"he's the go-to person for industrial relations advice"
Chambers UK

Andrew Burns QC
Year of Call 1993 Silk 2015

Andrew specialises in complex commercial, employment and industrial disputes, particularly injunctions.  He has featured in some of the leading appellate cases in insurance law and trade disputes in recent years including Durham v BAI (Run Off) Ltd (the Employers' Liability Policy Trigger Litigation)Malone & Ors v British Airways Plc  (the BA cabin crew litigation), ASLEF v London Midland, RMT v Serco (the key recent authority on strike injunctions) and Prophet plc v Huggett on restrictive covenant injunctions. 

His cases in the past year include:

  • a complex professional negligence claim concerning discrimination litigation - Begum v Neejam LLP (QBD, Birmingham DR, 9 December 2015)
  • a claim against leading employment solicitors by a former Premier League chief executive
  • collective TUPE and consultation test cases for British Airways and health charity Turning Point
  • two high profile senior executive whistleblowing claims - Harmeston v The Co-operative Group and Wilkinson v Bournemouth BC
  • minimum wage claim relating to travel time against a leading care agency
  • a whistleblowing and discrimination claim by an actuary against a financial institution
  • insurance and reinsurance issues arising out of complex underlying injury claims.

In 2015 Andrew won Labour & Employment Barrister of the Year UK in the Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards. In April 2016, Finance Monthly announced Andrew as Employment Barrister of the Year for the UK as part of their Law Awards 2016.

In addition to acting for British Airways Andrew has acted for London bus companies, BT, Post Office, South West Trains and Citylink in industrial disputes, including wildcat action, picketing and transport blockades and in contract actions for the Co-operative Group, Network Rail and Turning Point.  He has recently appeared in recognition and EWC claims in the CAC, in insurance disputes in the Commercial Court and contract actions in the DIFC Court of Appeal.

Andrew is a co-author of the Law of Reinsurance with Colin Edelman QC (2nd Ed. 2013) and Bean on Injunctions (12th Ed. 2015).  He is also co-general editor of Discrimination Law (Bloomsbury Professional).

 

  • RECOMMENDATIONS

    Andrew is recommended in both employment and insurance.  Recent editions of Chambers & Partners UK, the Legal 500, Who's Who Legal and Legal Experts have said:            

    Insurance

    A new silk whose insurance and reinsurance practice is centred on employment, contract and industrial disputes. He has recently handled a number of D&O cases. Advised in a case concerning the construction of contracts with relation to an employer's liability insurance - Chambers UK 2016

    He marshals the arguments well and is a compelling advocate - Legal 500 2015

    Past editions:

    He's down to earth and personable, gets on with people and is unfazed by difficult issues.  A very competent advocate

    Wins acclaim for his broad insurance practice and is enjoying a swiftly growing profile. He provides unfussy, concise advice and always gives a firm opinion in a no-nonsense manner. He is an absolute pleasure to deal with, as he does not stand on ceremony and is highly personable.

    His instructing solicitors greatly appreciate his collaborative style of working and his calm manner. Andrew Burns attacks a case with ‘real intellectual vigour.

    Blessed with "crisp and concise writing skills, Andrew Burns is considered extremely confident and a friendly face on any case. He has lately been advising victims in the EL Trigger litigationA sterling commercial employment practice.

    Employment

    Has particular technical knowledge of the law surrounding injunctions, and acts in commercial, industrial and employment disputes. His advocacy is widely praised by respondents, as is his tactical acumen. He is very thorough, excellent with clients and a real tactician. Thorough and unflappable, he has a good tribunal manner and a deceptively low key, but extremely effective, cross-examination technique. Acted in a collective claim brought by the Manchester-based ground staff of BMI, who were made redundant after the acquisition of the airline by British Airways - Chambers UK 2016

    He is always quick to get to the central commercial issues; he marshals the arguments well - Legal 500 2015

    An incredible eye for detail - Who's Who Legal 2016

    Past editions:

    He's very clever and at the same time great with clients. He's the go-to person for industrial relations advice.  Thorough but always prepared to consider a different point of view.

    The approachable and charming Andrew Burns is commended for his hard-working, enthusiastic and knowledgeable manner.

    Increasingly popular for industrial relations issues. Burns is extremely quick to get to the heart of difficult issues, and his enthusiasm and positive nature make him "a key asset to any team.

