Eirwen is currently on secondment to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, where she is an in-house barrister working on discrimination in housing and education, and access to justice.
Eirwen practises in three of chambers’ core areas: employment law, public law and local government, and housing law. Eirwen has particular expertise in the application of discrimination and human rights law across all areas of her practice.
Prior to coming to the Bar, Eirwen worked as a political advisor in the House of Commons, as a case worker for a leading community care and education law solicitors’ firm, and for a number of NGOs both in Britain and abroad.
Eirwen is committed to access to justice for all, and will consider taking cases on a pro bono or conditional fee basis where appropriate. She volunteers with the legal charity, Rights of Women, and is a director/trustee of the Discrimination Law Association.
- Employment and Discrimination Law
Eirwen regularly appears in the employment tribunal, both for employees and employers, and has also appeared as sole counsel in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. She has particular expertise in discrimination matters, both within and outside the employment field, and has been instructed in a wide range of cases concerning discrimination on the rounds of race, religion, sex, age, marital status, pregnancy/maternity, and disability. She has acted in cases concerning both direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation, harassment, and failures to make reasonable adjustments. She has a particular interest in maternity and parental rights and is the author of the employment rights chapter in Surrogacy: Law and Practice.
In addition to discrimination claims, Eirwen is regularly instructed in cases involving unfair and wrongful dismissal and unlawful detriment. She has experience of cases concerning constructive dismissal, TUPE-related dismissals, health and safety related dismissals, whistle-blowing, construction of employment contracts, wages claims, and jurisdictional issues. During pupillage she also gained experience of cases involving restraints of trade.
Eirwen is a director/trustee of the Discrimination Law Association and a member of the Employment Lawyers Association junior lawyers steering group. She was a member of Employment Lawyers Association working groups on the BIS consultation on tips, gratuities and service charges, and on the GEO consultation on caste discrimination. She is currently seconded to the Equality and Human Rights Commission as an in-house lawyer.
- Public Law and Local Government
Eirwen accepts instructions on behalf of both claimants and public bodies in matters relating to children and adult social services. She is particularly interested in and has acted in judicial review proceedings concerning the provision of social care services to those with no recourse to public funds, local authorities’ responsibilities under Part III of the Children Act 1989, the relationship between housing and community care legislation, and local authorities’ obligations under the Care Act 2014. Eirwen also advises on disputes between local authorities in relation to ordinary residence, and is a regular contributor to Local Government Lawyer.
Prior to coming to the Bar, Eirwen worked as a case worker with a Legal 500 ranked administrative and public law solicitors’ firm, where she gained significant experience of bringing claims for judicial review against local authorities. She is a member of the Women’s Migration and Asylum Network.
Prior to coming to the Bar, Eirwen worked for a Tier 1 education law solicitors’ firm where she gained experience of education law matters relating to both schools and universities. Since coming to the Bar Eirwen has acted for parents in school exclusion cases before governors and Independent Review Panels and has also provided legal advice to Independent Review Panels in respect of school admissions appeals. She is currently on secondment to the Equality and Human Rights Commission where she is working on the Commission’s access to justice pilot targeting discrimination in education.
Court of Protection
Eirwen regularly appears in welfare applications in the Court of Protection and in s.21A appeals. She also has experience of county court applications to displace the nearest relative, and has represented the successful respondent in an appeal in the Court of Protection. During pupillage, Eirwen assisted Jonathan Cowen in a number of cases concerning the deprivation of liberty of children without capacity, including Re D (A Child; deprivation of liberty)  EWHC 922 (Fam).
Eirwen has a keen interest in human rights law and is currently seconded to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She was junior counsel for the Claimants in Williams & Anor v London Borough of Hackney  EWHC 2629 (QB), a High Court negligence and Human Rights Act claim against a local authority, in which Sir Robert Francis QC, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, held that the local authority had failed in its obligations under Part III of the Children Act, in breach of the Claimants’ Article 8 rights. She continued to act as junior counsel for the Claimants in the Court of Appeal  EWCA Civ 26.
Public Interest Immunity
Eirwen regularly advises local authorities in respect of disclosure obligations and public interest immunity applications.
Eirwen is regularly instructed on behalf of both landlords and tenants in the County Court. She has acted for both claimants and defendants in claims for possession against residential tenants of local authorities, housing associations and private landlords, and claims for possession against trespassers. Cases have concerned the section 21 procedure, rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, death of the tenant, non-occupation, disrepair, oppression in the execution of a warrant, rights of succession, public law and Equality Act defences, and many other issues. Eirwen has also appeared in High Court judicial review proceedings relating to local authorities’ homelessness obligations, and has advised in s.204 appeal cases.
Eirwen is particularly interested in social housing and homelessness, and in the application of discrimination and human rights law to housing matters. She has successfully defended possession proceedings relying on the public sector equality duty and disability discrimination.
Eirwen is also interested in the relationship between local authorities’ duties under the Housing Acts, the Children Act and the Care Act, and local authority obligations to accommodate care leavers and vulnerable children and adults.
