Daniel Matovu

Daniel is highly regarded as an impressive courtroom advocate. His style and approach inspire great confidence in clients, and makes them feel very well supported. He is an intellectually strong, versatile and committed trial fighter.

His main specialist practice area is employment and employment-related fields. He acts for claimants and respondents: NHS Trusts, local authorities, major blue chip companies, professional firms and small businesses including charitable organisations as well as private individuals. He further assists as an advocate at the Employment Appeal Tribunal under the ELAAS scheme and leads equality and diversity training sessions for the Bar and Inns of Court.

He has considerable experience of personal injury litigation including industrial disease, and health and safety prosecutions which complement his employment practice, with a niche specialism in cases involving negligent dispensing errors.

He has successfully represented clients in professional disciplinary hearings (GMC and HPC), and regularly sits on (and occasionally chairs) ICC panels.

My work

I was involved in a well known case to do with racial harassment. In the case, a chef who used the term 'golliwog' in front of a black colleague was guilty of racial harassment, judges at the Court of Appeal ruled as they agreed the term was inherently racist. Lord Justice Floyd, sitting in the Court of Appeal, said that saying the term in front of a black person, whatever the context, was “offensive", as he upheld a ruling that chef who discussed the image was guilty of racial harassment. Mark McAleese, a chef at London School of Economics, used the term while he discussed food labelling in the presence of his black colleague Denise Lindsay. An employment tribunal found him guilty of harassment and three judges at the Court of Appeal upheld the finding.

Lord Justice Floyd said: “His failure to be truthful about the fact that he had used the term at all, coupled with his own subjective view that any use of the term in the presence of a black person would be offensive, formed an adequate evidential basis for the tribunal's finding that the words had been used by him on the grounds of race." Mr McAleese had swiftly apologised to his co-worker after the January 2009 incident and had not intended to violate Miss Lindsay's dignity or to "create an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment for her."

I represented Miss Lindsay and told the court: "White people don't get called golliwogs. The word is an overtly racial comment. Golliwog cannot be interpreted in any other way. What the authorities make clear is that, when something is inherently discriminatory and clearly has racial overtones, there is no further debate." Lord Justice Floyd agreed that the word 'golliwog' was "obviously racist and offensive" if used in the presence of a black person.

I have been involved in many other cases, such as:

Edgington t/a Hassocks Pet Centre v Hawthorn UKEAT/0250/12 EAT 8.10.12 (Judge Hand QC) - successful appeal argued against P Oldham QC on novel point regarding composition of tribunal and whether ET judge entitled to hear case sitting alone

Freedom Choice Care Ltd v Buchanan EAT 1.5.12 (Wilkie J) - appeal concerning serious irregularity in relation to composition of tribunal for remedies hearing where lay member on liability panel substituted by another lay member

Re. L before HPC Conduct & Competence Committee (April 2012) - held that fitness to practise of hearing aid dispenser who had forged customers' signatures not impaired and no sanction imposed

Dr Jameel v Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust EAT 25.4.12 (Judge Serota QC) - apparent bias allegation dismissed in a case where it was discovered that employment judge may have known respondent's non-executive director who sat as an ET lay member

Fairbank v Care Management Group UKEAT/0139/12 - EAT 20.3.12 (Slade J) successful appeal against order requiring claimant to provide ET with a concise statement of claims with minimal statement of supporting facts not exceeding one side of A4 paper.

Wood v Hampshire CC and others (March 2012) Southampton ET - conclusion of long-running complex litigation involving four sets of proceedings commenced in 2008/2009 with multiple claims including ordinary unfair dismissal, automatic unfair dismissal for TUPE transfer connected reason, sex discrimination, victimisation including post termination victimisation, redundancy and equal pay - all claims successfully dismissed on behalf of respondent

Gabriel v Peninsula Business Services UKEAT/0190/11 - EAT 23.2.12 (Judge Peter Clark) successful appeal on ground that at common law a contract of service could not be novated by substituting a new employer without the express or implied consent of the employee where no TUPE transfer had taken place

Re. Dr M before GMC Fitness to practise hearing (January 2011) - successfully defended paediatrician in disciplinary proceedings having been convicted of drink driving with blood alcohol reading of 265 mg (victim left permanently paralysed) and having received custodial sentence

Slingsby v Griffith Smith Solicitors EAT 10.2.09 (Judge Burke QC) [2009] All ER (D) 150; IDS Emp. Law Brief (May 2009) No. 876 pages 17-18 - successful appeal against Registrar's decision to allow employer's cross-appeal to be lodged one day out of time, thereby establishing that Abdelghafar principles applicable to extension of time for notice of appeal apply equally stringently to any cross-appeal

Kearney v Sonning Golf Club Ltd and Materia Reading ET (2004) - successfully defended manager of a golf club, unusually without calling him to give evidence, against complaint of sex discrimination harassment following breakdown in sexual relationship between himself and deputy manager

Jenkins v Legoland Windsor Park Ltd EAT 3.7.03 (Judge Reid QC) - successful appeal regarding claim for disability-related discrimination arising from presentation of a personalised lego model to employee and claimant subsequently awarded £20,000; this case received significant media attention in national press.

Smith v Gatwick Airport Ltd [2003] EWHC 233 Admin (Harrison J.) 11.2.03 - successful appeal regarding health and safety prosecution in relation to accident involving serious degloving injury sustained when fire door closed on special needs passenger conveyed in a buggy

South West Trains Ltd v Ireland EAT/0873/01 EAT 2.7.02 (Judge Levy QC) - successful appeal on behalf of respondent overturning decision that claimant was unfairly dismissed where ET wrongly substituted own decision for that of employer

Watson v John Lewis plc (2001 ET) - successfully defended JL Partnership Dress Code in relation to complaint of sex discrimination by man challenging ban on beards in Waitrose branch

Cootes v John Lewis plc EAT 27.2.01 (Judge Peter Clark) - successfully represented JL Partnership in appeal concerning complaint of sex discrimination regarding business dress uniform claimant was required to wear at work

Pizzey v Ford Motor Company Ltd [1994] PIQR P15 CA - whether privilege waived in relation to unfavourable medical report which had been inadvertently disclosed

What my clients say

Typical comments from clients include: "your focus and support throughout this case and the last has been exceptional and your grasp of the case and presentation to the tribunal has ensured that we achieved a positive outcome."

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