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Success for Professor Michael Ford QC and team in major Court of Appeal strike case

Michael Ford

Press release issued: 31 July 2019

The Law School’s Professor Michael Ford QC appeared in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday 30 July, acting for the British Airline Pilots Association, BALPA, in an important strike case. The Court of Appeal judges dismissed British Airways’ appeal, in which it sought an injunction to prevent industrial action by the pilots.

Professor Michael Ford QC, along with Simon Cheetham QC and Jack Mitchell of Old Square Chambers, were instructed by David Hunt of Farrers.

British Airways argued that the union had breached the labyrinthine balloting rules with which unions must comply before going on strike by not giving enough detail about the “categories” of pilots who were going on strike. The Court of Appeal, accepting BALPA’s arguments, held the union had provided sufficient categories.

The judgment has very important implications for the right to strike because it clarifies that unions are only required to notify employers of the general categories of employees who are to be balloted and go on strike. In the past employers have often stopped strikes by arguing that the details of categories were not specific enough.

Watch the case online: A recording of the case, which was livestreamed from the Court of Appeals, is available to watch on YouTube. You can also watch the judgment online.

Further information

Professor Michael Ford specialises in labour law, human rights and public law. He is a QC in private practice at Old Square Chambers and a fee-paid Employment Judge. He has a particular interest in social rights, EU law as it affects labour law, international protections of labour rights, and empirical changes in the labour market. His current interests include the effects of recent reforms on enforcing workers' rights in the UK and the implications of Brexit on labour law.

The Centre for Law at Work is dedicated to fostering an interdisciplinary dialogue around legal issues related to work. Embracing a wide range of methodological approaches to the study of law at work, the Centre’s members academics combine internationally-recognised research profiles with a wealth of experience working with organisations that are responsible for policy-development, professional regulation and social advocacy. By engaging diverse voices and perspectives the Centre aims to influence policy at national, transnational and international levels.

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