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Claire Darwin
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Claire Darwin KC

“Her knowledge is exceptional,
as is her advocacy"

Legal 500 2024
Called: 2005
Silk: 2023
Called (Ireland): 2018

Claire Darwin KC is a leading silk specialising in employment, equality and discrimination law, with related expertise in education law and judicial review. She has been recognised by the legal directories as a leader in her field for many years. According to Chambers & Partners 2024 ‘she is excellent with clients, very popular and manages a large caseload’. Prior to her appointment as King’s Counsel in 2023 she was ranked by both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners as one of the top employment juniors practising at the London Bar (in Tier 1 and Band 1 respectively). She was also ranked in the highest tier for education law in The Legal 500.

Claire’s practice focuses on advocacy. Legal 500 2024 describes her as ‘a very confident advocate who is well respected by the judiciary.’ Claire is equally at home conducting lengthy trials which involve extensive cross-examination of factual and expert witnesses, or in the appellate courts arguing complex points of law. Her advocacy experience includes cases in the European Court of Human Rights and the UK Supreme Court.  She has had more than 35 cases reported in the law reports. A list of her significant reported cases is available below.

In 2017, and again in 2021, Claire was appointed to the Attorney General’s A Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown, a small panel of barristers appointed to advise and represent the UK government in its most complex civil and EU cases. She had previously been appointed to both the B and C Panels. Claire has also been appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel of Special Advocates and the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Panel of Preferred Counsel. In 2023 Claire was appointed a Recorder (part-time Circuit Judge), following an open competition run by the Judicial Appointments Commission.

Claire was shortlisted for the 2023 Public Services and Charities Silk of the Year at the Legal 500 Bar Awards 2023. She was one of eight barristers shortlisted for The Lawyer’s prestigious Barrister of the Year award in 2020, for which she received a Commendation. In 2020, she was named as one of the UK’s “Hot 100 Lawyers” by The Lawyer magazine. She was one of three finalists for Employment Junior of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2020 and shortlisted for both Employment Junior of the Year and Public Law Junior of the Year at the Legal 500 UK Awards in 2019.

Highlights of Claire’s recent work include:

  • Newell Trustees Ltd v Newell Rubbermaid UK Services Ltd [2024] EWHC 48 (Ch): successfully defending Newell Rubbermaid UK Services Ltd against complaint that the non-discrimination rule had been breached by a 1992 pension scheme amendment.
  • Hamon and others v University College London [2023] EWHC 1812 (KB): Acting for UCL in proposed group litigation brought by university students seeking compensation for the impact of the pandemic and industrial action on their studies. See examples of media coverage here and here.
  • Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia (Cultural Bureau) v Alhayali [2023] EAT 149: application of the State Immunity Act 1978 to employee working in embassy’s academic and cultural affairs department.
  • Advising the EHRC on its enforcement powers under the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023, October 2023.
  • Successfully defending a leading international human rights organisation against claims of religious discrimination and harassment, following a lengthy trial in 2023.
  • Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Beattie [2023] IRLR 13, [2023] Pens. L.R. 3, Employment Appeal Tribunal: whether ET had erred in disapplying the Equality Act (Age Exceptions for Pension Schemes) Order 2010. Sole counsel for successful Appellant.
  • Acting for Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, defending a religious discrimination claim brought by Christian Concern, ongoing, see links to media coverage here and here.
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council v Somerville [2022] ICR 755, [2022] IRLR 447, Court of Appeal: whether mutuality of obligations is a prerequisite for establishing worker status.

According to Chambers & Partners 2024 ‘Claire Darwin KC is a highly experienced employment barrister who has an extensive practice encompassing equal pay, worker status, industrial relations and discrimination claims’ and ‘frequently appears before the EAT and appeal courts’.

The Legal 500 2024 emphasizes that: ‘She is a go to barrister for statutory employment law claims.’

Claire has extensive experience of employment litigation, and is equally comfortable acting for claimants and respondents/defendants in both the private and public sectors. Employment cases in which Claire has acted include the High Court claims brought by the War Horse musicians against the National Theatre, the test cases challenging the mandatory retirement age for judges and lay members, representing Samira Ahmed in her high profile equal pay claim against the BBC, a series of sex and disability discrimination claims challenging the medical standards applied to firearms officers, a test case on the worker status of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s panel members heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal, and a landmark appeal brought by an NHS nurse unable to work a new shift pattern as a result of her childcare responsibilities.

Though best known for her work litigating substantial and high stakes disputes in the Employment Tribunal, Claire acts in a broad range of workplace disputes. She regularly acts in very high value City cases, and in sensitive disputes involving financial institutions or professional service firms. She has extensive experience of financial services work, particularly complex whistleblowing claims. She has acted for a number of foreign governments claiming sovereign immunity in the English courts.

Much of Claire’s work concerns the human rights aspects of employment law, including cases about freedom of expression, discrimination, forced labour, workplace privacy, open justice and fair trial rights. She was sole counsel for PwC in Ameyaw v PricewaterhouseCoopers Services Limited [2019] ICR 976 on the ET’s power to remove a judgment from the public register of judgments and acted for the successful appellant in Hill v Governing Body of Great Tey Primary School [2013] ICR 691, one of the leading cases on freedom of expression in the workplace. She has advised on matters of international human rights law arising in other common law jurisdictions.

Claire does a great deal of work in the areas of employment law which intersect with retained EU Law. She was junior counsel for Innospec in the Supreme Court in Walker v Innospec Ltd & Ors [2017] 4 All ER 1004 on whether an exception in the Equality Act 2010 was compatible with EU Law. She has experience of acting in cases in which a reference to the European Court of Justice is sought.

Claire’s discrimination work spans the fields of employment, goods and services, pensions, premises, education, and public law.

Claire has a particular interest, and experience in, age, sex and disability discrimination claims.  According to the Legal 500 2024 ‘on complex disability discrimination cases there is no one better.’ She has handled many high-stakes discrimination cases in the Employment Tribunal, the County Court and the High Court, including a number of group/multi-party claims.

Claire has wide experience of advising on discrimination in the provision of goods and services. Recent work has included advising on assistance cats, web accessibility, the potential closure of ticket offices at train stations, and the availability of the HPV vaccine. She acted for Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, in the religious discrimination claim brought against the College by Christian Concern.   Claire has been instructed to advise in a number of goods and services matters with business-wide implications. During the pandemic she advised a number of the UK’s largest retailers on discrimination law issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, including access to online shopping and the requirement to wear face-masks.

Claire has valuable experience of lengthy multi-party equal pay cases in the public and private sectors, including the recent supermarket equal pay litigation. She was sole counsel for the TV presenter Samira Ahmed in her very high-profile equal pay claim against the BBC. Claire was appointed as amicus curiae to the Court of Appeal in Graysons Restaurants Ltd v Jones and others [2019] 3 All ER 688, an appeal concerning the interaction between the law on equal pay and the insolvency protection scheme under the ERA 1996.

