Spencer Keen

Year of call 1998

CClerk

Paul Adams
020 7269 0305 Email Paul

Spencer is an advocate with a broad practice.  His main specialisms are employment, commercial law and European law.  He appears regularly in the High Court and Employment Tribunal and also has a busy non-contentious practice.

Chambers and Partners states that:

"He is an excellent advocate who instils confidence from the outset."

"He is pragmatic and gets to the heart of the matter quickly."

 

Discrimination, Employment and Human Rights Law

Spencer is recognised by both Chambers UK and the Legal 500 as a leading discrimination barrister who has expertise in disability discrimination law that is “second to none”.  He has appeared in several leading discrimination disputes and is sought after for his ability to deal with complex cases and high profile clients.  He has advised a large group of judges on their pension rights, city law firms in respect of internal partnership and disciplinary matters, a part-time judge in an unfair dismissal claim and several chief executives in their personal capacities.

Because of his expertise Spencer’s advice is often sought in areas outside employment such as discrimination in the provision of services.

In 2009 Oxford University Press published Spencer’s book, Disability Discrimination in Employment and he continues to contribute articles to the New Law Journal.

You can find out more about Spencer’s employment cases by  clicking here.

 

Employment Litigation in the High Court and Injunctions

Spencer has particular expertise in seeking and defending injunctions in a broad range of employment and commercial matters in the County Court and High Court.  He has been instructed on a wide variety of employee competition and business protection cases where injunctions are sought to require compliance with restrictive covenants or to protect a Company’s confidential information or trade secrets.

Examples:

  • Wicksteed Leisure v Kompan [2016] EWHC (QB) unreported.  Spencer represented the Claimant who was seeking an injunction to restrain an alleged theft of confidential information.
  • Decorus v Penfold & Ors [2016] EWHC 1421 (QB).  Spencer acted for the Defendant who had allegedly stolen a database of information and had sought to set up in competition with his employer upon leaving his employment.
  • Central Europe Business Development Ltd v Property Transfer Co-ordination Limited [2016] EWHC.  Spencer appeared for the Defendant on two return dates following the grant of proprietary and freezing injunctions.
  • Re-Use Collections v Sendall [2014] EWHC 3852 (QB).  Spencer acted for the Employer seeking damages and an injunction for the breach of restrictive covenants and breaches of the duty of good faith.

 

Find out more about Spencer’s High Court work by clicking here.

 

Directors Duties and Shareholder Disputes

Spencer also advises on general commercial matters, including breach of contract claims, shareholder disputes, partnership disputes and actions both for and against directors and senior employees (including breaches of fiduciary duties, disputes concerning bonuses and commission etc).  He has acted for shareholders in a wide variety of claims including claims for unlawful deduction and disputes over share transfers.

Examples of director’s duties and shareholder disputes:

  • Zavahir v Shankleman & Ors [2016] EWHC 2772 (Ch).  Spencer acted for a minority shareholder was seeking permission to bring a derivative claim on behalf of the Company which alleged that there had been an unlawful distribution contrary to s.830 of the Companies Act 2006.  This case is ongoing.
  • Hamilton College London Ltd and another v Ahmad & Anor [2013] EWHC 2072.  Case concerning a disputed transfer of a single issued share in the claimant company.

 

You can find out more about Spencer’s commercial work by clicking here.

 

Other cases

  • Boothe v Governing Body of Toynbee School UKEAT/0135/15/MC:  Whether the tribunal was correct to continue in the Appellant’s absence and whether Article 6 ECHR was engaged.
  • Edwin v Avante Partnership UKEAT/0187/14/DM. Whether a constructive dismissal required an express acceptance of a repudiatory breach.
  • X v. Mid Sussex Citizen's Advice Bureau & Anor  [2012] UKSC 59 (Supreme Court).  The leading case on whether a volunteer was protected from discrimination under domestic and EC law.
  • King v. Health Professions Council UKEAT/0169/11/CEA.   Whether an employment tribunal had jurisdiction to hear a claim brought by a person applying for a qualification as a health professional.
  • Shea v. Micros Fidelio [2011] UKEAT/0159/11/JOJ.  This case deals with how far should a tribunal intervene to assist a litigant in person.
  • Lisboa v. Realpubs [2011] All ER (D) 188.  Whether the new owners of a famous gay pub had discriminated against a barman on the grounds of sexual orientation when trying to re-brand so that persons of all sexualities were welcome.
  • Gill v Humanware Europe [2010] EWCA Civ 799.  Spencer acted for Mr Gill who had successfully sought wasted costs against opposing counsel in the EAT.  The Court of Appeal considered the correct approach to awarding wasted costs against an advocate.
  • Power v. Greater Manchester Police [2010] All ER (D) 173. Spencer acted for Greater Manchester Police in this case concerning whether a belief that one could communicate with persons after death was a belief protected by the discrimination legislation.
  • Gill v Humanware Europe [2009] UKEAT 0312_08_2702.  Spencer appeared for the successful appellant who was alleged that a tribunal judge was biased.

