Ed Pepperall QC Employment

Call: 1989 | Silk: 2013


Ed is regularly instructed in multi-million pound commercial and professional negligence litigation. He has particular expertise in the law of restraint of trade and confidentiality and in commercial fraud work. Ed understands the flexibility required to handle urgent and high value work. He is numerate and works well with forensic accountants. His more substantial cases include:

– A £70 million fraud claim in which Ed acted for the UK’s 5 largest brewers with a market share of over 82%.
– A US$100 million claim in the ICC Court of Arbitration in respect of a pan-European marketing agreement for a pharmaceutical device.
– Advice on duties of confidence owed by a former executive in respect of a £350 million commercial dispute.
– Advice on a US$12 million contract for the supply of military equipment to a Cypriot company for onward supply to Iraq.

Ed’s clients include a number of FTSE100 companies, US and Russian companies, the entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, a serving judge and a leading Formula 1 racing team.

Ed is a member of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee and regularly gives seminars, webinars and TV interviews on both procedural and substantive law. He is a lead advocacy tutor for Lincoln’s Inn teaching other barristers both in England and overseas. Ed sits as a recorder.

What the directories say:

Handles a broad range of matters, predominantly for employers. His areas of expertise include injunctions, the enforcement of restrictive covenants, the dismissal of senior executives, complex Employment Tribunals, and race discrimination proceedings.  Expertise: “He is recognised as a specialist employment silk.” “He is very good and responsive, and has an eye on what the client wants to achieve. He has a pragmatic approach.” CHAMBERS UK 2015

Recommended for high-profile and high-value commercial litigation. He has significant expertise in commercial contract disputes and also specialises in professional negligence cases. Expertise: “He is a top choice for disputes involving business sales.” “He is very commanding in court and has a polished presence.” – CHAMBERS UK 2015

Ed is highly recommended by recent editions of Chambers & Partners:

“Much-praised new silk. He’s very knowledgeable and has a very good commercial sense. He’s an excellent advocate and a very powerful ally to have in the courtroom.”

“He is very impressive, both on paper and on his feet; his mind works incredibly quickly when faced with curve balls.”

“Someone you go to when you need a win, he instils confidence because his clients know he’s so good at what he does.”

“He’s very user-friendly and you get none of the pomposity you often get from counsel. He understands how solicitors operate, and he knuckles down and has a hands-on approach.”

“He is very good on his feet and has a high degree of gravitas about him.”

“This absolutely brilliant barrister is at the leading edge when it comes to corporate covenant disputes and has unparalleled expertise in obtaining injunctive relief.”

“Wonderfully organised in his approach, Ed Pepperall QC is noted for his creative, solutions-driven approach.”

“An extremely pragmatic advocate … what he does is high-value and done extremely well. He is wonderful with clients and highly recommended.”

“He is very affable and easy to get on with and his relaxed and calm approach instils confidence.”

“His no-nonsense attitude and diligent, thorough approach ensures that he remains a favourite.”

Reported Cases:

  • Back Office Ltd v. Percival & Others [2013] EWHC 1385 (QB) – Restraint of trade & commercial fraud claim.  Principles applicable to findings of civil contempt against companies, company directors & individual employees for breach of undertakings given to settle a restraint of trade case.
  • Caterpillar Logistics Services (UK) Ltd v. Huesca de Crean [2012] 3 All ER 129 (CA) & [2012] IRLR 410 (QB) – Injunction: whether available to restrain senior employee / fiduciary from taking employment on the other side of a highly contentious US$15 million contract. Breach of confidentiality & conflicts of interest.
  • George Wimpey v. Valley & Vale [2012] 2 EGLR 113 (CA) & [2011] EWHC 1833 (Ch) – Whether unpaid seller’s lien arises on £5 million agreement to surrender lease. Whether entitled to partial specific performance on waiving a condition.
  • Obsession Hair & Day Spa Ltd v. Hi-Lite Electrical Ltd [2011] EWCA 1148, White Book (Vol 1) – Failure of judge to give reasoned judgment dismissing tort claim in £3 million professional liability claim. Proper measure of damages in concurrent liability cases. Court of Appeal’s power to set aside permission to appeal.
  • Sandhu v. Jet Star Retail Ltd [2010] EWHC 1936 (QB) – Whether retention of title clause operated to prevent title passing to retail items worth £1 million upon buyer’s insolvency.
  • Cavendish Corporate Finance LLP v. GIL Investments Ltd [2009] EWCA Civ 368 (CA) – Proper construction of contract for corporate finance fee upon multi-million pound company sale.
  • Re Britannia Heat Transfer Ltd [2007] BCC 470 (Ch) – Norris J gave guidance on interplay between a CVA and the employment protection provisions against contracting out of claims (s203 Employment Rights Act 1996).
  • Fusion Interactive Communication Solutions v. Venture Investment Placement [2005] 2 BCLC 250 (Ch) – Injunction to restrain advertisement of a winding-up petition on just & equitable grounds. Authority of individual directors to instruct solicitors.
  • Re Zebra Industrial Projects Ltd [2005] BCC 104 (Ch) – Whether assets of failed CVA were held on trust for CVA creditors or general body of creditors.
  • Vincent v. Servite Homes Ltd [2002] EWCA Civ 852 – Whether employer estopped from denying liability to pay contractual PHI to employee.
  • English v. Emery Reimbold & Strick Ltd [2002] 1 WLR 2409 (CA) – Leading decision on judge’s duty to give a reasoned judgment (before Lord Phillips MR).
  • Lennon v. Alvis Industries plc (2000) CA – Whether claim statute barred.
  • Monnington v. Bonnells Electrical Contractors Ltd (1999) CA – Proper construction of agreement settling professional negligence claims and expert’s claim for unpaid fees.

