MICHAEL DUGGAN QC
Michael is an employment and commercial Silk who specialises in all areas of employment law, at an individual and collective level, with particular experience of restrictive covenants, large scale wrongful dismissals, financial services, unfair dismissal, whistleblowing, discrimination and harassment and industrial action injunctions. In the commercial sphere he has particular expertise in worldwide freezing injunctions and search orders as well as petitions in the company court and proceedings in the commercial court. Recognised consistently by the legal directories, clients favour Michael for his first rate advocacy as well as being an "excellent adviser who will readily go to town on the right case”. Michael "impresses clients with his excellent preparation and common sense approach”.
Before taking Silk he was singled out as a "leading junior with excellent writing skills” who is"well known for his writings on unfair dismissal issues” and who "combines his commercial and employment based practice with construction law”.
Recent commendations have included:
- "Has huge knowledge and gives practical advice": Chambers & Partners 2013
- "Always willing to go the extra distance and make himself available... He impresses sources with his practical advice and guidance, particularly on wrongful and unfair dismissal cases, and large-scale collective redundancy cases": Chambers & Partners 2012
- "Thorough, reliable and down-to-earth”: Chambers & Partners 2011
The full breadth of Michael’s practice can only be taken in by reading his full curriculum vitae. Since taking Silk in April 2014, the Directories have commented:
- Stands out for his expertise in complex High Court litigation, including cases relating to restrictive covenants and team moves. He is an expert on all areas of employment law and is particularly strong on wrongful dismissal and discrimination claims.
- "Good for appellant and high-level work." "He is very client-friendly. He gives clear opinions in the cases he is working on and provides tremendous support."
practices in all areas of individual employment law, including unfair
dismissal, discrimination and wrongful dismissal acting for employer and
employees. He has acted in a number of high profile discrimination claims,
including Driskel v Peninsula
Business Services Ltd(EAT)
 IRLR 151 and DA’Bell v NSPCC 
- Advised and acted in cases involving
disability discrimination and age discrimination including Shiret
v Credit Suisse in which Michael acted for the successful Claimant
in a multi-million pound age discrimination claim.
- Acted in hundreds of unfair dismissal
claims over the years.
- Currently acting in over 400 cases
involving holiday pay in the Employment Tribunals.
- Counsel in stress cases, in the High
Court, County Court and Tribunal.
- Currently acts for a number of authorities
on the large scale equal pay claims and has written the leading text in
- Acted in and advised on many transfer of
undertakings cases, including Allenby v Liverpool Airport and
OTG Ltd v Barke and
others, Head Entertainments Ltd v Walker
and others 
- Has a particular specialism in restrictive
covenants: see section on covenants.
- Acts in high value wrongful dismissal
cases and bonus claims. In a recent claim he secured a £700,000 settlement
for his client.
- He has been involved over the last two
years in the holiday payment cases, in which he has acted for Respondents
facing over 400 claims.
substantial part of Michael’s practice in the last few years has involved
discrimination claims and he has acted in sex, race, age, disability and sexual
orientation claims for both Claimants and Respondents. Recent cases include:
- Acted for Gillingham Football Club in the
first case brought by a black footballer.
- Successfully defended a harassment claim
against an international company and its Japanese MD.
- Acts in dozens of high value disability
claims and recently secured a settlement of £½ million for a Claimant.
- Appeared before SENDIST acting for a
- Acts in disciplinary cases involving
regulators and has a particular expertise with FCA (formerly FSA) matters.
- Appears before professional bodies and recently
acted for a director of nursing before the NMC in which he persuaded the
panel to impose a restricted practice order rather than a suspension,
where there were serious allegations against a hospital.
- Member of the Bar Council Committee on
Equality, Diversity and Social Mobility as an elected member of the Bar
Ever since acting for the
construction companies on the Channel Tunnel project in the eighties in
obtaining injunctions to restrain unlawful industrial action, Michael has acted
in many injunction cases involving unlawful strikes or other industrial action
as well as advising trade unions in relation to the ballot process, most
recently the BAJ in a dispute about mass redundancies.
- Admitted to the Bar of Northern Ireland in
2008 in order to represent a company in the NICA regarding a strike at
Belfast airport, in which the issue was whether shop stewards had been
dismissed for ‘political activities’.
- Appeared before the CAC and in 2010 acted
for a company concerning the scope of the bargaining unit and represented
the BAJ in its 2009-2010 pay claim which went to arbitration before an
ACAS nominated panel, successfully obtaining a ‘binding in honour’ pay
- Acted for a number of companies in the
Tribunals, defending claims of alleged trade union discrimination in
relation to the so called ‘blacklist’ which was kept by the Consulting
- Acted in cases concerning collective
consultation under section 188 of TULR(C)A 1992.
- Acted for a Respondent in which a whole
plant had been closed down with the issue being whether there had been
over 99 redundancies in 90 days and whether there had been meaningful
- Counsel for the successful Appellant in Shanahan Engineering v Unite the
saving his client hundreds of thousands of pounds.
