"She seamlessly fits into a team, and she's really prepared to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in."

Chambers UK

Harriet Fear Davies

Year of Call: 2007

"She seamlessly fits into a team, and she's really prepared to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in."

Chambers UK

Harriet Fear Davies

Year of Call: 2007

"She seamlessly fits into a team, and she's really prepared to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in."

Chambers UK

Harriet Fear Davies

Year of Call: 2007

Harriet Fear Davies

"She seamlessly fits into a team, and she's really prepared to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in."

Chambers UK

Harriet Fear Davies

Year of Call: 2007

Harriet’s main areas of specialism are Commercial, Energy and Employment Law. She came to the bar after a successful career as a journalist and then senior manager in the Media division of Reuters. Her experience means she is quick to grasp commercial realities and, in employment and partnership matters, understands the challenges faced in the working environment. Prior to her practice at the bar Harriet's legal career involved being employed as a Legal Adviser at Ofcom, and time in the legal department at Ofgem. Harriet was described in Chambers UK as being “exceptionally bright” and is repeatedly praised for her attention to detail.

  • Recommendations

    "She is incredibly hard-working, has a huge breadth of knowledge, fights hard for her corner and has excellent judgement." "Harriet pays superb attention to detail and is a very good team player." Defended Thames Luxury Charters against claims brought by four individuals over the firm's cancellation of events which they had booked on board its vessels. The case concerned alleged breaches of contract and direct discrimination on the grounds of race. - Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chambers UK Bar 2021

    “An absolutely excellent barrister to work with - she has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the case and was genuinely indispensable.” - Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2021

    "Incredibly well organised and very sensible, She drafts beautifully and  has creativity and guile that you don't see often." "She seamlessly fits into a team, and she's really prepared to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in." Acted in AHAB v Saad, a claim for more than USD9 billion concerning events in Saudi Arabia and allegedly unauthorised borrowing from financial institutions worldwide. - Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chambers UK 2020

    Frequently acts for both public and private sector clients. She is particularly experienced in handling matters of unfair and constructive dismissal, protected disclosure and discrimination. She has notable experience of dealing with issues within the energy sector. “Very approachable and a calm and precise advocate in court.” “She understands her case well and truly gets to grips with the technical side of things.” Successfully acted for BaxterStorey in response to a claim for constructive unfair dismissal and race discrimination. - Employment, Chambers UK 2018

    Frequently acts for both public and private sector clients. She is particularly experienced in handling matters of unfair and constructive dismissal, protected disclosure and discrimination. "Exceptionally responsive and fully appreciative of the impact on a client's business." "Always well prepared." Acted for a consultant surgeon in an unfair dismissal claim against a healthcare trust. The tribunal agreed with Harriet’s assessment that the respondent’s failure to properly constitute the dismissing panel in accordance with the national policy meant that her client had been unfairly dismissed. - Employment, Chambers UK 2017

    Chambers UK recommended Harriet as up and coming for employment in the 2015 and 2016 editions.

    "Handles both private and public sector claims, and is often instructed in restrictive covenant matters and similar employee competition cases. "She's extremely personable and able. She's got a good perspective on how we work and she gets her hands dirty." "Harriet is very responsive and shows great attention to detail. She is thorough and communicates well." Successfully represented the claimant in MacGregor v University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, a several-day Tribunal hearing concerning claims of detriment and unfair dismissal as a result of whistle-blowing. – Employment, Western Circuit, Chambers UK 2016

    "A rising star on the Western Circuit who draws praise for her user-friendly approach. Her growing practice covers all aspects of employment law, on behalf of both public and private sector clients. “She is highly commercial, always prepared and never lets you down – she always goes the extra mile.” “Often in employment there can be industry-specific jargon – she can assimilate difficult concepts quickly, and performs well on her feet. She’s also exceptionally bright.” Successfully represented Brimheath Developments & Ors in a case concerning a discrimination claim on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation and disability." - Employment, Western Circuit, Chambers UK 2015

  • Commercial Litigation

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    "Incredibly well organised and very sensible, She drafts beautifully and  has creativity and guile that you don't see often." "She seamlessly fits into a team, and she's really prepared to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in." - Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chambers UK 2020

     

    Commercial Litigation

    Harriet accepts instructions in all areas of commercial law and is an experienced litigator appearing in the High Court and the County Court.

    Harriet has particular expertise in disputes concerning the provision of utilities (gas, electricity and water) and is regularly instructed by ‘Big Six’ energy companies on a wide range of matters. See also her profile under the Energy & Natural Resources section below.

