Lovells and Lewis Silkin return to fray in Villalba

Lovells and Lewis Silkin were back in action in Croydon last week as Merrill Lynch began its defence of former banker Stephanie Villalba’s £7.5m claim for sex discrimination.

The tribunal hearing began in early June but was suspended on 22 June. It recommenced last Tuesday (31 August) with Villalba’s cross-examination by Fountain Court Chambers’ Nicholas Underhill QC, lead counsel for the defence.

Underhill, using email and documentary evidence detailing training and performance reviews, is seeking to show that Villalba’s dismissal by Merrill Lynch after she had gained a senior executive position was not down to her gender.

Following his cross-examination, Underhill will call a number of executives to testify. The hearing is expected to last well into the autumn.

Villalba is represented by Lewis Silkin’s joint head of employment James Davies and Dinah Rose of Blackstone Chambers. Lisa Mayhew, a Lovells employment partner, is advising Merrill Lynch.