David Reade KC

Called 1983

Knowledgeable, and calm in every situation, he's just brilliant. Clients respond to his vast experience and reassuring manner. He's also a brilliant advocate.

Chambers and Partners (2024)


David is recognised as one of the country’s leading silks in commercial litigation and employment law. He has appeared in many leading authorities.

His approach to work is reflected by the quotations which appear from his clients in Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. Chambers & Partners have described David as a “delightful guy who is very sharp-witted and highly approachable”, “imaginative in his thinking” and his “courtroom performances are extremely smooth and authoritativeimpressed sources say.

The directories have quoted clients as saying of David that he was “clear, practical and extremely effective.”   “a robust and fearless presence,”, “able to deal with really knotty issues”, “vivacious, bold and brilliant”,”pleasingly straightforward” and “helpful in getting you out of a tight spot”.

He brings to his work experience across a broad spectrum of legal practice which has refined as his career has developed into his present fields of specialism. In dealing with clients he prides himself on being approachable and providing a service geared to the needs of the client for, as one of his clients said, he is not a  ‘one size fits all’ type of practitioner; he tailors his approach to each client and case with great meticulousness.” .

He is also an ADR qualified mediator.

David Reade KC is a Door Tenant at Parklane Plowden Chambers.

Areas of Expertise

Contact David Reade KC


David has a special interest in credit card related matters and numbers a raft of leading banks and card providers among his clients. Recently David successfully defended a leading clearing bank in connection with claims over the withdrawal of credit card facilities as well as acting in a big-ticket commercial arbitration involving a claim arising out of the deregulation of the gas industry. His broad commercial background particularly equips him to deal with disputes which span both employment issues and wider commercial disputes such as minority shareholder, company and partnership disputes.

The wide background of his commercial experience particularly compliments his employment work as he has acted in S.459 Minority Share Holder Disputes, Business Sale Agreements disputes, Company Law and Director’s Duty disputes and partnership disputes.

David is therefore entirely comfortable in handling disputes which may have an employment element and extend into broader disputes. By way of example in 2007 he successfully defended a Company, and various shareholding family members, against claims in the Chancery Division which included claims for unpaid salary and attacks against family trusts by way of undue influence and or incapacity.
He has a particular interest in issues arising from credit cards and has acted for and advised a number of leading Banks and card providers.

David’s practice, which covers the full remit of employment matters, has a particular focus on matters relating to restrictive covenants, industrial action and union recognition, discrimination and pension issues.

With over 20 years’ experience in the field of employment law, David’s practice has seen him advise major international and UK companies on issues as diverse as part-time pension discrimination claims, pension changes, share options schemes and directors service contracts. David has also advised on collective and transactional issues. He is a joint author of The Law of Industrial Action and Trade Union Recognition” (OUP) and is a contributor to Sweet and Maxwell’s “The Law of Transfer of Undertakings”.

Recent headline cases include UKCOAL Ltd v Num and BACM [2007] (EAT); Pennwell Publishing v Ornstein [2007] IRLR 700 (High Court) and TFI Derivatives Ltd v Morgan [2005] IRLR 246 (High Court)

David practices across the complete spectrum of contentious and non contentious employment law; David frequently appears in applications for injunctive relief on the basis of speedy trials. Those applications including claims based upon contractual terms and applications seeking “springboard” relief on basis of confidential information or a breach of fiduciary duties.

Practice Areas and Case Law

• Pennwell Publishing v Ornstein [2007] IRLR 700 (High Court) A confidential information injunction concerning the ownership of databases and related human rights issues for journalistic freedom.

• TFI Derivatives Ltd v Morgan [2005] IRLR 246 (High Court)


He has acted both for and against employees in team moves. In 2007 he represented the alleged leader of a 40 plus team move in the re insurance industry. The litigation included cross border issues and anti suit injunctions. David is familiar with dealing with conflict of laws issues in the enforcement of covenants.

