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David Hopper

David Hopper Partner

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I specialise in advising on industrial relations and collective employment law.

Business Reorganisations, Business Transfers and Labour Cost Reductions

I develop proactive industrial relations strategies for businesses wishing to implement complex business reorganisations, business transfers and labour cost reductions. My experience includes advising on:

  • collective redundancy consultations, including “fire and rehire” exercises to effect changes to employees’ terms and conditions
  • TUPE transfers, including reliance on the “special circumstances” defence of having undertaken such steps as were reasonably practicable to inform and consult with employees in the context of an administration
  • consultations on listed pensions changes, under the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 and with European Works Councils

I have defended complaints in the Employment Tribunal, Central Arbitration Committee and Employment Appeal Tribunal in respect of alleged insufficient information and consultation.

European Works Councils

I have a particular focus on advising on European Works Councils under UK and Irish law. I regularly advise on establishment requests, special negotiating body processes and the holding of annual and exceptional circumstances meetings. I also have extensive experience defending EWC litigation. My experience includes successfully:

  • securing the withdrawal of complaints to Employment Tribunals based on jurisdictional issues
  • defending HPE in a test case heard by the Central Arbitration Committee on its relocation of its EWC arrangements from the UK to Ireland in 2016 following the Brexit referendum
  • defending Oracle in the first ever appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal on the operation of a EWC

Trade Union Recognition

I regularly negotiate and renegotiate voluntary recognition agreements. I also have experience defending statutory recognition requests ranging from negotiations at ACAS to litigating in the Court of Appeal. My experience includes successfully:

  • securing the withdrawal of an application to the Central Arbitration Committee following commitments to negotiate a tailored voluntary recognition agreement
  • defending an application from being accepted by the Central Arbitration Committee, and defending appeals against that decision in the High Court and Court of Appeal
  • defending against statutory recognition through challenging a union’s proposed bargaining unit and then mounting a successful campaign to convince the revised bargaining unit to vote against recognition

Industrial Action

Proactive industrial relations strategies help employers avoid industrial action. Strikes and industrial action short of a strike are nevertheless sometimes unavoidable. I advise on all aspects of industrial action including union balloting, picketing, the withholding of pay, the use of agency workers and the strategic considerations involved in deciding whether to seek a strike injunction.

Awards and recognition

  • Chambers 2024 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations) - "David is excellent in advising on many challenging cases." "David has great experience of union issues and is very approachable."
  • Legal 500 2023: Key lawyer
  • Band 2 in Chambers 2023 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations)
  • Chambers 2023 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations) – “David is technically excellent and very clearly a subject-matter expert. However, he is also pragmatic and flexible in his advice to fit the needs and desires of the business. He is extremely responsive and his client service is second to none”
  • Chambers 2023 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations) – “David is a brilliant practitioner of European labour relations”
  • Legal 500 2022: Key lawyer
  • Legal 500 2022: “‘the strongest team in the UK for some industrial relations issues, particularly union recognition and European Works Councils’ – David Hopper leads the firm’s industrial relations work”
  • Up & Coming in Chambers 2022 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations)
  • Chambers 2022 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations) - 'He's outstanding; he is clearly a subject matter expert. He has a huge amount of knowledge and experience'
  • Chambers 2022 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations) - 'He is easy to reach, he is pragmatic, his advice is clear and concise, he has a commercial understanding and he is approachable'
  • Associate to Watch in Chambers 2021 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations)
  • Chambers 2021 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations) - "There's nothing he doesn't know about European Works Councils"
  • Chambers 2021 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations) - "He is very bright, switched-on and well versed in the law"
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