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Karon practises principally in the fields of equality and human rights law. She has a broad, largely claimant, practice, encompassing public law, employment law and civil actions. She also acts for NGOs and statutory bodies. Karon has an extensive advisory practice and in addition acts in, conducts and advises on statutory and non-statutory inquiries and investigations.

Karon has appeared in numerous cases at appellate level, including in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, and she has appeared in the CJEU. Karon has also appeared in the Hong Kong Court of Appeal and Court of Final Appeal.

Karon is an A Panel member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Panel of Preferred Counsel.

“Simply breathtaking.” – Chambers and Partners 2018

Notable cases:

Karon’s recent cases include:

  • Leung Chun Kwong v Secretary for the Civil Service and another [2019] HKCFA 19 Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (same-sex marriage and discrimination)
  • Gilham v Ministry of Justice [2019] Supreme Court (worker status, whistleblowing and judges)
  • Pimlico Plumbers Ltd and another v Smith [2018] ICR 1511 Supreme Court (worker status and disability discrimination)
  • R (Steinfeld and Keidan) v Secretary of State for Education [2018] 3 WLR 415 Supreme Court (civil partnerships, sexual orientation discrimination and human rights)
  • D v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (Liberty and others intervening) and O’rs[2018] 2 WLR 895 Supreme Court (failures by police force to conduct effective investigation into allegations of rape)
  • P v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (Equality and Human Rights Commission and others intervening)[2018] ICR 560 Supreme Court (police, disciplinary hearings, judicial immunity and disability discrimination)
  • R (A and others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and another[2018] 1 WLR 4279 High Court (disclosure of criminal records, prostitution, sex discrimination and human rights)
  • Mruke v Khan[2018] ICR 1146 Court of Appeal (race discrimination, exploitation and minimum wage)
  • R (Interim Executive Board of Al-Hijrah School) v HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills [2018] 1 WLR 1471 Court of Appeal (sex segregation and religion)
  • Re M (Children) (Ultra-Orthodox Judaism: Transgender Parent) [2018] 4 WLR 60 Court of Appeal (transgender parent and family life)
  • R (UNISON) v Lord Chancellor (Equality and Human Rights Commission and another intervening) (Nos 1 and 2)[2017] ICR 1037 Supreme Court (access to justice, EU law and discrimination)
  • R (MM (Lebanon)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Children’s Commissioner and another intervening)[2017] 1 WLR 771 Supreme Court (Immigration Rules, minimum income requirement and human rights)
  • Essop and others v Home Office (UK Border Agency); Naeem v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] 1 WLR 1343 Supreme Court (race and age discrimination and meaning of indirect discrimination)
  • R (MA and others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Equality and Human Rights Commission intervening) and O’rs[2016] 1 WLR 4550 Supreme Court (‘bedroom tax’, sex discrimination and domestic violence)
  • Hotak v Southwark London Borough Council; Kanu v Southwark London Borough Council and A’or [2016] AC 811 Supreme Court (homelessness and disability)
  • R (Tigere) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Just For Kids Law intervening) [2015] 1 WLR 3820 Supreme Court (immigration status, discrimination, student loans and human rights)
  • R (Brown) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] 1 WLR 1060 Supreme Court (immigration, sexual orientation, persecution and ‘safe countries’)
  • Michael and others v Chief Constable of South Wales Police and another (Refuge and others intervening)[2015] 2 WLR 343, Supreme Court (police, negligence, human rights and CEDAW)
  • S.A.S v France (2014) 36 BHRC 617 ECtHR (burqa ban in France)

Investigations/ Inquiries

Karon has acted for and advised individuals, regulatory and other bodies in public inquiries, other statutory inquiries and internal investigations. These include:

  • The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry
  • The Infected Blood Inquiry
  • The Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Further, Karon has conducted investigations, including:

  • Labour Party Investigation into Sexual Harassment
  • Chair, Inquiry Panel ‘Formal Investigation into Fitness Standards: Maintaining Standards: Promoting Equality: Professional Regulation within Nursing, Teaching and Social Work and Disabled People’s Access to these Professions’(Disability Rights Commission): 2006-7.

Karon has also acted in a number of lengthy and complex Inquests:

  • Inquest into the Death of Seyni Lewis (restraint related death and state failings)
  • Inquest into the Death of Kingsley Burrell (restraint related death and state failings)
  • Inquest into the Death of Cassandra Hasanovic (domestic violence homicide and state failures)
  • Inquest into the Death of Sabina Akhtar (domestic violence homicide and state failures)
  • Inquest into the Death of Colette Lynch (domestic violence homicide and state failures)

She has also been appointed ad hoc Assistant Coroner to conduct a number of lengthy and complex Inquests (2010 – 2017).

