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Karon practises principally in the fields of equality and discrimination law, human rights and EU law.

Her work spans the fields of employment law, civil actions, judicial review and inquests. She has appeared in numerous cases at appellate level, including in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and (on references under Art 267, TFEU) in the CJEU.

Karon’s recent cases include:

  • Michael and others v Chief Constable of South Wales Police and another (Refuge and others intervening) [2015] UKSC 2; [2015] 2 WLR 343, Supreme Court (civil action against the police and liability in negligence, CEDAW)
  • Doogan and another v Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board (Royal College of Midwives and another intervening) [2014] UKSC 68; [2015] 2 WLR 126, Supreme Court (section 4, Abortion Act 1967 and conscientious objection)
  • R (Steinfeld and Keidan) v Secretary of State for Education (2015) (availability of civil partnerships to opposite sex couples, Articles 8 and 14, Equality Act 2010,Public Sector Equality Duty)
  • R (X) v Y University (2015) (university’s policies on investigation serious sexual assault/rape of student by other students, Equality Act 2010, Public SectorEquality Duty, Articles 3 and 14)
  • Essop v Home Office (UK Border Agency) [2014] ICR 871 (meaning of indirect discrimination)
  • Johnson, Kanu and Hotak v London Borough of Southwark and O’rs (2014) Supreme Court (meaning of “vulnerability” in s189, Housing Act 1996, disability discrimination, Article 8 and 14, UNCRPD and Public Sector Equality Duty)
  • Cushnie v Secretary of State for Health [2014] EWHC 3626 (Admin); [2014] WLR (D)484 (disabled destitute failed asylum seeker in receipt of support under s 21, National Assistance Act 1948 and charges for health care, Article 8 and 14 and Public Sector Equality Duty)
  • Re: Hasonovic (dec’d) (2014) (Inquest, Article 2, domestic homicide and police and CPS failures to protect)
  • Cary v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (Equality and Human Rights Commission intervening) [2014] EWCA Civ 987; [2015] ICR 71 (use of assessors in county court claims under the Equality Act 2010)
  • Allen v Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary [2013] EWCA Civ 967; [2013] CN 1238 (Article 3 and failure to investigate gender – based crime)
  • CD v ST (Case C-167/12) (2014) (EU maternity and non-discrimination rights and surrogacy) CJEU
  • Jessemey v Rowstock Ltd & Anor [2014] EWCA Civ 185 (post-termination victimization)
  • Inquest into the Death of Cassandra Hasanovic (2014) (domestic violence homicide and state failures)
  • Unison v Lord Chancellor [2014] EWHC 218 (Admin) (employment tribunal fees, discrimination and the Public Sector Equality Duty)
  • Ladele and A’or v United Kingdom (2013) ECtHR App. nos. 51671/10 and 36516/10 (manifestation of religious belief at work and impact on sexual minorities)
  • Gallop v Newport CC [2013] EWCA Civ 1583 (knowledge of disability)
  • Barts and the London NHS Trust v Verma [2013] UKSC 20 (part-time work and pay protection)
  • Bull and another v Hall and another [2013] UKSC 73 (sexual orientation discrimination and bed and breakfast accommodation)
  • Inquest into the Death of Sabina Akhtar (2014) (domestic violence homicide and state failures)
  • Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel v X, Y, Z (Joined Cases C-199/12; C-200/12 and C-201/12) (2013) CJEU (persecution of gay men and asylum)
  • S.A.S v France (burqa ban in France) (ECtHR)
  • R (Quila) v SoS [2012] 1 AC 621 (immigration rules and forced marriage)
  • HJ (Iran) v SoS [2010] 3WLR 386 (persecution of gay men and asylum)
  • Rodriguez v The Minister for Housing of the Government of Gibraltar and the Housing Allocation Committee [2009] UKPC 52 (Marriage criterion and sexual orientation discrimination in housing provision)

She was awarded Liberty’s Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award in 2010.

Advisory Work

Karon also undertakes advisory work for public bodies and NGOs. Karon is an A-Panel member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Panel of Preferred Counsel.

