Peter Edwards is a rare breed of senior junior who continues to perform at a high level across a diverse range of practice areas, with a strong following in the areas of personal injury (including sexual abuse), human rights, employment and industrial relations/trade union law.
For decades, Peter has been recommended as a leading barrister, in both Personal Injury and Employment, in the leading legal directories, Chambers UK and Legal 500. His key strengths are summed-up in his most recent, 2021, profile in Chambers: "He is a supreme tactician and knows his law inside-out. He is down-to-earth, has an excellent rapport with clients, is always prepared to go the extra mile and quickly gets to the heart of the legal issues." "He's a great choice for employment and personal injury crossover claims." "He is very effective in cross-examinations and is a good communicator with clients." "He has a fantastic client manner and can cut through complex reports and get to the heart of the issue really quickly."
The diversity of his practice allows Peter to take full advantage of the increasing overlap between the fields of personal injury, human rights, data protection and employment law and to take on complex cases involving issues spanning more than one of those fields. Employment and discrimination cases involving psychiatric injury suffered by workers/employees are a key example.
In the last 10 years, largely in conjunction with Mark McGhee, the leading human rights solicitor, and his expert team at Lexent Partners, Peter has developed a specialism in complex human rights and data protection cases involving psychiatric injury, successfully pursuing claims against Police Forces, local authorities, NHS Trusts and private mental healthcare facilities in respect of breaches of Articles 2, 3, 5,6, 8 and 14 of the Human Rights Act and/or breaches of the Data Protection Acts and GDPR.
Peter’s personal injury practice is primarily of a High Court and appellate level with specialism in catastrophic injury, including spinal injury, multiple injury, and brain injury cases. He is a contributor to Lexis PSL online Personal Injury Service and author of a textbook on Deafness Claims.
Peter is an expert on all aspects of employment law, including discrimination (all the protected characteristics), restrictive covenants, injunctions, wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal, equal pay, TUPE, trade disputes, trade unions and commercial agents. He has particular experience of claims involving large banks and financial institutions. He has an exceptional appellate-level practice, including two appearances in the Supreme Court.
Throughout his career, Peter has been the go-to junior for a range of trade union work having advised and represented both large employers and Trade Unions on all aspects of industrial relations law and practice.
Peter also has substantial experience of judicial review challenges in the Administrative Court. These have often arisen from industrial relations matters and/or Human Rights Act breaches associated to other areas of his practice.
His most notable cases include:
In addition, Peter was Junior Counsel to Sir Richard Scott’s Inquiry into the Export of Arms and Dual-Use Equipment to Iraq (aka Arms to Iraq) from 1992 to 1995.
He sits, part-time, as a Judge of the First-Tier Tribunal of the Social Entitlement Chamber.
He is an active member of the Personal Injury Bar Association, Employment Law Bar Association and the ELAAS scheme at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
Routinely appears in high-profile inquests and maximum severity catastrophic injury cases. His employment law practice complements his personal injury offering, especially in complex EL/PL disputes and quantum calculations. He acts for both defendants and claimants in cases which often have a human rights angle. He is noted for his expert handling of psychiatric injury matters, including harassment, bullying and sexual abuse claims. "He is very effective in cross-examinations and is a good communicator with clients." "He has a fantastic client manner and can cut through complex reports and get to the heart of the issue really quickly." Acted for the widow and dependants of a man who was allegedly assaulted and killed by officers of the Greater Manchester Police - Personal Injury, Chambers UK Bar 2021
Has a broad employment law practice, with extensive experience of High Court litigation and complex Employment Appeal Tribunal claims. He specialises in industrial relations work and is often instructed by high-profile trade unions. He also leverages his experience in personal injury litigation to tackle disability discrimination matters. "He is a supreme tactician and knows his law inside-out. He is down-to-earth, has an excellent rapport with clients, is always prepared to go the extra mile and quickly gets to the heart of the legal issues." "He's a great choice for employment and personal injury crossover claims." Represented the former Chief Executive Officer of the FICC Market Standards Board, defending whistle-blowing and unfair dismissal claims brought by the former Technical Adviser, Craig Beevers - Employment, Chambers UK Bar 2021
‘Has a great understanding of the medical and legal complexities in high value cases which ensures exceptional results.’ - Personal Injury, Legal 500 2021
"He is very thorough and has an exceptional level of knowledge." - Employment, Legal 500 2021.
