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Susan Chan

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Telephone 020 7831 0222
Email susan.chan@42br.com

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Introduction

Susan practices in employment law, public law, personal injury/clinical negligence and inquests. Much of her practice is based in the higher courts such as the High Court, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) and Court of Appeal although the majority of her practice is undertaken in employment tribunals. She is a member of the charity ELAAS which represents and advises appellants in their applications for permission to appeal in the EAT.

Susan has been a Gray’s Inn Advocacy Trainer since 2010, training new students and pupils in advocacy and professional conduct. She is a visiting fellow of Sheffield University. She is authorised to do public access work.

Leading Barrister  Legal 500 logo  

Inquests

She has 20 years’ experience of appearing for interested parties at inquests, including inquests involving complex human rights arguments. She has acted for the MOD in inquests involving difficult issues such as defence systems on combat helicopters, the suitability of ‘Snatch’ Land Rovers to conduct patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan and the efficacy of night goggles. Susan also has extensive experience of representing parties at inquests into deaths in custody, including a man who had been passed through five prisons whilst suffering from depression with psychotic symptoms. She has been involved in many inquests involving deaths from brain injuries, including that of a soldier who died from a brain injury sustained during a play-fight.

Selected cases

  • Fahim Afzal v Domino’s Pizza [2018] ICR 1652 – The appellant was the husband of an EEA national, who had been dismissed for allegedly failing to make an in-time Home Office application to extend his leave, even though he had in fact made his application in-time. Susan acted for the appellant and the EAT found that the employment tribunal had erred in finding that the employer’s failure to give him an appeal, did not render his dismissal unfair.
  • Fayad v Home Secretary (2018): Court of Appeal refused to grant the appellant an extension of time for a review of a master’s costs decision when the delay of 46 days was significant and the parties had agreed to the master determining the costs order on the papers.
  • Witts v Wyre Forest School – (2017) EAT: Susan acted for the appellant teaching assistant in his EAT appeal. The appeal was allowed because the tribunal hearing his unfair dismissal claim had failed to take account that the appellant was acting in self-defence. The appellant had been dismissed for gross misconduct from school for an incident in which a special needs pupil fell after attacking the appellant;
  • Decker v Home Secretary (2017): Court of Appeal found that deportation order was valid even though it was unknowingly signed by the Home Secretary when the EU national claimant had clandestinely left the UK to avoid its effect. Matter remitted for Home Secretary to consider whether the claimant presented a genuine, serious threat to public safety.
  • Behary v Ullah (2016) Guidance given by Court of Appeal on approach to children’s interests and meaning of “established presence” in context of parents’ Tier 4 student applications;
  • Nawaz v BG Consulting Group Ltd (2017) EAT: Susan acted for appellant whose race discrimination claim had been dismissed in an employment tribunal judgment which copied and pasted approximately ¼ of the Respondent’s written submissions. The EAT found that although the judge’s copying and pasting was not ideal, it had not ultimately affected the correctness of the tribunal’s decision which was made on the merits;
  • Unison v Lord Chancellor and Equality and Human Rights Commission (2013-2015): Unison challenged legality of Fees Scheme introduced in Employment Tribunals and EAT; Susan acted as sole counsel in the 2013 and 2014 judicial reviews heard by two Divisional Courts. In 2015 she was led by David Barr QC in the Court of Appeal;
  • Jones v Judicial Appointments Commission (2014): whether JAC’s refusal to appoint an applicant to become a District Judge on character grounds, because he had 7 current points on his driving licence, was lawful;
  • AA Afghanistan v Home Secretary [2013] UKSC 49: Supreme Court found that Home Secretary had not acted unlawfully in detaining a disputed minor whose appearance strongly suggested that they were over 18 and there was an age assessment strongly supporting that the claimant was an adult;
  • ZH Tanzania v Home Secretary (2012) Supreme Court: Landmark decision in which Supreme Court gave guidance on approach to assessing children’s best interests in the immigration context
  • Sivanandan v Cole (2009): Susan successfully defended an employment tribunal judge during 6-week hearing who was accused of aiding sex, disability and race discrimination by the claimant’s employer, a charitable legal advice centre.

Education

  • BA Hons in Law, Magdalen College, Oxford University (1993: class 2:1)
  • First in Law Moderations (1991)

Scholarships and Awards

  • Appointed a Demy (Scholar) in Law of Magdalen College, Oxford (1991-1993)
  • Gray’s Inn Prince of Wales Scholarship (1993)

Other information

  • Was on the Attorney-General’s panel of Civil Treasury counsel for 16 years between 1999 and 2015, including a 5-year appointment on ‘A’ panel
  • Advocacy trainer teaching advocacy and ethics for Gray’s Inn.
  • Visiting Fellow of Sheffield University
  • Licensed to accept Direct Access
  • Susan is a parent governor at her children’s school. She has played piano since she was aged 4 and also enjoys singing, going to the cinema and music gigs in her spare time.

News & events

News & events

Unison (no 2) v Lord Chancellor and EHRC

This week Susan Chan of 42BR has appeared for the Lord Chancellor in the second judicial review challenge to the employment tribunal fees system brought by the union Unison. A year ago Susan successfully defended the tribunal fees scheme against Unison’s first challenge, which was backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

23rd October 2014 Read more