Eleena is an employment and equalities specialist, ranked as a leader in this field in both Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. She has wide and in-depth litigation and advisory experience in all aspects of employment law.
Eleena was a member of Littleton Chambers from 2001 to 2017 having been a pupil there. During this time, she was led by some of the leading silks in the country and also appeared without a leader in many high value and high-profile cases in all of the employment jurisdictions. She was also sought out for appeals and cases involving confidential information or team moves and short notice injunctions in the High Court.
While Eleena is regarded in the market as a very confident, experienced and assured advocate in any type of employment dispute, she is particularly in demand for cases in the healthcare and education sectors and City sex / race discrimination litigation. In cases requiring technical expertise in disciplinary or regulatory matters, Eleena is a natural choice given her parallel and complementary knowledge and experience in that field. She is also able to accept instructions to appear as counsel in mediations.
Unsurprisingly, Eleena is perhaps best known for her work at the intersection of Employment and Professional Discipline. Clients have often called upon her to appear in internal hearings, tribunals, the Queen’s Bench Division, before the relevant regulator and in the Administrative Court based on the same factual matrix. It is Eleena’s calm and measured approach to even the most stressful litigation and her seasoned appearances in all of these jurisdictions that have marked her out as a go-to senior junior for many of her loyal instructing solicitors.
Eleena is regularly instructed by leading law firms in this area and has been selected to deal with high value, highly confidential and high-profile litigation or investigations, many a time against Leading Counsel.
A sample of Eleena’s recent cases include the following (anonymised where necessary or appropriate):
- IWGB challenge against the Prime Minister in respect of “Brexit” on behalf of workers affected by a “no deal” scenario in 2019;
- IWGB challenge against HM Treasury in respect of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and the Job Retention Scheme;
- Antoni Bajowski v Oxford Bus Company: Eleena was instructed to act on behalf of the Oxford Bus Company in relation to a claim brought by a disabled passenger seeking reasonable adjustments to the seating arrangements on the entire fleet of its coaches. This case raised interesting questions as to the scope of sub-section 20(3) Equality Act 2010;
- Rochford v WNS Global (Court of Appeal) EWCA Civ 2205: Eleena was instructed on behalf of the Respondent employer in this appeal concerning the interplay between disability discrimination and unfair dismissal in ill-health dismissals. Deshpal Panesar QC was led by Suzanne McKie QC at the hearing in her stead, as Eleena had just commenced maternity leave, and was successful on appeal;
- Abbott & Ors v Lloyds Bank plc, TSB Bank plc and IBM: Eleena was instructed on behalf of TSB in a case in which a large number of claimants challenged the backstop in unlawful deductions’ claims and asserted that Bear Scotland has been wrongly decided. The Respondents were successful after a five-day preliminary hearing listed purely to address questions of law;
- X v Y: In this highly sensitive matter, settled on confidential terms, Eleena acted for a claimant in the legal services industry against a well-known London law firm, on extraordinarily difficult facts and in the face very unusual attendant circumstances. The hearing did not take place in the end, but it would have been a very high-profile case with well-known individuals in the field of law;
- Junior counsel (led by Mark Sutton QC) in Agarwal v Cardiff University & anor  ICR 967 acting for the successful Appellant doctor and establishing that Employment Tribunals have jurisdiction to construe contracts in wages claim under ERA 1996;
- Acting for a large and well-known banking institution in a group action brought under the Working Time Regulations (2018);
- Instructed by a Claimant in a highly sensitive case against a law firm involving multiple respondents and alleged discrimination and harassment (2018);
- Acting for a board member in a complex race discrimination claim against a professional regulatory body – testing the boundaries of the Equality Act 2010;
- Acting for the respondent on appeal to the Court of Appeal in a case involving section 15 Equality Act 2010 and the unfair dismissal regime and an alleged refusal to obey that which was perceived to amount to discriminatory instructions (now due to be heard autumn 2017);
- Acting for an NHS trust in relation to claims of religious discrimination brought by a respected consultant paediatrician; a case involving issues that turned out to be prescient of the conflicting decisions at European level on the manifestation of religious belief;
- Acting for a consultant against an NHS trust in proceedings for injunctive relief in the QBC to restrain breaches of the MHPS framework applicable to the contract of employment;
- Obtaining an in-principle award for career-long losses for a professional claimant client in complex protected disclosure and disability discrimination claims;
- Internal investigation for a bank concerning serious allegations of sexual impropriety by a senior executive;
- Acting as junior counsel to Sberbank Rossi, Sberbank UK and others in highly publicised sex discrimination and associated claims brought by Ms Svetlana Lokhova (2013 to 2016);
- Acting for a very well-known university in internal hearing against a senior academic;
- Acting for the IPCC in long running discrimination in recruitment claims (ongoing);
- Advising financial institutions and individuals on issues arising from application of bonus cap and clawbacks.
Eleena is a member of ELA (and was formerly on its management board from 2012-14) and ELBA.
She is a returning author of Blackstones’ Employment Law Practice and the Employment and Equalities lead in her role as Vice Chair of the Law Reform Committee of the Bar Council of England and Wales.