"He is very, very thorough and very hard-working. He's hands-on and will go the extra mile for his clients." - Personal Injury, Chambers UK Bar 2020
‘Very diligent, client-friendly and commercial.’ - Personal Injury, Legal 500 2020
"An excellent advocate who always provides sound and pragmatic advice based on his deep knowledge of the law." "He is very hard-working and has a real commitment to getting the best for the client." - Employment, Chambers UK Bar 2020
‘His experience on trade union matters and related legal issues is invaluable.’ - Employment, Legal 500 2020
"He has an impressive rapport with vulnerable clients." Handled a claim of psychiatric injury caused by alleged false imprisonment of the claimant by officers acting for the National Crime Agency. - Personal Injury, Chambers UK Bar 2019
"Excellent on his feet and very thorough." "An absolute master in tribunal." Acted for Paul Allen in a disability discrimination claim against Tullett Prebon Group, an inter-dealer money broker. - Employment, Chambers UK Bar 2019
‘He gives sensible and well-thought advice.’ - Personal Injury, Industrial Disease and Insurance Fraud, Legal 500 2019
‘He is approachable and works well with vulnerable clients.’ - Employment, Legal 500 2019
"Has a brilliant mind. Very clever." "Equally skilled at cross-examination and complex legal submissions. He also has an impressive rapport with vulnerable clients." Acted in a multimillion-pound claim on behalf of the family and dependants of two friends who were killed in a road traffic accident involving a drunk driver. - Personal Injury, Chambers UK 2018
“His attention to detail and ability to get to the crux of a case are second to none.” “Decisive, down-to-earth and robust.” Acted for the claimant in a disability discrimination claim for more than £2 million against a large inter-dealer money broker. - Employment, Chambers UK 2018
"Noted for cases at the intersection of personal injury and employment law." - Personal Injury, Legal 500 2017
"An experienced advocate." - Employment, Legal 500 2017
"He's excellent. If it's a difficult case he'll handle it with absolute aplomb." Acted for the claimant in a 25-day inquest investigating whether the police used excessive force when arresting the deceased in Jordan Begley (deceased) v Greater Manchester Police. - Personal Injury, Chambers UK 2017
"He is very experienced across the whole employment field and good to work with - he gives helpful advice." Instructed in O'Sullivan v TfL, a complex EAT case trying to ascertain whether a death in service benefit can be considered a loss following the redundancy and death of the claimant before the remedy hearing. - Employment, Chambers UK 2016
"His case preparation, eye for detail and cross-examination are second to none." - Employment, Legal 500 2016
"He is able to give to provide accurate, focused and succinct advice." - Personal Injury, Legal 500 2016
Practises personal injury, employment and trade union law, and he is known for the strength of his performances in court. "A barrister with an excellent cross-examination technique, who is always willing to assist." "He brings a thorough and practical approach to his cases." Acted in a case brought by a former senior broker at BGC International, alleging bullying, harassment and claims relating to unpaid bonuses and provision of health insurance. - Employment, Chambers UK 2016
Covers the full breadth of personal injury litigation, including catastrophic injury, industrial disease and psychiatric injury claims. He is frequently instructed on cases involving serious orthopaedic, spinal cord and head injuries. "He is particularly good with clients and despite his seniority he retains that personal touch." Acted in Gallagher v Simpson, a High Court case where three family members were fatally injured in an RTA. - Personal Injury, Chambers UK 2016
"A fine advocate with an excellent legal mind." - Employment, Legal 500 2015
"He has a good grasp of the technical issues, yet his advice is delivered in a way that is easily understood by clients." - Personal Injury, Legal 500 2015
"…the Judge struck out his claims (influenced yet again by Peter's brilliance). Peter has been such a wonderful barrister and we are very lucky to have him on our side - he is almost like a friend to us and I think that he gains just as much as we do when things go our way or put it another way – when justice prevails." – Lay client, March 2015