Qualifications and Appointments:

  • Diploma in International Arbitration (CIArb, 2015)
  • Tutor in Advanced International Advocacy, Keble College, Oxford
  • Contributing author, Civil Court Practice (the White Book)
  • 1988 Birmingham University LLB (Hons)
  • 1989 Inns of Court School of Law, Bar Finals
  • 2009 Recorder, Crown Court
  • 2010 Recorder, County Court
  • 2010 Member of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee
  • 2012 Consultant Editorial Board, Lexis-Nexis PSL (Dispute Resolution)
  • 2013 Queen’s Counsel
  • 2014 MCIArb


  • Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR)
  • Midland Chancery & Commercial Bar Association (MCCBA)
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)

Ed’s professional services are offered through Ed Pepperall QC Limited, a company incorporated in England & Wales under company number 9556576.  The company’s registered office is at St Philips Chambers, 55 Temple Row, Birmingham B2 5LS.


Strongly recommended by the legal directories, Ed specialises in high-value and complex employment claims in both the High Court and tribunals. He has cross-over expertise in commercial work and is regularly instructed in High Court claims to restrain former executives from taking competing employment and for damages arising from unlawful diversion of business. Ed's commercial experience allows him to deal with all issues involved in the departure of senior executives from any tribunal claims to High Court disputes over covenants, alleged breaches of duty, directorships and shareholdings.

In addition he is much in demand for long and complex discrimination claims, especially in the public sector.

High Court / Court of Appeal - Ed acted for the successful executive against the leading restrictive covenant silk, Selwyn Bloch QC, in a claim to restrain her from taking employment on the other side of an acrimonious US$15 million contract. The case, which Ed won both before Mr Justice Tugendhat and in the Court of Appeal, gave important guidance on the interplay between the law of conflicts of interest and the law of confidentiality in employment contracts.

Ed has acted in four recent High Court claims (the largest worth over £2 million) in which the former managing director was alleged to have "stolen" the company's confidential information and fraudulently diverted business opportunities to a new business set up in breach of express covenants.

Ed has recently advised on a wrongful dismissal claim and the consequential claim under the shareholders' agreement in respect of the former directors shares worth in excess of £1 million.

Employment Tribunal - In 2012 Ed was instructed in a highly complex 28-day race discrimination trial involving some 26 witnesses and over 170 allegations, some against the Chief Executive. The claimant's case collapsed following Ed's 4-day cross-examination.

Other recent cases include:

- A 12-day race discrimination claim brought by 5 claimants against a local authority.

- A £1 million 8-day disability discrimination claim brought by a former director of an NHS Trust involving allegations against its Chief Executive.

- A £1 million whistle-blowing, constructive and wrongful dismissal claim by a former managing director arising from a dubious tax avoidance scheme.

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Ed is often instructed in long, complex and high profile discrimination cases, usually in the public sector. Typically he is involved where the employee was at board level or the allegations of discriminatory treatment are made against very senior employees or officers.

Recent cases include:

- 28-day race discrimination case involving over 170 allegations against very senior managers and the Chief Executive of a local authority. The claims were withdrawn after Ed's four-day cross-examination of the claimant.

- 12-day race discrimination claim brought by 5 local authority managers following a restructuring exercise.

- £1 million disability discrimination and constructive dismissal claim by a director of an NHS Trust involving allegations against the Chief Executive and Chairman.

- £1 million whistleblowing and constructive dismissal claim by a former managing director in respect of his company's involvement in a dubious tax avoidance scheme.

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Employment in the High Court

An "absolutely brilliant barrister at the leading edge when it comes to corporate covenant disputes", Ed has "unparalleled expertise in obtaining injunctive relief." He is "someone who you go to when you need a win, he instils confidence because his clients know he's so good at what he does." [Chambers UK, 2013]

Indeed Ed is regularly instructed in complex High Court disputes concerning restrictive covenants, breach of confidentiality, breach of fiduciary duty and diversion of business. In these cases Ed is able to bring his combined knowledge of commercial litigation and employment law to full effect.

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