Annette Gumbs

Annette Gumbs - Barrister at St John's Buildings


Phone: 0161 214 1500

Year of call: 1994

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                                   Top_tier_firms      TopRanked UKBar_16_barrister

“Her background in personal injury and negligence cases means she is particularly esteemed for her knowledge of discrimination claims. She is also adept at handling issues involving restrictive covenants and frequently works on employment cases with a commercial element. She is further noted for her work with police forces and clients in the education sector.” Chambers UK Bar 2023

“Recommended expert” Legal 500 2023

Annette is a specialist Employment Law barrister and former Head of the Employment Group. The 2014 Chambers & Partners directory described her as “top quality” and a previous edition described her as being “one of the best employment law practitioners in Manchester”. Annette appears regularly at the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal and often advises, acts and mediates in cases with a commercial element. These cases generally involve restrictive covenants and clients range from SMEs to high net worth individuals. Her background in personal injury and negligence cases allows her to maximise or minimise remedies in discrimination and occupational stress claims.


  • Employment Lawyers Association (ELA)
  • Employment Law Bar Association (ELBA)
  • Industrial Law Society (ILS)
  • Discrimination Law Association (DLA)
  • Personal Injury Bar Association (PIBA)


  • Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) (and prior thereto Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) panel of barristers 2003-2015
  • Head of Employment Group 2005-2009, 2012-2014
  • Accredited for Direct Public Access instructions


  • Employment

    Annette practises in all areas of employment law including constructive and unfair dismissal, breach of contract, TUPE and restrictive covenants. She has a particular interest in discrimination and whistle blowing (Public Interest Disclosure Act) claims. She is often instructed in claims for and against the legal profession. Her clients range from local authorities, trade unions, NHS employers, public limited companies to senior executives, professionals, teachers and governors and other employees. Annette’s experience includes:

    • Representing a costs lawyer in a whistleblowing case involving a sham redundancy selection process and recovering compensation in excess of £ ¼ million.
    • Successfully representing a care home manager in a case involving a sham disciplinary process following a dispute between director/shareholders within the business.
    • Securing a senior executive a £¼ million settlement in the mediation of an occupational stress claim against a multi-national plc.
    • Successfully acting for a manager in an unfair selection for redundancy case against a global law firm.
    • Obtaining awards for 64 claimants in unfair dismissal claims arising out of a collective redundancy.
    • Representing a dentist and a dental nurse in establishing that they were workers and employees and thus could bring unfair dismissal claims.
    • Securing a banking manager a six-figure settlement in an occupational stress claim against a high street global bank.


    Annette has vast experience of discrimination claims acting for both employers and employees. She is regularly involved in long and complex cases. Her discrimination experience includes:

    • Acting for a local authority in its defence of multiple equal pay claims.
    • Acting for women returning from maternity leave to less favourable terms and conditions and issues arising from flexible working.
    • Securing settlements for a group of nurses in part time pensions claims against a private employer.
    • Advising and representing a senior executive in a dispute arising out of unfair dismissal, sex and disability discrimination resulting in a settlement in excess of £¼ million.
    • Successfully defending a plc in an unfair dismissal and ‘associated’ race discrimination claim.
    • Securing the dismissal of all claims on behalf of a Further Education college in race discrimination claims.
    • Advising and representing NHS employers in race discrimination claims.
    • Successfully defending a police force against sex discrimination claims.

    Employment in the Education sector

    Annette has acted for both employers and employees in the primary, secondary and further education fields. Recent examples of cases include:

    • Advising local authorities on the application of the school teachers’ pay and conditions.
    • Securing the maximum award for a senior academic in a claim for unfair redundancy in which it was established that the selection process was a sham designed to unfairly select the employee.
    • Representing a teacher in a breach of trust and confidence claim in the county court.
    • Representing an academy in its defence of multiple equal pay claims.
    • Representing a senior academy teacher in complex race discrimination claims spanning four years.