    Super diligent, sensibly bullish and an absolute pleasure to deal with, he has attracted big-name clients such as British Airways and Royal Mail.

    A measured and intelligent advocate.  Possesses the ability to cut away the smoke and mirrors... in a precise and methodical fashion.  An impressive practice in disability, race and sex discrimination

    Exceptionally able ...  ability to quickly get to grips with complex matters

    Close
  • Commercial Litigation

    Add to Portfolio

    Andrew has wide experience in commercial litigation in the High Court and County Court as well as internationally - principally in the DIFC Courts - and arbitration .  His main expertise arises out of insurance and insurance related litigation, but he has also advised in telecommunications and energy claims, as well as business disputes and commercial contract claims.  He is advising on the construction of a substantial financial agency aagreement and on the insurance and reinsurance issues arising from major injury claims under a PL policy. 

    He advised about claims under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 in respect of the 2011 riots in London and other cities, drawing on his involvement in the Court of Appeal in Bedfordshire Police Authority v Constable (Syndicate 386) [2009] Lloyd's Rep IR 607. He was invited to talk to senior claims managers on the topic at the Post Claims Club quarterly meeting.

    Andrew acted for the Claimant Mrs Edwards in one of the lead cases in the Supreme Court in Employers' Liability Policy Trigger Litigation [2012] 1 WLR 867 and took a leading role in the contractual construction arguments advanced before teh Supreme Court Justices.  The test cases were about the coverage of Employers' Liability insurance policies in respect of damages for mesothelioima victims.  Andrew acted for the insured in a property insurance claim - Aviva Insurance v Brown [2012] Lloyd's Rep IR 211.  Eder J examined fraudulent means or devices and the definition of dishonesty in this insurance fraud trial. 

    Andrew appeared with Colin Edelman QC for Zurich in Horwood v Argos & Ors [2010] Lloyd's Rep IR 453, the insurance coverage dispute arising out of the 'Toxic Sofas' group litigation order.  He advised a large organisation on coverage of excess layer insurance policy in relation to a multi-million pound liability for accidental damage arising out of its business.

    Close
  • Insurance & Reinsurance

    Add to Portfolio

    Andrew acts for a range of insurers in coverage disputes and policy interpretation points.  His insurance practice is strong and he acts for well-known city insurance firms. He is an editor of The Law of Reinsurance with Colin Edelman QC.  Andrew represented successful insureds and their families in the Supreme Court in Employers' Liability Policy Trigger Litigation [2012] 1 WLR 867, [2012] ICR 574, [2012] Lloyd's Rep. IR 371 about the coverage of Employers' Liability insurance policies in respect of damages for mesothelioima victims.  Andrew also acted for the insured in an insurance fraud case with has been the subject of much comment - Aviva Insurance v Brown [2012] Lloyd's Rep IR 211.   He is advising on the insurance and reinsurance issues arising from major injury claims under a PL policy. 

    In Horwood v Argos & Ors [2010] Lloyd's Rep IR 453, Andrew acted for Zurich in the insurance coverage dispute arising out of the 'Toxic Sofas' group litigation order.  He has acted for a UK insurer in a brokers' D&O claim and for a leading US professional indemnity insurer on a coverage claim in the Commercial Court.  He advised a large organisation on coverage of excess layer insurance policy in relation to a multi-million pound liability for accidental damage arising out of its business.

    Andrew appeared in MJ Harrington v Axa Oyak Sigorta [2007] Lloyd's Rep. IR 60 and in Tektrol v. International Ins Co of Hanover [2005] 2 Lloyds Rep 701, CA an appeal on the construction of exclusion clauses in property insurance policies.  He also appeared in Countrywide v. Marshall [2003] Lloyd's Rep IR 195 on aggregation in insurance claims and in Jacobs v. Coster [2000] Lloyd's Rep IR 506, CA an authority on late notification.

    Andrew has experience in advising insurers and claimants about claims under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 in respect of the 2011 riots in London and other cities, as he was in Bedfordshire Police Authority v Constable (Syndicate 386) [2009] Lloyd's Rep IR 607. He talked to senior claims managers on the topic at the Post Claims Club quarterly meeting.

    Close
  • General Commercial Disputes

    Add to Portfolio

    In addition to general commercial litigation in the High Court and County Court, Andrew has experience of ADR, in particular mediation, in a wide range of commercial disputes. He has acted for a range of insurers and for many commercial city solicitors. He specialises in contractual construction particularly of commercial documents, but advises on a wide range of national and international disputes, often arising out of the insurance sector or in connection with professional negligence.

