National law firm Irwin Mitchell is advising Judge Gilham, who has today launched a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for her appeal in the upcoming Supreme Court case Gilham – v – Ministry of Justice which is listed for June 2019.
Similarly to the principles in the high profile Uber and Deliveroo workers’ rights cases, Judge Gilham is appealing against the decision that judges are not workers and therefore do not benefit from whistleblowing protection. She seeks to raise £10,000 by 12th December to help pay for her Supreme Court Fees and the cost of lodging the initial documentation with the Supreme Court.
The appeal follows a five year legal wrangle for Judge Gilham who initially raised issues relating to management style and culture, bullying, overwork, and general health and safety at Warrington County Court in 2013. When her complaints were not dealt with satisfactorily, and she was treated less favourably as a result, Judge Gilham was forced to bring her claim in the Employment Tribunal for whistleblowing detriment in February 2015.
The Employment Tribunal held that judges are not workers and by extension do not enjoy the protection of section 47B of the 1996 Act. Furthermore, it was held that as judges are not workers, they also are not protected from infringement of the right to freedom of expression (Article 10 ECHR) under domestic law.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal upheld the Employment Tribunal’s findings.
Judge Gilham is determined to take her case to the Supreme Court, where she will argue that:
- Judges are workers within the meaning of section 230(3)(b) of the 1996 Act under either:
- A contract of employment with the Lord Chancellor and/or the Ministry of Justice; or
- Crown employment within the meaning of section 191 of the 1996 Act.
- If the answer to (1)(i) or (ii) is no, the definitions of ‘worker’ and/or ‘Crown employment’ must be read and given effect to in a way which is compatible with the Appellant’s ECHR rights under Article 10 or Article 14.
The case has already established considerable media interest and will be a key decision impacting on the current stream of litigation enforcing and protecting worker’s rights.
Emilie Cole, partner in Irwin Mitchell’s Employment team will be advising Judge Gillam supported by paralegal Louise Ash.
Expert Opinion“Judges must have the right to speak out and blow the whistle, safe in the knowledge that they will be protected for doing so. As the gatekeepers of our justice system, their basic human right to speak out about breaches of the law goes hand in hand with their judicial duty and responsibility.” Emilie Cole - Partner