Background

Victoria Phillips is head of employment rights (client relations) at Thompsons Solicitors, focussing on Thompsons’ trade union clients and ensuring the team of employment lawyers is responsive to their needs.

The team handles more than 8,000 employment law cases every year for trade union clients and their members, dealing with all types of employment litigation, including unfair dismissal, Equality Act claims, and equal pay. The employment rights team maintains strong ties to a number of major trade unions and focuses exclusively on representing claimants. The team is renowned for frequently acting in significant test cases on the rights of employees.

Together with her managerial responsibilities, Victoria retains a small case load of strategic cases, and is regularly instructed by the firm's trade union clients on rule book and industrial action matters as well as TUPE transfers and working time issues.

Victoria has acted for trade unions and their members for 23 years, specialising in industrial action, working time and TUPE cases.

Victoria regularly gives talks and lectures on employment law to clients, both at events organised by Thompsons Solicitors and external organisations such as the Institute of Employment Rights. She writes articles on employment law matters for Thompsons' own publications including Labour and European Law Review, as well as external publications.

A previous national president of the National Union of Students and the Labour Party National Women's Officer from 1989 to 1993, Victoria qualified as a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors in 1996.

She then worked as an employment rights lawyer until she took on the role of head of employment rights for London and the South East in 2001. She became national head of employment rights at Thompsons in 2004 and head of employment rights (client relations) in September 2014.

Victoria has an honorary doctorate in Law from the University of East Anglia.

Away from work, Vicky often spends time socialising with trade union clients, but she also runs regularly, having completed the Hackney half marathon. Vicky likes all kinds of music and the theatre – her son is an aspiring actor.

Vicky is known by her clients to be straight-talking and practical, using the law to improve the working lives of union clients rather than pursuing interesting legal points.

She finds working with union clients particularly rewarding and believes Thompsons Solicitors can often make a big difference to their industrial campaigns.

Victoria's case experience

  • Instructed by ASLEF in relation to three High Court injunction applications made in connection with a Southern Rail dispute.
  • Acted for PCS when it successfully challenged the employer’s removal of check-off for trade union subscriptions.
  • Won a High Court decision denying an injunction to London Underground, which argued that ASLEF had balloted members who would not be called upon to take part in the industrial action because they were not working on the day of the strike.
  • Won a decision in the European Court of Justice that the holiday pay of pilots should include allowances on top of their basic salary, which were included in their overall pay.
  • Won a Court of Appeal decision discharging employer injunctions preventing industrial action.
  • Won a European Court of Justice decision giving workers the right to take paid statutory holiday when on long-term sick leave.
  • Secured a House of Lords decision that unpaid working time holiday can be claimed as an unauthorised deduction from wages.
  • Won an Employment Appeal Tribunal decision that, in order to decide under TUPE whether there has been a service provision change, tribunals have to look at whether the service after the change was fundamentally the same as it was beforehand.
  • Secured European Court of Human Rights decision on behalf of ASLEF concerning rights of trade unions to choose their own members and exclude members of the BNP.

 

Professional membership

Victoria has been a member of the Industrial Law Society since 2004 and is a co-opted member of its executive committee.

She was a member of the UN Internal Justice Council and was appointed in 2012 for a four year term of office and was nominated by staff.

 

Testimonials