Julian Milford QC
Julian Milford was called to the bar in 2000. His main areas of practice are public law, freedom of information/data protection, and employment law. Julian undertakes advisory and judicial review work in the field of public and constitutional law for central and local government, other public authorities, and individuals, and has been instructed for and against government on issues of major public importance. He appears regularly in the employment tribunal and civil courts in employment cases, where he has experience across the Tribunal’s statutory jurisdiction, including extensive experience of acting in large-scale discrimination and equal pay claims and industrial action cases. He also frequently advises on and acts in data protection and freedom of information cases.
Julian regularly acts for both claimants and respondents in a wide range of employment tribunal disputes, where his clients include major national and international companies, banks, local authorities, police forces, unions, and healthcare providers. He has appeared before the High Court, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal on behalf of clients in employment cases. He has wide experience across the employment tribunal’s statutory jurisdiction and in High Court employment issues, including industrial action and business protection cases. His recent and current experience includes:
- Current Employment Tribunal cases include acting for the BBC in equal pay cases brought by claimants including Samira Ahmed (presenter of Front Row, Newswatch and other programmes); and acting for London Heathrow Airport in large-scale holiday pay litigation addressing issues of holiday pay calculation in light of Bear Scotland, British Gas v Lock and Dudley MBC v Willetts.
- Strike injunctions in the High Court on behalf of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, and Govia Thameslink Railway (the franchise holder for the Southern Rail network): see e.g. British Airways v BALPA  IRLR 43, Virgin Atlantic Airlines v PPU  EWHC 3645, Thomas Cook Airways v BALPA  IRLR 1137, Govia Thameslink Railway Ltd v ASLEF  IRLR 686,  EWHC 1320 and Govia Thameslink Railway Ltd v ASLEF  EWHC 985.
- Complex employment tribunal discrimination/whistleblowing claims (recent examples include acting in age discrimination proceedings brought by directors of Swansea City Football Club, acting for Amazon in complex disability discrimination proceedings involving an in-house lawyer, and EF v AB UKEAT/0525/13  IRLR 619, concerning alleged sexual harassment of a senior executive).
- Test cases concerning the National Minimum Wage, including Governing Body of Binfield Church of England Primary School v Roll  IRLR 670 Nambalat v Taher/Udin v Chamsi-Pasha, and current proceedings involving multiple claimants in the care sector.
- A number of large-scale equal pay employment tribunal claims. Julian has extensive experience in equal pay claims, and has been instructed both by individuals and on behalf of local authorities, unions, NHS Trusts, non-departmental public bodies, large outsourcing companies, and major supermarkets.
- A claim in which he obtained the then highest ever employment tribunal award on behalf of a client under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Public Law & Human Rights
Julian undertakes public and constitutional law work for local authorities, central government, NHS authorities, individuals, public interest groups and others. That work includes general public law judicial review claims at all levels of Court up to the Supreme Court, including in particular judicial review claims connected with discrimination issues, information rights, surveillance, education, and high-value commercial judicial review cases. He also acts in regulatory cases (for example, concerning the health professions and the care of vulnerable adults). He has appeared on a number of occasions before the European Court of Human Rights. His recent and current work includes:
- Acting for the Government in current Covid-19 related challenges, including an ongoing judicial review of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme on Human Rights and EU law grounds by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain.
- Acting in the Supreme Court in judicial review proceedings challenging the lawfulness of guidance to Local Government Pension Scheme administrators on boycotts, divestments and sanctions (R(Palestine Solidarity Campaign) v SSHCLG  UKSC 16,  1 WLR 1774; Times, May 11 2020).
- Acting for the Government in current judicial review proceedings challenging the compatibility of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 and the legal framework for governmental surveillance powers generally with human rights and EU law (R(Liberty) v (1) SSHD (2) SSFCO  1 WLR 243, and  QB 481).
