It may be a well-worn statement but it is entirely true that “employees are an organisation’s most valuable asset”. It is equally true that getting the most from employees is no easy task, one that requires particular skills and expertise as well as a large investment of time.

The Hugh James employment and HR legal specialists deliver astute expertise to ensure that your greatest asset doesn’t turn into your worst nightmare. We work in partnership with clients to offer pragmatic solutions, minimise risk and help maximise human capital.

We adopt an innovative approach to employment law as we understand that advising about employment means going much further than just understanding the law. We take time to understand the bigger picture – the regulatory context, the internal ramifications and the sensitivities so that we can deliver effective legal solutions that work for you.

The team provides a comprehensive range of services in dealing with professional and operational HR issues and handles a variety of employment law work.  We deliver high quality services that make a real difference to businesses. Our services include:

  • absence management;
  • advice on legislation, relevant case law, best practice guidance;
  • defending employment tribunal claims, including all preparation and advocacy;
  • dispute resolution and mediation;
  • drafting contracts, contractual disputes and implementation of contractual changes;
  • expert advice on atypical working i.e. part time and fixed term employees;
  • HR policies and procedures;
  • managing diversity – ensuring compliance, best practice and resolving conflicts;
  • managing risk of dismissal processes;
  • pensions and employee benefits;
  • redundancies, restructuring and change management;
  • stress and bullying claims; and
  • TUPE.


Examples of some recent employment matters that the Hugh James employment team have worked on:

  • advising (in conjunction with our corporate team) on complex procurement exercises or business sales/purchases;
  • acting as presenting officers for the General Teaching Council for Wales in professional misconduct and capability hearings;
  • acting on behalf of a transport sector client in relation to a long-running grievance, implementing changes at senior management level, mentoring, restructuring of the departments and a change management process;
  • advising a public sector client on a number of difficult performance and grievance issues at a senior level including allegations of whistle blowing bullying and harassment;
  • advising and providing guidance to a Welsh Government sponsored organisation on trade union recognition and information and consultation;
  • advising both private and public sector clients in respect of trade union matters;
  • advising a public sector client on a number of matters, including issues arising out of the implementation of an agreed job evaluation process;
  • advising a Housing Association client on the harmonisation of terms and conditions of employment following a TUPE transfer including complex issues regarding pension benefits. This resulted in successfully defending a multi-party claim in relation to the imposed changes to terms and conditions.


“It’s an excellent firm – they conduct their business with technical expertise and humility. From the top to the bottom of the organisation they work as a team and want to do the best for their client.”

“They’re efficient, reliable and they instil confidence.”
Chambers UK 2017

Hugh James is able to find the right person to help and support me when the urgency hits.
Chambers UK 2015

The Hugh James employment team offers a variety of employment services, with a particularly strong specialism in acting on matters in the housing sector. Clients include employers as well as a number of senior individuals. Sources commend the team for preserving a Welsh identity while attracting a solid stable of clients both in Wales and further afield. Emma Burns leads the work of the team and is described as “very pleasant to work with.”
Chambers UK 2014

Emma Burns at Hugh James is a popular choice with clients. Her team secured new appointments to act for Cardiff Council and Brakes Bakery. The practice spans strategic workforce planning, including collective redundancy and TUPE matters, corporate support, and litigation.
The Legal 500 2013

Valued for its “availability, response time, clarity of steps necessary to achieve solutions and commercial approach to time keeping,” Hugh James is highlighted as a go-to firm for clients looking for a cost-effective employment solutions. Sources say: “They look at the issue from both a legal and a commercial point of view” and “they respond quickly and make the effort to ensure their advice is as cost-effective as possible.” Head of department Emma Burns provides “clear, concise, commercial advice.” Clients value the “strength of her knowledge and her negotiation-focused approach, coupled with her friendly and approachable style.”
Chambers UK 2013

“Whenever I need employment advice, I am re-assured to know that Louise is only a phone call away.  Over the years, the advice I have received from Louise has always enabled us to deal with employment matters competently, minimising any risk to the organisation. Louise is adept at clearly explaining complex employment matters to lay people.  Her knowledge, contacts and advice have undoubtedly enabled us to achieve early resolution with employment matters that are often complex and difficult.”
Lesley Davies, Chief Executive, Rhondda Housing Association

“Louise has assisted us with a number of projects from the delivery of interactive training sessions through to policy and procedural advice – the quality of her advice and the clarity of the guidance she offers is always second to none and based on an excellent technical knowledge and professional thoroughness”.
Simon Cox, HR Manager – UK & Ireland Invacare

“Takes time to understand our culture and to get involved in our issues. Works within our culture to find solutions that fit our business. Makes us feel that he is part of the company while working with us yet at the same time still able to take a helicopter view. Communicates feedback and recommendations effectively”.
HR consultancy and employment client

“Provided good support which inspired confidence. Very professional and courteous. Always got back when promised and in a timely manner and met his commitments. Always appreciate his ability to involve (the employment lawyers) when legal advice is required.”
HR consultancy and employment client

“Many of the issues we discussed were sensitive and potentially contentious. However, John’s challenging yet supportive approach helped the team to work through these in a focused and constructive way and enabled us to make some key strategic decisions”.
HR consultancy and employment client

“The service provided was worth every penny – it was money well spent. Not one aspect of the service could be improved. A bonus for us was using Hugh James – we wanted a top drawer firm and got one”.
HR consultancy and employment client

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Hodge House
114 - 116 St. Mary Street
Cardiff, CF10 1DY
Tel: 029 2022 4871
Fax: 029 2038 8222

Temple Chambers
3-7 Temple Avenue
London, EC4Y 0DA
Tel: 020 7936 3453
Fax: 020 3053 8562

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