A skilled personal injury and employment specialist who is part of a select group of barristers singled out for cases that straddle the two areas. He is also renowned for his experience in trade union issues, and he regularly represents some of the largest unions in their most critical employment issues. "Engaging, energetic and hard-working, he is adept at marshalling huge amounts of information very quickly." "He gets right to the heart of the issue, explains things very quickly and clearly, and comes down on one side or the other." Advised TFL on an appeal against an earlier decision in the EAT, centring on the test for a postponement application owing to ill health. - Employment, Chambers UK 2015
Has a practice strong in catastrophic injury, industrial disease and psychiatric injury cases. He regularly handles cases involving severe injuries to the spine, brain damage and fatalities. "He is energetic, hard-working and adept at marshalling huge amounts of information very quickly. He is also a very engaging guy who can make quite boring things lift off the page, so that a lay person, judge or client can see how they work." Worked on behalf of a claimant who was paralysed and severely brain damaged following an RTA in the Vatican. - Personal Injury, Chambers UK 2015
"First-class cross-examination skills" and "Extremely personable" - Legal 500 2014
Has a thriving appellate practice in employment and industrial relations matters. He was recently involved in Transocean International Resources v Craig in the Supreme Court, the final stage of the Offshore Workers, Working Time Regulation litigation. - Employment, Chambers UK 2013
A go-to junior for trade union work and has "done a huge amount of brilliant work in this area." He represented Unite in a number of the actions brought by, and against, British Airways arising out of the highly publicised industrial action by cabin crew members. - Employment, Chambers UK 2012
"A very persuasive negotiator" - Legal 500 2012
Mainly High Court practice with particular specialism in catastrophic injury (spinal injuries, multiple injuries and head/brain injuries), disease litigation and psychiatric injury arising from bullying/harassment at work.
Has a thriving practice in sexual abuse cases, including abuse perpetrated in schools, religious institutions, care facilities and sports clubs. Represented high-profile victims of such abuse, recovering up to seven-figure awards. Has an empathy and rapport with the Claimants that puts them at ease during the stressful litigation process. Excellent working relationship with many of the leading Consultant Psychiatrists and Psychologists in the field of sexual abuse (including Peter Higson OBE, Professor Gournay, Dr Maden and Dr Oscar Daly). Has an expertise in Human Rights law that has proved exceptionally useful in pursuing the abuse claims.
In an almost unique position to take advantage of the increasing overlap between the fields of personal injury and employment law (in which he is already ranked in Chambers & Partners). Regularly instructed by top-ranked firms including Irwin Mitchell (London and Birmingham offices); Thompsons; Mishcon de Reya; Russell Jones & Walker and Slater and Gordon.
Expertise in occupational illness and disease litigation, including stress at work, dermatitis, asthma, asbestos exposure, vibration white finger and deafness.
Author of the occupational illness/disease sections (deafness and asbestos exposure) in the recently launched online reference work, Lexis PSL, Personal Injury Service which was the winner of the Online Product of the Year at the Legal Technology Awards. Member of the LexisAsk Panel for both Employment Law and Personal Injury.
Regularly conducts lectures/seminars on a diverse range of personal injury and health and safety topics for professional associations, solicitors and commercial training providers. Recent seminars include res ipsa loquitur, novus actus, case-law developments on limitation (particularly in the context of sexual abuse cases), contributory negligence, Part 36 Payments, Periodical Payments, Asbestos Exposure Cases, Ice and Snow Cases, Stress at Work Claims, Bullying and Harassment Claims and Maximising Schedules of Special Damages.
Regular contributor to the Journal of Personal Injury Law.
