Peter Edwards

Year of Call:
Practice Areas:
  • Personal Injury
  • Employment

  • "phenomenally proactive, focused and practical" 

    Chambers UK 

    • Profile

      Practises in the areas of personal Injury (including sexual abuse), employment and industrial relations/trade unions. In a position to take full advantage of the increasing overlap between the fields of personal injury and employment law(for example, the cross-examination of medical experts, production of detailed Schedules and the use of the statutory definition of “disability” in the Ogden Tables A to D) and is able to provide a comprehensive service to employees and employers bringing or defending claims in the Tribunal and in the High Court. Has a detailed knowledge of, and practice in, Human Rights matters which assists his work in his other core areas.

      Has an exceptionally high level of appellate work, with recent appearances in the Supreme Court and in the Court of Appeal as well as the Employment Appeal Tribunal and, almost uniquely for English Counsel, in the Court of Session.

      Was Junior Counsel to Sir Richard Scott’s Inquiry into the Export of Arms and Dual-Use Equipment to Iraq from 1992 to 1995.

      Personal Injury

      Mainly High Court practice with particular specialism in catastrophic injury (spinalinjuries, multiple injuries and head/brain injuries), disease litigation andpsychiatric injury arising from bullying/harassment at work.

      Has a thriving practice in sexual abuse cases, including abuse perpetrated inschools, religious institutions, care facilities and sports clubs. Representedhigh-profile victims of such abuse, recovering up to seven-figure awards. Hasan empathy and rapport with the Claimants that puts them at ease during thestressful litigation process.

      Excellent working relationship with many of the leading Consultant Psychiatrists and Psychologists in the field of sexual abuse (including Peter Higson OBE,Professor Gournay, Dr Maden and Dr Oscar Daly). Has an expertise in Human Rights law that has proved exceptionally useful in pursuing the abuse claims.

      In an almost unique position to take advantage of the increasing overlap between the fields of personal injury and employment law (in which he is already ranked in Chambers& Partners). Regularly instructed by top-ranked firms including Irwin Mitchell (London and Birmingham offices); Thompsons; Mishcon de Reya; RussellJones & Walker and Slater and Gordon.

      Expertise in occupational illness and disease litigation, including stress at work,dermatitis, asthma, asbestos exposure, vibration white finger and deafness.

      Author of the occupational illness/disease sections (deafness and asbestos exposure) inthe recently launched online reference work, Lexis PSL, Personal Injury Service which was the winner of the Online Product of the Year at the Legal Technology Awards. Member of the Lexis Ask Panel for both Employment Law and Personal Injury.

      Regularly conducts lectures/seminars on a diverse range of personal injury and health and safety topics for professional associations, solicitors and commercial training providers. Recent seminars include res ipsa loquitur, novus actus, case-law developments on limitation (particularly in the context of sexual abuse cases),contributory negligence, Part 36 Payments, Periodical Payments, Asbestos Exposure Cases, Ice and Snow Cases, Stress at Work Claims, Bullying and Harassment Claims and Maximising Schedules of Special Damages.

      Regular contributor to the Journal of Personal Injury Law. 


      Junior Counsel of choice for employment law/industrial relations work for Unite the Union. Regularly instructed by large public sector employers, particularly the Metropolitan Police, and leading, ranked City firms: BDBF, DLA, Weightmans, Misch con de Reya, Magrath & Co, Beachcrofts, Archon etc. Exceptionally strong client feedback and unusually high level of appellate work, having appeared in the Supreme Court (twice) and regularly in the Court of Appeal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and, almost uniquely for English Counsel, once in the Court of Session. Delivered Equality Act training to the Bar Council’s Disciplinary Tribunals (including many Q.C.s and Judges).

      Regularappearances against QC’s. Strong publishing profile: contributor to Tottel: Discrimination law; Jordans: Employment Law and Tottel’s Employment Law Precedents. Memberof the LexisAsk Panel for EmploymentLaw.

      Expert on all aspects of employment law, including all types of discrimination,restrictive covenants, injunctions, wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal, equal pay, TUPE, trade disputes, trade unions and commercial agents.

      Appointed in January 2011 as Member of the Panel of Counsel for the Commission of Equality & Human Rights.

      Particular expertise in disability discrimination (using his knowledge in the Personal Injury field and his experience in cross-examining medical experts), whistle-blowing, age discrimination and Working Time Regulation cases and in bullying/harassment and stress-at-work cases.

      He successfully represented 21 Claimants in a 30-day case which resulted in the then highest ever recorded award in a disability discrimination claim being made to one of the Claimants.