Claire is also instructed in judicial review claims which raise discrimination law issues, a high-profile recent example being the challenge to the Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020 which resulted in the Regulations being revoked in February 2021.

Claire has significant experience of advising on TUPE issues. According to Chambers UK Bar she is “well known for her strength in … claims concerning TUPE.”  Claire is regularly instructed in very high value multi-party TUPE litigation, including the high profile and lengthy litigation after Jarvis Rail Ltd went into administration. More recently she successfully defended the litigation arising out of the ‘pre-pack administration’ of Thomson Local, advised on the TUPE transfer of approximately 500 employees in Northern Ireland, and defended the owner of an energy company against claims that a change in ownership, and consequent change in responsibility for the business, had amounted to a TUPE transfer (settled prior to final hearing in ET). Claire has a good understanding of related aspects of corporate insolvency law. She has appeared in a number of important cases on TUPE including Rynda (UK) Ltd v Rhijnsburger [2013] All ER (D) 73 (Sep) and Enterprise Management Services Ltd v Connect-Up Ltd [2012] IRLR 190.  She was appointed as amicus curiae to the Court of Appeal in Graysons Restaurants Ltd v Jones and others [2019] 3 All ER 688, an appeal concerning the interaction between equal pay law, TUPE, and the insolvency protection scheme under the ERA 1996.

Claire has wide experience of industrial relations issues including collective bargaining, works councils, industrial action and statutory recognition applications before the Central Arbitration Committee. She has advised both trade unions and employers on industrial disputes. In February 2019 she successfully obtained an injunction to restrain the Prison Officers’ Association from calling industrial action by prison officers in Liverpool. In February 2022 she successfully represented Great Ormond Street Hospital in the High Court, obtaining interim relief restricting pickets and protests in the immediate vicinity of the hospital.

Until she took silk, Claire spent six years as a member of the Attorney General’s A Panel. She was a member of the B and C Panels before that. She has been instructed in a wide range of public law cases both for and against local and central government, particularly cases which raise issues of discrimination and retained EU Law.  Her recent public law work has included acting for an intervener in a challenge to the Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020 which resulted in the Regulations being revoked in February 2021 (see here for an example of media coverage), the judicial review of the 2018 pay award for 120,000 police officers (led by Helen Mountfield QC), and representing Govia in the judicial review claim brought by Southern rail commuters alleging disability discrimination.

Claire regularly advises and represents schools, colleges, universities, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, OFSTED, the Department for Education and individual students in relation to a wide range of education matters, including university regulation and discipline, Ofsted inspections, school closures, enforcement action under the Education and Skills Act 2008, early years provision and local authority interventions. Claire has acted in a number of significant education appeals, including Proprietor of Ashdown House School v JKL [2019] ELR 530 on discriminatory exclusions, and R.(on the application of Thilakawardhana) v Office for the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education [2018] E.L.R. 223 on student fitness to practise proceedings.

Claire  is acting for University College London and one other University in the proposed group litigation by University students seeking compensation for the impact of the pandemic and industrial action on their studies. See examples of media coverage here and here. Her recent education work has included representing the Department for Education in R. (on the application of Sharp) v Office of the Schools Adjudicator [2023] EWHC 1242 (Admin), a judicial review of school admission arrangements; and defending Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge against a claim for religious discrimination brought by Christian Concern, see links to media coverage here and here.

Claire was junior counsel for Innospec in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in Walker v Innospec Ltd & Ors [2017] UKSC 47. She has subsequently been involved in a number of pensions discrimination cases, including acting for the Secretary of State in Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Beattie [2023] IRLR 13, [2023] Pens. L.R. 3 on whether the Age Exceptions Order is compliant with retained EU Law. She represented the employer in Newell Trustees Limited v Newell Rubbermaid UK Services Limited & Ors [2024] EWHC 48 (Ch), successfully persuading the High Court that the automatic transfer of employees from a final salary pension scheme into a money purchase scheme had not amounted to unlawful age discrimination. Claire acted for The Pensions Regulator in its enforcement action against Hermes (now Evri) which resulted in its couriers being auto-enrolled into a pension scheme (see media coverage here and here).

Claire has substantial experience of large scale, multi-party and test case litigation in the Employment Tribunal, County Court and High Court, including lengthy and complex equal pay cases involving thousands of employees in the public and private sectors.

Claire is also well versed in the particular procedural and strategic issues that arise in claims brought under group litigation orders in the High Court. Claire is acting for UCL and one other University in the proposed group litigation brought by university students seeking compensation for the impact of the pandemic and industrial action on their studies. See examples of media coverage here and here.

 

In order of the most recent

R (on the application of Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF)) v Secretary of State for Business and Trade [2023] I.R.L.R. 823: judicial review of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Beattie [2023] IRLR 13, [2023] 2 C.M.L.R. 10, [2023] Pens. L.R. 3, Employment Appeal Tribunal: whether ET had erred in disapplying the Equality Act (Age Exceptions for Pension Schemes) Order 2010. Sole counsel for successful Appellant.

Nursing and Midwifery Council v Somerville [2022] ICR 755, [2022] IRLR 447, Court of Appeal: whether mutuality of obligations is a prerequisite for establishing worker status.

Gwynedd Council v Barratt and another[2021] IRLR 1028, [2021] E.L.R. 747, Court of Appeal: requirements of fair redundancy exercise undertaken by maintained schools. Sole counsel for successful claimants.

Dobson v Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust [2021] IRLR 729, [2021] ICR 1699, EAT: role of judicial notice in indirect sex discrimination claim by nurse challenging irregular weekend shifts.

Heskett v Secretary of State for Justice [2021] ICR 110, [2021] IRLR 132, [2021] 3 All E.R. 36, Court of Appeal: when costs factors can constitute a legitimate aim for the purposes of justifying indirect discrimination. Lead counsel for successful Respondent, the Secretary of State.

Brown v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis & Anor [2020] 1 WLR 1257, [2020] 3 All ER 273, [2019] Costs L.R. 1633, Court of Appeal: application of QOCS to mixed claims, lead counsel for Appellant.

Heal v Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford and others [2020] ICR 1294, EAT: whether reasonable adjustment to grant leave under Contempt of Court Act 1981 to make an unofficial recording of an ET hearing. Sole counsel for ten colleges of Oxford University.

Proprietor of Ashdown House School v JKL [2019] UKUT 259 (AAC), [2019] ELR 530, Upper Tribunal: whether First-tier Tribunal had jurisdiction to order an independent school to reinstate a disabled pupil.

Graysons Restaurants Ltd v Jones [2019] 3 All ER 688, [2019] ICR 1342, [2019] IRLR 649, Court of Appeal: whether equal pay claims are arrears of pay within the insolvency protection scheme. Appointed Amicus Curaie.