Recent notable cases include:
Junior Counsel of choice for employment law/industrial relations work for Unite the Union. Regularly instructed by large public sector employers, particularly the Metropolitan Police, and leading, ranked City firms: BDBF, DLA, Weightmans, Mishcon de Reya, Magrath & Co, Beachcrofts, Archon etc. Exceptionally strong client feedback and unusually high level of appellate work, having appeared in the Supreme Court (twice) and regularly in the Court of Appeal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and, almost uniquely for English Counsel, once in the Court of Session. Delivered Equality Act training to the Bar Council’s Disciplinary Tribunals (including many Q.C.s and Judges). Regular appearances against QC’s. Strong publishing profile: contributor to Tottel: Discrimination law; Jordans: Employment Law and Tottel’s Employment Law Precedents. Member of the LexisAsk Panel for Employment Law.
Expert on all aspects of employment law, including all types of discrimination, restrictive covenants, injunctions, wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal, equal pay, TUPE, trade disputes, trade unions and commercial agents.
Appointed in January 2011 as Member of the Panel of Counsel for the Commission of Equality & Human Rights.
Particular expertise in disability discrimination (using his knowledge in the Personal Injury field and his experience in cross-examining medical experts), whistleblowing, age discrimination and Working Time Regulation cases and in bullying/harassment and stress-at-work cases.
He successfully represented 21 Claimants in a 30-day case which resulted in the then highest ever recorded award in a disability discrimination claim being made to one of the Claimants.
Successfully represented employees in the offshore sector in a 25 day case in the Aberdeen ET involving claims for paid leave pursuant to the Working Time Regulations, 1998. The case subsequently proceeded to the EAT, Court of Session and Supreme Court (see below).
Represented the Claimants in the seminal case of Autoclenz v. Belcher, which was appealed to the Supreme Court and resulted in the revolutionary decision that ‘sham’ clauses could be excised from an ‘employment’ contract if the clauses did not reflect the true reality of the relationship between the parties.
Has a balanced Claimant/Respondent practice.
Advises and represents some of the largest and highest profile employers in the country and is instructed by many of the major City and provincial solicitors. He is also regularly instructed by and on behalf of public bodies including numerous local authorities, Royal Mail, Transport for London, the Greater London Authority and the Metropolitan Police Service.
Also frequently instructed by Trade Unions including Unite, the Communication Workers Union, UNISON, URTU, the Prison Officers Association, the Professional Rugby Players Association and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.
Conducted equal opportunities training for many high profile employers, including the Law Society’s Compliance Officers. Recent seminars on the forthcoming Data Protection Regulation.
Below is a list of recent notable cases:
'Peter Edwards is a go-to junior for trade union work and has done a huge amount of brilliant work in this area. He represented Unite in a number of the actions brought by, and against, British Airways arising out of the highly publicised industrial action by cabin crew members' Chambers UK
“[Peter] is particularly recommended for complex trade union issues” Chambers UK
Junior Counsel of choice for industrial relations work for Unite the Union. Advises and represents both large employers (including Coca Cola, Royal Mail and London Underground) and Trade Unions (including Unite, Unison and the FBU) on all aspects of industrial relations law and practice. Conducted and defended a number of multi-party actions up to EAT/Court of Appeal level on industrial relations issues.
Advised Unite on its internal Industrial Action Ballot Guidelines following the decision of the Court of Appeal in Metrobus UK. Also advised Unite on the contents of its Rule Book following the merger between the TGWU and Amicus.
Frequently involved in injunction applications based on industrial relations issues, including unofficial industrial action and balloting requirements.
Provides seminars, lectures and training to employers/unions on industrial relations issues, including a televised seminar to a commercial training organisation on collective redundancy consultation.
Notable recent cases in this area include:
Peter has substantial experience in Public Law and Judicial Review cases, particularly those arising from Trade Union/industrial relations matters and Human Rights Act breaches leading to death or personal injury (i.e. arising from the core areas of his practice). He is a specialist on the Human Rights Act, frequently litigating cases involving alleged breaches of Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 8 (right to private and family life) and Article 11 (freedom of association – giving rise to the right to strike).
Judge of the First-Tier Tribunal of the Social Entitlement Chamber
PIBA, APIL, ELBA, ELA, ILS, BSB, Member of the ELAAS scheme at the Employment Appeal Tribunal
The musical genius of Dolly Parton, unique jackets and narrow-boating (proud owner of a 65 foot beauty).