 

Examples of First Instance Cases

  • Moat v 2Gether Foundation NHS Trust:  Complex disability case in the employment tribunal brought by a consultant psychiatrist against the Trust.
  • South Wales Police v Darlington:  Spencer successfully defended the force who were accused of failing to make reasonable adjustments and breaching s.15 of the Equality Act.
  • Baylis v HMRC:  Dispute about the right of HMRC to proceed to enforcement after a mistaken finding that PAYE had been underpaid.

 

Professional Memberships

  • Employment Lawyers Association
  • Discrimination Law Association
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • Bamieh v European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo [2017].  Whether an international organisation has personality for the purposes of domestic law and the effect of Article 10 ECHR on the territorial jurisdiction of an English employment Tribunal.
  • Unison v Lord Chancellor (2017) Supreme Court. The judicial review concerning Employment Tribunal fees. Instructed by the intervener, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, led by Michael Ford QC.
  • Hayden Leigh v Channel Four [2017] EWHC. Interim injunction to prevent broadcast of television programme.
  • Zavahir v Shankleman & Ors [2016] EWHC.  Derivative claim alleging that an unlawful distribution contrary to s.830 of the Companies Act 2006 and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Wicksteed Leisure v Kompan [2016] EWHC.  Injunction to restrain an alleged theft of confidential information.
  • Decorus v Penfold & Ors [2016] EWHC.  Injunction regarding stolen confidential information and breach of covenant.
  • Central Europe Business Development Ltd v Property Transfer Co-ordination Ltd [2016] EWHC.  Proprietary and freezing injunctions.
  • Boothe v Governing Body of Toynbee School [2015] EAT :  Whether the tribunal was correct to continue in the Appellant’s absence and whether Article 6 ECHR was engaged.
  • Edwin v Avante Partnership [2015] EAT.  Whether a constructive dismissal required an express acceptance of a repudiatory breach.
  • Re-Use Collections v Sendall [2014] EWHC.  Claim for Damages and an injunction rising out of the breach of restrictive covenants and the duty of good faith.
  • Hamilton College London Ltd and another v Ahmad & Anor [2013] EWHC.  Case concerning a disputed transfer of a single issued share in the claimant company.
  • X v. Mid Sussex Citizen's Advice Bureau & Anor  [2012] UKSC 59 (Supreme Court).  The leading case on whether a volunteer was protected from discrimination under domestic and EC law.
  • King v. Health Professions Council [2012] EAT.   Whether an employment tribunal had jurisdiction to hear a claim brought by a person applying for a qualification as a health professional.
  • Shea v. Micros Fidelio [2011] EAT.  This case deals with how far should a tribunal intervene to assist a litigant in person.
  • Lisboa v. Realpubs [2011] EAT.  Whether the new owners of a famous gay pub had discriminated against a barman on the grounds of sexual orientation when trying to re-brand so that persons of all sexualities were welcome.
  • Gill v Humanware Europe [2010] EWCA.  The correct approach to awarding wasted costs against an advocate.
  • Power v. Greater Manchester Police [2010] ET and EAT. Whether a belief that one could communicate with persons after death was a belief protected by the discrimination legislation.
  • Gill v Humanware Europe [2009] EAT.  Spencer appeared for the successful appellant who was alleged that a tribunal judge was biased.
  • The Queen on the Application of UNISON v. The Lord Chancellor and EHRC (Intervener)

    The High Court (Moses LJ, Irwin J) today delivered judgment in the important judicial review proceedings brought by UNISON to challenge the fees regime introduced in the employment tribunal and...

  • Hamilton College London Ltd and another v. Ahmad and another

    Company Shares. In the course of proceedings between the parties, a preliminary issue arose for consideration namely, whether an alleged transfer a single issue share in the first claimant company...

  • X v. Mid Sussex

    The activities of a volunteer advice-worker did not constitute an "occupation" for the purposes of Directive 2000/78 art.3(1)(a). Such a volunteer thus fell outside the scope of the disability discrimination...

  • Lisboa v. Real Pubs Ltd (1) Pring (2) Heap (3)

    1. In September 2008 R1 acquired a public house then called the Coleherne. It had enjoyed a national and international reputation for being London’s first ‘gay pub’. However, at the...

  • Power v. Greater Manchester Police

    Employment Discrimination. The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the employee's appeal against the tribunal's decision at a pre-hearing review that the employee's beliefs that there was life after death and the...

