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Bruce Henry and Matthew Todd Deliver Employment Law Talks

Kenworthy's Chambers | December 14, 2023
Matthew Todd blogs about delivering a pregnancy and maternity leave talk and an advocacy skills course with Employment Barrister Bruce Henry.

New tenant Matthew Todd has, together with Employment Barrister Bruce Henry, lead a course for USDAW (The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) and delivered a talk at Slater and Gordon Lawyers. We caught up with Matthew Todd to find out how these external events went.

Pregnancy and Maternity Leave Talk at Slater and Gordon

The talk we hosted at Slater and Gordon was on pregnancy and maternity leave. We went into their Manchester offices, but most people were actually working from home, so it was a little odd! 

Still, it was good to meet a couple of Employment Solicitors in person. Employment Solicitor Victoria Schofield seemed particularly pleased to be updated with the latest Employment Law protections. 

The course we delivered was primarily focused on the protections awarded to pregnant workers. Bruce Henry kicked the course off by covering the basics of discrimination. Then, I did a bit on the new legislation expanding redundancy protections to those on pregnancy leave and those in the process of adopting. 

In preparing to deliver the course on pregnancy and maternity leave at Slater and Gordon, I first looked at the new legislation itself and then researched other experts’ analyses. I also researched the purpose behind the legislation being brought in and the parliamentary discussion around it. 

Tribunal Hearings and Advocacy Skills Course for USDAW

The course we delivered for USDAW felt really positive. We did a practical tribunal, wrote witness statements, and even did a fake case! The feedback we got from USDAW was that the interactivity within the course was excellent. 

I played the role of multiple witnesses and was cross-examined by the union members! I tried to make it realistic with some of the witnesses I played being forgetful and some having little inaccuracies to see if they would be picked up. 

The fake employment tribunals we held for USDAW went down well with the union members. They were able to get the hang of identifying the key points quickly. Some of the trade unionists were even quite fierce in cross-examination! Luckily this wasn’t too bad because I am used to it, but I did provide feedback to USDAW to be a bit gentler. 

Since delivering the advocacy skills course for USDAW, I have done quite a few cases for them. I represented on a case in Huntingdon where the respondent was trying to obtain a substantial costs award, which I managed to successfully resist. I have also advised on a number of protective award claims, where large groups of employees have been made redundant after businesses have failed. 

Reflections and More Work

Bruce Henry and I work well together. With his guidance, I have handled Employment Law cases involving unfair dismissal, sex discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and redundancy. 

The main thing I have taken away from assisting Bruce in delivering these talks and courses is the importance of knowing subjects in depth. It is okay to show slides and give info, but answering questions with your knowledge and experience is what really adds value. 

Employment Barrister Bruce Henry showed his experience, and knowledge of case law so well in these talks. He has such a deep wealth of experience; I notice how he always has a relevant case to hand for any question that might come up. He knows just what to say and how to address it. 

Besides delivering talks and working alongside Bruce Henry, I have also been working on a variety of cases with Criminal Barrister Sara Haque. Whilst the jury was deliberating and we were awaiting a verdict, I covered a trial for her, managing issues with the defendant not attending. The prison service said he refused to attend, so I got in touch with the Solicitor and made the Judge aware the defendant was, in fact, ready to attend and just wasn’t being delivered to the trial by the prison service. Thankfully the Judge understood and agreed not to hold it against the defendant.

I have also done a few preliminary hearings, usually remote – by phone or video, and a prep hearing for a final trial. The prep hearing for the final trial involved getting the claimant’s case in order and communicating clearly with the claimant, the respondent, and the Judge so that they all knew the issues involved. 

Thanks to our new tenant Matthew Todd, for talking to us about delivering talks with Bruce Henry and sharing details on some of the cases he has been working on.

If you have an Employment Law case call our Employment Clerk Ella Edwards on 0161 832 4036, email [email protected], or fill out our contact form.