    Examples of recent commercial work include:

    • Acting as junior counsel for one of the groups of Defendants in the Cayman Islands litigation between Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers Company (AHAB) v Al Sanea (and others) arising out of an alleged fraud in excess of US$7 billion. Harriet has been admitted to the Cayman Bar for the purpose of those proceedings. Most recently she was in Court in May/June 2019 for the appeal before the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal; she was also in Cayman for many of the 159 days of trial, in particular during cross-examination of witnesses via video-link from Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Harriet was the advocate at interlocutory hearings including a successful application for additional security for costs. Harriet continues to act and advise in this matter on an ongoing basis.
    • Representing the Defendant at trial in the High Court in a claim for £2.3m pursuant to a share option agreement.

    • Advising in relation to ‘dial through fraud’ in which an internal telephone system had been hacked in order to access premium rate telephone numbers at large cost to the company concerned.

    • An application for pre-action disclosure in a potential unfair prejudice matter pursuant to the Companies Act 2006.

    • Successfully obtaining summary judgment for the Claimant in a claim arising from a financing agreement and guarantee by way of promissory note.

    • Drafting Points of Claim in relation to an arbitration under the rules of the Electricity Arbitration Association.
    • Advising in relation to a potential claim to be made by an overseas distributor against a UK manufacturer of motor vehicles.
    • Fusion Radiators Ltd v (1) Office of Gas and Electricity Markets & (2) British Gas Trading Ltd: resisting an application for Third Party disclosure in the High Court in an insolvency matter.
    • British Gas Trading Ltd v Abbey Commercial Investments Ltd: acting in proceedings in the High Court concerning the supply of electricity to a data centre.
    • Drafting a defence and attending a successful mediation in a claim concerning an alleged contract for the provision of mobile phones.
    • Advising an aggregate supplier in relation to its contractual obligations.

    Harriet regularly acts and advises in relation to data protection (GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2008, and previously the Data Protection Act 1998). She has advised organisations on appropriate steps to be taken following breaches of their data protection obligations, drafted pleadings, and appeared in Court in claims for damages and/or declarations in relation to alleged breaches.

    Harriet receives instructions in insolvency matters, appearing in the Companies Court and before Bankruptcy Registrars, as well as accepting instructions relating to applications to set aside statutory demands.

    Having worked as a Legal Advisor at Ofcom and in the legal department at Ofgem, Harriet is familiar with regulatory concepts and is well placed to act and advise in commercial matters with a regulatory cross-over.

    Banking and Financial Services

    Harriet acts and advises in matters concerning financial regulatory issues, breach of contract, misrepresentation, negligence and other areas of law which are frequently engaged in financial services matters.

    Examples of work include:

    • A v Co-operative Bank plc: representing the provider of an investment policy at an application for summary judgment and to strike out the claim on limitation grounds, where issues of secondary limitation arose.
    • Preparing pleadings and advising in a number of mortgage mis-selling claims, as well as preparing complaints to the Financial Ombudsman and FSCS claims.
    • Advising a policy provider in the context of a critical illness claim.
    • Advising a widow in relation to death in service entitlement where the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) were engaged.

     

    Harriet also has experience of and advises and acts in insurance matters.

  • Partnership

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    Harriet has experience in a range of matters relating to partnerships, either where the partnership itself formed the core of the dispute between the parties, or matters where the partnership was part of the relevant background. Examples include:

    • Advising and drafting Particulars of Claim in a complex dispute relating to a pop group where issues included who had been admitted as a partner, how a particular member had been expelled, and whether partnership assets had been properly dealt with (led by Edmund Cullen QC).
    • Ongoing advice to a GP where there was a dispute as to which partner had validly expelled the other, the position in relation to work done by the partnership under agreements with the NHS whilst that dispute continued, and the winding up of the partnership generally.
    • Advising a firm of solicitors in relation to a retiring partner and whether there was a deed in place permitting it to place him on garden leave, as well as other matters concerning his retirement from the partnership.
    • Appearing for three employees in the Employment Tribunal in a dispute as to whether they were employed by a particular partnership.
    • Assisting in a matter in which it was alleged that the partners had not properly followed the process in the partnership deed relating to performance management, and/or that the partnership had discriminated against the Claimant on grounds of age and/or sex.

