Employment and Equalities
Over the years the Legal 500 has said that Colin McDevitt
“Gets results” (2016/17)
is “brilliant at absorbing lots of detail and cutting to the main points” (2016/17)
is “thorough, and has an eye for detail” (2015/16)
“understands the law and the needs of the client alike” (2015/16)
is “an astute advocate, who will always fight your corner” (2014/15)
is “down to earth and personable” (2014/15)
has experience “in a number of complex discrimination cases” (2014/15)
is “excellent on his feet and on paper” (2013/14)
What Judges Say
The following comments have been made by Judges of cases in which Colin McDevitt has appeared
- Mrs Justice Slade: “Mr McDevitt’s points have been put succinctly and crisply in his outline written submissions. He has been instructed at short notice but that does not detract from the cogency of his arguments to us”
- HHJ Freeland QC, Central London County Court: Colin McDevitt’s client has been “excellently advised by a very competent and experienced legal representative” and “the advice from [Mr McDevitt] had been first class”
- Judge Ferris: “Mr McDevitt’s advocacy has been of high quality”
- Judge Heal: Mr McDevitt is “experienced counsel using sophisticated cross-examination”
Colin McDevitt has appeared in numerous appeals in the Employment Appeal Tribunal
- Olayemi v Okoreaffia , Supperstone J
- Mruke v Khan , HHJ Peter Clark
- Spencer v Centrewest , Mitting J
- Morgan v CdMR , HHJ McMullen
- Greenwood v NBC , HHJ Richardson
- O’Driscoll v Herts PASS , Slade J
- Ford v Abbycars , Elias J (President)
Colin is recognised as a senior junior in employment, equality and related claims. He has considerable experience at all stages of litigation from pre-action advice and guidance right through to representation at the final hearing in the Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal and High Court. He is consistently ranked in the Legal 500 for his determination, success and ability to get to the heart of the matter. He works for employers and employees in claims such as restrictive covenants, all types of discrimination, unfair dismissal, PIDA, TUPE and breach of contract.
Colin has a national practice, appearing in tribunals and courts up and down the land including Preston, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Leicester, Birmingham, London (Watford, Stratford, Croydon, Aldwych), Ashford, Bury St Edmunds, Bedford, Reading, Southampton, Bristol, Taunton and Exeter. He receives regular instructions from Local Authorities, large transport companies and national organisations in complex and high value claims. He also represents employees, including Senior Management Teams and managers of high street retailers, universities, schools, banks and councils.
Colin is equally well regarded in his complementary practice in personal injury, clinical negligence and professional negligence. He worked in the pharmaceutical industry before training as a barrister, which gives him commercial insight. He is very strong on Schedules of Loss and Counterschedules.
Colin McDevitt is
- A strong team member who gives clear and practical advice and guidance on all legal issues, including tactical positions
- A talented and well-prepared advocate for procedural hearings as well as trial
- Experienced at settlement meetings and mediations
- Consistently regarded as a leading practitioner in the field of employment law by the Legal 500 and by his instructing solicitors
Bosworth v Northampton Borough Council : A successful multi-day claim on behalf of the claimant who had effectively been forced to take 2 pay cuts over the course of a few years. When the latest proposal for a reduction in pay resulted in the respondent conducting a dismissal and immediate re-engagement policy, the claimant attempted to comply with the draconian requirements but was dismissed. The respondent claimed that the claimant had resigned but Colin McDevitt successfully persuaded the Tribunal that the claimant had been unfairly dismissed. Colin McDevitt cross-examined the Councils’ senior executives. The claim also involved TUPE-related issues.
Spencer v Centrewest: Colin McDevitt represented the respondent which had dismissed the claimant for suspected theft of a colleague’s rucksack. The claimant complained that the dismissal was unfair, a view originally upheld by the Tribunal after a multi-day claim. However, the Tribunal had gone off on a folly of its own and had misapplied the law of theft. Colin McDevitt prepared the appeal documentation and represented the respondent in the Employment Appeal Tribunal in its successful appeal (UKEAT/0481/12/DM).
Aird v BOFA: The claimant was dismissed from the respondent’s accounts department after the discovery that he had previously been convicted of 2 offences of cheque fraud. The claimant had been a book-keeper for 2 previous employers and his fraud amounted to over £170,000. He had been sentenced to 2 years’ imprisonment. The claimant claimed unfair dismissal. Colin McDevitt advised and represented the respondent, initially by drafting the Defence and then by successfully applying to the Tribunal for the claim to be struck out.