R (S) v Camden Borough Council [2018] EWHC 3354 (Admin), [2019] ELR 129: judicial review of decision by Camden to amend an EHC Plan.

Ameyaw v PricewaterhouseCoopers Services Limited [2019] IRLR 611, [2019] ICR 976, EAT: whether an ET has the power to exclude or remove a judgment from the public register of judgments. Sole counsel for PwC.

Ministry of Justice v Blackford [2018] IRLR 688, EAT: part-time workers.

Krishna Moorthy v Revenue & Customs Commissioners [2018] 3 All ER 1062, [2018] IRLR 860, [2018] ICR 1326, [2018] STC 1028, Court of Appeal: whether payments made to employees to compensate for injury to feelings were exempt from income tax, lead counsel for Appellant.

R (on the application of Thilakawardhana) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education [2018] EWCA Civ 13, [2018] ELR 223, Court of Appeal: fitness to practise of a medical student, sole counsel for the University.

R (on the application of FDA, PCSU and Prospect) v Minister for the Cabinet Office [2018] EWHC 2746 (Admin), [2018] All ER (D) 138 (Oct): consultation of recognised trade unions over pay guidance. Junior counsel.

Walker v Innospec Ltd & Ors [2017] UKSC 47, [2017] 4 All ER 1004, [2017] ICR 1077, Supreme Court: whether a gay couple are entitled to pension benefits which accrued before the date when the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force.

Nursing & Midwifery Council & Ors v Harrold [2016] IRLR 30 (QB): civil restraint order restraining ET proceedings.

The Secretary of State for Justice v Lown [2016] IRLR 22, EAT: ETs and substitution mindset in unfair dismissal cases.

Higgins v Home Office & Attorney General [2015] All ER (D) 162, [2015] ICR D19, EAT: Rule 12 of ET Rules of Procedure 2013.

Daler-Rowney Ltd v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2015] ICR 632, EAT: whether National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 compliant with EU Law.

U v Butler & Wilson Ltd [2014] All ER (D) 34 (Sep), EAT: on ETs and disabled litigants in person.

Ashworth & Ors v Royal National Theatre [2014] IRLR 526, [2014] 4 All ER 238: representing the War Horse musicians both at the interim relief stage, and as junior counsel in the High Court litigation.

Akanu-Otu v Secretary of State for Justice; Ahmadi-Assalemi v NCR Ltd [2014] ICR D13, EAT: non-compliance with a deposit order.

Rynda Real Estate Asset Management Limited v A Rhijnsburger [2013] All ER (D) 73 (Sep), EAT: determining the ‘principal purpose’ of an organised grouping of employees under TUPE.

Hill v Governing Body of Great Tey Primary School [2013] ICR 691, EAT: approach to Polkey and Article 10 ECHR.

Eremia & Ors v Republic of Moldova [2013] EqLR 911, [2013] ECHR 3564/11, ECtHR: whether domestic violence is a form of gender-based discrimination, led by Helen Mountfield QC.

Black v Arriva North East Ltd [2013] EqLR 558. Sole counsel for Arriva during the two week County Court trial of the disability discrimination claims brought by 16 wheelchair users concerning the use of the wheelchair space on buses. Retained as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal.

Raggett v John Lewis Plc [2012] IRLR 906, [2012] 6 Costs LR 1053, EAT: whether VAT can be awarded by an ET if the receiving party is able to recover the VAT as input tax.

R (National Secular Society & Anor) v Bideford Town Council [2012] EWHC 175 (Admin), [2012] 2 All ER 1175, [2012] LGR 211: high profile judicial review of the practice of saying Christian prayers during meetings of the Town Council.

Enterprise Management Services Ltd v Connect-Up Ltd [2012] IRLR 190, EAT: service provision changes under TUPE.

Phillips v Xtera Communications Limited [2011] IRLR 724, [2012] ICR 171, EAT: meaning of election in s188 and s188A of the Trade Union & Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

Tiffin v Lester Aldridge LLP [2012] 1 WLR 1887, [2012] 2 All ER 1113, [2012] ICR 647, EAT: whether partners in an LLP are employees.

J v DLA Piper UK LLP [2010] ICR 1052, 115 BMLR 107, EAT: meaning of disability (led by James Laddie QC).

Claire undertakes regular pro bono work and has been the ELBA Committee member responsible for the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s pro bono scheme (ELAAS) since 2019. She was invited by the Solicitor General to join the Attorney General’s Pro Bono Committee.

Claire is interested in law reform. She has advised on and/or contributed to numerous responses to policy consultations. She advised the Government Equalities Office on its 2019 consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.

Claire is often invited to give talks on her areas of specialism at conferences, seminars and industry events. Recent invitations include speaking at the Discrimination Law Conference organised by the TUC in February 2024, the 22 KCs Conference organised by Michael Rubenstein in October 2023, the Employment Lawyers Association’s annual conference in London in May 2023, and speaking at the European Employment Lawyers Association’s annual conference in Athens in June 2022.

Claire writes widely on her areas of specialism. She has contributed to a number of leading practitioner texts including Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Precedents of Pleadings. Her articles have appeared in journals including the Education Law Journal, the New Law Journal and the Industrial Law Journal.

Since 2019 Claire has been an elected member of the Employment Law Bar Association’s Committee and is the Committee member responsible for the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s pro bono scheme (ELAAS). She is an advocacy trainer for Inner Temple and a pupil supervisor at Matrix. She sits on the UK Employment Lawyers Association’s International Committee.

Claire studied History at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge University and at Heidelberg University in Germany. She speaks reasonable German and Spanish.

Claire was appointed to the Attorney General’s A Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown in June 2017, and was reappointed for a further 5 year term in 2021. She was previously on the B and C Panels.  She has also been appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel of Special Advocates, and to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Panel of Preferred Counsel.

Claire was named as one of the UK’s “Hot 100 Lawyers” by The Lawyer magazine in January 2020.  She was one of eight barristers shortlisted for The Lawyer’s Barrister of the Year Award 2020, for which she received a Commendation. She was shortlisted for Employment Junior of the Year in the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2020. In 2019 she was shortlisted for both Employment Junior of the Year and Public Law Junior of the Year in the Legal 500 UK Awards.

Claire was awarded a number of scholarships by Inner Temple, including the Sir Joseph Priestly Scholarship, a Duke of Edinburgh Scholarship, an Inner Temple Internship Award, and CPE and BVC Exhibitions. She was also awarded the Kurt Hahn Trust Scholarship by Cambridge University.

Elected member of the Employment Law Bar Association Committee (ELBA), 2019 – ongoing.

Bar Council’s Equality and Diversity Committee (sub-committee).

