Colin Bourne

Colin Bourne


36 Young Street, Manchester, M3 3FT
DX: 718188 MCH 3
Direct Dial: 0161 832 9082


5 Park Square, Leeds, LS1 2NE
Direct Dial: 0113 242 1123


Embassy House, 60 Church Street,
Birmingham, B3 2DJ
Direct Dial: 0121 200 3570

Clerked by:
Paul Clarke


"He has compendious knowledge of the law, and is a tenacious and incisive advocate with a very user-friendly manner." "He is a robust individual and will always give full value to his clients." 

Chambers UK


Colin Bourne’s experience in and knowledge of employment law pre-dates his call to the Bar in 1997. Although the bulk of his practice is now respondent work, as a full-time officer for the National Union of Journalists between 1981 and 1996 he advised on pensions and European Works Councils as well as representing members in courts and tribunals. He has acted for and against local authorities and NHS Trusts and has much experience of complex, multi-party TUPE cases.

His practice as a mediator, although it includes many sensitive and complex discrimination cases, extends well beyond the employment field.

Year of Call: 1997


Areas of Expertise



With a range of Claimant and Respondent work in the pubic and private sector, Mr Bourne acts for private and corporate clients, trade unions and individual claimants in the whole range of employment related litigation:

Unfair dismissal, information and consultation, redundancy; National Minimum Wage and working time; discrimination;

Trade union recognition and industrial action

Contractual terms for senior employees, restrictive covenants and other post-termination restraints;

TUPE Regulations;


Extensive experience of police work including the Police Pensions Regulations; police discipline;

Significant Reported Cases

Junior counsel in Connolly v Sellers Arenascene [2001] EWCA Civ 184; [2001] ICR 760 CA - a case concerning whether a controlling shareholder can be an employee.

Lincolnshire County Council v Hopper [2002] ICR 1301 - whether a registrar of births marriages and deaths can be an employee.

Christie & others v John E Haith Limited [2003] IRLR 670 –equal pay.

Street v Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centre [2004] EWCA Civ 964 [2004] IRLR 687 CA – the leading case on the requirement for good faith when making protected disclosures.

Knapton and others v ECC Card Clothing [2006] ICR 1084, [2006] IRLR 756 – whether early receipt of non-contributory retirement pension to be deducted from post termination losses

B v A [2007] UKEATS/0029/06/MT – concerning the extent of the employer’s duty to make enquiries following criminal records check and ‘soft disclosure’ under the Police Act 1997.

Miles v Linkage Community Trust [2008] IRLR 602 argued successfully for a nil award in a Working Time Regs case

Metropolitan Resources v Churchill Dulwich & others [2009] IRLR 700 identifying a service provision change under TUPE 2006

Leeds City Council v Woodhouse UKEAT/0521/08/DA – employee of Arms Length Management Organisation was contract worker for purposes of Race Relations Act 1976 making Leeds City Council potentially liable for act of race discrimination by one of its own employees

McAteer v Housing Maintenance Solutions [2015] ICR 87 – identifying the correct date for a TUPE transfer



Accredited mediator with Centre for Dispute Resolution (CEDR)

Member Association of Northern Mediators

Colin was accredited by CEDR in 2000 and has since mediated in a wide range of commercial disputes, many of them high value and multi-party cases.

The mediator’s job is not to advise or to decide who is right or wrong. He/she does not have to be expert in the area of law that is the subject matter of the dispute; parties have their own legal advisers. Colin’s real skill lies in encouraging the parties to think differently.

Mr Bourne has long been an advocate of the use of mediation in complex cases, particularly where adversarial litigation is likely to have a destructive effect. Where there is a need to preserve existing relationships such an outcome is not within the gift of any Court or Tribunal.

Colin approaches disputes not merely to try to settle a claim but to deal with the underlying problem that led to the claim. He is particularly effective at helping all parties to look forward for a solution rather than backwards to apportion blame.

On the few occasions when the mediation does not result in agreement on the day it can narrow the areas of dispute and may lead to a resolution soon after.

His knowledge of and practice in employment law was developed over 35 years, predating his call to the Bar in 1997. While at the Bar he trained as a mediator with CEDR and has mediated in many different types of claims.

Recent successful non-employment mediations include:

Claim and counter-claim relating to use of warehouse facilities;
Professional negligence in large scale construction project;
Division of assets on wind-up of partnership;
Dispute over terms of will;
Withdrawal of University place;
Breach of contract/professional negligence in provision of services;

He has also mediated in high value employment claims concerning senior employees, shareholders and directors. Discrimination and harassment claims are especially suited to the process of mediation and Mr Bourne has wide experience both as mediator and as an advocate for parties in mediation.


Employment Law Bar Association

Employment Lawyers’ Association

Industrial Law Society

Association of Northern Mediators


LLB (Hons) Manchester Metropolitan University

BVC Inns of Court School of Law



Chambers UK 2019

"An exceptional advocate. His speed at getting to grips with a case is astounding and his retention of information is second to none. He is incredibly approachable and puts both the solicitor and the client at ease immediately."

Legal 500 2019

"Highly experienced in multi-party TUPE cases."

Previous editions of Chambers UK and the Legal 500 have commented.:

"His knowledge of trade unions and labour relations is very valuable."

‘Recommended for a broad spectrum of employment matters.’

His practice includes TUPE, unfair dismissal and whistleblowing cases.’

"He has compendious knowledge of the law, and is a tenacious and incisive advocate with a very user-friendly manner." "He is a robust individual and will always give full value to his clients." 

"He knows what he's doing; he's on top of the papers and he's happy to get involved with a fight."

"A persuasive advocate, who has a very good manner with clients."

"There's not a case or legal provision he doesn't know."

“encyclopaedic knowledge of discrimination law” “a formidable opponent” commended for his “precise advice and ability to put clients at ease in any situation” “always provides timely, high quality advice”

"He is a very experienced barrister in knotty discrimination cases. He is an excellent strategist, always four steps ahead." "He is a seasoned pro who knows the law inside out. He is very comfortable in employment advocacy; it's his subject area. He is a true specialist and I have the highest regard for him."


Chambers UK Logo 2016




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