    Close
  • Employment

    Add to Portfolio

    Andrew has recently appeared in some of the highest profile cases - for the Co-op in Harmeston v Co-operative Group , for the Council in the Wilkinson finance director whistleblowing claim, for British Airways in the cabin crew litigation, for the train operators in the leading Court of Appeal authority on strike ballot requirements - RMT v Serco and for BT in preventing its first national strike in 25 years.  He appeared in Allen v TRW Systems [2013] IRLR 699  on incorporation of a redundancy payment policy into contracts of employment in the Court of Appeal.

    He is one of the ‘go-to’ barristers for Industrial Action litigation with cases for the London Bus companies and South West Trains over the pre-Olympic strikes and he has advised on the threatened NHS and tanker driver strikes.  He has recently been involved in secondary action and unlawful picketing disputes, including preventing national strike action by the RMT at Citylink.

    This complements his busy injunction practice in relation to restrictive covenants and confidentiality claims together with work on freezing injunctions and search orders. Andrew acts and advises on team moves and post-termination restrictions including for a leading engineering firm in the north-west and a major financial adviser.  He succeeded in the Court of Appeal in Prophet plc v Huggett [2014] EWCA Civ 1013; [2014] IRLR 618 on the construction of restrictive covenants. Andrew is a co-author with Lord Justice Bean of Bean on Injunctions now in its 12th edition - one of the leading texts on the subject.

    Andrew has continued to be busy for British Airways including appearing in the group race discrimination (Russo v British Airways [2012] EqLR 987) and pay claims (Usher v BA) brought by various groups of cabin crew as well as acting in trade union detriment claims and in the claims arising from the takeover of BMI. He has also acted for other airlines and ground handling companies including collective TUPE and redundancy actions arising from Gatwick, Liverpool and Glasgow airports in claims brought by group claimants or unions.

    He is instructed by a wide range of the best employment firms in London and nationally as well as having a substantial commercial practice. Andrew has long been recognised expert on disability discrimination having appeared in the seminal case on the DDA 1995: Jones v Post Office. He has acted over the last year in TUPE consultation multiples, difficult multi-day discrimination cases for the NHS, banks and for city solicitors.  He also acts for claimants - and on behalf of a solicitor claimant against a 'magic circle' firm and in the widely reported Sitz v Oppenheimer claim - for the successful female trader against a merchant bank. He has been recommended by both Chambers UK and Legal 500 as a top employment barrister for many years.

    Significant reported Employment Cases include:

    • Shevlin v Lord Sainsbury of Turville & others [2015] EAT 0278/14
    • Agbakoko v Allied Bakeries [2015] EAT 0340/14
    • Prophet plc v Huggett [2014] IRLR 618 
    • Allen v TRW Systems [2013] IRLR 699
    • Russo v British Airways [2012] Eq LR 987 - indirect race discrimination
    • ASLEF v London Midland and RMT v Serco Ltd [2011] ICR 848 - strike ballots
    • Malone & Ors v British Airways Plc [2011] ICR 125 - incorporation of collective agreements
    • EDF Energy Powerlink v RMT [2010] IRLR 114 - strike ballot requirements
    • GMB v Amicus & Others [2003] ICR 1396 - collective consultation
    • Wolstenholme v Post Office [2003] ICR 546 - definition of worker
    • Bennett v L. B. of Southwark [2002] ICR 881, IRLR 407, CA - tribunal bias test
    • Ekpe v Metropolitan Police Commissioner [2001] IRLR 605, EAT - definition of disability
    • Jones v Post Office [2001] IRLR 384,CA - disability justification
    • Robinson v Post Office [2000] IRLR 804, EAT – DDA discrimination time limits
    • Post Office v Howell [2000] IRLR 224, EAT - Jurisdiction of tribunal chairmen sitting alone
    • Wood v William Ball Ltd [1999] IRLR 773 EAT - Equal value procedure
    • Sheehan v Post Office Counters Ltd [1999] ICR 734, EAT - Definition of employee in the DDA.
    • Lancashire CC v Mason [1998] ICR 907, EAT - Application of DDA to schools
    • Carter v Reiner Moritz Associates Ltd [1997] ICR 881, EAT - Effect of settlement agreements
    Close
  • Industrial Relations

    Add to Portfolio

    Andrew has developed a prominent practice in industrial action and trade dispute litigation, appearing in some of the leading cases of the last few years and advising parties to some of the highest profile trade disputes in the UK.  He has recently acted for national employers in industrial action disputes, pay disputes following strikes and legal action to combat alternative 'leverage' action.  He has also advised a leading union about industrial action strategy.