- Notable Cases
R (on the application of JW) v London Borough of Hackney CO/4215/2016 (Admin) – Eirwen represented the Claimant, a profoundly learning disabled young man, in respect of a claim for failures to carry out lawful needs assessments, carers assessments, and to make lawful eligibility decisions, pursuant to the local authority’s obligations under the Care Act 2014. The Claimant also challenged the lawfulness of the local authority’s policy for provision of residential respite care. The case settled after permission was granted on all grounds, with the local authority agreeing to suspend their residential respite care policy, to adopt a new policy following a lawful consultation process, and to pay the Claimant’s costs.
London Borough of Hackney v Williams and Anor  EWCA Civ 26 – Eirwen was junior counsel for the Respondents in this case concerning local authorities’ obligations under s.20 of the Children Act 1989 and the extent to which failures to ensure parents give informed consent to the accommodation of their children can found a claim for Human Rights Act damages. Permission has been granted to appeal to the Supreme Court.
RG v The High Commission for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (2200366/2016) – Eirwen represents the Claimant in this ongoing claim for unfair dismissal, breach of contract, failure to pay the National Minimum Wage and breaches of the Working Time Regulations against an embassy. The claim involves complex issues concerning state immunity and is currently stayed pending the decision of the Supreme Court in Benkharbouche v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
R (on the application of W) v London Borough of Hackney and London Borough of Redbridge CO/841/2016 (Admin) – Eirwen represented the Claimant, an 18 year old, in respect of her claim against the authorities for breaches of their obligations under Part III of the Children Act 1989 and Part VII of the Housing Act 1996. Interim relief in the form of accommodation and financial assistance was awarded to the Claimant following a contested hearing and permission for judicial review was granted. The matter settled with the First Defendant agreeing to pay damages for breach of Article 8 rights.
Holman v Devon County Council UKEAT/0127/15/BA – Eirwen appeared as sole counsel and represented the successful Appellant in an appeal concerning the employment tribunal’s failure to give adequate reasons for their decision and the correct construction of a contractual term. HHJ Hand QC allowed the appeal on both grounds.
Williams & Anor v London Borough of Hackney  EWHC 2629 (QB) – Eirwen was junior counsel for the Claimants in this negligence and Human Rights Act claim against a local authority. The judge held that the local authority had failed in its obligations under Part III of the Children Act, breaching the Claimants’ Article 8 rights. He awarded £10,000 in damages to each Claimant.
R (on the application of M) v London Borough of Hackney  EWHC 3470 (Admin) – While a caseworker at John Ford Solicitors, Eirwen was part of the team that acted for the successful Claimant. HHJ McKenna found that the local authority’s decision about appropriate care provision for a disabled child, EZM, had been “plainly irrational” as it failed to carry out carers’ assessments of EZM’s parents prior to any decision-making.
Bar Professional Training Course – Outstanding
Graduate Diploma in Law – Distinction
BA (Hons) History – First Class (Warwick)
- Scholarships and Prizes
Queen Mother Scholar, Middle Temple
Certificate of Honour, Middle Temple
Lady Templeman-Master Singhvi Scholar, Middle Temple
Bar Council Law Reform Essay Competition, First Prize
The Lawyer Essay Competition, First Prize
Law Society Graham Turnbull Human Rights Essay Competition, Finalist
The Times Law Essay Competition, Third Prize
Human Rights Lawyers’ Association Bursar
Fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
Surrogacy Law and Practice (with R Cabeza, V Flowers and A Rao), Forthcoming
“Court of Appeal rules complete gender segregation in mixed-sex schools is discriminatory” Discrimination Law Association Briefings, Vol 63 (March 2018)
“Single parents of infants successfully challenge the revised benefits cap” Discrimination Law Association Briefings, Vol 62 (November 2017)
“Denying heterosexual couples civil partnerships is not a violation of Article 8” Discrimination Law Association Briefings, Vol 61 (July 2017)
“Criterion or reasons why? The EAT provides guidance on the correct approach in pregnancy/maternity discrimination claims” Field Court Chambers (27 April 2017)
“Is gender segregation in mixed schools discriminatory?” Discrimination Law Association Briefings, Vol 60 (March 2017)
“Section 20 and parental consent” Local Government Lawyer (2 February 2017)
“A requirement to work at weekends may indirectly discriminate against women” Discrimination Law Association Briefings, Vol 59 (Nov 2016)
“The territorial scope of work related Equality Act claims” Discrimination Law Association Briefings, Vol 58 (July 2016)
“False imprisonment, causation and damages claims” Local Government Lawyer (16 June 2016)
“Age Disputes and Leaving Care Obligations” Local Government Lawyer (9 April 2015)
“Placing Children with Family Members” Local Government Lawyer (with Hilton Harrop-Griffiths) (22 January 2015)
“Section 17 and No Recourse to Public Funds” Local Government Lawyer (15 January 2015)
“A Responsibility to Protect: UNHCR and statelessness in Egypt” New Issues in Refugee Research: UNHCR Research Paper No. 250, ISSN 1020-7473 (28 January 2013)
“Cameras in Court: Justice’s loss or gain?” The Times (29 March 2012)
“Escaping Diplomatic Impunity: the case for diplomatic law reform” The Bar Council (2010)
- Professional Memberships
Discrimination Law Association (DLA) – Director/Trustee
Employment Lawyers Association (ELA)
Human Rights Lawyers’ Association (HRLA)
Housing Law Practitioners Association (HLPA)
Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA)
Court of Protection Practitioners Association (COPPA)
Bar Human Rights Committee
Young Legal Aid Lawyers
Bar Pro Bono Unit