Association of Partnership Practitioners

Bar European Group

Education Law Association

Employment Lawyers Association (ELA)

European Employment Lawyers Association (EELA)

Industrial Law Society

Claire is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to clients, including advice and representation services, Claire needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes her client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which she is instructed. To read Claire’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

Claire is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms. To find out more information on this and the way we work at Matrix, including our fee transparency statement, please see our see our service standards

DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"A confident advocate who has impressive mastery over complex areas of law."

Legal 500, 2024, Administrative Law and Human Rights

"A real eye for detail and particularly strong on all matters relating to disability discrimination. Her knowledge is exceptional, as is her advocacy. On complex disability discrimination cases there is no one better.'Claire is extremely efficient and delivers thorough written advice and submissions with particular skill, showcasing her specialist understanding of education law. She expertly pieces together persuasive arguments."

Legal 500, 2024, Education

"Claire knows this sector very well. She's very well versed in higher education and has a very strong technical background in relation to discrimination claims." "Claire is very meticulous and prepared; her written submissions are excellent and have been critical. She is a very assured and experienced person in this area of law." "She is excellent with clients, very popular and manages a large caseload."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Education

"She is a go to barrister for statutory employment law claims. A very confident advocate who is well respected by the judiciary."

Legal 500, 2024, Employment

"We enjoy working with Claire, coming to her with complex matters. She is very hands-on and not afraid to assist with drafting. She is thoughtful of clients' non-legal considerations." "Claire is a top-quality employment barrister, adept not only at delivering advice of the highest standard but also at working as an integral part of the legal team. She has a sharp intellect and an ability to distil the most complex points into easy-to-understand concepts that clients understand."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Employment

"Claire is a fearsome opponent, arguing with vigour and commitment." "Claire provides strong advice that instils a lot of confidence, she clearly puts a lot of thought into her work."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Education

"Claire is a go-to choice for us, particularly on discrimination cases. She is tactically imaginative and supportive but frank." "She is a formidable and supremely intelligent senior junior who will always fight the client's case hard."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Employment

"Claire is absolutely exceptional. She is hugely knowledgeable and invested in the outcome of cases – responsive, clear and does not sit on the fence in relation to advice. Added to this, her advocacy skills are impressive, as she is able to assess how to present, depending on the audience."

Legal 500, 2023, Employment

"Very clear written advocacy. Her oral advocacy is very impressive indeed – structured and persuasive."

Legal 500, 2023, Administrative and Public Law

"Claire is extremely efficient and delivers thorough written advice and submissions with particular skill, showcasing her specialist understanding of education law. She expertly pieces together persuasive arguments."

Legal 500, 2023, Education

"She is a formidable and supremely intelligent senior junior who will always fight the client's case hard and successfully." "She is a very effective and persuasive oral advocate who is clear and intelligent."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Employment

"She is a thoughtful advocate who brings a novel perspective to her cases."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Education

"Excellent knowledge of the relevant areas of law." "Very good drafting skills." "Responsive, and with clear, practical advice."

Legal 500, 2022, Administrative & Public Law (Including Elections)

"She is absolutely phenomenal in the way she's always on top of the detail and the law." "She's very forensic, pragmatic and client-friendly." " She is super responsive, really quick to embrace the unusual areas of law and cuts through the issues very quickly." "She is incredibly bright and very detailed in her paperwork."

Chambers UK Bar 2021

"Great to work with: she's very thorough, pro-active, approachable and clear." "Claire fights hard for her clients and has had some tremendous successes. She doesn't leave a stone unturned." "Insightful, sharp and responsive."

Legal 500 2021

"She has a complete forensic understanding of her cases and will fight to the end." "She's prepared to get off the fence and provides very clear and straightforward advice." "Very knowledgeable in the field, able to come up with very novel points and a good person to have on the team."

Chambers UK Bar 2020

"Tenacious and up for a fight; always gives it her all."

Legal 500 2020

"Highly experienced advocate who is well known for her strength in discrimination cases and claims concerning TUPE." "Darwin has a track record of acting in high-profile cases." "Her decision-making is first class." "A very good advocate who has very good judgement."

Chambers UK Bar 2019

"A go-to barrister who is highly inventive and responsive." "She is responsive, supportive, inventive, enthusiastic and empathetic."

Legal 500 2019

“Forensic and incredibly thorough." "She's very approachable and has good rapport with clients. Detailed in her research, she gives clear advice and is always available to speak about cases."

Chambers UK Bar 2018

"A highly regarded junior with a fast-developing and varied practice."

Legal 500 2017

"Claire Darwin is widely respected within the market for her expertise in employment and discrimination law, often with human rights and public law elements. She is praised as "responsive, approachable, supportive, imaginative and decisive."

Who's Who Legal 208

"She is very good for technical discrimination matters."

Legal 500 2016

"Highly experienced advocate who is commended by clients for her extensive attention to detail and preparation for her cases. She's a fearsome advocate and is very approachable."

Chambers UK Bar 2016

"Exceptionally bright and hardworking, and undoubtedly one of the leading lights on TUPE and discrimination."

Legal 500 2015

"An experienced appellate advocate, who is well known for the strength of her advocacy."; "A well-prepared adviser and an excellent cross-examiner."

Chambers & Partners 2015

"She is incredibly pragmatic and proactive in approaching cases."

Chambers & Partners 2015

“She genuinely cares about her clients and their cases, and is not afraid to push boundaries.”

Legal 500 2014

"A very quick thinker on her feet, she is a rising star at the set." "A really strong advocate, she knows when and when not to be aggressive."

Chambers & Partners 2014

"She is confident and assertive, and takes a proactive approach to case strategy."

Chambers & Partners 2015

"Very reliable, and particularly strong in discrimination claims."

Legal 500 2014

"She's very responsive and diligent, particularly on TUPE and discrimination claims."

Chamber & Partners 2014

"I would not hesitate to recommend her. She adopts a very proactive approach."

Chamber & Partners 2014

“Claire Darwin is a very bright and hardworking junior.”

Legal 500 2013

"Claire Darwin is frequently instructed in Employment Tribunal and appellate matters by leading firms."

Chambers & Partners 2013

"Claire Darwin is gaining an increasing reputation for her appellate work, and has recently appeared before the ECHR."

Chambers & Partners 2013

"Recommended juniors include the 'commercially minded' Claire Darwin."

Legal 500, 2012

"Confident and assertive, she is a real star in the making."