Appointments

Karon is a member of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations.

Karon is a visiting professor in the UCL Faculty of Laws.

Karon has in the past held a number of judicial positions:

  • Deputy High Court Judge (Administrative Court) (2010-March 2019)
  • Recorder (Crown Court) (2006-March 2019)
  • Fee-paid Employment Tribunal Judge (2000-2008)

Publications

Her publications include: Monaghan on Equality Law (OUP 2013); The UK Supreme Court Yearbook 2017-8 (Appellate Press 2019) (chapter); The UK Supreme Court Yearbook 2016-7 (Appellate Press 2018) (chapter); ed. Hunter, McGlynn and Rackley, Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice (Hart 2010) (chapter); Clayton & Tomlinson, The Law of Human Rights (OUP 2009) (co-authored chapter); Blackstone’s Guide to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (OUP 2005); Discrimination Law Handbook (LAG 2002) (co-author); Religious Freedom and Equal Treatment: A UK Perspective (2014) Journal of Law and Policy 673; The Equality Bill: A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing or Something More? [2009] EHRLR 512; Constitutionalizing Equality: New Horizons [2008] EHRLR 20.

Karon is co-editor of the UK Labour Law blog.

Awards

Karon was awarded Liberty’s Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award in 2010. Karon was named Employment Silk of the Year at both the 2017 Chambers & Partners Bar Awards and the 2017 Legal 500 Awards and she was featured in the Lawyer’s ‘Hot 100’ list in 2018.

Other appointments/ activities

Karon regularly delivers lectures and talks on equality and human rights law.

She has also acted as:

  • Special Adviser to the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Inquiry into ‘Women in the Workplace’(Report: HC 342): 2013.Special Adviser to the House of Commons Treasury Committee Inquiry into ‘Women in the City’ (Report: HC 482): 2010.
  • Adviser to the Government’s Women and Equality Unit on the ‘Discrimination Law Review’: 2006-7.
  • Member, Equal Treatment Advisory Committee of the Judicial Studies Board: 2003-2010.
  • Member of the Reference Group for the Independent review into serious incidents and deaths in custody, undertaken by Dame Elish Angiolini (2017).
  • Member, Sir Paul Kennedy’s ‘Working Group on Bar Council Representation’: 2007.
  • Member, Lord Neuberger’s ‘Entry to the Bar Working Party’: 2007.

Karon is a Patron of the charity FORWARD (Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development).

Karon is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms, details of which can be found here.

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DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS
WHAT THEY SAY:

“Noted for her expertise in public and administrative law cases pursued on the grounds of equality and human rights law. She has considerable experience of challenging welfare reform on behalf of marginalised claimants. Other recent cases have concerned immigration, legal aid availability and Article 8 rights. ‘She’s a brilliant advocate on human rights and equality, and is brilliant to work with.’ ‘A doughty fighter who is client-friendly,’ and ‘a very effective and passionate advocate.’” (Chambers and Partners 2019)

“She is a fantastic advocate, who is calm in the face of complex legal arguments” (Legal 500 2019).

“A skilled practitioner with far-reaching expertise in human rights, discrimination and equality, employment and EU law. She regularly attracts instructions in high-profile, significant matters from a diverse range of clients, including charities, trade unions and private claimants.” (Chambers and Partners 2019)

“Widely regarded as the leading barrister for equality issues and discrimination claims. She represents individuals, charities, trade unions and NGOs, and receives instructions at all levels, including the Supreme Court. Incredible to work with and brilliant in court.” “A brilliant advocate.” (Chambers and Partners 2019)

“Simply breathtaking. She has a very high knowledge of discrimination law. Clear, precise, calm under pressure and an excellent advocate. Her passion for the pursuance of equality is apparent” (Chambers and Partners 2018)

“Fantastic on her feet and fights for what the clients want.” “She is an incredibly good and impressive advocate.” (Chambers and Partners 2018)

“She is admired for both her fierce advocacy and her emotional intelligence, which allows her to form solid relationships with clients and solicitors alike. Strengths: “She has the attention of the court; she is a commanding presence and an exceptional advocate. She is a really experienced discrimination barrister” (Chambers and Partners 2017)

“She is a fantastic advocate, who is calm in the face of complex legal arguments.” (Legal 500 2017)

“Strengths: Her ability to digest cases, work out the main arguments quickly and draft strong skeleton arguments is deeply impressive.”  “She is fearless, utterly user-friendly and down-to-earth but immensely clever.” “Good at demystifying the law for clients and very good at getting to the heart of issues. She is good on her feet, eloquent and really impresses clients.” (Chambers and Partners 2017)