- Acting in discrimination challenges concerning welfare benefit schemes including Universal Credit and State Pension Credit – see e.g. R(TP) v SSWP  EWCA Civ 37, Times 3 April 2020.
- Acting for Oxford University in the first full trial in the Courts of England and Wales of negligent teaching allegations at a higher education institution: Siddiqui v University of Oxford  ELR 320 and  4 WLR 62.
- Acting for HMG in current judicial review proceedings supported by the campaign group BackTo60, challenging changes to the state pension age for women (R(Delve) v SSWP  1 CMLR 35, currently on appeal to the Court of Appeal).
- Acting for the Labour Party in internal disciplinary proceedings concerning Ken Livingstone and issues of anti-Semitism.
- Acting for the Prime Minister in proceedings challenging the make-up of the panel for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
- Acting for HMG in current proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights concerning alleged breaches of the ECHR and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, arising from disclosures made by Edward Snowden (Big Brother Watch and ors v United Kingdom, 10 Human Rights Organisations v UK, Bureau of Investigative Journalism v UK (The Times, 23 November 2018), now on appeal to the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR).
- Acting in judicial review proceedings alleging discrimination within the Local Government Pension Scheme concerning the provision of survivor’s benefits to cohabitees: R(Harvey) v (1) Haringey LBC (2) SSCLG  Pens LR 3.
- Acting for the Metropolitan Police in judicial review proceedings before the High Court and CA challenging their power to question foreign nationals on their immigration status: R(Centre for Individual Rights in Europe) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and anr  1 WLR 3002.
- Acting for the Labour Party in proceedings challenging the Labour Party’s right to determine the eligibility of members to vote in the 2016 leadership election: Evangelou v McNicol  EWCA Civ 817.
- Acting on behalf of the London Oratory School in a successful challenge to the Schools Adjudicator’s finding that the school’s admission arrangements were unlawful: R(Governors of London Oratory School) v Schools Adjudicator.
- Acting on behalf of the Attorney General in a judicial review of the Attorney General’s decision to veto the release of letters between The Prince of Wales and Government Ministers (R(Evans) v Attorney General).
- Cases in the European Court of Human Rights about subject-matter including the compatibility with the ECHR of the stop and search powers in the Terrorism Act 2000 sexual orientation discrimination in the armed forces, and the compatibility with the European Convention of changes to the state pension age.
Freedom of Information/Data Protection
Julian has acted in a number of high-profile cases concerning freedom of information and data protection, including the following:
- Ittihadieh v Cheyne Gardens RTM Co Ltd/Deer v University of Oxford
 QB 256
Cases concerning the meaning of “personal data” under the DPA, the ambit of the duty to comply with subject access requests under the DPA, and the scope of the court’s remedial discretion.
- Acting for HMG in the Upper Tribunal in an important current challenge addressing the scope of the exemption from FOIA for vexatious requests: Cruelty Free International v (1) Home Office (2) Information Commissioner.
- Vidal-Hall v Google Inc
 QB 1003
A case concerning the use of “browser generated information” held by Google to target adverts at persons using the internet. The case concerns issues regarding (i) the scope of “personal data” under the DPA; and (ii) the availability of a remedy under the DPA for breaches involving no financial loss.
- The release of letters between The Prince of Wales and Government Ministers including the Prime Minister (Evans v Information Commissioner and Cabinet Office, and subsequent proceedings concerning the use of the veto).
- Issues as to whether water companies, the Sovereign or the Royal Household are public bodies for the purposes of the Environmental Information Regulations (Fish Legal and Shirley v Information Commissioner and ors  UKUT 52; Cross v Information Commissioner and ors  UKUT 0153).
- The release of records of conversations between Tony Blair and George Bush related to the Iraq War (Plowden v Information Commissioner and FCO).
- The release of telephone conversations between Lord Lawson and George Osborne.
- The release of documents held by the Cabinet Office related to the Hillsborough football disaster.