Chambers and Partners 2012
Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Claire Darwin
Called: 2005
|
Silk: 2023
|
Called (Ireland): 2018

“Her knowledge is exceptional, as is her advocacy"

Legal 500 2024

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Commercial Law
  • Education Law
  • Employment Law
  • EU Law
  • Court Orders affecting the Media
  • Mediation
  • Public Law
  • Equality and Discrimination Law

Claire Darwin KC

Contact Claire: clairedarwin@matrixlaw.co.uk | +44 (0)20 7404 3447

Contact Claire's Practice Team (Team M): TeamM@matrixlaw.co.uk


Claire Darwin KC is a leading silk specialising in employment, equality and discrimination law, with related expertise in education law and judicial review. She has been recognised by the legal directories as a leader in her field for many years. According to Chambers & Partners 2024 ‘she is excellent with clients, very popular and manages a large caseload’. Prior to her appointment as King’s Counsel in 2023 she was ranked by both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners as one of the top employment juniors practising at the London Bar (in Tier 1 and Band 1 respectively). She was also ranked in the highest tier for education law in The Legal 500.

Claire’s practice focuses on advocacy. Legal 500 2024 describes her as ‘a very confident advocate who is well respected by the judiciary.’ Claire is equally at home conducting lengthy trials which involve extensive cross-examination of factual and expert witnesses, or in the appellate courts arguing complex points of law. Her advocacy experience includes cases in the European Court of Human Rights and the UK Supreme Court.  She has had more than 35 cases reported in the law reports. A list of her significant reported cases is available below.

In 2017, and again in 2021, Claire was appointed to the Attorney General’s A Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown, a small panel of barristers appointed to advise and represent the UK government in its most complex civil and EU cases. She had previously been appointed to both the B and C Panels. Claire has also been appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel of Special Advocates and the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Panel of Preferred Counsel. In 2023 Claire was appointed a Recorder (part-time Circuit Judge), following an open competition run by the Judicial Appointments Commission.

Claire was shortlisted for the 2023 Public Services and Charities Silk of the Year at the Legal 500 Bar Awards 2023. She was one of eight barristers shortlisted for The Lawyer’s prestigious Barrister of the Year award in 2020, for which she received a Commendation. In 2020, she was named as one of the UK’s “Hot 100 Lawyers” by The Lawyer magazine. She was one of three finalists for Employment Junior of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2020 and shortlisted for both Employment Junior of the Year and Public Law Junior of the Year at the Legal 500 UK Awards in 2019.

Recent Work

Highlights of Claire’s recent work include:

  • Newell Trustees Ltd v Newell Rubbermaid UK Services Ltd [2024] EWHC 48 (Ch): successfully defending Newell Rubbermaid UK Services Ltd against complaint that the non-discrimination rule had been breached by a 1992 pension scheme amendment.
  • Hamon and others v University College London [2023] EWHC 1812 (KB): Acting for UCL in proposed group litigation brought by university students seeking compensation for the impact of the pandemic and industrial action on their studies. See examples of media coverage here and here.
  • Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia (Cultural Bureau) v Alhayali [2023] EAT 149: application of the State Immunity Act 1978 to employee working in embassy’s academic and cultural affairs department.
  • Advising the EHRC on its enforcement powers under the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023, October 2023.
  • Successfully defending a leading international human rights organisation against claims of religious discrimination and harassment, following a lengthy trial in 2023.
  • Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Beattie [2023] IRLR 13, [2023] Pens. L.R. 3, Employment Appeal Tribunal: whether ET had erred in disapplying the Equality Act (Age Exceptions for Pension Schemes) Order 2010. Sole counsel for successful Appellant.
  • Acting for Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, defending a religious discrimination claim brought by Christian Concern, ongoing, see links to media coverage here and here.
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council v Somerville [2022] ICR 755, [2022] IRLR 447, Court of Appeal: whether mutuality of obligations is a prerequisite for establishing worker status.

Employment Law

According to Chambers & Partners 2024 ‘Claire Darwin KC is a highly experienced employment barrister who has an extensive practice encompassing equal pay, worker status, industrial relations and discrimination claims’ and ‘frequently appears before the EAT and appeal courts’.

The Legal 500 2024 emphasizes that: ‘She is a go to barrister for statutory employment law claims.’

Claire has extensive experience of employment litigation, and is equally comfortable acting for claimants and respondents/defendants in both the private and public sectors. Employment cases in which Claire has acted include the High Court claims brought by the War Horse musicians against the National Theatre, the test cases challenging the mandatory retirement age for judges and lay members, representing Samira Ahmed in her high profile equal pay claim against the BBC, a series of sex and disability discrimination claims challenging the medical standards applied to firearms officers, a test case on the worker status of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s panel members heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal, and a landmark appeal brought by an NHS nurse unable to work a new shift pattern as a result of her childcare responsibilities.

Though best known for her work litigating substantial and high stakes disputes in the Employment Tribunal, Claire acts in a broad range of workplace disputes. She regularly acts in very high value City cases, and in sensitive disputes involving financial institutions or professional service firms. She has extensive experience of financial services work, particularly complex whistleblowing claims. She has acted for a number of foreign governments claiming sovereign immunity in the English courts.

Much of Claire’s work concerns the human rights aspects of employment law, including cases about freedom of expression, discrimination, forced labour, workplace privacy, open justice and fair trial rights. She was sole counsel for PwC in Ameyaw v PricewaterhouseCoopers Services Limited [2019] ICR 976 on the ET’s power to remove a judgment from the public register of judgments and acted for the successful appellant in Hill v Governing Body of Great Tey Primary School [2013] ICR 691, one of the leading cases on freedom of expression in the workplace. She has advised on matters of international human rights law arising in other common law jurisdictions.

Claire does a great deal of work in the areas of employment law which intersect with retained EU Law. She was junior counsel for Innospec in the Supreme Court in Walker v Innospec Ltd & Ors [2017] 4 All ER 1004 on whether an exception in the Equality Act 2010 was compatible with EU Law. She has experience of acting in cases in which a reference to the European Court of Justice is sought.

Discrimination and Equal Pay

Claire’s discrimination work spans the fields of employment, goods and services, pensions, premises, education, and public law.

Claire has a particular interest, and experience in, age, sex and disability discrimination claims.  According to the Legal 500 2024 ‘on complex disability discrimination cases there is no one better.’ She has handled many high-stakes discrimination cases in the Employment Tribunal, the County Court and the High Court, including a number of group/multi-party claims.

Claire has wide experience of advising on discrimination in the provision of goods and services. Recent work has included advising on assistance cats, web accessibility, the potential closure of ticket offices at train stations, and the availability of the HPV vaccine. She acted for Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, in the religious discrimination claim brought against the College by Christian Concern.   Claire has been instructed to advise in a number of goods and services matters with business-wide implications. During the pandemic she advised a number of the UK’s largest retailers on discrimination law issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, including access to online shopping and the requirement to wear face-masks.

Claire has valuable experience of lengthy multi-party equal pay cases in the public and private sectors, including the recent supermarket equal pay litigation. She was sole counsel for the TV presenter Samira Ahmed in her very high-profile equal pay claim against the BBC. Claire was appointed as amicus curiae to the Court of Appeal in Graysons Restaurants Ltd v Jones and others [2019] 3 All ER 688, an appeal concerning the interaction between the law on equal pay and the insolvency protection scheme under the ERA 1996.

