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Call: 2015
Joseph Bryan


Called to the Bar in 2015, Joe became a member of Littleton in October 2016 on completion of his pupillage. He is developing a busy practice in employment law and commercial litigation.

Joe has acted as sole counsel in the Employment Tribunals, the High Court (including on applications for interim injunctive relief) and the County Court.

Praise from clients and instructing solicitors:

  • “He put his case across to the judge in such a way that she could not say no! [My client] would want Joe fighting his corner any day.”
  • “superb, proactive” and “at ease with the client and good value from my point of view”
  • “down to earth, good, decent barrister” and “he was very professional but also matter of fact”
  • “prompt and detailed attention” with “very clear analysis”
  • “excellent – very impressed with his preparation and always helpful – great client care”

Joe speaks French and German, holding undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Modern Languages, and having worked in both France and Germany before coming to the Bar. He was ranked in the top three students in his law conversion course cohort and went on to be graded Outstanding in his Bar examinations.

Outside work, for better or worse, Joe travels far and wide to follow his hometown club Manchester United.



Joe regularly appears in the Employment Tribunals in discrimination, unfair dismissal, redundancy and contractual claims, for both claimants and respondents, across a range of industries.

Joe is at ease drafting claim forms and responses involving statutory and common law employment rights. His drafting work has recently been praised by instructing solicitors as “excellent”.

He has also acted in judicial mediations.

Recent cases include:

  • Representing the claimant in a multi-day harassment and sex discrimination case.
  • Successfully resisting a claim for pregnancy discrimination in the hospitality sector.
  • Opposing Queen’s Counsel, securing a four-figure compensatory award at a remedy hearing in an unfair redundancy claim.
  • Obtaining a costs award of £6,000 for an employer in the care sector, having successfully defeated a claim for constructive unfair dismissal.
  • Successfully resisting an application for the Employment Judge to recuse himself from a costs/wasted costs application on grounds of bias.
  • Successfully defending a claim for notice pay brought by an ex-employee of a major casino and obtaining costs for the employer.
  • Giving written advice on merits and quantum in a high-profile unfair dismissal claim for a senior official in local government.
  • Advising in conference on the merits and strategy of defending a claim for unfair dismissal and breach of contract claim for a third-sector client.
  • Obtaining a five-figure settlement and advising on the contents of a COT3 agreement for a claimant in a constructive unfair dismissal claim in the leisure services industry.

    High Court

Joe has a keen interest in High Court employment matters and has appeared, as sole counsel, on applications for interim injunctive relief.

He also assisted during his pupillage with a number of interim injunction applications (including in the information technology and insurance sectors).

He has also appeared in the High Court as sole counsel:

  • In the QBD, successfully resisting an application to enforce the terms of settlement of an EAT appeal.
  • On various applications to Masters in the QBD and Chancery Division.
  • On numerous winding-up petitions.

Joe is an experienced user of the Relativity electronic disclosure platform, having been instructed as junior counsel on a multi-million-pound investment dispute.


Joe has appeared as sole counsel in various commercial claims and applications in the County Court, including:

  • Successfully resisting a claim brought by a recruitment agency for an introduction fee.
  • Successfully defending a breach of contract claim brought against a major telecoms provider.
  • Appearing for a firm of solicitors seeking payment of outstanding fees.

Joe has also advised on civil litigation strategy and has drafted letters before action, pleadings and preliminary applications.


Joe is a member of Littleton’s Sports Law Group and welcomes instructions in sports law, both as sole counsel and led by more senior counsel.

He has previously been instructed to advise in a Rule K FA Arbitration.

As a pupil, Joe assisted his supervisor and other members of Chambers on various sports-related disputes, including:

  • Constructive unfair dismissal claim brought by the personal assistant to a football agent.
  • Drafting WP correspondence in a dispute between a Premiership rugby club and a coach.

    Education, Scholarships and Prizes

2015: Bar Professional Training Course: Outstanding

2014: Graduate Diploma in Law: Distinction

2012: MSt Modern Languages (University of Oxford): Distinction

2011: BA (Hons) Modern Languages (Durham University): First Class

  • Prize for performance in BPTC finals, Inner Temple (2015)
  • Law First Scholarship, University of Law (2014)
  • Exhibition Award, Inner Temple (2014)
  • Paul Methven Award, Inner Temple (2014)
  • Merton College Graduate Prize (2012)

    Publications and professional memberships

Recent articles:

  • ‘Joey Barton v The FA: Five things you need to know’
  • ‘Employees, Directors & the Future Path of Corporate Governance Reform’ (co-authored with James Bickford Smith)
  • ‘Equalities in Sport’, Sport Arbitration Handbook 2017-18 (Sport Resolutions UK) (co-authored with John Mehrzad)
  • ‘Pie-eating goalkeeper caught offside? Five things you need to know’
  • ‘High heels and workplace dress codes – is the law working?’
  • ‘Sam Allardyce leaves England post: the law behind the headlines’
  • ‘Five things you need to know: Sam Allardyce and alleged misconduct’

Professional memberships:

  • Employment Lawyers Association
  • ELBA
  • Inner Temple