Employment tribunal axed in Sinclair Roche sexism action

Sinclair Roche & Temperley has made a successful application to replace the employment tribunal in its acrimonious case against two former partners.

In a hearing on 21 November, Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) president Mr Justice Burton granted the application, and postponed the case’s review.

The case had originally been set down for a 10-day review, due to start on 28 November. It will now be heard by a reconstituted tribunal in April.

Siân Heard and Siân Fellows first brought their case in 2002, claiming sex discrimination against Sinclair Roche, which merged with Stephenson Harwood in the same year.

In 2003 an employment tribunal found in their favour, ruling that they had been prevented from entering Sinclair Roche’s full equity partnership. The women were awarded a combined total of £7m in compensation, which was later reduced to £900,000.

But in July 2004, Burton J returned the case to the employment tribunal for review after finding that the original tribunal had failed to consider all the facts.

Fellows, now working as a consultant at Richards Butler, and Heard, a sole practitioner, are instructing Old Square Chambers’ Jennifer Eady directly.

Sinclair Roche is instructing Ian Gatt QC, who took the case on while a tenant at Littleton Chambers and is retaining it as a member of Herbert Smith’s in-house advocacy unit.

Heard and Fellows did not return calls for comment.