Betsan is leading silk in employment and professional discipline law. Her expertise is recognised by her ranking by Chambers & Partners, The Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal. Betsan is described by Chambers and Partners as “an absolutely outstanding advocate”, and as being “exemplary in terms of her approach, preparation and advocacy. She has the ability to bring the judge around to her way of thinking and carries the confidence of the client”. The Legal 500 describes Betsan as an “excellent advocate, well prepared and persuasive”. Experienced at the full range of employment and professional disciplinary disputes, she has appeared in some of the cutting-edge cases of recent years. Her clients include financial and commercial institutions, leading independent schools and universities, NHS Trusts, local government, trades unions, senior executives and medico-legal defence organisations.
She is particularly well regarded for the breadth and depth of her experience in medico-legal work. She is an acknowledged market leader in High Court contractual disputes over doctors’ disciplinary procedures and she is regularly called upon to advise in the handling of complex disciplinary proceedings, particularly where there is a regulatory cross-over.
Betsan has a thriving practice in primarily employment based commercial work, where she advises and represents clients in a wide range of disputes, including restrictive covenant cases, issues relating to termination of Board level employment and high value redundancy and negligent reference claims. Her High Court practice also involves acting regularly in strike injunction cases and associated trade union work.
She has extensive experience of discrimination claims involving complex and sensitive allegations, with a specific interest in pregnancy and maternity discrimination. She has expertise in goods and services disputes, particularly reasonable adjustments claims, in which she has advised organisations from banks to West End theatres.
Notable cases include
High Court disputes: medico-legal work
- Burn v Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust  ICR 492, CA. Dispute concerning the scope of a doctor’s right to disclosure in the conduct of a disciplinary investigation. Significant case with broader ramifications recognising the potential existence of an implied term of fairness in the conduct of disciplinary proceedings.
- Rayner v Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust  IRLR 296 (QB). Successfully defended Trust in injunctive challenge, establishing that there is no requirement to stay internal disciplinary proceedings pending determination of a referral to the regulator.
- Acted for private sector consultant (not an employee) challenging the decision to suspend his practising privileges as involving a breach of the Braganza implied term of rationality.
- Smo v Hywel Dda University Health Board  EWHC 727 (QB). First High Court dispute concerning the Welsh consultant contract. Successfully obtained permanent injunction to prevent Board from proceeding with working relationships investigation as side-stepping the contractual disciplinary process.
- Chhabra v West London Mental Health NHS Trust  ICR 194 (SC). Successfully represented doctor in leading Supreme Court case establishing that an employment contract includes an implied contractual right to a fair disciplinary process and that an injunction may be granted to restrain an employer from charging an employee with gross misconduct where this is unwarranted by the findings of a disciplinary investigation.
- Kerslake v North West London Hospitals NHS Trust  Med LR 568 (QB). Successfully represented Trust in significant case determining that dismissal of a consultant outside the MHPS disciplinary scheme is permissible where there is a breakdown of trust and confidence.
- Lim v Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust  Med LR 146 (QB). Successfully represented doctor in important case establishing that an NHS Trust may not dismiss a doctor by reason of capability without first referring the case to NCAS (now PPA) for assessment and consideration of an action plan.
High Court disputes: commercial disputes
- Advising an NHS Trust on the ongoing employment of its Chief Executive in the wake of high-profile criticisms of the Trust by an external inquiry.
- Acting for a senior executive in a complex dispute involving allegations of breach of confidence and their implications for his shareholding.
Industrial action and other trade union work
- R (ASLEF and others) v Secretary of State for Business and Trade  EWHC 1781 (Admin). Successfully represented the NASUWT in its challenge to the lawfulness of the repeal of the statutory prohibition on using agency workers to cover for striking employees.
- GE Steam Power Ltd v Unite the Union (QB). First case to consider whether the requirement to set out the trade dispute on the ballot paper enables the Court to determine what is the ‘true’ dispute between the parties.
- Watkins v BMA  EAT 23. Successfully acting for the BMA in challenge to the lawfulness of disciplinary action against union member, including whether the disciplinary rules were properly made.
- Acted for a major trade union in arbitration proceedings, successfully arguing that there could be no implied term requiring taking work equipment home when this gave rise to health and safety risks.
Discrimination and equal pay
- Coneybeer and others v Natural England (ongoing). Acting for the claimants in a multi-party equal pay claim challenging significant pay disparities arising from Natural England’s payscales.
- Anne and others v Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (ongoing). Acting for the claimants in an innovative indirect race discrimination claim, arguing that not extending Agenda for Change benefits to outsourced workers is a PCP putting a group of Black African workers at a particular disadvantage.
- Miles v DVSA  IRLR 630, EAT. Acted for the successful appellant: ET had erred in treating a driving examiner’s fears about returning to work in summer 2020 because of the risk of Covid-19 to him as someone with as chronic kidney disease as an irrational belief and not an aspect of his potential disability.
- Page v NHS Trust Development Authority  ICR 941. Successfully represented NHS TDA in religious discrimination claim challenging their decision to remove a Non-Executive Director from office because of critical comments he made about same-sex adoptions on Good Morning Britain.
- Town v Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police  IRLR 235. Acted for the successful officer before ET and EAT, establishing that the compulsory transfer of a pregnant police officer from front line duties amounted to pregnancy discrimination.
- McNeil v Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs  ICR 515. Acting for the appellants in the first equal pay case to consider the approach to establishing “particular disadvantage” where pay is variable.
- Galilee v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  ICR 634. Key decision on applications to amend in the ET: established that amendment takes effect from date of permission and that permission to amend can be granted subject to the time point being decided at full hearing. Significant authority in discrimination cases involving disputes over “continuing act”.
Other statutory employment claims
- Kassem v North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust (ongoing). Acting for Associate Specialist doctor in whistleblowing and race discrimination claim, securing an award of nearly £100K for injury to feelings and personal injury on the basis that his career had been destroyed.
- Mohammad v King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (ET, 2022). Successfully defended Trust in claim by consultant surgeon seeking career losses in alleged dismissal for making protected disclosures.
- Uddin v London Borough of Ealing  IRLR 332. First appellate case to consider the implications of Jhuti v Royal Mail in determining whether a dismissal is fair.
- Coletta v Bath Hill Court (Bournemouth) Management Co Ltd  ICR 703. Acting pro bono in the Court of Appeal, successfully establishing that there is no backstop on the recovery of compensation for a series of deductions from wages.
- Vining v London Borough of Wandsworth  ICR 499. Important Court of Appeal decision recognising the right to consultation as a core aspect of Article 11 ECHR. Successfully represented UNISON and the individual appellants, establishing that the statutory exclusion of parks police from the scope of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 is an unjustified interference with Article 11 rights.
- Edwards v Encirc Ltd  IRLR 528. Whether time spent by an employee on trade union duties is “working time” for the purposes of the Working Time Regulations 1998. Implications of case required specific guidance on whether trade union work meant that an employee could not be furloughed.