Respected for his expertise in whistle-blowing and discrimination claims, and especially for dealing with complex police cases.

Strengths: "He is astute, commercial and tenacious." "Clients find him approachable and inspiring of confidence."

Recent work: Acted for two social workers, including the deputy head of social services, in a high-profile whistle-blowing claim. The claimants contend they were victimised for whistle-blowing and sought compensation of £500,000 and £170,000 respectively during the ten-day trial.


LEGAL 500 2016

Employment

Leading juniors

'He combines legal gravitas with commercial understanding, a sense of humour and immense energy.'  


CHAMBERS UK 2016

Employment

Junior - Up and Coming

Experienced in handling complex matters for well-known public sector clients including a number of police constabularies, and has particular expertise in discrimination and whistle-blowing.

Strengths: "He's very well prepared, won't stop fighting, and can almost win the unwinnable."

Recent work: Acted for members of the Royal College of Nursing in Miles et al v Turning Point, a multiple action from more than 100 claimants alleging that the employer had refused to recognise the RCN or consult with unions other than Unite.


LEGAL 500 2015

Employment

Leading juniors

'He has a remarkable ability to pick up complex issues and novel points quickly'.


CHAMBERS UK 2015

Employment

Leading Junior - Band 3

A widely admired employment practitioner with considerable expertise in whistle-blowing and discrimination cases. He has built up a significant reputation for handling employment disputes for police forces.

Expertise: "He is very good with witnesses, brilliant with clients, and very courteous to his opponent - he secures the sympathy of the tribunal." "Not only is he a trial advocate of absolutely amazing ability, but he's also really good with the clients." 

Recent work: Acted for Chief Constables of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire as respondents in a whistle-blowing case against a counter-terrorist officer, concerning operational decisions associated with the Olympic Games.


LEGAL 500 2014

Employment

Leading juniors

'He is noted for his expertise in discrimination and acting for police constabularies'.


CHAMBERS UK 2014

Employment

"He grasps issues very quickly and impresses with his preparation and cross-examination techniques." "He is extremely client-friendly."


LEGAL 500 2013

Employment

Allan Roberts is "always completely on top of the case".


LEGAL 500 2012

Employment

Allan Roberts has a "particular expertise in discrimination and whistle-blowing claims".


LEGAL 500 2011

Employment

Allan Roberts is "courteous, well prepared and professional".

CLERK CONTACT INFORMATION

For further information and enquiries please contact:

Employment & Discrimination: Chris Checketts

Regulatory & Discipline: Justin Emmett

Memberships

  • Discrimination Law Association
  • Employment Bar Association
  • Employment Law Association
  • Industrial Law Society

education

  • BVC, UWE Bristol
  • LLB Hons, UWE Bristol
  • Lord Diplock Scholar 2004