Old Square defeats Littleton in BA strike appeal

British Airways (BA) has suffered a major blow in the Court of Appeal after it ruled  that planned strikes by cabin staff who are members of the Unite union are legal.

The union instructed Old Square Chambers silk John Hendy QC to go to the Court of Appeal after the High Court on Monday issued a five-day injunction to prevent the action going ahead. In that ruling Mr Justice McCombe said the union had failed to ballot members properly on the terms of the industrial action.

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge was drafted in to chair the judicial panel for the appeal, with Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger and Lady Justice Smith also sitting.

The judgment went two to one in favour of the union with Lord Neuberger MR dissenting.

In delivering the verdict Lord Judge LCJ said the dispute “must be resolved by negotiation. Legal processes do not constitute mediation. On the contrary, they often serve to inflame rather than mollify the feelings of those involved”.

Hendy, who was instructed by Thompsons partner Neil Johnson, has represented the union throughout its legal wranglings with the airline.

Baker & McKenzie partner John Evason and BA head of employment  Julia Harrison instructed Littleton Chambers’ David Reade QC for the airline. It had previously been represented by Devereux Chambers’ Bruce Carr QC, but he was unavailable for the hearing.

In a statement BA said it was considering an appeal.