      Successfully represented employees in the offshore sector in a 25 day case in the Aberdeen ET involving claims for paid leave pursuant to the Working Time Regulations,1998. The case subsequently proceeded to the EAT, Court of Session and Supreme Court (see below).

      Represented the Claimants in the seminal case of Autoclenzv. Belcher, which was appealed to the Supreme Court and resulted in the revolutionary decision that ‘sham’ clauses could be excised from an‘employment’ contract if the clauses did not reflect the true reality of the relationship between the parties.

      Has a balanced Claimant/Respondent practice.

      Advises and represents some of the largest and highest profile employers in the country and is instructed by many of the major City and provincial solicitors. He is also regularly instructed by and on behalf of public bodies including numerous local authorities, Royal Mail, Transport for London, the Greater London Authority and the Metropolitan Police Service.

      Also frequently instructed by Trade Unions including Unite, the Communication Workers Union, UNISON, URTU, the Prison Officers Association, the Professional Rugby Players Association and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

      Conducted equal opportunities training for many high profile employers, including the Law Society’s Compliance Officers. Recent seminars on the forthcoming Data Protection Regulation.

      Industrial Relations

      Junior Counsel of choice for industrial relations work for Unite the Union. Advises and represents both large employers (including Coca Cola, Royal Mail and London Underground) and Trade Unions (including Unite, Unison and the FBU) on all aspects of industrial relations law and practice. Conducted and defended a number of multi- party actions up to EAT/Court of Appeal level on industrial relations issues.

      Advised Unite on its internal Industrial Action Ballot Guidelines following the decision of the Court of Appeal in Metrobus UK. Also advised Unite on the contents of its Rule Book following the merger between the TGWU and Amicus.

      Frequently involved in injunction applications based on industrial relations issues, including unofficial industrial action and balloting requirements.

      Provides seminars, lectures and training to employers/unions on industrial relations issues, including a televised seminar to a commercial training organisation on collective redundancy consultation.


      Judge of the First-Tier Tribunal of the Social Entitlement Chamber.


      The musical genius of Dolly Parton, unique jackets and narrow-boating (proud owner of a 65 foot beauty).

    • Testimonial Quotes

      Rated as a Leading Junior in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 with recommendations as a “go-to junior”“exceptionally able”, a “rock solid choice”“phenomenally positive, focused and practical”, a “very persuasive negotiator” and “doing a huge amount of brilliant work.”

      Routinely appears in high-profile inquests and maximum severity catastrophic injury cases. His employment law practice complements his personal injury offering,especially in complex EL/PL disputes and quantum calculations. He acts for both defendants and claimants in cases which often have a human rights angle. "Has a brilliant mind. Very clever." "Equally skilled at cross-examination and complex legal submissions. He also has an impressive rapport with vulnerable clients." Acted in a multi million-pound claim on behalf of the family and dependants of two friends who were killed in a road traffic accident involving a drunk driver. - Personal Injury, Chambers UK 2018

      Has a broad employment law practice, with extensive experience of High Court litigation and complex EAT claims. He specialises in industrial relations work and is often instructed by high-profile trade unions. He also leverages his experience in personal injury litigation to tackle disability discrimination matters. “His attention to detail and ability to get to the crux of a case are second to none.” “Decisive, down-to-earth and robust.” Acted for the claimant in a disability discrimination claim for more than £2 million against a large inter-dealer money broker. - Employment,Chambers UK 2018

      "Noted for cases at the intersection of personal injury and employment law." Personal Injury, Legal 500 2017

      "An experienced advocate." - Employment,Legal 500 2017

      Routinely appears in high-profile inquests and maximum severity catastrophic injury cases. His employment law practice complements his personal injury offering,especially in complex EL/PL disputes and quantum calculations. "He's excellent. If it's a difficult case he'll handle it with absolute aplomb." Acted for the claimant in a 25-day inquest investigating whether the police used excessive force when arresting the deceased in Jordan Begley (deceased) v Greater Manchester Police.- Personal Injury, Chambers UK 2017

      Has a broad employment law practice, with extensive experience of High Court litigation and complex EAT claims.

      He specialises in industrial relations work and is often instructed by high-profile trade unions. "He is very experienced across the whole employment field and good to work with - he gives helpful advice." Instructed in O'Sullivan v TfL, a complex EAT case trying to ascertain whether a death in service benefit can be considered a loss following the redundancy and death of the claimant before the remedy hearing. - Employment, Chambers UK 2016

      Peter Edwards is ranked as a Leading Junior in 'Employment'. "His case preparation, eye for detail and cross- examination are second to none." - Legal 500 2016

      "He is able to give to provide accurate, focused and succinct advice."  - Personal Injury, Legal 500 2016

      Practices personal injury, employment and trade union law, and he is known for the strength of his performances in court. "A barrister with an excellent cross-examination technique, who is always willing to assist." 