“Absolutely on top of his game and has a really good grasp on the detail of a case. Someone who absolutely delivers results.”
“He is really, really bright and extremely technically strong.”
“Extremely clever and thorough, and very impressive in writing.”
“He writes well and gets to the point, and his analysis is focused.”
“Charming, technically excellent and very supportive.”
“He combines razor-sharp intellect with an ability to think practically and creatively.”
“He’s extremely clever, very nice to deal with, extremely hard-working and conscientious.”
“Extremely knowledgeable and a good communicator who cuts to the chase and puts people at ease.”
“His advice is thoughtful, practical, accessible and really helpful.”
“A skilful opponent and masterful tactician.”
“Very meticulous in his approach and on a personal level he’s always approachable and never too busy for a quick word of advice.”
“He is very knowledgeable, hardworking and dedicated to achieving the best outcome.”
“A calm, courteous and effective barrister.”
“An all-round employment specialist, with particular expertise in complex discrimination cases.”
“A very bright senior junior who quickly masters his brief.”
“An all-round employment specialist, with particular expertise in complex discrimination cases.”
“Utterly charming and clients love him. If you give him a seemingly impossible deadline, he comes up with the goods.”
“He’s very good on his feet, and has an excellent grasp of detail and a sharp intellect.”
“Julian is especially good at understanding sensitivities and concerns. He’s honest and forthright with issues and problems, and will lay the legal issues out, and explain the best option
to go forward.”
“His manner in conference is beautiful. He’s approachable, articulate and very good at dealing with clients and understanding their perspectives.”
Chambers & Partners
“He has an exceptional mind as well as being extraordinarily good with all kinds of different clients.”
“He is meticulous and approachable.”
“He has detailed knowledge of the DPA, is hardworking, thorough and a good team player.”
“He is very efficient, a pleasure to work with and gives solid and clear advice.”
“He has good client skills and delivers meticulous advice.”
“A technical expert, who is strategic and client-friendly.”
“A strategic and technically expert advocate.”
“He is effective and charming.”
“He has an exceptional mind as well as being extraordinarily good with clients.”
“He is intellectually rigorous and works very well with clients, commanding their complete confidence.”
“Particularly strong in the field of information law, especially in cases involving national security or international relations.”
R(Palestine Solidarity Campaign) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
 UKSC 16,  1 WLR 1774; Times, May 11 2020
The Secretary of State’s guidance to local government pension scheme authorities, to the effect that they were not entitled to take into account non-financial factors in their investment decisions where this was contrary to UK foreign or defence policy, was contrary to the Padfield principle. Julian acted for the SoS in the Supreme Court, CoA and Administrative Court.
R(Jackson) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
 1 WLR 1441
The provision of the Pensions Act 2014 allowing higher rate bereavement support payment to be paid to surviving spouses or civil partners only was incompatible with the ECHR
R(TP) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
 EWCA Civ 37, The Times 3 April 2020
The transitional scheme for moving from legacy benefits to Universal Credit unlawfully discriminated in certain respects against persons moving from one local authority area to another, contrary to Article 1 Protocol 1 and Article 8 read with Art 14 ECHR.
British Airways v BALPA
 IRLR 43 CoA
The High Court had been right to decline to grant an injunction preventing a pilots’ trade union from inducing strike action against British Airways, because the ballot notice had not breached TULRCA in respect of its categorization of pilots. Julian acted for British Airways.
R(Liberty) v (1) SSHD (2) SSFCO
 1 WLR 243
Liberty challenged a range of surveillance powers in the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (“the Snooper’s Charter”) on the basis that they are inconsistent with EU law and Articles 8 and 10 ECHR. The challenge was listed by “The Lawyer” as one of the 20 most important cases of 2018. The Divisional Court determined parts of the EU law challenge in 2018 ( QB 481), and gave judgment in HMG’s favour on Liberty’s Human Rights Act claim. Julian acts for HMG.
