Old Square scores double role on equal pay dispute

Old Square Chambers played two high-profile roles in the key equal pay case initially brought by Bernadette Cadman that was decided by Europe’s highest court last week (3 October).

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that additional years of service – in this instance, by a male employee who did not take time off to have children – could equate to more experience and therefore better remuneration.

However, the ruling means that if challenged, employers must justify their decision to pay more to those who have worked longer at a company.

As revealed on www. thelawyer.com (4 October), Tess Gill at Old Square Chambers represented Cadman, who initially brought her case to tribunal when the health inspector realised she was being paid £13,000 less than a male colleague. The case was referred to the ECJ in 2004.

Gill was instructed by Russell Jones & Walker, under a team led by partner Emma Hawks-worth. Hawksworth told The Lawyer that the firm was approached by longstanding client Prospect, the union to which Cadman belongs and which was supporting her case.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Eady, also at Old Square Chambers, acted on the other side, representing the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Government.

Initially the HSE had instructed Nicholas Underhill QC, formerly of Fountain Court Chambers, before he was admitted to the Queen’s Bench Division in February. This followed Underhill’s notable instruction by Lovells to defend Merrill Lynch against the £7.5m claim brought by former investment banker Stephanie Villalba.

Although Underhill appeared in the Court of Appeal, at the ECJ it was Nicholas Paines QC of Monckton Chambers who led the advocacy for the HSE.