      "He brings a thorough and practical approach to his cases." Acted in a case brought by a former senior broker at BGC International, alleging bullying, harassment and claims relating to unpaid bonuses and provision of health insurance. - Employment, Chambers UK 2016

      Covers the full breadth of personal injury litigation, including catastrophic injury,industrial disease and psychiatric injury claims. He is frequently instructed on cases involving serious orthopaedic, spinal cord and head injuries. 

      "A fine advocate with an excellent legal mind." - Employment, Legal 500 2015

      'Peter Edwards is a go-to junior for trade union work and has done a huge amount of brilliant work in this area. He represented Unite in a number of the actions brought by, and against, British Airways arising out of the highly publicised industrial action by cabin crew members' Chambers UK

      “[Peter] is particularly recommended for complex trade union issues” Chambers UK

    • Notable Cases

      • Forrester v. Workman [2017] 2 FLR (CA) -  Appeared in the Court of Appeal representing the family of a wife murdered by her husband, thereby avoiding payment of financial relief in divorce proceedings.  First reported recovery of a damages award – in excess of £1.5 million – in those circumstances.  Consideration of applicable principles of Judgment in default of an award of damages for breach of the terms of a Freezing Order. 
      • Begley v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester/IPCC [2016] Inquest LR 302 - 5 Week Inquest - Represented the family of a man who was tasered and assaulted by Officers of Greater Manchester Police. First narrative verdict of a Jury which has partly attributed a death to the use of a taser.  Subsequently recovered civil damages in a High Court claim on behalf of the family.  The Jury’s verdict resulted in a Judicial Review claim against the IPCC in respect of the flawed investigation that had led to the exoneration of the Officers responsible for Mr Begley’s death.  The IPCC’s Report was set aside and the disciplinary investigation was re-opened.
      • In 2017/2018 - Represented a high-profile TV Nutritionist who was sexually abused by a teacher at the St. Paul’s School, recovering a substantial out-of-Court settlement.  Tackled difficult issues relating to limitation (with the sexual offences having taken place some 30 years ago) and quantification of losses (given the Claimant’s age at the time of the offences, such that his career had not yet commenced)
      • Zarrabi v.National Crime Agency [2017] HC/01CL648  – Recovered substantial damages for a Solicitor who was falsely imprisoned by Officers working for the National Crime Agency. Finding by the Court that 2 serving Police Officers had lied under oath about the circumstances of the Police raid and what the said to the Claimant, who was not suspected of any offences (including the statement that she could be handcuffed to the chair if she attempted to leave). Disciplinary proceedings are now pending directly attributable to the Court’s findings. 
      • Schwartz v. Pennine Care NHS Trust [2017] - Claim on behalf of an Orthodox Jewish Claimant who was suffered psychiatric injury and physical self-harm as a result of being placed on a mixed hospital ward and subjected to abuse relating to his religious beliefs.Claims of clinical negligence, religious discrimination and pursuant to the Human Rights Act.
      • Fidler/Lindsay v. Richard Blenkin [2017] D90MA020 – Represented 2 families in which the father/partner was killed in a road traffic accident when they were cycling to work. The bereaved partners had attended Downing Street to meet David Cameron, when he was Prime Minister, to campaign for changes to sentencing in death by dangerous driving cases.
      • ZXA v. Priory Hospital [2017] HQ15X01471 – Claim on behalf of a mentally-impaired Claimant who was detained at the Defendant’s care facility. The Claimant was physically and verbally abused by his carers, the abuse being detected through a Nanny-Cam hidden in a teddy bear. The abusers were imprisoned. Important principles established and endorsed by the Court in respect of awards of aggravated and exemplary damages in abuse cases.
      • Bankole v. Arnal/Allen [2017] - Representing the infant Claimant who suffered catastrophic spinal and traumatic brain injuries as a result of a road traffic accident. The claim is likely to result in the highest ever personal injury settlement/award given the Claimant’s ongoing and permanent care needs (double up, 24- hour waking care)and her pre-accident earning potential.
      • X & Y v. Tameside MBC [2017] – Claim against a Local Authority, pursuant to the Data Protection Act and Human Rights Act, in respect of the unlawful disclosure of details relating to the sexual abuse suffered by the Claimants in childhood. First reported casein which damages for psychiatric injury have been recovered for a breach of the DPA.
