How long have you worked in Edwards & Co?

I joined Edwards & Company in April 2022, leaving another Commercial Law Firm in Belfast, where I practiced Employment law for 14 years.

Do you specialise in any particular area?

Since qualifying as a solicitor in September 2008, I have been advising both employees and employers (both public, private and third sector organisations) in contentious and non-contentious areas of Employment law.

I have pursued Industrial Tribunal claims on behalf of Claimants in relation to Unfair dismissal and various grounds of discrimination and represented Respondent clients in defending Industrial Tribunal cases, including Local Authorities, colleges, and commercial organisations such as call centres, nursing homes, charities and retail outlets. I have also provided Employment law support to the commercial department in respect of TUPE transactions, due diligence process, mergers & acquisitions. I have undertaken training on behalf of clients and spoken at a number of Employment Law events managed by Legal Island and collaborated with reputable HR Consultancy firms in NI on Employment Law matters.

I am a member of the Employment Lawyers Group and a member of the Steering Committee of the Employment Lawyers Association, where I represent the needs of my fellow practitioners.

What do you like about what you do?

I see my role as an employment solicitor, whether representing the employer or employee, as seeking to resolve a dispute, which can often be deep rooted and fundamental. It is identifying options to provide resolution that I not only find challenging, but rewarding. This, and obtaining good results for my client, gives me job satisfaction.

What’s the best case you’ve ever worked on?

I appeared on BBC Newsline and BBC radio in October 2019 in the case of Downey v Chief Constable of PSNI NIIT 4182/18 in respect of a direct/indirect sex discrimination case, wherein the claimant was awarded £10,000 injury to feelings. The case scrutinised whether the PSNI’s then recently developed CAPES policy was indirectly discriminatory against men, which required male police officers, who were required to wear RPE (types of face masks), to be cleaned shaven.  The PSNI failed to persuade the Tribunal that the complete ban on facial hair for some Officers comprised within the CAPES policy, was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.