Robin Somerville - Resolving Legal Problems

Employment Investigations and Disciplinary Chair

I am available to act for employers or employees in respect of all employment, unfair dismissal claims, grievances and misconduct issues.

A recent Claimant, for whom I secured compensation of over £59,000 at the Central London Employment Tribunal for making a protected disclosure wrote of me:

“Robin provided excellent and efficient service, and helped to achieve the desired result. He went beyond the call of duty by offering valuable personal advice from an alternative viewpoint. Robin is indeed “a barrister with a difference”. Highly recommended.”

I have a particular interest in cases involving status or ‘gig economy’ claims following the cases of Pimlico Plumbers, Uber, Deliveroo, City Spring and others.  In these cases, claimants claim they are “limb (b) workers”, a category of self-employed individual entitled to basic rights such as paid holidays, minimum wage and protection from discrimination. Click here for more information on these kinds of claims.

My experience of sitting on over 1,000 cases as an advisor, investigator, Tribunal Chair or Member for various forms of tribunals gives me the edge on identification, analysis and appraisal of evidence, and assessment of witness credibility. I have acted as a Case Presenter for regulatory bodies against their members, previously sat on the Investigation Panel of the British Computer Society’s Professional Conduct Committee and have represented parties before Employment Tribunals.  This experience leaves me well placed to identify what may succeed or fail during any subsequent hearing or trial.

Furthermore, my previous experience, prior to qualifying as a lawyer is invaluable in assessing witnesses, the likelihood of events happening as described and the relative seriousness of an allegation. It also helps me build rapport with all those I need to interview. When I was younger I worked in a coleslaw factory, drove a forklift truck and worked on a trade counter. I’ve also worked as a money market trader dealing with other people trading hundreds of millions of financial products a day, through to sitting alongside QCs and High Court Judges during dinners at the Inns of Court. I adjust my style and approach to every situation I have to deal with.

I have been involved with employment matters for some of the UK’s largest and highest profile companies and organisations and have included allegations or complaints of:

  • sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and obscene imagery of sexual violence,
  • exposing the organisation to multimillion pound risk and reputational damage,
  • risking the loss of major contract representing 25% of business unit income,
  • bullying and harassment, including at Board/CEO level,
  • practising witchcraft in the workplace and putting curses on colleagues,
  • running a business from employer’s premises,
  • misconduct flowing from mental health issues and addictions,
  • unauthorised leaks to the press,
  • bringing the employer into disrepute,
  • covert recordings of Board/CEO meetings,
  • whistle-blowing,
  • unfair grievance proceedings,
  • breach of trust and confidence.

I have particular experience of academic, healthcare, technology, financial services and construction industries.

I am able to provide the required ‘Independent Settlement Agreement Advice‘ which is required by law for a settlement agreement between an employee and employer to be binding. I am normally able to provide this advice within 24 hours for a fixed fee paid for by the employer.

My extensive experience as a decision maker gives me the edge in being able to envisage the arguments that may be put before a hearing and make an impartial and robust appraisal of evidence.  Such an honest appraisal provides an organisation or an employee with an informed assessment of the situation on which to base a more accurate and secure strategy of what to do next.

Independence also minimises the risk of cognitive bias such as confirmation bias which may blind the employer or the employee to crucial evidence risking an unsound conclusion or strategy.  Organisations and employees can bet that these will surely come out at a hearing or trial if not properly developed during the investigation by which time it may be too late to adopt different less costly strategies.

Whilst studying to be a Barrister, I achieved a high ‘very competent’ in his employment elective.

I am able to act for employers and employees either on a direct access basis or through solicitors before Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. I also also experience of assisting clients negotiate settlement agreements and of acting as a mediator for ongoing relationships.

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