Dale Martin KC is one of the UK’s leading specialists in employment and commercial law. He is often instructed in appeals, in business-critical injunctive cases, in long-running multi-claimant litigation, and in cases concerning high net worth individuals. With a keen attention to detail and a compelling advocacy style, Dale has a formidable reputation. Dale’s team skills, his responsiveness and his reliability to work to deadlines are also highly valued amongst instructing solicitors. Dale is a natural trial and appellate advocate but uses his strategic insight, commercial judgement and tactical nous to position cases for favourable and confidential settlement where this achieves his clients’ objectives.
Ranked for a number of years by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 as a leading employment practitioner, Dale’s practice encompasses injunctions, restrictive covenant and conﬁdential information disputes, bonuses, ﬁduciary duties, shareholder disputes, contractual disputes, statutory claims including discrimination, whistleblowing and unfair dismissal, TUPE, trade union litigation, internal investigations and mediation/ADR. He also specialises in class-action litigation in the ﬁelds of equal pay and working time.
“Dale gets to grips with detail, providing direct and commercial advice. His client-handling skills are very good as he is highly personable. His commercial expertise and ability to analyse a complex problem are very impressive. He has a mastery of the tactics of cases and is a superb advocate on his feet.” Chambers & Partners 2024
“His calm, persuasive manner is deadly and destroys the other side. You do not want him on the other side.” Chambers & Partners 2024
“As an advocate Dale has the ability to both read the room and command it. His emotional intelligence makes him constantly adaptable and thus able to achieve outstanding results apparently out of nowhere.” Legal 500 2024
“Dale has an exceptional ability to strategise and his attention to detail is superb.” Chambers & Partners 2023
“Dale is fantastic to work with. He is bright, always very prepared, hugely hardworking, a real team player, and his advocacy is strong.” Legal 500 2023
“He is very clever and he is the person you go to if you want someone who really gets into the law and who will work on untested arguments.” Chambers & Partners 2022
“He is calm under pressure, he is tenacious and he is bright.” Chambers & Partners 2022
“Very bright and hard-working, thoughtful, and strong on equal pay.” Legal 500 2022
“He’s incredibly bright, has fantastic attention to detail and is very hands-on.” “He gets straight to the point and doesn’t give in.” Chambers & Partners 2021
“Tenacious and very bright, with excellent drafting – he is a great team member. He is meticulous in his preparation and inventive in his solutions. A credit to his chambers and the profession.” Legal 500 2021
“He masters the detail and gives good, sound, incredibly commercial advice.” “Very sharp-witted, clear and great with clients.” Chambers & Partners 2020
Dale’s recent work includes:
Appearing in and advising on numerous multi-party/business protection injunctive proceedings and related damages claims. Examples from 2023 and late 2022 include:
- Instructed to defend an injunction application issued in the Chancery Division on behalf of a partner resisting exclusion by four other partners from a c.£70m family farming business. Involved complex submissions on the interrelation between the rights and obligations of partners arising out of the Partnership Act 1890/the Partnership Agreement and the fiduciary duties owed as directors to a related service company. It also required, at very short notice, a mastery and deployment of a detailed and lengthy factual chronology of events.
- Instructed to defend a team move injunction brought by a leading holiday provider against business sellers and former employees to restrain breaches of a share purchase agreement and employment contracts, misuse of confidential information, for springboard relief and damages for breach of fiduciary duty, contract and confidence. The dispute featured an application for onerous interim relief including the imaging of personal devices.
- Instructed by a leading IT provider in relation to a large-scale damages claim for breach of fiduciary duties, contractual obligations and confidence, diversion of business and conspiracy following a team move and the establishment of a competing business that traded with a number of former clients. The case involved complex questions concerning an account of profits, calculation of losses and limitation.
- Acting for one of two equal shareholders in an electric car battery joint venture with a view to breaking the deadlock in the company. The case featured restrictive covenants in a founders’/shareholders’ agreement, restrictive covenants entered into between companies, unfair prejudice, consideration of an application for a just and equitable winding up of the Company and a complex web of highly bespoke agreements made between the members of the company.
- Appeared in a team move injunction application brought against numerous defendants alleging diversion of employees and clients of a large accountancy practice, breach of fiduciary duties and vendor/purchaser and employment restrictive covenants, and claiming springboard relief and orders to prevent misuse of confidential information/imaging of devices.
