Generic filters

Lord (John) Hendy QC

Silk: 1987 | Call: 1972

"He's the claimant trade union lawyer without any equal." "He is a great courtroom advocate with a wealth of experience."

Chambers & Partners 2021

"Has the ear of the senior judges and the total respect and admiration of his peers. He is the most gifted of draftsmen, an ingenious lawyer and a compassionate and empathetic adviser. If there is a real fight to be had, you go to John."

The Legal 500 2021


Lord Hendy QC was called to the Bar in 1972, commenced practice in 1977 and took silk in 1987.

Without doubt he is best known for his work in industrial relations and employment law, having appeared in most of the UK’s leading collective labour law cases in the last 36 years.

Lord Hendy has taken 9 cases to the European Court of Human Rights and appeared in in the Court of Justice of the European Union. He has appeared in 12 cases in the Supreme Court (including the House of Lords and the Privy Council), and has 70 reported cases in the Court of Appeal and 91 in the High Court. He has drafted applications to the supervisory committees of the International Labour Organisation and European Social Charter.

He has also appeared in many high-profile inquests and inquiries, including:

  • The Lakanal House fire inquest (for the bereaved and injured) 2013
  • The Leveson Inquiry (for the NUJ), 2011-2012 (see his cross-examination of Rupert Murdoch here)
  • The Potters Bar train crash inquest (for the bereaved), 2010
  • The Ladbroke Grove Train Crash inquiry (for the victims), 2000
  • The Southall Train Crash inquiry (for the victims), 1999
  • The Street Markets inquiry for LB Tower Hamlets (chaired), 1991
  • The Woolf inquiry into the Strangeways Prison Riot (for the POA), 1990
  • The Kings Cross Fire disaster (for the Association of London Local Authorities) 1986

In the past his practice included:

  • Personal injury work, predominantly claimant work injuries, disease and death
  • Representing doctors and others in disciplinary and regulatory cases

He is also:

  • An Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Law, University College, London
  • President of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights
  • Chair of the Institute of Employment Rights
  • Vice-President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine
  • Fellow of the Society of Advanced Legal Studies
  • He is a frequent writer and speaker on trade union rights issues.


  • 1969 | LLB (London University external; studied at Ealing technical College)
  • 1971 | LLM (Queen’s, Belfast)
  • 1972 | Call to Bar (Gray’s Inn)
  • 1972-3 | Pupillage
  • 1973-6 | Director (full-time), Newham Rights Centre, East London
  • 1976-7 | Lecturer (labour and welfare law), Middlesex Polytechnic (now University)
  • 1977 | Began practice at the Bar of England and Wales
  • 1987 | Appointed Queen’s Counsel
  • 1995 | Appointed Bencher of Gray’s Inn
  • 1998 | Admitted to Bar of New South Wales
  • 1999-2008 | Head of Old Square Chambers
  • 1999-2005 | Appointed Visiting Professor, School of Law, Kings College, London
  • 2014 | Appointed Honorary Professor, Faculty of Law, University College, London
  • 2015 | Appointed a consultant to the International Trade Union Confederation in Brussels

Standing counsel to

  • Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen
  • Communication Workers’ Union
  • National Union of Journalists
  • National Union of Mineworkers
  • National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
  • Prison Officers’ Association
  • UNITE the Union
  • University and College Union

Other relevant memberships

  • Senior advocacy trainer, Gray’s Inn
  • Employment Lawyers Association
  • Employment Law Bar Association (Chairman, 2003-5)
  • Human Rights Lawyers’ Association
  • Industrial Law Society
  • New South Wales Bar Association
  • South Eastern Circuit
  • Western Circuit
  • The Encyclopaedia of Employment Law editorial board
  • Amicus Curiae (Journal of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies) editorial board

Professional Recommendations


“He’s the claimant trade union lawyer without any equal.” “He is a great courtroom advocate with a wealth of experience.”

Chambers & Partners 2021

“Has the ear of the senior judges and the total respect and admiration of his peers. He is the most gifted of draftsmen, an ingenious lawyer and a compassionate and empathetic adviser. If there is a real fight to be had, you go to John.”

The Legal 500 2021

“He is just phenomenal: his cross-examinations are a joy to behold.” “A go-to barrister for trade unions and one of the foremost experts in the area of industrial relations.”

Chambers & Partners 2020

“He is a Rolls-Royce amongst the senior echelons of the Bar.”

The Legal 500 2020

Chambers & Partners 2019 credit “His knowledge of the area is second to none and he is extremely dedicated to the cause’ and call him ‘a very good and level-headed advocate’.”  The Legal 500 2018 say he “combines exceptional powers of reasoning with compassion and humanity” and that “his manner with both clients and the court is exemplary.” Chambers & Partners 2017 call him “a forceful and robust advocate, and tremendously authoritative” and place him in “The top flight of industrial action lawyers” adding that “He’s absolutely first class, one of the top advocates for complex medical and employment-related disciplinary cases. If you want someone to really go for it, he’s first-rate and hugely experienced.” The Legal 500 2015 describes him as “One of the best advocates at the Bar; supreme in the field of collective labour law”. Chambers & Partners 2015 says: “Recognised as the leading silk at the Employment Bar when it comes to handling industrial relations cases … His experience and skill in this area are lauded by clients and peers alike, who also praise him for his straightforward and effective advocacy” and Chambers & Partners 2014 said: “A major figure in cases involving industrial relations, and a go-to barrister for a number of unions. He is well known for his work on high-profile, precedent-setting cases, and is an expert on injunctive restraints to industrial relations.” “He is an incredibly calm advocate who is very creative in looking at cases and taking them to the appellate level.” Chambers & Partners 2013 spoke of “the absolutely excellent Lord Hendy QC, who is a terrific fighter and an authoritative silk respected by opposing counsel, instructing solicitors and members of the judiciary.” “A leading specialist in industrial relations cases, market sources say he superbly handles work of the utmost complexity and he continues to be a favoured choice of many notable solicitors for cutting-edge cases.” The Legal 500 2013 described “Star performer Lord Hendy QC as an extremely versatile advocate who can master any area of law.” Chambers & Partners 2012 recorded that he “has the gravitas to pull off difficult arguments” and Chambers & Partners 2011 said he is “capable of looking at cases from angles others might not, he is a very through advocate who certainly captures the attention of the court”; he is “a delight to deal with”, “has a really nice touch with clients” and “advocacy skills that simply knock opponents out.” It said that “solicitors favour him as he is always thorough and well prepared, and has total command of the documents in front of him”. The Legal 500 2011 described him as an “outstanding leader with unrivalled knowledge of trade union law”.


Industrial Relations & Employment

Administrative & Public Law

Inquests & Public Inquiries

Recent and current work

Relevant Work

Notable cases

Key contacts

Olivia Moliterno

Team Leader & Assistant to Senior Clerk
Olivia Moliterno Telephone Clerk020 7269 0477 Email Clerk

Graham Smith

Deputy Senior Clerk
Graham Smith Telephone Clerk020 7269 0357 Email Clerk
Shortlist Updated

Out of hours

William Meade (Senior Clerk)

07970 649 755


Graham Smith (Deputy Senior Clerk)

07795 023 532