  • See all cases

     

pAwards

2017 C&P Leading individual 2016 L500 Leading Individual C&P 2016 Ranked Barrister L500 2015 leading individual Chambers & Partners 2015 Barrister Legal 500 Top Ranked Barrister 2014

Spencer is an advocate with a broad practice.  His main specialisms are employment, commercial law and European law.  He appears regularly in the High Court and Employment Tribunal and also has a busy non-contentious practice.

Chambers and Partners states that:

"He is an excellent advocate who instils confidence from the outset."

"He is pragmatic and gets to the heart of the matter quickly."

 

Discrimination, Employment and Human Rights Law

Spencer is recognised by both Chambers UK and the Legal 500 as a leading discrimination barrister who has expertise in disability discrimination law that is “second to none”.  He has appeared in several leading discrimination disputes and is sought after for his ability to deal with complex cases and high profile clients.  He has advised a large group of judges on their pension rights, city law firms in respect of internal partnership and disciplinary matters, a part-time judge in an unfair dismissal claim and several chief executives in their personal capacities.

Because of his expertise Spencer’s advice is often sought in areas outside employment such as discrimination in the provision of services.

In 2009 Oxford University Press published Spencer’s book, Disability Discrimination in Employment and he continues to contribute articles to the New Law Journal.

You can find out more about Spencer’s employment cases by  clicking here.

 

Employment Litigation in the High Court and Injunctions

Spencer has particular expertise in seeking and defending injunctions in a broad range of employment and commercial matters in the County Court and High Court.  He has been instructed on a wide variety of employee competition and business protection cases where injunctions are sought to require compliance with restrictive covenants or to protect a Company’s confidential information or trade secrets.

Examples:

  • Wicksteed Leisure v Kompan [2016] EWHC (QB) unreported.  Spencer represented the Claimant who was seeking an injunction to restrain an alleged theft of confidential information.
  • Decorus v Penfold & Ors [2016] EWHC 1421 (QB).  Spencer acted for the Defendant who had allegedly stolen a database of information and had sought to set up in competition with his employer upon leaving his employment.
  • Central Europe Business Development Ltd v Property Transfer Co-ordination Limited [2016] EWHC.  Spencer appeared for the Defendant on two return dates following the grant of proprietary and freezing injunctions.
  • Re-Use Collections v Sendall [2014] EWHC 3852 (QB).  Spencer acted for the Employer seeking damages and an injunction for the breach of restrictive covenants and breaches of the duty of good faith.

 

Find out more about Spencer’s High Court work by clicking here.

 

Directors Duties and Shareholder Disputes

Spencer also advises on general commercial matters, including breach of contract claims, shareholder disputes, partnership disputes and actions both for and against directors and senior employees (including breaches of fiduciary duties, disputes concerning bonuses and commission etc).  He has acted for shareholders in a wide variety of claims including claims for unlawful deduction and disputes over share transfers.

Examples of director’s duties and shareholder disputes:

  • Zavahir v Shankleman & Ors [2016] EWHC 2772 (Ch).  Spencer acted for a minority shareholder was seeking permission to bring a derivative claim on behalf of the Company which alleged that there had been an unlawful distribution contrary to s.830 of the Companies Act 2006.  This case is ongoing.
  • Hamilton College London Ltd and another v Ahmad & Anor [2013] EWHC 2072.  Case concerning a disputed transfer of a single issued share in the claimant company.

 

You can find out more about Spencer’s commercial work by clicking here.

 

Other cases

  • Boothe v Governing Body of Toynbee School UKEAT/0135/15/MC:  Whether the tribunal was correct to continue in the Appellant’s absence and whether Article 6 ECHR was engaged.
  • Edwin v Avante Partnership UKEAT/0187/14/DM. Whether a constructive dismissal required an express acceptance of a repudiatory breach.
  • X v. Mid Sussex Citizen's Advice Bureau & Anor  [2012] UKSC 59 (Supreme Court).  The leading case on whether a volunteer was protected from discrimination under domestic and EC law.
  • King v. Health Professions Council UKEAT/0169/11/CEA.   Whether an employment tribunal had jurisdiction to hear a claim brought by a person applying for a qualification as a health professional.
  • Shea v. Micros Fidelio [2011] UKEAT/0159/11/JOJ.  This case deals with how far should a tribunal intervene to assist a litigant in person.
  • Lisboa v. Realpubs [2011] All ER (D) 188.  Whether the new owners of a famous gay pub had discriminated against a barman on the grounds of sexual orientation when trying to re-brand so that persons of all sexualities were welcome.
  • Gill v Humanware Europe [2010] EWCA Civ 799.  Spencer acted for Mr Gill who had successfully sought wasted costs against opposing counsel in the EAT.  The Court of Appeal considered the correct approach to awarding wasted costs against an advocate.
  • Power v. Greater Manchester Police [2010] All ER (D) 173. Spencer acted for Greater Manchester Police in this case concerning whether a belief that one could communicate with persons after death was a belief protected by the discrimination legislation.
  • Gill v Humanware Europe [2009] UKEAT 0312_08_2702.  Spencer appeared for the successful appellant who was alleged that a tribunal judge was biased.

