Fountain Court employment silk Underhill appointed judge

Fountain Court Chambers is losing yet another silk to the bench as employment star Nicholas Underhill QC becomes a High Court judge.

The Department for Constitutional Affairs announced the appointment this morning (20 January) and Underhill will be sworn in at the end of this month.

Underhill is the latest in a long line of judicial and political appointments from Fountain Court. In 2001 Lord Peter Goldsmith QC was appointed Attorney General, while the current Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, practised from Fountain Court until his appointment as Solicitor General in 1997. Bench appointments include Mr Justice Langley and Mr Justice Andrew Smith.

Underhill’s practice focuses on high-value employment disputes. He has defended several major banks including Lehman Brothers and Barings against discrimination claims.

Most recently he was instructed by Lovells to defend Merrill Lynch against the £7.5m claim brought by former investment banker Stephanie Villalba. The claim was largely unsuccessful, although Villalba is appealing the December 2004 employment tribunal decision.

Fountain Court’s senior clerk Michael Couling said: “All at Fountain Court Chambers, members and staff alike, will miss Nicholas enormously as a true gentleman of the Bar. He will undoubtedly enrich the Bench with his incisive intellect, coupled with humility and charm. Given the strength and diversity of talent at Fountain Court, I have little doubt that we will be well placed to service our clients’ requirements in the future.”