Claire is also instructed in judicial review claims which raise discrimination law issues, a high-profile recent example being the challenge to the Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020 which resulted in the Regulations being revoked in February 2021.

TUPE

Claire has significant experience of advising on TUPE issues. According to Chambers UK Bar she is “well known for her strength in … claims concerning TUPE.”  Claire is regularly instructed in very high value multi-party TUPE litigation, including the high profile and lengthy litigation after Jarvis Rail Ltd went into administration. More recently she successfully defended the litigation arising out of the ‘pre-pack administration’ of Thomson Local, advised on the TUPE transfer of approximately 500 employees in Northern Ireland, and defended the owner of an energy company against claims that a change in ownership, and consequent change in responsibility for the business, had amounted to a TUPE transfer (settled prior to final hearing in ET). Claire has a good understanding of related aspects of corporate insolvency law. She has appeared in a number of important cases on TUPE including Rynda (UK) Ltd v Rhijnsburger [2013] All ER (D) 73 (Sep) and Enterprise Management Services Ltd v Connect-Up Ltd [2012] IRLR 190.  She was appointed as amicus curiae to the Court of Appeal in Graysons Restaurants Ltd v Jones and others [2019] 3 All ER 688, an appeal concerning the interaction between equal pay law, TUPE, and the insolvency protection scheme under the ERA 1996.

Industrial Relations and Trade Union Recognition

Claire has wide experience of industrial relations issues including collective bargaining, works councils, industrial action and statutory recognition applications before the Central Arbitration Committee. She has advised both trade unions and employers on industrial disputes. In February 2019 she successfully obtained an injunction to restrain the Prison Officers’ Association from calling industrial action by prison officers in Liverpool. In February 2022 she successfully represented Great Ormond Street Hospital in the High Court, obtaining interim relief restricting pickets and protests in the immediate vicinity of the hospital.

Public Law and Judicial Review

Until she took silk, Claire spent six years as a member of the Attorney General’s A Panel. She was a member of the B and C Panels before that. She has been instructed in a wide range of public law cases both for and against local and central government, particularly cases which raise issues of discrimination and retained EU Law.  Her recent public law work has included acting for an intervener in a challenge to the Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020 which resulted in the Regulations being revoked in February 2021 (see here for an example of media coverage), the judicial review of the 2018 pay award for 120,000 police officers (led by Helen Mountfield QC), and representing Govia in the judicial review claim brought by Southern rail commuters alleging disability discrimination.

Education Law

Claire regularly advises and represents schools, colleges, universities, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, OFSTED, the Department for Education and individual students in relation to a wide range of education matters, including university regulation and discipline, Ofsted inspections, school closures, enforcement action under the Education and Skills Act 2008, early years provision and local authority interventions. Claire has acted in a number of significant education appeals, including Proprietor of Ashdown House School v JKL [2019] ELR 530 on discriminatory exclusions, and R.(on the application of Thilakawardhana) v Office for the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education [2018] E.L.R. 223 on student fitness to practise proceedings.

Claire  is acting for University College London and one other University in the proposed group litigation by University students seeking compensation for the impact of the pandemic and industrial action on their studies. See examples of media coverage here and here. Her recent education work has included representing the Department for Education in R. (on the application of Sharp) v Office of the Schools Adjudicator [2023] EWHC 1242 (Admin), a judicial review of school admission arrangements; and defending Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge against a claim for religious discrimination brought by Christian Concern, see links to media coverage here and here.

Pensions

Claire was junior counsel for Innospec in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in Walker v Innospec Ltd & Ors [2017] UKSC 47. She has subsequently been involved in a number of pensions discrimination cases, including acting for the Secretary of State in Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Beattie [2023] IRLR 13, [2023] Pens. L.R. 3 on whether the Age Exceptions Order is compliant with retained EU Law. She represented the employer in Newell Trustees Limited v Newell Rubbermaid UK Services Limited & Ors [2024] EWHC 48 (Ch), successfully persuading the High Court that the automatic transfer of employees from a final salary pension scheme into a money purchase scheme had not amounted to unlawful age discrimination. Claire acted for The Pensions Regulator in its enforcement action against Hermes (now Evri) which resulted in its couriers being auto-enrolled into a pension scheme (see media coverage here and here).

Multi-party and Group Litigation

Claire has substantial experience of large scale, multi-party and test case litigation in the Employment Tribunal, County Court and High Court, including lengthy and complex equal pay cases involving thousands of employees in the public and private sectors.

Claire is also well versed in the particular procedural and strategic issues that arise in claims brought under group litigation orders in the High Court. Claire is acting for UCL and one other University in the proposed group litigation brought by university students seeking compensation for the impact of the pandemic and industrial action on their studies. See examples of media coverage here and here.

 

Selected Reported Cases

In order of the most recent

R (on the application of Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF)) v Secretary of State for Business and Trade [2023] I.R.L.R. 823: judicial review of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Beattie [2023] IRLR 13, [2023] 2 C.M.L.R. 10, [2023] Pens. L.R. 3, Employment Appeal Tribunal: whether ET had erred in disapplying the Equality Act (Age Exceptions for Pension Schemes) Order 2010. Sole counsel for successful Appellant.

Nursing and Midwifery Council v Somerville [2022] ICR 755, [2022] IRLR 447, Court of Appeal: whether mutuality of obligations is a prerequisite for establishing worker status.

Gwynedd Council v Barratt and another[2021] IRLR 1028, [2021] E.L.R. 747, Court of Appeal: requirements of fair redundancy exercise undertaken by maintained schools. Sole counsel for successful claimants.

Dobson v Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust [2021] IRLR 729, [2021] ICR 1699, EAT: role of judicial notice in indirect sex discrimination claim by nurse challenging irregular weekend shifts.

Heskett v Secretary of State for Justice [2021] ICR 110, [2021] IRLR 132, [2021] 3 All E.R. 36, Court of Appeal: when costs factors can constitute a legitimate aim for the purposes of justifying indirect discrimination. Lead counsel for successful Respondent, the Secretary of State.

Brown v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis & Anor [2020] 1 WLR 1257, [2020] 3 All ER 273, [2019] Costs L.R. 1633, Court of Appeal: application of QOCS to mixed claims, lead counsel for Appellant.

Heal v Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford and others [2020] ICR 1294, EAT: whether reasonable adjustment to grant leave under Contempt of Court Act 1981 to make an unofficial recording of an ET hearing. Sole counsel for ten colleges of Oxford University.

Proprietor of Ashdown House School v JKL [2019] UKUT 259 (AAC), [2019] ELR 530, Upper Tribunal: whether First-tier Tribunal had jurisdiction to order an independent school to reinstate a disabled pupil.