Collective and Individual Employment Law
• UKCOAL Ltd v NUM and BACM [2007] (EAT) Consultation on Collective Redundancy in connection with the closure of a coal mine

• Redrow Homes v Wright [2005] IRLR 720 (C.A) status of workers under working time regulations
• Roper v Solectron [2004] IRLR 4 (EAT) Group action for collective redundancy and Beckmann claims under TUPE

• Foley v Post Office [2000] IRLR 827 (CA) The range of reasonable responses test in unfair dismissal cases.

Discrimination Law
• Barton v Investec [2003] IRLR 332 (EAT) Burden of Proof in discrimination cases. A pivotal case in the development of UK discrimination Law

• Power v Panasonic [2003] IRLR 151 Disability discrimination psychiatric conditions, and the definition of disability

• Rhys Harper v Relaxion [2003] IRLR 22 (Hofl) Post termination discrimination

• Harvest Time Circle Ltd v Rutherford [2001] IRLR 599 (EAT) Indirect discriminatory effect of the age limits under the Employment Rights Act and the impact of Community Law

• Dekeyser Ltd v Wilson [2001] IRLR 324 (EAT) One of the earliest cases on the impact of the Human Rights Act upon employment Law with particular relevance to medical evidence in disability discrimination cases

Not all of his work is, by its nature, reported. Recent cases have included acting for a nationally known businessman in connection with an unfair dismissal claim against his eponymous company, advising the board of a leading PLC on sensitive issues surrounding its CEO, advising a number of well known firms of solicitors on discrimination issues and on partnership questions.

He has advised on and is conducting equal pay litigation both in the private sector and in connection with local authority pay issues.

He has extensive experience of litigating issues in the context of local government and the health sector.

Industrial Action and Trade Union Recognition
David has advised both employers and unions on collective issues including union recognition and strike action. He advised in the Gate Gourmet dispute. He has acted in injunction proceedings to restrain industrial action. As noted below he is one of the authors of the OUP work “The Law of Industrial Action and Trade Union Recognition”

Pensions Law
In the Pensions field he acted in connection with the issues surrounding the closure and variation of pension schemes and has litigated pension claims. He has advised on pensions deeds and scheme rules Has has recently been advising various employers and employer’s organisations on the issues facing them in connection with age discrimination.

Chambers and Partners 2024 - "David is a hard-hitter whom you would always want in your own corner, not the opposition's."

Chambers and Partners 2024 - "David is an excellent all-rounder and popular with clients. He thinks outside the box and is a formidable advocate."

Chambers and Partners 2024 - "He has a great presence in court and tribunal hearings and is wonderful to deal with."

Chambers and Partners 2024 - "He is extremely user-friendly and has an excellent knowledge of matters relating to worker status. He isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and is responsive to requests for help. David is great with clients and instils a sense of calm in them."

Chambers and Partners 2024 - "Knowledgeable, and calm in every situation, he's just brilliant. Clients respond to his vast experience and reassuring manner. He's also a brilliant advocate."

Recent cases include (it is in the nature of this litigation that much of it resolves without there being reported decisions and in circumstances where there is considerable sensitivity about the issues):

  • Truman v Bank of Scotland [2005] C.C.L.R Four party credit card arrangements and third party processing
  • Tuviyahu v American Express (CA 12th July 2000) (acting for Amex)Payment Cards and the application of the Consumer Credit Act.

He has recently successfully defended a number of other banks in substantial claims and acted for a leading bank in connection with the insolvency of a major retailer and the transaction and charge back issues which arose from the insolvency. He has particular experience of credit card transactions over the internet and of the issues surrounding "third party processing". His commercial work embraces a wide range of issues, examples of his work include:

  • Minter v Julius Baer [2005] Pensions promise and the construction of a pension deed
  • Webb and Scarr v Silbury and Petroplas [2005] Breach of warranty and valuation of the sale of company
  • Modelboard v Outer Box (In Liquidation) retention of title clauses and insolvent businesses
  • Phelps v Spon-Smith [2000] BCLC Assignment of causes of action and professional negligence
  • Lawson v Coombes [1999] Ch 373 constructive trusts

Door Tenant at Parklane Plowden Chambers

Silk: 2006

Door Tenant