    Regulatory: Professional discipline and internal disciplinary hearings

    Annette represents individuals in internal disciplinary hearings as well as at professional disciplinary hearings conducted by professional bodies. Recent examples include:

    • Representing a primary school teacher at an internal disciplinary hearing in a complaint of unacceptable professional conduct in respect of the discipline of a pupil
    • Representing a head teacher of a primary school at a General Teaching Council for Wales hearing on allegations of unacceptable professional conduct. Click here to see the BBC news coverage.

    Professional Negligence

    Annette undertakes professional negligence work in particular advising on negligently litigated employment claims.


    Drake v Ipsos MORI [2012] IRLR 973 EAT: Successful appeal providing guidance on the issue of mutuality of obligation in the employment status of casual workers.

    TGWU & others v Manchester Airport plc (04.08.04) UKEAT/0198/04/ILB: Acting for TGWU and 15 claimants in a claim against Manchester Airport arising out of changes to terms and conditions giving rise to collective redundancies and leading to unfair dismissal and sex discrimination claims, and claims for protective awards for failure to consult on a collective redundancy.

    Reality (White Arrow Express) Ltd v O’Hara (18.11.03) UK EAT/0447/03/TM: Successful appeal concerning redundancy and trial periods.

    Stott v HM Prison Service [2003] EWCA Civ 1503: Concerning just and equitable extension of time limits in sex discrimination cases.

    Legal Directory Recommendations

    Strengths: “She is a good, thoroughly competent advocate.” Chambers UK Bar 2022

    “Recommended expert” Legal 500 2022

    Strengths: “She is very astute and explains legal concepts to clients with appropriate simplicity. She has a respectful but firm advocacy style.” Chambers UK Bar 2021

    “Recommended for discrimination and whistleblowing cases.” Legal 500 2020 and 2021

    “She’s a very classy operator.” Chambers UK Bar 2020

    “A very good advocate. Clever, approachable and great with clients.” “Very knowledgeable and technically brilliant.” Chambers & Partners 2019

    “She has particular experience in discrimination and whistleblowing cases.” Legal 500 2019

    Strengths: “Annette is technically excellent and has a keen eye for detail.” Chambers & Partners 2018

    “Bright, hardworking, tenacious, sensitive and engaging.” Legal 500 2017

    “Her background in personal injury and negligence cases means she is particularly esteemed for her knowledge of discrimination claims. She is also adept at handling issues involving restrictive covenants and frequently works on employment cases with a commercial element”.

    Strengths: “She has an ability to cut through large amounts of information and paperwork and identify the important issues”. – Chambers and Partners 2017

    “Highly experienced in restrictive covenants cases.” – Legal 500 2016

    “Frequently acts for businesses and executives on commercial matters such as restrictive covenants. She is also instructed in cases of discrimination and whistleblowing.
    Strengths: “She’s pragmatic and bright, a completer.” “She’s user friendly for solicitors and clients, has the perfect manner about her, knows what she’s doing and goes about things in a measured, methodical way.” – Chambers & Partners 2016

    “She is a very good advocate, both clever and approachable” – Chambers & Partners 2015

    “Technically very able, both in terms of the quality of her written papers and her advocacy skills.” – Legal 500 2015

    “Her level of service sets her apart.” – Legal 500 2014

    “She’s really top-quality. She’s very easy to work with and clients love her. She’s always happy to help and responds very promptly. It feels like she’s part of the team when she’s involved.” – Chambers UK 2014

    “A consummate cross-examiner,” who impresses with her charisma and her “talent for making witnesses open up to her. She is a specialist in disability, race and sex discrimination.” – Chambers UK 2013

    “Very thorough in cross-examination.” – Legal 500 2012

    “Formidable reputation in the market and is highly sought after for complex discrimination cases.” – Chambers UK 2012

    “Recommended junior.” – Legal 500 2011

    “A careful and dedicated practitioner whose level of preparation is first rate.” — Chambers UK 2011

    “Clever and tough.” – Legal 500 2010

    “Among the best employment practitioners in Manchester. She is highly regarded…” – Chambers UK 2010

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  • Public Access

    Annette is accredited to receive instructions directly from members of the public through the Public Access Scheme.

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