 

Examples of First Instance Cases

  • Moat v 2Gether Foundation NHS Trust:  Complex disability case in the employment tribunal brought by a consultant psychiatrist against the Trust.
  • South Wales Police v Darlington:  Spencer successfully defended the force who were accused of failing to make reasonable adjustments and breaching s.15 of the Equality Act.
  • Baylis v HMRC:  Dispute about the right of HMRC to proceed to enforcement after a mistaken finding that PAYE had been underpaid.

 

Professional Memberships

  • Employment Lawyers Association
  • Discrimination Law Association
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • Bamieh v European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo [2017].  Whether an international organisation has personality for the purposes of domestic law and the effect of Article 10 ECHR on the territorial jurisdiction of an English employment Tribunal.
  • Unison v Lord Chancellor (2017) Supreme Court. The judicial review concerning Employment Tribunal fees. Instructed by the intervener, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, led by Michael Ford QC.
  • Hayden Leigh v Channel Four [2017] EWHC. Interim injunction to prevent broadcast of television programme.
  • Zavahir v Shankleman & Ors [2016] EWHC.  Derivative claim alleging that an unlawful distribution contrary to s.830 of the Companies Act 2006 and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Wicksteed Leisure v Kompan [2016] EWHC.  Injunction to restrain an alleged theft of confidential information.
  • Decorus v Penfold & Ors [2016] EWHC.  Injunction regarding stolen confidential information and breach of covenant.
  • Central Europe Business Development Ltd v Property Transfer Co-ordination Ltd [2016] EWHC.  Proprietary and freezing injunctions.
  • Boothe v Governing Body of Toynbee School [2015] EAT :  Whether the tribunal was correct to continue in the Appellant’s absence and whether Article 6 ECHR was engaged.
  • Edwin v Avante Partnership [2015] EAT.  Whether a constructive dismissal required an express acceptance of a repudiatory breach.
  • Re-Use Collections v Sendall [2014] EWHC.  Claim for Damages and an injunction rising out of the breach of restrictive covenants and the duty of good faith.
  • Hamilton College London Ltd and another v Ahmad & Anor [2013] EWHC.  Case concerning a disputed transfer of a single issued share in the claimant company.
  • X v. Mid Sussex Citizen's Advice Bureau & Anor  [2012] UKSC 59 (Supreme Court).  The leading case on whether a volunteer was protected from discrimination under domestic and EC law.
  • King v. Health Professions Council [2012] EAT.   Whether an employment tribunal had jurisdiction to hear a claim brought by a person applying for a qualification as a health professional.
  • Shea v. Micros Fidelio [2011] EAT.  This case deals with how far should a tribunal intervene to assist a litigant in person.
  • Lisboa v. Realpubs [2011] EAT.  Whether the new owners of a famous gay pub had discriminated against a barman on the grounds of sexual orientation when trying to re-brand so that persons of all sexualities were welcome.
  • Gill v Humanware Europe [2010] EWCA.  The correct approach to awarding wasted costs against an advocate.
  • Power v. Greater Manchester Police [2010] ET and EAT. Whether a belief that one could communicate with persons after death was a belief protected by the discrimination legislation.
  • Gill v Humanware Europe [2009] EAT.  Spencer appeared for the successful appellant who was alleged that a tribunal judge was biased.
  • The Queen on the Application of UNISON v. The Lord Chancellor and EHRC (Intervener)

    The High Court (Moses LJ, Irwin J) today delivered judgment in the important judicial review proceedings brought by UNISON to challenge the fees regime introduced in the employment tribunal and...

  • Hamilton College London Ltd and another v. Ahmad and another

    Company Shares. In the course of proceedings between the parties, a preliminary issue arose for consideration namely, whether an alleged transfer a single issue share in the first claimant company...

  • X v. Mid Sussex

    The activities of a volunteer advice-worker did not constitute an "occupation" for the purposes of Directive 2000/78 art.3(1)(a). Such a volunteer thus fell outside the scope of the disability discrimination...

  • Lisboa v. Real Pubs Ltd (1) Pring (2) Heap (3)

    1. In September 2008 R1 acquired a public house then called the Coleherne. It had enjoyed a national and international reputation for being London’s first ‘gay pub’. However, at the...

  • Power v. Greater Manchester Police

    Employment Discrimination. The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the employee's appeal against the tribunal's decision at a pre-hearing review that the employee's beliefs that there was life after death and the...

  • See all cases

     

pAwards

2017 C&P Leading individual 2016 L500 Leading Individual C&P 2016 Ranked Barrister L500 2015 leading individual Chambers & Partners 2015 Barrister Legal 500 Top Ranked Barrister 2014
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