Graysons Restaurants Ltd v Jones [2019] 3 All ER 688, [2019] ICR 1342, [2019] IRLR 649, Court of Appeal: whether equal pay claims are arrears of pay within the insolvency protection scheme. Appointed Amicus Curaie.

R (S) v Camden Borough Council [2018] EWHC 3354 (Admin), [2019] ELR 129: judicial review of decision by Camden to amend an EHC Plan.

Ameyaw v PricewaterhouseCoopers Services Limited [2019] IRLR 611, [2019] ICR 976, EAT: whether an ET has the power to exclude or remove a judgment from the public register of judgments. Sole counsel for PwC.

Ministry of Justice v Blackford [2018] IRLR 688, EAT: part-time workers.

Krishna Moorthy v Revenue & Customs Commissioners [2018] 3 All ER 1062, [2018] IRLR 860, [2018] ICR 1326, [2018] STC 1028, Court of Appeal: whether payments made to employees to compensate for injury to feelings were exempt from income tax, lead counsel for Appellant.

R (on the application of Thilakawardhana) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education [2018] EWCA Civ 13, [2018] ELR 223, Court of Appeal: fitness to practise of a medical student, sole counsel for the University.

R (on the application of FDA, PCSU and Prospect) v Minister for the Cabinet Office [2018] EWHC 2746 (Admin), [2018] All ER (D) 138 (Oct): consultation of recognised trade unions over pay guidance. Junior counsel.

Walker v Innospec Ltd & Ors [2017] UKSC 47, [2017] 4 All ER 1004, [2017] ICR 1077, Supreme Court: whether a gay couple are entitled to pension benefits which accrued before the date when the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force.

Nursing & Midwifery Council & Ors v Harrold [2016] IRLR 30 (QB): civil restraint order restraining ET proceedings.

The Secretary of State for Justice v Lown [2016] IRLR 22, EAT: ETs and substitution mindset in unfair dismissal cases.

Higgins v Home Office & Attorney General [2015] All ER (D) 162, [2015] ICR D19, EAT: Rule 12 of ET Rules of Procedure 2013.

Daler-Rowney Ltd v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2015] ICR 632, EAT: whether National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 compliant with EU Law.

U v Butler & Wilson Ltd [2014] All ER (D) 34 (Sep), EAT: on ETs and disabled litigants in person.

Ashworth & Ors v Royal National Theatre [2014] IRLR 526, [2014] 4 All ER 238: representing the War Horse musicians both at the interim relief stage, and as junior counsel in the High Court litigation.

Akanu-Otu v Secretary of State for Justice; Ahmadi-Assalemi v NCR Ltd [2014] ICR D13, EAT: non-compliance with a deposit order.

Rynda Real Estate Asset Management Limited v A Rhijnsburger [2013] All ER (D) 73 (Sep), EAT: determining the ‘principal purpose’ of an organised grouping of employees under TUPE.

Hill v Governing Body of Great Tey Primary School [2013] ICR 691, EAT: approach to Polkey and Article 10 ECHR.

Eremia & Ors v Republic of Moldova [2013] EqLR 911, [2013] ECHR 3564/11, ECtHR: whether domestic violence is a form of gender-based discrimination, led by Helen Mountfield QC.

Black v Arriva North East Ltd [2013] EqLR 558. Sole counsel for Arriva during the two week County Court trial of the disability discrimination claims brought by 16 wheelchair users concerning the use of the wheelchair space on buses. Retained as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal.

Raggett v John Lewis Plc [2012] IRLR 906, [2012] 6 Costs LR 1053, EAT: whether VAT can be awarded by an ET if the receiving party is able to recover the VAT as input tax.

R (National Secular Society & Anor) v Bideford Town Council [2012] EWHC 175 (Admin), [2012] 2 All ER 1175, [2012] LGR 211: high profile judicial review of the practice of saying Christian prayers during meetings of the Town Council.

Enterprise Management Services Ltd v Connect-Up Ltd [2012] IRLR 190, EAT: service provision changes under TUPE.

Phillips v Xtera Communications Limited [2011] IRLR 724, [2012] ICR 171, EAT: meaning of election in s188 and s188A of the Trade Union & Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

Tiffin v Lester Aldridge LLP [2012] 1 WLR 1887, [2012] 2 All ER 1113, [2012] ICR 647, EAT: whether partners in an LLP are employees.

J v DLA Piper UK LLP [2010] ICR 1052, 115 BMLR 107, EAT: meaning of disability (led by James Laddie QC).

Pro Bono Work

Claire undertakes regular pro bono work and has been the ELBA Committee member responsible for the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s pro bono scheme (ELAAS) since 2019. She was invited by the Solicitor General to join the Attorney General’s Pro Bono Committee.

Other Work

Claire is interested in law reform. She has advised on and/or contributed to numerous responses to policy consultations. She advised the Government Equalities Office on its 2019 consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.

Claire is often invited to give talks on her areas of specialism at conferences, seminars and industry events. Recent invitations include speaking at the Discrimination Law Conference organised by the TUC in February 2024, the 22 KCs Conference organised by Michael Rubenstein in October 2023, the Employment Lawyers Association’s annual conference in London in May 2023, and speaking at the European Employment Lawyers Association’s annual conference in Athens in June 2022.

Claire writes widely on her areas of specialism. She has contributed to a number of leading practitioner texts including Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Precedents of Pleadings. Her articles have appeared in journals including the Education Law Journal, the New Law Journal and the Industrial Law Journal.

Since 2019 Claire has been an elected member of the Employment Law Bar Association’s Committee and is the Committee member responsible for the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s pro bono scheme (ELAAS). She is an advocacy trainer for Inner Temple and a pupil supervisor at Matrix. She sits on the UK Employment Lawyers Association’s International Committee.

Qualifications

Claire studied History at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge University and at Heidelberg University in Germany. She speaks reasonable German and Spanish.

Appointments and Awards

Claire was appointed to the Attorney General’s A Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown in June 2017, and was reappointed for a further 5 year term in 2021. She was previously on the B and C Panels.  She has also been appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel of Special Advocates, and to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Panel of Preferred Counsel.

Claire was named as one of the UK’s “Hot 100 Lawyers” by The Lawyer magazine in January 2020.  She was one of eight barristers shortlisted for The Lawyer’s Barrister of the Year Award 2020, for which she received a Commendation. She was shortlisted for Employment Junior of the Year in the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2020. In 2019 she was shortlisted for both Employment Junior of the Year and Public Law Junior of the Year in the Legal 500 UK Awards.

Claire was awarded a number of scholarships by Inner Temple, including the Sir Joseph Priestly Scholarship, a Duke of Edinburgh Scholarship, an Inner Temple Internship Award, and CPE and BVC Exhibitions. She was also awarded the Kurt Hahn Trust Scholarship by Cambridge University.