    Andrew advised a range of public sector employers about the 2011 day of strike action.  He took part in the 2011 Laurence Stracey Debate at the V&A museum on Britain's strike laws.  He is also acting for some large employers in relation to a series of collective consultation claims.   He acted for BT in legal moves in response to a threatened 2010 national strike.  The threat of industrial action was withdrawn on the day of the ballot result.  In 2012 he acted for transport companies in legal actions against strikes called in support of an 'Olympic bonus' for transport workers, for a large utilities company facing industrial action, for two leading logistics and delivery companies facing protest and strike action, for a chain of  education academies, an airport ground handling company and a major high street name.

    Andrew appeared for the employers in ASLEF v London Midland and RMT v Serco Ltd [2011] ICR 848, one of the leading cases on industrial action law.  The Court of Appeal discharged the injunctions preventing strike action and held that the minor breaches of ballot notice provisions should not stop industrial action.  Elias LJ took the opportunity to review and restate the law on inaccurate ballot notices. The result of the case was reported by BBC News, the Financial Times, the London Evening Standard, the Press Association and the Daily Express

    Andrew has been counsel for British Airways in various claims arising from the high profile contractual dispute over changes to crewing levels on the airline: Malone & Ors v British Airways Plc [2011] ICR 125.  BA succeeded in the interim injunction hearing in 2009, at the speedy trial in February 2010 and in the Court of Appeal. The outcome of the case was reported widely including in The Lawyer, The Independent, the Wall Street Journal, BBC News, the Press Association, Bloomberg and Reuters.

    Andrew appeared in EDF Energy Powerlink v RMT [2010] IRLR 114 getting an injunction from Blake J against a threatened strike on the London Underground on the basis that the RMT union had failed to give proper categories in its ballot notice.

    Andrew acted for the employers in successfully defending interim relief claims by a senior union official of a rail union and an official of UNITE in S v N and J v F.  Andrew recently represented Safran in the Central Arbitration Committee in Morgan & King v Safran Group EWC/8/2013 under the TICE Regulations and advised a major retailer about a CAC claim.

    Close
  • Restrictive Covenants & Injunctions

    Add to Portfolio

    As well as appearing for British Airways in the injunction claim up to and including the Court of Appeal in Malone & Ors v British Airways Plc [2011] ICR 125, Andrew has acted for a variety of leading employers in relation to restrictive covenant disputes including team moves. He appeared in World Fuel Services v Aegean Marine Petroleum in which Blair J granted a springboard injunction against a marine fuel company based on a breach of confidence.

    He succeeded in overturning the controversial Chancery Division decision in Prophet plc v Huggett [2014] EWCA Civ 1013.  The Court of Appeal held that a strict interpretation should be given to the construction of restrictive covenants in an expedited injunction claim. 

    Andrew continues to be busy with a number of substantial restrictive covenant injunctions in the High Court, acting both for major businesses and for individuals.  He acted for leading patent attorneys in a confidentiality injunction claim and for an international engineering company restraining activity outside the UK, as a well as a mortgage broker moving to a new employer. He has acted in obtaining and resisting High Court freezing injunctions involving disputes over security for costs, fortification and non-disclosure issues as well as a number of confidentiality injunctions.

    He speaks regularly at seminars and conferences and writes for legal publications on the topic of employment and commercial injunctions, including Lexis Nexis Webinars and for the New Law Journal.  He is an co-author of Bean on Injunctions.

    Close
  • Dismissals & Employment Rights

    Add to Portfolio

    Andrew is instructed by many of the largest employment law specialist firms and is recommended as one of the leading barristers in this field. He has recently acted for BT and Barclays Bank in high value employment tribunal claims as well as advising and representing a number of other international investment banks.

    His cases in the past year include two high profile senior executive whistleblowing claims - Harmeston v The Co-operative Group and Wilkinson v Bournemouth BC and minimum wage claims relating to travel time against a leading care agency as well as a whistleblowing and discrimination claim by an actuary agaisnt a financial institution.