Morgan v CdMR: A very satisfying conclusion to lengthy and hard-fought litigation. Colin McDevitt advised the claimant from the pre-claim stage throughout in proceedings that involved a successful week-long claim, a successful claimant’s review (on issues of taxation), a successful opposition of the respondent’s appeal in the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the securing of an award of costs for the claimant against the respondent in the EAT before HHJ McMullen (UKEATPA/1952/11/ZT). The claimant had been dismissed for redundancy but it was shown that the respondent’s process was flawed.
Ford v Abbycars: Colin McDevitt represented the claimant in this constructive unfair dismissal claim. The matter was appealed and Colin McDevitt represented the claimant in the Employment Appeal Tribunal (UKEAT/0472/07/DA). In the appeal, Elias P made observations about the nature of the causal connection necessary to link the resignation and the repudiatory breach when a constructive dismissal is claimed.
Gooljary-Wright v C.K. Solicitors: Colin McDevitt represented the respondent firm of solicitors in its successful defence of a claim by a former employee solicitor.
King v Lymington Citizens' Advice Bureau: Colin McDevitt represented the claimant in her successful claim of unfair dismissal against her employer CAB. The claimant had telephoned The Samaritans when she was concerned about the suicide risk of a person whom she was helping with her debts. The claim was reported on local TV news and in The Evening Standard.
Colin McDevitt is highly experienced with discrimination claims. He was part of the 3PB team which lectured extensively on the Equality Act 2010 shortly before its introduction.
Colin McDevitt has great experience with disability claims. His personal injury expertise instils great confidence when medical issues arise. Examples of the disabilities litigated are cancer, MS, overweight, the effects of stroke, diabetes, depression, PTSD, dyslexia, dyscalculia and narcolepsy.
All causes of action have also been advised upon and litigated, for example direct discrimination (s.13), indirect discrimination (s.19) failure to make reasonable adjustments (ss. 20 and 21) and discrimination arising from disability (s.15). Colin McDevitt has advised on whether or not to concede disability, knowledge of disability and the effects of disability. He has defended a County Court claim on behalf of a hotel in a compliant regarding disabled access.
Hitschmann v OCDP: A successful claim representing the claimant in her claim of constructive unfair dismissal and disability discrimination in relation to Multiple Sclerosis. The respondent was a charity which championed the needs of people with disabilities but, after cross-examination of a senior manager by Colin McDevitt, was found to have discriminated against the claimant.
Despard v Transalis: Colin McDevitt represented the respondent in this claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination arising from the claimant suffering a heart attack and a series of strokes. Decision awaited.
Edwards v Co-Op: A successful defence representing the Co-Op in a multi-day claim arising out of the claimant’s difficulty with numbers. Colin McDevitt conducted a successful Preliminary Hearing concerning multiple disability-related issues. After the trial, Colin McDevitt secured an Order that the claimant pay costs to the respondent.
Mruke v Khan: A highly complex, modern-day slavery case involving a migrant domestic worker in which Colin McDevitt represented the respondent. The 2 week trial involved detailed cross-examination by Colin McDevitt of the Tanzanian claimant, a Detective Constable and a barrister. The claimant appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal and, at the Preliminary Hearing in front of HHJ Peter Clark (UKEAT/0240/13/DM), Colin McDevitt successfully opposed the claimant’s appeal on the race discrimination claim for reasons that were later upheld in the Supreme Court case of Taiwo v Olaigbe  UKSC 31.
Ajgarni v Vodafone: Colin McDevitt represented the respondent in this successful defence against a multi-day claim of race discrimination in circumstances where the claimant had been dismissed before he accrued enough service to allow him to bring a claim of unfair dismissal. The claimant’s claim failed in its entirety when his claim of race discrimination was dismissed.
Kassa v Nurture Day Nursery: A multi-day claim acting for the successful respondent which terminated the claimant’s employment for personality reasons very shortly after she started work. The claimant claimed that she had been discriminated against on grounds of race but a detailed analysis of the evidence, skilful cross-examination and forceful submissions from Colin McDevitt resulted in the claim being dismissed.
Olayemi v Okoreaffia: Colin McDevitt became involved in this lengthy and complex piece of litigation after liability had been established but before remedy (compensation) had been decided. The claim arose from the respondent’s treatment of his former business partner. Colin McDevitt represented the respondent in the Tribunal and also the Employment Appeal Tribunal before Supperstone J (UKEAT/0221/11/MC). The main issues in the EAT were the correct application of the burden of proof in sex discrimination claims and the instances of harassment that the Tribunal was to have regard to when making determinations of harassment.
