Clydes settles whistleblowing claim with former partner Bates van Winkelhof

Clyde & Co has settled a long-running whistleblowing dispute with former partner Krista Bates van Winkelhof out of court after successive cases sought to establish the validity of the claim.

The settlement is subject to a strict gagging order, which prohibits either side from revealing any of the details.

In May the Supreme Court paved the way for Bates van Winkelhof to pursue her case, when it ruled that the definition “worker” is applicable to LLP members under the 1996 Employment Rights Act (21 May 2014).

The case had major ramifications for other LLPs, which benefitted from the lack clarity around whether partners were entitled to the same legal protection offered to employees.

The Court of Appeal (CoA) originally dismissed Bates van Winkelhof’s allegation that she was ejected from the firm after blowing the whistle on the managing partner of Clydes’ Tanzanian associate firm Ako Law (26 September 2012).

At the EAT Clydes had also attempted to have the discrimination allegations thrown out on grounds of jurisdiction. However on this point the CoA ruled that her pregnancy, sex discrimination employment case against the firm could continue.

Kobre & Kim barrister Andrew Stafford QC (of Littleton Chambers at time of appeal) and Chris Quinn were instructed by Clydes’ partner Nick Elwell-Sutton to lead the firm’s appeal and later to respond in the Supreme Court.

Matrix Chambers’ Tom Linden QC was instructed by Mishcon de Reya partner Joanna Blackburn to lead the case for Bates van Winkelhof.

The case attracted the attention of whistle-blowing charity Public Concern at Work, which intervened at the Supreme Court. CM Murray partner Clare Murray instructed Serle Court’s John Machell QC and Adil Mohamedbhai and Littleton Chambers’ Jonathan Cohen (20 January 2014).

A statement from Clyde & Co said: “The case has now been settled. Neither party will be making any further comment.”