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Richard Ryan

Solicitor since 2004
Called 2014

Formerly a solicitor for ten years, Richard transferred to the bar in 2014. With over fifteen years experience in both sides of the profession, he has an unique insight into the litigation process, enabling him to support lay and professional clients at every stage.

Also recognised by the leading legal directories for a number of years (both as a solicitor and a barrister), he "competes at a high level and has a good reputation" (Chambers & Partners) and has developed a busy nationwide practice commensurate with his previous experience and also within Chambers’ areas of expertise. Richard qualified as a solicitor in 2004 at a large City law firm and then over the subsequent 10 years worked at various highly rated national and international law firms which provided him with the foundation to develop a broad civil and commercial practice, with a particular emphasis on employment and discrimination laws (including regulatory proceedings and public law discrimination challenges arising from breaches of the public sector equality duty).

Richard is also qualified to accept instructions under the Bar Council Public Access scheme and has a particular expertise in advising on settlement agreements or complex / high-value claims for senior executives. However given the above background his practice is mainly Respondent-based and therefore he continues to advise both HR managers and in-house lawyers on day-to-day HR issues, as well as providing representation at hearings. This mixed employment practice allows him to deal with any kind of employment dispute, at any stage, for any type of client.

In the context of industrial relations he is highly regarded for his expertise in trade union related matters and collective actions, which is complemented by his civil/personal injury practice. His commercial practice often relates to shareholder disputes, employee competition injunctions and bonus-related or other contract type claims. He has a down-to-earth approach and can give robust and realistic advice whilst not losing sight of points of principle. For more details, see Areas of Expertise below.

"Always very well-prepared and proactive"

Legal 500 2020
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Areas Of Expertise

Areas of Expertise
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Richard’s principal areas of specialism is employment and professional discipline and regulation. He is instructed on all types of tribunal hearings, whether lasting one day or several weeks. He acts for a wide range of clients including private individuals, financial institutions, charities, local authorities, NHS Trusts, major companies (FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies), SMEs and a number of large insurers. Such advice has related to contentious and non-contentious employment law issues in all industry sectors.

He is very experienced in working directly with in-house legal teams and HR/senior management, whether in the private or public sector, particularly where there are potential or actual heavyweight discrimination or collective claims.

With a specialism in trade union law and collective consultation obligations, as a solicitor Richard has acted in some of the leading cases on protective awards, including UK Coal v NUM/BACM [2008] IRLR 4 and AMICUS v Nissan [2005] All ER (D) 128. He has advised a number of different trade unions on such claims, but also employers - and therefore his 'poacher-turned-gamekeeper' (or vice versa) experiences can be invaluable. 

Richard’s experience in the retail sector is particularly extensive; he has over the course of his career advised Tesco, Sainsburys, Greggs, Primark and other organisations with branches, head offices and distribution warehouses - and therefore is fully aware of the complexities that can bring in the HR/employment context. In 2015 he acted for Tesco at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Gondalia v Tesco [[2015] UKEAT/0320/14/JOJ which has appeared in the recent edition of Tolley’s Employment Handbook as authority for a more flexible approach by tribunals when dealing with allegations of “dishonesty”. In 2016 he successfully acted for Greggs plc in a tribunal claim that received national press attention and appeared in the Tribunal Watch section of Personnel Today (“Greggs baker fairly dismissed for not washing hands”), provoking the well-trodden debate over dismissals of long serving employees based on zero-tolerance policies. He continues to be instructed by “market-leading companies”, as recognised by Chambers & Partners in 2014.

He is routinely conducting cases against more senior Counsel, including QCs. For example, in 2016 he again appeared in the EAT on behalf of the Royal College of Nursing on the reported TUPE case of Arch Initiatives v Greater Manchester West Health NHS Foundation Trust & Others [2016] IRLR 406, which is now one of the leading TUPE cases on the criteria for a service provision change where the activities are split along functional lines. Richard was also instructed in the original ET hearing which lasted 17 days.

He has recently developed a niche practice of advising and representing individuals in the marine sector, on jurisdictional arguments and other disputes with an international dimension.

In terms of HR professional support, Richard can provide day to day advice, but can also be instructed to conduct investigations as an independent external appointment where the allegations involve serious misconduct or a high value or commercially sensitive matter.

He also has experience of professional disciplinary tribunals, including the General Medical Council.

Business and Commercial
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Richard is able to advise on the more commercial aspects of employment law, such as restrictive covenants and springboard injunctions, Board level contract terminations, shareholder disputes or other high-value contractual litigation. He is able to assist clients in regards to any such matters, both in terms of advice itself and representation at hearing.

He has recently advised a number of individual employees on defending proceedings brought against them by their ex-employer in order to claw-back bonuses that had been paid to them. He has also advised employers on recovering from departing employees various kinds of payments such as training costs, indemnified commission, etc.

He has also advised on employment agency fees and commissions.

In the area of Sports law, Richard has advised several businesses in the sports sector, including professional football clubs in the Championship and Premiership. This has included player and senior executive settlement agreements and contractual disputes.



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Richard has appeared for both Claimants and Defendants in all matters, including low velocity impact claims and cases where fraud has been either detected or suspected, as well as credit hire disputes based on rate, period and/or need. He recently delivered a talk to a national law firm on the concept of “fundamental dishonesty”.

Personal Injury
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Richard accepts instructions in all areas of personal injury acting for Claimants or Defendants on both liability and/or quantum. He has experience in accidents at work (e.g. the ‘six pack’ regulations), highways claims, and RTAs. He represents clients in fast track trial proceedings, in addition to small claims, disposal hearings (including through the MOJ Portal process), as well as application hearings at all stages of proceedings e.g. relief from sanctions. He is also regularly instructed on infant approvals, including quantum advice and settlement hearings. For credit hire/fraud related personal injury matters, see above.

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Legal 500 2020 - Tier 2 - "Always very well-prepared and proactive"

Legal 500 2018/2019 - "His advice is concise and considered."

Chambers and Partners 2014  - Richard Ryan “brings a particular focus on trade union work and experience of advising market-leading companies”

Chambers and Partners 2013 - Richard Ryan's "response has always been balanced, practical and timely," explains one source. "He competes at a high level and has a good reputation”.

Legal 500, 2013 – Recommended. Richard Ryan has now converted to the Bar and joined Parklane Plowden.

Notable Cases
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Arch Initiatives v Greater Manchester West Health NHS Foundation Trust & Others [2016] IRLR 406 (acted for lead Claimant and trade union at both ET and EAT level; leading TUPE case)

Gondalia v Tesco Stores Ltd [2014] UKEAT/0320/14/JOJ (acted for Tesco at both ET and EAT level; case on dealing with allegations of dishonesty in disciplinary matters)

Javed v Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2017] UKEAT/0135/17 (acted for Claimant following successful EAT judgment on the original strike out of multiple discrimination claims)


Personal Details

LLB, 1st prize for commercial law (2001); LPC, Commendation (2002); BPP London, Bar Transfer Test (2013)

Professional Associations

Member of the Inner Temple. Employment Lawyers Association, Employment Law Bar Association.

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