Sardana v You At Work: A lengthy multi-day trial in which Colin McDevitt represented the successful respondent in a claim of unlawful sex, race and religious discrimination. The claimant attempted a scattergun approach to her dismissal and raised claims based upon 3 protected characteristics. Colin McDevitt was involved in all stages of preparation of the case leading up to and including the final hearing, including drafting a Scott Schedule of complaints which was instrumental in demonstrating the weakness of the claimant’s case. The claims were all dismissed by Tribunal and Colin McDevitt then later applied for costs against the claimant and secured an Order for costs and that the claimant pay Colin McDevitt’s client £10,000 (the maximum at the time).
Kelly v IDPP: A factually heavy and complex claim by a female recruitment consultant who claimed sex discrimination as a result of an evening out at a West End lap dancing club. Colin McDevitt represented the respondent. Through robust and determined cross examination Colin McDevitt demonstrated the unreliability of the claimant’s evidence. The claim was dismissed. The case attracted national press coverage and featured on the front page of London’s Evening Standard.
Dias v YMCA Training: Colin McDevitt successfully defeated a claim of sex discrimination and unfair dismissal and his cross-examination demonstrated that the claimant had lied.
Savings v Twang.net: Colin McDevitt represented the claimant who had been offered a job before informing the employer of her pregnancy. The employer then rescinded the job offer. Colin McDevitt succeeded in the claim of pregnancy-related discrimination and compensation and secured an Order that the respondent pay the claimant’s costs.
Religious and Sex Discrimination
H v F School: A multi-day trial representing a faith school in its defence to a claim of pregnancy and religious discrimination. There was an ongoing, but toxic, working relationship and the situation needed to be handled with great care and sensitivity. Colin McDevitt managed his team of witnesses, governors, finance staff and faith leaders to achieve an excellent resolution for his client.
Colin McDevitt has significant experience of TUPE claims, examples of which are below.
Multiple claimants v Thomson Directory: Colin McDevitt represented most of the Regional Managers in a claim arising from a restructure of Thomson Directory. The business structure of the company before and after the restructure required detailed analysis and the claim resulted in a week-long Preliminary Hearing.
Gilbert v Loomis and BDI Securities: The claimant claimed that he had been dismissed for a reason connected with a TUPE transfer. Issues in the trial included whether there had been a TUPE transfer, whether there had been a service provision change, whether there was an ETO reason entailing changes in the workforce, whether the claimant had been allocated to the undertaking immediately before the transfer, whether the dismissal was automatically unfair, whether the duties to inform and consult had been complied with, whether information had been passed from the transferor to the the transferee and quantum. Colin McDevitt represented the claimant in his successful claim.
Pack v Suffolk New College: A claim in which Colin McDevitt represented the College where there was an issue about the transfer of the football teaching and provision to students to a local football club. The matter was brought to a satisfactory conclusion at the Tribunal.
Rice v GM Rail and 5 others: Colin McDevitt was involved in a group claim by 43 rail workers who were engaged in an engineering project on the London Underground. The workers had been summarily dismissed 3 days before Christmas and so they mounted a group claim against 6 respondents. The claim involved a lengthy Pre Hearing Review after which directions to prepare for trial were given. The claims were successfully compromised shortly thereafter.
A common component of this type of claim is the confidentiality to which both parties attach great importance and which they seek to maintain. For this reason, case names are not stated in this section of the web page. However, in general terms, Colin McDevitt has advised and represented clients (employers and employees) in the County Court and High Court and provided advice to companies and employees on the effect and enforceability of restraint clauses, e.g. geographical restriction, non-solicitation, non-compete and so on. A great number of clients obtain Colin McDevitt’s advice and representation through the Direct Access (Public Access) route.
Colin McDevitt provides advice, assistance and representation directly to members of the public through the Public Access scheme. He has advised on many types of claim and defence including on compromise agreements, in relation to proposed redundancies, in relation to discrimination claims and in relation to proposed constructive unfair dismissals, by way of example.
Alaternative Dispute Resolution
Mr McDevitt is an accredited mediation advocate who has represented parties in Counsel to Counsel negotiations, formal Mediations (using a Mediator), Judicial Mediations and at settlement mee