Martin specialises in advising companies and senior professionals on employment law matters. He acts for employers from a variety of sectors, including law, construction, logistics, media and the arts, to resolve any employment law issue. He also represents professional private clients, like public company directors, LLP members, lawyers, bankers, hedge fund managers and tech entrepreneurs, in a variety of complex issues. These range from boardroom disputes, restrictive covenants, discrimination, dismissal and workplace investigations, through to the negotiation of new contracts and remuneration structures.
Martin’s approach focuses on pragmatic, practical solutions to his clients’ issues, guiding them through all aspects of employment and partnership relationships, including change management in the workplace, all forms of litigation and dealing with the all-important people dimension in commercial transactions.
His experience includes board room disputes, international (particularly pan-European) employment law and HR support, as well as advising on complex employment documentation. He also provides strategic advice on reorganisation programmes and business transfers in a variety of sectors. Furthermore, he has brought and defended cases in Employment Tribunals and in the Civil Courts involving, amongst much else, discrimination, whistleblowing and TUPE.
Martin is a prolific commentator on employment law issues on TV and radio. He has appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live, the BBC World Service, Sky TV and others, and is often sought for comment in print by a number of HR publications.
Professional Associations & Memberships
Employment Lawyers Association
The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)
City of London Solicitors Company
City of London Law Society
My matter highlights
Successfully settling through confidential mediation a whistleblowing dispute on behalf of two investment bankers in a claim brought against an overseas employer resulting in a seven figure sum for the clients.
Acting for a boutique tax advisory practice in the successful resolution of a significant and potentially very damaging boardroom dispute between its founders.
Advising a large regional law firm in the workforce integration and redundancy process that followed its multi million pound acquisition of a financially distressed competitor.
Giving transactional and human resources support to a multi-national insurer in its pan-European redundancy exercise.
Successfully defending a law firm from a complex age-discrimination claim brought by a departing partner.
Winning a high-value sex discrimination and unfair dismissal claim for an international telecoms business.
Assisting a top-10 UK accountancy firm in the workforce integration challenges arising from its merger with a rival practice.
Giving day-to-day human resources support to a national logistics business.
Representing a professional services firm in enforcing restrictive covenants against departing senior managers.
Advising a listed financial services group on a complex large scale redundancy programme.
My recent publications
Insights / Non-competes: The unreasonable case for reform
For the second time in four years, a Conservative Government has begun consultation on ways to reform post-termination restrictions in employment contracts. I would urge anyone with an interest and experience to respond to the Government directly before the 26 February 2021 deadline.
Insights / FCA Confirms that Non-Financial Misconduct is, actually, Misconduct
On 5 November the FCA banned three men convicted of sexual and (in one case) domestic violence offenses from working in the financial services sector ever again.
Insights / The Chancellor of the Exchequer announces new Job Support Scheme for UK employers
To protect the UK economy over winter, which he says will be a “difficult" one, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, confirmed the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme yesterday.
News / Redundancy and Covid-19: Dealing with consultation in lockdown
It’s sadly inevitable that as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme begins to wind down, and employers across the UK emerge to a shrunken economy, but with pre-coronavirus wage bills, that redundancies on a significant scale are going to happen across the nation.
News / Chambers And Partners Shipping Guide 2020 by Ince
02-04-2020 / Maritime
The team at Ince recently contributed to the UK chapter of the Chambers And Partners Shipping Guide 2020, which has now been published.
News / Think-tank worker pay proposals could cause ‘significant conflict of interest’
This article was first published by LexisNexis on 11 October 2019 The cross-party think-tank the Social Market Foundation (SMF) has called for corporate governance laws to be tightened to increase pressure on bosses to help workers increase their pay over time. This call was set out in the think-tank’s second research paper on the subject of pay progression for low-paid workers, which covers the role of corporate decision-making. The authors of the report outline numerous policy recommendations, including new duties for directors and the tailoring of pay expectations for different sectors. Martin Pratt, partner at Ince, contends that, if implemented, the SMF’s proposals could create a conflict of interest for directors between their duties to company shareholders and employees.
News / Pimlico Plumbers: the UK gig economy springs another leak
Heating engineer Gary Smith worked for Pimlico Plumbers (‘PP’). He worked solely for PP, had to wear a PP uniform while on duty, his van (which contained a GPS tracker for PP’s benefit) was heavily branded with PP’s livery and he was required to work a 40 hour week. His contract described his payment as “wages” and contained provisions for dealing with “gross misconduct”. However, his contract also described him as an independent contractor, he was registered for VAT, and he did not pay PAYE income tax. So was he an employee, or something else?
News / Preparing for GDPR Six steps UK Human Resources teams should take today
We are less than nine months away from one of the biggest compliance hurdles human resources teams have faced in living memory the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) This new law will represent the biggest shift in data protection law since the advent of the Data Protection Act 1998 and, although many of the concepts and procedures remain the same or very similar to the old law, the regulatory burden and penalties for getting it wrong will grow enormously
News / UK construction sector to face wages claims from EU sub-contractors
The “Posted Workers Directive” is an obscure bit of law. It provides that when an employee is sent by his employer from one EU country to another on a temporary basis, to work on a construction contract for example, then for that period the employee enjoys many of the statutory employment rights of the country he is posted to.
News / Employment – the right to spy?
The headlines in today’s papers have been dominated by what’s being reported as a “new” right given to employers by the European Court of Human Rights – to “snoop” on private emails and messages at work. In fact the new decision doesn’t change much, if anything, in the UK at all.
News / Uber: Why Workers' Rights Threaten Flagship of the Sharing Economy
It comes as no surprise that, in England, Uber is facing litigation seeking to establish that its drivers are workers, not contractors or, as the company puts it, “partners.” Uber lost a similar action in its home state of California, where the company failed to stop at least one of its drivers being regarded as an employee under state law. That ruling may open floodgates, prompting fears of a massive class action suit in the US.
News / Could Mr Rooney’s Rule Tackle Racism in English Football?
It is hard to ignore the issue of racism in football. The issue has, over the last two years, rarely been off the back pages of our newspapers. The now infamous game between QPR and Chelsea in October 2011 led to the prosecution of the national team captain on charges of racial abuse, which were dismissed in a magistrates’ court but indirectly caused the resignation of the England national coach.
News / Protecting Confidential Information from Ex-Employees
A survey earlier this year by the US global information security firm Symantec suggested that a staggering 70 of former employees surveyed in the US, UK, France, Brazil, China and Korea who had recently left their jobs, would consider taking confidential data with them, and 62 saw nothing wrong in this practice