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  • Marie van der Zyl

    Marie van der Zyl
    Partner, London

    Employment, pensions & immigration, Issues at work, Employer's Issues

    T. +44 (0) 20 7759 1393

Marie has over 27 years’ specialist experience of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters. Her clients include corporate entities and SMEs; religious institutions and charities; retail, fashion and leisure establishments, including clubs; media, PR and publishing organisations; and senior employees and partners in law firms. She has acted in a number of leading cases, including those involving the gig economy and self-employed status. Prior to joining the firm in 2014, she gained considerable partner experience at a number of other leading law firms, including as head of employment.

Marie is a trusted employment law advisor, with an established reputation and ability to deliver results for clients using her excellent strategic and legal skills. She has considerable commercial acumen and is very approachable.

Her expertise covers partnership issues, as well as the full range of employment law matters. These include business restructures and reorganisations (such as large scale redundancies, outsourcing and TUPE), unfair dismissal, team moves, enforcing restrictive covenants, handling dismissals and negotiating settlement agreements, breach of contract, and a range of day-to-day employment matters, ranging from disciplinary and grievance procedures, to performance management and sickness absence.

Marie has particular expertise in complex discrimination claims involving race, sex, disability and religion. Furthermore, she advises on child protection and diversity issues in the work place. She also delivers bespoke training to HR and line managers.

Marie is a Trustee for a number of charities and regularly speaks on radio and television.

Highlight Matters

  • Acting for 27 employees who successfully brought a class action against the National Gallery in relation to obtaining worker status. This case involved the gig economy in the public sector. Marie has previously successfully acted in another landmark case involving self employed v employee status acting for a well known Club.
  • Advising and acting for several equity partners in negotiating their high level exits from well known law firms
  • Advising a medical research institute in relation to staff who were on long term secondment from the NHS
  • Advising a market governed by statute in relation to confidentiality issues and key staff dismissals.
  • Advising an Australian multinational company in relation to TUPE issues.
  • Advising a religious institution about terms and conditions of employment for their staff.
  • Advising a charity which had been subject to an investigation by the Charity Commission, in respect of a reorganisation and disability discrimination issues.
  • Advising a digital marketing company in relation to ongoing staff issues and a major restructure.
  • Advising an international trade organisation in relation to the appointment of a Secretary General and Chief Executive.
  • Advising a senior member of staff in relation to her exit from an organisation in the Leisure sector following a merger with another organisation.

Legal Directory Quotes

"extremely precise, knowledgeable, effective, prompt, courteous and commercially aware"chambers & partners UK
"an excellent lawyer with ENCYCLOPEDIC knowledge of employment law who is highly gifted both in strategy and tactics with a patient, honest and challenging approach"legal 500 UK
"As well as advising on day-to-day employment matters, she also handles complex discrimination claims"chambers & partners UK


"Marie has a sharp legal mind and a pragmatic style is approachable and good at talking through issues" Client
"For 8 years we have worked with Marie van der Zyl, a consultant at Gordon Dadds LLP for all our employment matters. Marie has an in-depth knowledge of the Diocese and the particular employment challenges we face. Her advice is always very clear and relevant and she explains complex legal matters extremely well. It would be difficult to find another lawyer with Marie’s empathy and detailed knowledge of the workings of the Catholic Church. In essence, she is simply excellent and I would have no hesitation recommending her to other charities, particularly religious ones." Clare Losty, Diocese of Brentwood.
“I've worked with Marie for over eight years and sought her invaluable advice when I worked in both the media and technology industries.  I would highly recommend Marie, her advice and breadth of knowledge is unequivocal, as I have worked with her on many complex employment issues.  Therefore in my view she is the best person to use for employment legal advice.” Guiseppina Cocchiarella, Pure360

Professional Associations & Memberships

Employer Lawyers Association (ELD)

What you may not know about Marie

Marie is also a Trustee of several charities and is the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews

Employment, pensions & immigration, Issues at work, Employer's Issues


Chambers & Partners UK, Legal 500

Education (University):
Liverpool Polytechnic (currently known as Liverpool John Moore’s University)