Lovells and Lewis Silkin in court as Villalba reaches appeal

Lovells and Lewis Silkin are facing each other in the employment appeals tribunal (EAT) this morning (Tuesday 14 February) as former investment banker Stephanie Villalba takes her sex discrimination case against Merrill Lynch to appeal.

The appeal is set down for two days before a panel led by EAT president Mr Justice Elias.

Lewis Silkin client Villalba lost the bulk of her £7.5m sex discrimination claim against the bank in December 2004. The Croydon employment tribunal threw out her allegations of sex discrimination, but allowed a claim of unfair dismissal and some elements of an unlawful victimisation claim.

When the claim was brought in 2004, it was the largest-ever sex discrimination claim to be filed in the UK. However, it was recently eclipsed by the £11m claim filed against bank HBOS by asset and liability head Claire Bright in January 2006.

Lewis Silkin joint employment head James Davies is instructing Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose for Villalba.

Lovells partner Lisa Mayhew is instructing Thomas Linden of Matrix Chambers for Merrill Lynch. Fountain Court Chambers’ Nicholas Underhill QC was leading the bank’s case, with Linden as his junior, but since Underhill was appointed to the High Court last month Linden has assumed the lead counsel role.