Karon acted as Special Adviser to the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee for their Inquiry on Women in the Workplace (2013-14). She also acted as adviser to the Government’s Women and Equality Unit on the “Discrimination Law Review” (2006) which led to the Equality Act 2010. She was Special Adviser to the Treasury Select Committee for their Inquiry on Women in the City (2009/10). She was appointed by the Commission for the Compact to undertake an independent legal analysis and review of the Compact’s BME Code (2008) and she was a member of the Fawcett Society’s Commission on Women in the Criminal Justice System (2003-9).

Publications and Lectures

Karon is a regular lecturer, writer and speaker on equality and human rights.

Her publications include:
Monaghan on Equality Law (2013) Oxford University Press (755pp)
Clayton & Tomlinson, The Law of Human Rights (contributor)
Ed. Hunter, McGlynn and Rackley, Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice (2010) Hart (contributor)
K. Monaghan, The Equality Bill: A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing or Something More? [2009] European Human Rights Law Review 512
K. Monaghan, Constitutionalizing Equality: New Horizons [2008] European Human Rights Law Review 20
Civil Procedure (2006 – 2014 Sweet and Maxwell) (Discrimination sections)


Chair, Inquiry Panel, Formal Investigation into Fitness Standards in Social Work, Nursing and Teaching Professions, Disability Rights Commission
Deputy High Court Judge (Administrative Court)
Recorder (Crown Court)
Fee-paid Employment Tribunal Judge (2000-2008)
Ad hoc Assistant Deputy Coroner for the Inquests into the deaths of Mr and Mrs Stirland (2010), Mr Jimmy Mubenga (2013) and Mr Hywel Hughes (2014)

Member of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations.

Karon accepts instructions under the Bar Council Standard Contractual Terms, details of which can be found here.


Chambers & Partners 2014 ranks Karon Monaghan QC in both Civil Liberties and Human Rights and Employment, commenting that “her knowledge of discrimination law is second to none”, noting that “she is really impressive, and takes no prisoners.” and “clients love her as she’s a legal genius, and they feel completely at ease knowing she’s on their side.”

Legal 500 2013 recommends Karon in Administrative and Public Law and Employment and is described as  “a mountain of intellect in all discrimination matters”.

Chambers & Partners 2012 ranks Karon in Civil Liberties and Human Rights and Employment. She has an “unparalleled understanding of discrimination law” and is “passionate, totally committed, astonishingly responsive and unhesitating in her readiness to roll her sleeves up and get stuck in.”

Chambers & Partners 2011 ranks Karon in Civil Liberties and Employment. She is “massively respected” for her excellence in discrimination and equality matters and knows all there is to know” on the subject. “Bright and dedicated, she takes no prisoners in her advocacy.”

Karon is ranked in Chambers & Partners 2010 in Civil Liberties and Employment: The “extremely passionate” Karon Monaghan QC “is brilliant on discrimination matters. She is recommended by clients for her representation in the Court of Appeal especially on matters pertaining to human rights in an employment context.”

Chambers & Partners 2008 recommend Karon in Civil Liberties Law “hard-working and creative” and Employment Law “Superb discrimination lawyer”.

Karon is ranked in Employment law and Civil Liberties and Human Rights law, “very experienced and exceptionally competent, particularly in discrimination law” (Legal 500 2007/8).

Ranked in Employment “a real heavy weight in discrimination cases…characterised by a gutsy performance in court and down to earth approach with clients. Her breadth of knowledge and ability to focus on the key issues are as good as any junior at the bar.” Karon was also ranked in Human Rights and was lauded for being “an effective advocate, clearly well versed in the area” (Chambers & Partners, 2007).

Ranked for Civil Liberties and Human Rights and in Employment (Legal 500, 2006-7).

Recommended in Human Rights and in Employment: “Karon Monaghan is rated by peers for her expertise in discrimination claims” (Chambers & Partners – 2006).

Recommended in Employment law “Solicitors rate Karon Monaghan particularly highly” and also in Civil Liberties and Human Rights “[a] strong favourite with clients” (Legal 500 – 2005).

Ranked in Employment and in Human Rights “Peers commended the tremendous commitment to people, who are disadvantaged”, “she is a brave equality lawyer with a particular expertise in discrimination claims” (Chambers & Partners UK – 2005).