Brick Court QCs in Euro employment face-off

Brick Court Chambers has both won and lost a case that could ban companies from outsourcing work to cheaper jurisdictions in other parts of the EU.

Mark Brealey QC found himself facing fellow Brick Court tenant Charles Hollander QC in the case, in which Finnish shipping line Viking is attempting to reflag one of its ferries to an Estonian flag.

The International Trans-port Workers’ Federation and Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) partner Jonathan Tatten instructed Brealey for the Finnish Seamen’s Union (FSU), which was appealing a June decision by Mrs Justice Gloster preventing the union from taking industrial action over the crew’s pay and loss of employment.

On 3 November, the Court of Appeal set aside Gloster J’s order and referred questions of free movement to Europe. The European Court of Justice is being asked to rule on the lawfulness of a company shifting its business to a cheaper country and the extent to which unions can take action over this.

Hollander was instructed by Ian Ross of shipping boutique Ross & Co for Viking.

Hunton & Williams and Brick Court silk David Vaughan acted for the FSU in the High Court, but were replaced by DWS for the appeal. Huntons declined to comment.