    In 2015 Andrew won Labour & Employment Barrister of the Year UK in the Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards.

    He acts for airlines such as British Airways and United Airlines as well as other large airport businesses in tribunal and High Court Claims. He appeared in Allen v TRW Systems [2013] IRLR 699 on incorporation of a redundancy payment policy into contracts of employment (recently in the Court of Appeal) and Smith Medical v Ransom in the EAT.

    He has represented NHS Trusts in high value employment claims. He has appeared for British Sugar in a claim about whether its casual workers may claim unfair dismissal or redundancy payments and acted for Fujitsu in claims arising out of a TUPE transfer of part of its business to an overseas entity. Andrew appeared in Martello Professional Risks v Barnes concerning Union recognition and TUPE and Staples v E A Gibson Shipbrokers about adjustments under the DDA.

    In recent years Andrew has acted in tribunals and courts for a wide range of clients such as Transport for London, Wealth at Work, Commerzbank, Glastonbury Abbey, Servisair, Zenith Bank, Optimax and the Post Office.

    Close
  • Equality

    Add to Portfolio

    Andrew has a high profile equality practice and frequently writes and lectures on equality issues. Andrew has long been recognised as a leading expert in discrimination and was in some of the leading cases on the DDA 1995 including Jones v Post Office in the Court of Appeal and Ekpe v Comm of Metropolitan Police.

    He acted for acted for Barclays Bank in high value discrimination claims and various NHS Trusts in a number of high profile discrimination and whistleblowing claims.  He recently successfully acted for Zenith Bank in a race and religious discrimination claim which is pending in the EAT.  He appeared for  the claimant in Sitz v Oppenheimer Bank a much publicised sex discrimination and victimisation claim against a US finance firm and has a large religious discrimination claim against a US bank pending.

    Andrew has acted in complex indirect discrimination and equal pay claims for clients such as British Airways and has successfully defended BT in a senior employee age discrimination claim.  He has also recently advised upon and represented clients in large multiple fixed term worker claims.

    Close
  • Professional Negligence

    Add to Portfolio

    Andrew acts for a range of insurers on professional negligence claims against insurance brokers, surveyors, valuers and financial advisers.

    Andrew recently successfully defended a barrister in an unmeritorious, if complex, professional negligence claim concerning discrimination litigation - Begum v Neejam LLP (QBD, Birmingham DR, 9 December 2015) which included allegations of settlement at an undervalue and issues such as the assessment of loss of a chance in respect of discrimination compensation.  He is also acting for solicitors in a claim by a high profile former executive.

    He is presently acting in a High Court claim by a former Premier League chief executive against a leading firm of solicitors.

    Andrew has acted for and against solicitors in solicitors’ negligence claims arising out of litigation and property transactions. He has been instructed on behalf of the BMIF to act for barristers (including a claim against a QC), particularly in employment disputes. Andrew has acted for HCCI or its insureds in professional indemnity disputes arising out of claims against architects, designers and engineers.

    Close
  • Arbitration & Mediation

    Add to Portfolio

    Andrew has acted in London arbitrations in both commercial and employment cases, with particular experience in insurance and reinsurance arbitrations.  He is available to sit as an arbitrator, drawing on his judicial experience as a Recorder.

    Andrew also has acted in numerous mediations, including judicial mediations.  His collabarative style has led to numerous successful mediated conclusions to complex disputes.

    Andrew also acts as a mediator in commercial and employment disputes.  Feedback from the parties on recent mediations includes:

    "I think he did a terrific job, with two parties who were at loggerheads.  He was calm, patient but firm which is everything you would want from a mediator and yet he made clear that he has clout as an experienced advocate in this subject area and therefore gave credibility to what he was saying." (City solicitor acting for the claimant in a complex High Court employment dispute).

     

    Close

Appointments

Recorder of the Crown Court

Advocate, DIFC Courts, Dubai

Member of the Bar Standards Board Professional Conduct Committee (2007-2013)

Middle Temple Advocacy Tutor and member of the Equality and Diversity Committee

Middle Temple Education Committee (2009-2013)

Head of the Chambers Pupillage Committee (2007-2012)

Chair of the Chambers Supervision Committee (2016-)

Memberships & Associations

BILA, COMBAR, LCLCBA, PNBA, ELA, ELBA, ELS

Academic

MA (Downing College, Cambridge)