    "She seamlessly fits into a team, and she's really prepared to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in." Chambers UK 2020

  • Energy & Natural Resources

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    Harriet’s first legal experience relating to energy was gained whilst working in the legal team at Ofgem when she advised on a number of matters relating to the supply and distribution of gas and electricity. Since then, Harriet has developed a successful practice as a specialist in energy-related debt recovery and is regularly instructed by 'Big Six' energy companies. She is instructed in High Court and County Court proceedings, appearing in trials, strike out and summary judgment applications, injunction hearings, and other interlocutory matters.

    Additionally Harriet has particular expertise in warrants of entry issued pursuant to the Rights of Entry (Gas and Electricity Boards) Act 1954. She has appeared in applications in Magistrates’ Courts, and injunction hearings where respondents have sought to restrain the use of warrants. Her work in this respect has related to both commercial and domestic properties, including where 'freeman'-type arguments are run.

    Harriet’s knowledge of insolvency law means she is able to advise in matters crossing over into that area, including for example where directors have created 'phoenix' companies to avoid energy-related debt, or there have been transactions at an undervalue. She also provides advice on the statutory and licensing regimes.

    Other energy-related disputes in which Harriet has been involved include those relating to contracts entered into concerning self-generated measures and the Electricity and Gas (Energy Companies Obligation) Order 2012, and the Green Deal. Also, contractual issues relating to the provision and installation of equipment for generating electricity and to benefit from feed-in tariffs, for example wind turbines and solar panels, and a high value claim concerning energy trading.

    Harriet also has experience in advising in water matters and the Water Industry Act 1991.

  • Employment

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    Harriet regularly acts in employment matters. A particular feature of her employment practice is advising and acting in claims, often high value, concerning senior employees, in the County and High Courts, where there is effectively a cross-over with her work in Commercial Litigation. Clients praise Harriet’s attention to detail and high levels of preparation, as well as her effective cross-examination skills.

    Examples of such work include:

    • Representing the Defendant at trial in the High Court in a dispute concerning entitlement to share options.
    • Drafting pleadings and advising in a matter concerning a senior manager and issues which arose upon the termination of his employment as to whether some of his services had been provided through a service company.
    • Advising in relation to the enforceability of restrictive covenants. Clients have included, for example:
      • a dentist, in the context of the sale of his business and next steps open to him a financial services adviser relating to a departing employee
      • a provider of niche services concerned that departing employees were using its confidential information, and that existing employees were involved in passing such information to them on an ongoing basis.

     

    Harriet’s previous experience as a manager, including handling disciplinary and capability issues, redundancy selection and negotiations with trade unions, benefits her work as a barrister, in that she is very aware of the challenges faced by employers and employees in the workplace.

    In 2014 she was led in the Court of Appeal in Agbenowossi-Koffi v Donvand Ltd t/a Gullivers Travel Associates [2014] EWCA Civ 855, [2014] ICR D27 successfully resisting an appeal relating to res judicata and abuse of process.

    Harriet appears in Employment Tribunals and advises in cases concerning the full range of employment disputes, including unfair & constructive dismissal, discrimination (all protected characteristics) and whistle blowing (protected disclosures). She has also appeared in the tribunal in Scotland where evidence is given in chief orally rather than by witness statement.

    Other areas and highlights of Harriet's Employment Tribunal practice include:

    • Acting for Harrods in successfully resisting claims against it, including for detriment on the grounds of making a protected disclosure, race discrimination, and constructive dismissal.
    • MacGregor v University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust: representing the successful midwife claimant in a whistleblowing matter.
    • Turley v Mild Professional Homes Ltd t/a Healthcare Group and Igbokwe [2012] EqLR 385: a high profile sexual harassment claim in which Harriet represented the Respondents. There was press coverage of the case in both The Telegraph and the Daily Mail.
    • Schlockenhorror v Brimheath Developments & ors: a claim for discrimination on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, and disability. This case also appeared in the Daily Mail.
    • Hamed v British Midland Airways Ltd [2011] All ER (D) 236 (Jan) UKEAT/0292/10/RN: appearing on behalf of the claimant (and subsequently appellant) in relation to a failure to make reasonable adjustments in circumstances in which she was physically unable to do the job for which she was originally employed.
    • Cases raising the question of whether employees were subject to a contract of apprenticeship, considering the principles in Dunk v George Waller & Son Ltd  [1970] 2 QB 163, including a motor mechanic employed by a retailer of luxury vehicles.
    • Holiday pay in the context of employees who have been off sick.
    • Claims under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
    • TUPE.
    • Entitlement to bonus payments.
    • National Minimum Wage (NMW), and Working Time regulations (WTR).

