Collyer-Bristow settles dispute

A senior solicitor has received u10,000 from Collyer-Bristow in settlement of a claim for unfair dismissal.

The case was settled on the eve of an employment tribunal due to start last week.

Barrie Barker, who joined the firm's litigation department at the beginning of 1997, was dismissed in January this year after being told his work was unprofitable.

“I thought I was doing extremely well,” he tells The Lawyer. “The work was increasing in leaps and bounds. I had no inkling at all of any problem.”

Barker claims his dismissal was due to a disagreement with his boss regarding a case. He wrote a letter to the Collyer-Bristow board which, “reading between the lines”, was seen as a complaint against his boss, he says.

Collyer-Bristow denies the decision was limited to one case and disputes the matter was personal. It says it settled because the case would have been too time-consuming.

“We had a feeling the case could run for days and days,” says Keith Corkan, litigation partner at Collyer-Bristow dealing with the claim. “We took the decision to settle on the economics of the case, it was no admission of liability on the part of the firm.”

Barker, now practising in clinical negligence work in Somerset, is pleased with the outcome. “I'm delighted to see the back of the case,” he says.

Lewis Silkin acted for Barker.