- Acted for Parcelforce in relation to
closure of a distribution centre.
- In February 2015, acted for 24 Claimants
in relation to the closure of a depot and secured a settlement of hundreds
of thousands of pounds.
- As well as his injunctive work in relation
to restrictive covenants and labour law, Michael has acted in cases
involving freezing orders and search orders arising out of large scale
commercial disputes, in the QBD, Chancery Division and in the Commercial
Restraint of trade and
restrictive covenants are a central area of Michael’s practice. He appears
regularly in applications for interim relief both on a without notice and
contested basis. He is also an expert in drafting and advising in this field.
He has particular expertise in relation to recruitment agency injunctions,
financial institutions and injunctions involving computer imaging or complex
- Michael very recently acted for the successful party in Sunrise
Brokers LLP v Rodgers  IRLR 57, a case on garden leave which has
been widely commented upon.
- Other cases include: Ashcourt Rowan Financial Planning Ltd v
IRLR 637; EE & Brian Smith v Hodson & Ors 
EWCA Civ 1210; Intercall Conferencing Services Ltd v
Steer  EWHC
519 (QB); Brake Brother v Ungless  EWHC 2799; Turner v Commonwealth & British Minerals Ltd(CA)  IRLR 114; Wincanton Ltd v Cranny & anr  IRLR 716; Taylor Stuart & Co v Timothy Croft (ChDiv) 07.05.97
- Michael acted for the successful Claimant in Kynixa Ltd v Hynes & Ors  EWHC 1495 (QB) (30 June 2008)
in which the three Defendants were found to be liable, after a nineteen day
trial, for breach of fiduciary duty and duties of fidelity as well as various
covenants. The Claimant obtained costs approaching £1 million after being
awarded £350,000 on a successful ‘on account’ application. The case has been
referred to at length in the leading textbooks as containing important points
on the extent of liability for breach of the duty of fidelity
- Michael also regularly advises on the scope and enforceability
of covenants as well as drafting appropriate covenants for clients. He spoke on
restrictive covenants at the ELA 2013 Annual Conference under the title ‘The
Perfect Restrictive Covenant; does it exist?’ and has been in regular demand to
speak on numerous occasions on restrictive covenants in the ELA regions, most
recently speaking in February 2015 in Leeds.
Michael has been instructed
in many commercial cases including sale of goods, retention of title clauses
and professional negligence, especially relating to architects, surveyors and
solicitors’ negligence and has a particular expertise in interim applications
involving freezing and search orders. He has acted for a number of financial
institutions, including cases in the commercial court involving insurance
- He has acted in commercial disputes as diverse as the negligent
piloting of a helicopter to overpayments of insurance payments by a solicitors’
Firm to a dispute about royalties for a Status Quo documentary.
- Michael has also acted in receivership disputes and for building
societies in cases involving professional negligence. He also acts in
shareholder disputes, particularly relation to unfair prejudice and minority
shareholder petitions and has lectured to ELA on corporate matters that may
overlap with employment cases.
- In the commercial agency field, Michael acts for both Principals
and Agents in commercial agency disputes and has substantial experience of
Commercial Agency Contract cases under the 1993 Regulations.
- Involved in the large scale multi million pounds Enron
electricity and gas utilities in which he achieved a substantial settlement for
his clients by obtaining a concession that they were commercial agents.
- Successfully acted in the first case to decide that commercial
agents owe a duty of trust and confidence akin to an employment relationship to
their Principal: see Gledhill v Bentley Designs(UK) Limited  EWHC B8 (Mercantile).
- Michael has been instructed in Technology and Construction Court
cases since he commenced practice, including multi-million pound disputes
relating to construction defects, extensions of time and disputes under JCT and
ICE contracts, Architect and surveyor disputes as well as appearing in
arbitrations and, allied to the construction side, has dealt with many health
and safety cases (both Civil relating to Prohibition Notices and Criminal
prosecutions because of defective plant). He was recently instructed in a 7 million
pound case involving the defective manufacture and commissioning of plant.
Michael is an accredited Mediator
with the ADR Group and can mediate on a wide range of matters. He has mediated
cases as diverse as the parties falling out over the sale of a used car to a
dispute between a bursar and the Fellows of the College. He has been a regular
mediator in employment disputes involving large sums of money.
In 2014 Michael set up Duggan
Press Limited so that he could have control over future editions of his
well-known texts, which will be rolled out over the next 2 years being:
on Contracts of Employment; Law Practice and Guidance'
Dismissal and breach of contract: Law, Practice and Precedents'
Reorganisations and Employment Law; Reorganisations, Redundancies and
Dismissal, Law Practice and Precedents'
The Duggan Press website is due to go live in Spring 2015 and
will contain regular updates on topical employment matters.
He has written many books on
employment law. These include:
Friendly Policies: A Handbook for Employers and Employees'(pp 423)
Law of Industrial Action and Trade Union Recognition (2nd Edition) with Bowers QC and Reade