    Given Harriet's regulatory and professional disciplinary experience, she is well placed to advise and act in cases concerning regulated professionals and the caring professions, including for example successfully defending a claim brought by a pharmacist against his employers, and successfully representing a midwife in a whistleblowing matter.

    Harriet also has, unusually, experience of Reinstatement Committee Proceedings, which concern the statutory duty on employers to re-engage military reservists after their return from active duty, as provided for by the Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985. She has given a talk to representatives of the Ministry of Defence on this subject.

    Another area in which Harriet has particular experience is Tribunal claims in an education context, having been instructed on a number of occasions in such matters, including to assist in the preparation of witness statements, visiting schools to take proofs of evidence.

  • Telecommunications & IT

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    During Harriet’s media career prior to the Bar much of her work concerned the commissioning and implementation of new technology, including bespoke software and the development of websites. Later, acting as a consultant, she advised a number of broadcasters, including BBC World Service, The Discovery Network and Disney, on the impact of operating in a digital, tapeless environment. As a result of her extensive experience in this respect, Harriet is ideally placed to advise and appear in disputes concerning technology, and quickly grasps complex concepts and efficiently processes detailed information.

    Whilst at Ofcom Harriet assisted in the preparation of Ofcom’s defence in Vodafone & ors v Office of Communications [2008] CAT 22, a case in the Competition Appeal Tribunal concerning the economics of technology for the porting of mobile telephone numbers. She was also involved in the early stages of the litigation concerning the 2.6 GHz award.

  • Regulatory & Professional Discipline

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    Harriet has a wide range of experience in regulatory and professional discipline. She successfully represented the appellant doctor in Lawrance v GMC [2015] EWHC 586 (Admin), an appeal to the High Court against a decision to erase her from the Register in which there were issues of dishonesty.

    Since 2015 Harriet has sat as a lay member on police misconduct panels for Thames Valley Police. This has given her a particularly good insight into effective advocacy in misconduct proceedings. As of January 2020, she has been appointed as a Legally Qualified Chair to conduct such hearings for a range of police areas.

    Harriet has undertaken a secondment reviewing cases for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), assisted in financial regulatory cases, and accepts instructions in sports disciplinary matters.

  • Professional Negligence

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    Harriet is instructed in professional negligence claims involving a wide range of professionals and sectors. She has particular expertise in relation to matters involving financial advisers.

  • Sports Law

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    Harriet has the following experience in sports law:

    • Representing a greyhound trainer in proceedings before the Disciplinary Committee of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB).
    • Advising a rugby coach in a claim for breach of contract against his former club in proceedings issued in the County Court and Employment Tribunal.
    • Advising a greyhound trainer in doping proceedings before the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.
    • Assisting in preparing for and attending a hearing before the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel relating to the disciplining of a show jumper.
    • Drafting a pre-action response letter for a sports governing body.
    • Preparing initial advice on competition law in a sports context.
    • Drafting an initial defence in a case concerning fiduciary duties of football agents.
    • Preparing advice in various boxing matters including relating to British Boxing Board of Control boxer/manager agreements and licences.
    • Considering potential quantum of damages in a claim for professional negligence against a vet in relation to a racehorse.
    • Research in advance of a hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne concerning a nationality issue.

    Harriet also receives instructions in equine-related disputes. She has a good understanding of the issues in this respect, and her experience includes claims relating to the sale of horses engaging the Sale of Goods Act 1982 and for misrepresentation.

  • Investigations

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    Harriet has direct experience whilst a senior manager at Reuters of conducting processes with employees, including disciplinary, grievance and capability. As a barrister, she has a wide range of experience in regulatory and professional misconduct matters, including having been seconded to review misconduct cases for a large healthcare regulator, and sitting on police misconduct panels (in relation to which, she has recently been appointed as a legally qualified chair). She has spent time in numerous organisations interviewing staff to gain a fuller understanding of particular issues as instructed, and providing recommendations and outcomes in accordance with information gathered.

Appointments

Called to the Bar, Cayman Islands (Limited Admission)

Legally Qualified Chair, Police Misconduct Hearings

Memberships and Associations

Bar Pro Bono Unit, PNBA.

Member of the ELAAS scheme at the Employment Appeal Tribunal

Education

Graduate Diploma in Law (Distinction), College of Law, London

Bar Vocational Course, College of Law, London