Tom Rochford Employment

Call: 1984

Introduction

Tom studied law at Cambridge University, and has been a member of St Philips Chambers since its foundation.  He practises mainly in the fields of personal injury and clinical negligence.  Most of his cases are high value (£100,000 +) or complex.  He is instructed both by claimants and defendants (more claimant than defendant).  He is also instructed in employment cases (ET), and in commercial cases which are linked to his main fields of expertise (for example, professional negligence claims which arise from negligent handling of a personal injury case).  He is head of the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Groups within Chambers.  He is a School Governor of a primary school near his home in Warwickshire.

What the Directories Say:

Chambers and Partners 2020 (Clinical Negligence)
Frequently instructed in high-value cases on behalf of claimants. He has notable expertise in cases involving complicated medical issues, with a particular interest in complex schedules of loss.
Strengths: “He has a very quick grasp on matters and has a good nature with the clients.” “He’s very impressive; very methodical with a good eye for detail.” “He’s very good with clients that are distressed; he has got a sure touch with clients who are troubled.”

Chambers and Partners 2020 (Personal Injury)
Mainly represents claimants in high-value personal injury cases involving issues such as RTAs and employers’ liability. Instructing solicitors value his experience, thorough approach and client rapport.
Strengths: “He is courteous, persuasive and authoritative, and he knows the law inside and out. I would rather have him on my side than as an opponent.”

Legal 500 (2015)
Ranked within personal injury and clinical negligence, leading juniors
“Very thorough, with excellent attention to detail in advice, pleadings and schedules.”

Qualifications and Appointments:

MA (Cantab)

Recorder (Crown Court and County Court)

Memberships:

  • Personal Injury Bar Association
  • Birmingham Medico-Legal Society
  • Employment Lawyers Association
  • Employment Law Bar Association

Employment

Tom’s work covers a wide range of employment cases. Whilst most of his cases involve discrimination, his practice also covers whistle-blowing, breach of contract (Court and Tribunal) and unfair dismissal, usually involving senior employees or other complicating features. Although most of his work is for Respondents, a substantial part of it is for Claimants; for example, he is regularly instructed by the Pharmaceutical Defence Association Union. He is currently involved in a series of cases against Boots (who have instructed a well-known QC), where the Tribunal accepted Tom's argument that Boots' cotracts fo employnmet did not give them the right to change the rate of pay for weekend working.

As well as general Tribunal cases, Tom recently represented the principal of a specialist college who resigned in the face of unjustified disciplinary proceedings; his High Court claim for wrongful dismissal was successfully compromised. He also recently represented a University Professor whose offer of employment at a prominent University was withdrawn before he took up the post, due to allegations of misconduct; again, Court proceedings were successfully compromised.

He also advises and represents clients in cases involving covenants in restraint of trade and misuse of confidential information.

Reported Cases:

Woods v Pasab Ltd t/a Jhoots Pharmacy [2012] Eq. L. R. 124 (EAT) and [2012] Eq. L. R. 392 (CofA). (Also the subject of Briefing Note 667 in DLA Briefings Vol 48 March 2013.)   A case of alleged victimisation under the Religion and Belief Regs. Analysis of “the reason why” the employer dismissed the employee, where the employer regarded the complaint as a racist comment rather than as a complaint of discrimination.

Andrews v Kings College Hospital NHS Trust [2012] Eq. L. R. 1032 (EAT). A part-time workers pension claim. The Claimant , a retired nurse, had her claim struck out. A breach of contract (Scally) claim was struck out as being out of time (more than three months after the end of her employment), and another aspect was struck out as having no reasonable prospects of success.   Both elements were reinstated in the EAT. The claim then went back to the ET, resulting in a further appeal to the EAT;   judgment is awaited.

 

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Discrimination

Much of Tom’s Tribunal work involves cases of discrimination. Although most of his work is for Respondents, a substantial part of it is for Claimants; for example, he is regularly instructed by the Pharmaceutical Defence Association Union.

Tom’s practice extends beyond employment law into the fields of personal injury and, in particular, clinical negligence. Through this, he has developed and maintained an expertise in medical matters that is often of use in disability discrimination cases.

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Employment in the High Court

Tom has substantial experience of High and Copunty Court actions, including claims based on covenants in restraint of trade and misuse of confidential information. Further details are set out in the introductory section.

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Mediation

Tom has been involved in a number of mediations, both judicial and non-judicial, as well as in joint settlemt meetings (ie where the parties have sought to reolve claism without a mediator). Details of Tom's general employment work is set out in the introductory section.

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