      • Gallagher v. Simpson [2017] A90BM191 – Represented a family of Claimants who were involved in a road traffic accident when returning from a trip to Center Parcs. The husband/father was killed and all other family members were seriously injured. Total recovery of damages in excess of £1 million.
      • Cloutt v. Katsianis [2017] – Successfully represented the Claimant family at the Inquest and,subsequently, in a Fatal Accidents Act claim brought following the death of a husband/father killed in a motorcycle accident. Court Approval of the liability and quantum settlement was granted in 2017.
      • Wilson v. Southgate/RSA [2016] B90BM075 – Multi-million pound claim by an adult Claimant who suffered from Mosaic Down’s Syndrome, whose mother and carer was killed in a road traffic accident. Novel claims were successfully pursued for Court of Protection costs.Court Approval of the agreed settlement sum was granted in 2017.
      • Chloe Benson v. Goldman Sachs [2017] – Multi-day Employment Tribunal claim for disability discrimination involving the conduct of a performance management process and the application of a Permanent Health Insurance Policy. The Respondent was represented by Bruce Carr QC. Claim settled on terms that were approved by HMRC for tax purposes,
      • Allen v. Tullet Prebon [2017] – Multi-day Employment Tribunal claim for disability discrimination involving the City-wide practice of reducing salary when targets are not met. The Respondent was represented by James Laddie Q.C. Claim settled on terms that were approved by HMRC for tax purposes.
      • ATB v. Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2017] – High Court claim involving the rape of a serving Police Officer by a fellow Officer.
      • Martin Christie v. Bar Standards Board [2016] LTL 21/03/2016– Regulatory proceedings in which Mr Christie was subject to asanction of disbarment. Application of Rule 202 of the Disciplinary Tribunal Rules, 2014. Review Application in the High Court.
      • Brown & Others v. Commissioner of Police of theMetropolis [2016] – Represented the Commissioner ona complex case involving the assault of members of the public by serving Officers. For the first time ever, the Commissioner made the decision to join the serving Officers as Third Party Defendants. Application of principles of issue estoppel in the Employment Tribunal proceedings issued by the Officers.
      • Juneja v. BGC International [2015] – High Court stress-at-work/bullying claim by a Senior Trader. The Defendant was represented by Caspar Glynn Q.C. Resulted in a substantial(confidential) settlement just prior to the Trial.
      • Advising the Prison Officers Association on the Rules relating to whether the former General Secretary, who stood as a Labour-party candidate in the last General Election,could return and stand for re-election. Case listed for Hearing before the Certification Officer in March 2018.
      • Advising the Professional Rugby Players Association – the body representing all Aviva Premiership and Home Nations International players – on the Rules of the Association and the forthcoming General Secretary elections.
      • Conducted a number of internal disciplinary hearings on behalf of URTU, leading to the exclusion of former members of the National Executive Committee, in 2017.
      • Advised the Prison Officers Association in 2016 on a potential Judicial Review Application to prohibit smoking in UK Prisons. The Pre-Action Protocol letter resulted in a firm commitment from HMG to ban smoking in all UK Prisons by 2019.
      • BALPAv. Jet2.Com [2015] IRLR 543 (Court of Appeal) – First case involving the construction of collective
      • O’Cathail v. Transport for London [2013] IRLR 310 (Court of Appeal) – Circumstances in which cases can proceed in the absence of the Claimant who has been medically certified as unfit to attend
      • Russell & Others v. Transocean International Resources Ltd [2012] IRLR 149 (Supreme Court) – Entitlement to “leave” pursuant to the Working Time Regulations, 1998, for workers in the offshore sector.  Whether breaks in the natural shift pattern constitute “leave” for the purposes of the WTR.
      • Autoclenz Limited v. Belcher & Others [2011] IRLR 820 (Supreme Court) – Employment/worker status under the Employment Rights Act, 1996, the Working Time Regulations and the National Minimum Wage Act, 1998; ‘Sham’ clauses in employment contracts
      • Autoclenz v. Belcher & Others [2010] IRLR 70 (Court of Appeal) – Employment/worker status under the Employment Rights Act, Working Time Regulations and National Minimum Wage Act.  ‘Sham’ employment clauses. See Supreme Court entry above  
      • Autoclenz v. Belcher [2008] EAT 04.06.08 – Principles to be applied to “sham” clauses in employee/worker contracts. Also represented the employees in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court
    • Membership

      PIBA, APIL, ELBA, ELA, ILS, BSB, Member of the ELAAS scheme at the Employment Appeal Tribunal