- Appeared in an injunction application brought against two departing employees in the electronics industry, involving complex legal submissions on the extent of protectable ‘confidential information’ and springboard relief, the limitations of such protection where no (or ineffectual) restrictive covenants are in place and the proper approach to ‘American Cyanamid plus’ in the springboard context.
- Advising a pharmaceutical sales and distribution business as to a damages claim based on a recently discovered but historical multi-million pound diversion of business carried out by its former managing director, who engaged in a covert conspiracy with others to divert business and the loyalty of clients and staff over a course of many months. The case was paper heavy and the investigatory work of piecing together the chronology of unlawful activity was highly complex.
Acting in appellate, civil and employment tribunal arenas defending multiple equal pay claims, Dale is one of the few true respondent experts in this area.
- Dale appeared at the Court of Appeal following a successful three-day appeal to the EAT on requirements for presentation of multiple claims in the context of over 1000 equal pay claims against Dale’s supermarket client Asda Stores Ltd v. Brierley  ICR 910. Dale appeared at the EAT in 2020 in an appeal concerning the requirements for making amendments in tribunal proceedings Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd v. Ahmed. Dale was also instructed in an appeal relating to Early Conciliation certificates in the context of equal pay Clark v. Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd  ICR 20,  IRLR 996.
- In 2023, Dale was instructed (leading Sophia Berry) to defend a large national charity at a 6 day equal pay material factor The litigation had huge financial consequences because over 1,000 employees carried out the same role as the Claimant.
- Dale continues to defend multiple equal pay claims for a number of retailers in both the employment tribunal and the civil courts. He is instructed on behalf of a leading national retailer in a multi-day hearing listed for 2024 (leading Lydia Banerjee).
Further recent work from 2023 and 2022:
- Instructed by a $3m p.a. banker to represent him against his former employer (a multi-national bank) in respect of his dismissal and bonus The case featured an intricate web of complex agreements, share incentive plans giving rise to difficult legal issues relating to discretion and good leaver/bad leaver terms and claims of whistleblowing and associative disability discrimination. (2023)
- Instructed to appear at a 12 day trial on behalf of a senior solicitor and LLP member of a leading international law firm in a complex whistleblowing/unfair dismissal case alleging career long losses. The case involved difficult disclosure and privacy aspects, concerning as it did underlying allegations of improper conduct and negligence in client matters and how those matters had been addressed by the firm. (2023)
- Instructed by a city exec to advance bonus and share option claims challenging the applicability of his written terms, giving rise to issues concerning entire agreement clauses, collateral contracts, contractual discretions and complex forensic and FCA compliance issues. (2023)
- Instructed to defend the majority shareholder in an unfair prejudice petition and tribunal proceedings brought by the minority shareholder and former MD of a company worth in excess of £50m, who was excluded for gross misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty. Also instructed to bring proceedings on behalf of the Company to recover sums owed by the minority shareholder (c£1m). (2023, ongoing)
- Appearing on behalf of a family property company (c£30m+) in a complex and paper heavy case involving allegations of dishonesty/gross misconduct brought by a former Managing Director claiming both unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal and threatening substantial high court litigation for bonus and salary. An appeal was made to the Employment Appeal Tribunal following Dale’s successful application for a deposit order in the tribunal (appeal hearing and trial in 2024, ongoing).
- Instructed to act for a Managing Director working for a boutique financial services business, claiming in respect of her share options, whistleblowing, equal pay and sex and disability discrimination (2023, ongoing)
- Instructed to advise a factory operator in relation to prospective litigation on the part of 800+ shop floor workers in respect of national minimum wage claims and related regulatory and criminal sanctions. A highly sensitive and complex case. (2022)
- Instructed to defend a claim by a business-seller CEO following a £7m Share Purchase Agreement, entailing disability discrimination, unfair dismissal and unlawful deductions from wages in the employment tribunal allied with civil claims on both sides under the SPA (2022-2023).
- Advising a local authority as to the reach of the Conduct of Employment Agency Regulations 2003 and the legality of using agency labour during industrial action (2023).
- Advising a quasi-governmental organisation as to amendment of its founding legislation and the processes to be observed in order to effect change (2023).
- Advised in a complex employee/worker status class action dispute concerning an online estate agency; an important case for today’s gig economy, involving complex licencing agreements and interposed ‘paper’ companies. Difficult strategic and disclosure issues. (2022)