Articles and Downloads

These articles and downloads are made available for general information purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such advice. The author and Matrix Chambers do not accept responsibility for the continuing accuracy of their contents.  

Committees / Professional Memberships

Elected member of the Employment Law Bar Association Committee (ELBA), 2019 – ongoing.

Bar Council’s Equality and Diversity Committee (sub-committee).

Association of Partnership Practitioners

Bar European Group

Education Law Association

Employment Lawyers Association (ELA)

European Employment Lawyers Association (EELA)

Industrial Law Society


Claire's Privacy Notice

Claire is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to clients, including advice and representation services, Claire needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes her client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which she is instructed. To read Claire’s privacy notice in full, please see here.


DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"A confident advocate who has impressive mastery over complex areas of law."

Legal 500, 2024, Administrative Law and Human Rights

"A real eye for detail and particularly strong on all matters relating to disability discrimination. Her knowledge is exceptional, as is her advocacy. On complex disability discrimination cases there is no one better.'Claire is extremely efficient and delivers thorough written advice and submissions with particular skill, showcasing her specialist understanding of education law. She expertly pieces together persuasive arguments."

Legal 500, 2024, Education

"Claire knows this sector very well. She's very well versed in higher education and has a very strong technical background in relation to discrimination claims." "Claire is very meticulous and prepared; her written submissions are excellent and have been critical. She is a very assured and experienced person in this area of law." "She is excellent with clients, very popular and manages a large caseload."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Education

"She is a go to barrister for statutory employment law claims. A very confident advocate who is well respected by the judiciary."

Legal 500, 2024, Employment

"We enjoy working with Claire, coming to her with complex matters. She is very hands-on and not afraid to assist with drafting. She is thoughtful of clients' non-legal considerations." "Claire is a top-quality employment barrister, adept not only at delivering advice of the highest standard but also at working as an integral part of the legal team. She has a sharp intellect and an ability to distil the most complex points into easy-to-understand concepts that clients understand."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Employment

"Claire is a fearsome opponent, arguing with vigour and commitment." "Claire provides strong advice that instils a lot of confidence, she clearly puts a lot of thought into her work."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Education

"Claire is a go-to choice for us, particularly on discrimination cases. She is tactically imaginative and supportive but frank." "She is a formidable and supremely intelligent senior junior who will always fight the client's case hard."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Employment

"Claire is absolutely exceptional. She is hugely knowledgeable and invested in the outcome of cases – responsive, clear and does not sit on the fence in relation to advice. Added to this, her advocacy skills are impressive, as she is able to assess how to present, depending on the audience."

Legal 500, 2023, Employment

"Very clear written advocacy. Her oral advocacy is very impressive indeed – structured and persuasive."

Legal 500, 2023, Administrative and Public Law

"Claire is extremely efficient and delivers thorough written advice and submissions with particular skill, showcasing her specialist understanding of education law. She expertly pieces together persuasive arguments."

Legal 500, 2023, Education

"She is a formidable and supremely intelligent senior junior who will always fight the client's case hard and successfully." "She is a very effective and persuasive oral advocate who is clear and intelligent."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Employment

"She is a thoughtful advocate who brings a novel perspective to her cases."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Education

"Excellent knowledge of the relevant areas of law." "Very good drafting skills." "Responsive, and with clear, practical advice."

Legal 500, 2022, Administrative & Public Law (Including Elections)

"She is absolutely phenomenal in the way she's always on top of the detail and the law." "She's very forensic, pragmatic and client-friendly." " She is super responsive, really quick to embrace the unusual areas of law and cuts through the issues very quickly." "She is incredibly bright and very detailed in her paperwork."

Chambers UK Bar 2021

"Great to work with: she's very thorough, pro-active, approachable and clear." "Claire fights hard for her clients and has had some tremendous successes. She doesn't leave a stone unturned." "Insightful, sharp and responsive."

Legal 500 2021

"She has a complete forensic understanding of her cases and will fight to the end." "She's prepared to get off the fence and provides very clear and straightforward advice." "Very knowledgeable in the field, able to come up with very novel points and a good person to have on the team."

Chambers UK Bar 2020

"Tenacious and up for a fight; always gives it her all."

Legal 500 2020

"Highly experienced advocate who is well known for her strength in discrimination cases and claims concerning TUPE." "Darwin has a track record of acting in high-profile cases." "Her decision-making is first class." "A very good advocate who has very good judgement."

Chambers UK Bar 2019

"A go-to barrister who is highly inventive and responsive." "She is responsive, supportive, inventive, enthusiastic and empathetic."

Legal 500 2019

“Forensic and incredibly thorough." "She's very approachable and has good rapport with clients. Detailed in her research, she gives clear advice and is always available to speak about cases."

Chambers UK Bar 2018

"A highly regarded junior with a fast-developing and varied practice."

Legal 500 2017

"Claire Darwin is widely respected within the market for her expertise in employment and discrimination law, often with human rights and public law elements. She is praised as "responsive, approachable, supportive, imaginative and decisive."

Who's Who Legal 208

"She is very good for technical discrimination matters."

Legal 500 2016

"Highly experienced advocate who is commended by clients for her extensive attention to detail and preparation for her cases. She's a fearsome advocate and is very approachable."

Chambers UK Bar 2016

"Exceptionally bright and hardworking, and undoubtedly one of the leading lights on TUPE and discrimination."

Legal 500 2015

"An experienced appellate advocate, who is well known for the strength of her advocacy."; "A well-prepared adviser and an excellent cross-examiner."

Chambers & Partners 2015

"She is incredibly pragmatic and proactive in approaching cases."

Chambers & Partners 2015

“She genuinely cares about her clients and their cases, and is not afraid to push boundaries.”

Legal 500 2014

"A very quick thinker on her feet, she is a rising star at the set." "A really strong advocate, she knows when and when not to be aggressive."

Chambers & Partners 2014

"She is confident and assertive, and takes a proactive approach to case strategy."

Chambers & Partners 2015

"Very reliable, and particularly strong in discrimination claims."

Legal 500 2014

"She's very responsive and diligent, particularly on TUPE and discrimination claims."

Chamber & Partners 2014

"I would not hesitate to recommend her. She adopts a very proactive approach."

Chamber & Partners 2014

“Claire Darwin is a very bright and hardworking junior.”

Legal 500 2013

"Claire Darwin is frequently instructed in Employment Tribunal and appellate matters by leading firms."

Chambers & Partners 2013

"Claire Darwin is gaining an increasing reputation for her appellate work, and has recently appeared before the ECHR."

Chambers & Partners 2013

"Recommended juniors include the 'commercially minded' Claire Darwin."

Legal 500, 2012

"Confident and assertive, she is a real star in the making."

Chambers and Partners 2012