R(Harvey) v (1) Haringey LBC (2) SSCLG
 Pens LR 3
This judicial review claim challenged rules in the Local Government Pension Scheme for survivors’ pensions, on the basis that they were contrary to Art 14 and A1P1 ECHR, because they applied to spouses and not cohabitees. Julian acted successfully for HMG.
Virgin Atlantic Airways v PPU
 EWHC 3645 (QB)
PPU’s ballot for industrial action, to induce pilots working on VAA to take industrial action over Christmas 2018, was unlawful. Julian acted for VAA.
R(Centre for Individual Rights in Europe) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and anr
 1 WLR 3002
The police were entitled under Operation Nexus to question suspects detained in police stations as to their immigration status, since they (i) had the same powers as any natural person to engage in non-coercive questioning; and (ii) in any case, assisting the Home Office on matters of immigration was within police functions. Julian acted for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in the High Court and Court of Appeal.
Big Brother Watch and ors v UK
(ECtHR, November 2018)
These applications arose from allegations made by Edward Snowden about the activities of the UK Intelligence Services. They challenged (i) the regime for bulk interception of communications in the Regulatory Powers Act 2000 (ii) the regime for acquisition of communications data in Chapter 2 Part 1 RIPA and (iii) the regime for intelligence sharing between the UK and foreign states, on the basis that they were contrary to Arts 6, 8, 10 and 14 ECHR. The ECtHR (First Section) found that the regimes for bulk interception and acquisition breached Article 8 in certain specific respects, but the regime for intelligence sharing was compatible with the ECHR. The case has been referred to the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR. Julian acts for HMG.
Siddiqui v University of Oxford
 ELR 320,  4 WLR 62
This was the first full trial of negligent teaching allegations against a higher education institution, brought by a former undergraduate who alleged that teaching on his history course was negligent. The claim was dismissed: the Court also gave guidance on qualified one-way costs shifting. Julian acted for the University.
Ittihadieh v 5-11 Cheyne Gardens RTM Co Ltd/Deer v University of Oxford
 QB 256
Cases concerning the scope of the definition of “personal data” in s.1 DPA; who is a “data controller”; what constitutes a subject access request; whether the duty to comply with a SAR is limited to a duty to carry out a reasonable and proportionate search; the extent of the exemption from data protection duties for data processed for the purposes of personal, family or household affairs; and the extent of the court’s discretion to order a data controller to comply with a SAR. Julian acted for the Information Commissioner.
Thomas Cook Airlines Ltd v BALPA
 IRLR 1137
BALPA’s ballot for industrial action by airline pilots was lawful, because the voting paper did not infringe new legislative provisions about the period of industrial action contained in s.229(2D) Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. Julian acted for Thomas Cook.
Evangelou v McNicol
 EWCA Civ 817, Times 7 September 2016
The decision of the Labour Party’s NEC to restrict voting rights in the Labour Leadership election to those persons who had joined the party before 12 January 2016 was not in breach of the claimants’ contracts for membership of the party.
Govia Thameslink Railway Ltd v ASLEF
 EWHC 1320 QBD, 2 June 2016;  IRLR 686
Interim injunction granted to prevent union from inducing train drivers employed on Southern and Gatwick Express services from taking part in industrial action, where GTR was likely to succeed at trial in showing (i) there had been a prior call by the trade union to take part in industrial action to which the ballot related; and (ii) the ballot had been extended to workplaces ta which there was no union member directly affected by the dispute.
Govia Thameslink Railway Ltd v ASLEF
 EWHC 985, QBD 22 April 2016
Interim injunction granted to prevent union from inducing train drivers employed on Gatwick Express from breaking their contracts by taking part in industrial action for which no ballot had been held.
Julian is a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s A Panel of Counsel.
News, Articles and Publications
Contributor to Tolley’s Employment Handbook and Butterworth’s Employment Service.
Julian read English Literature at St. John’s College, Oxford, and studied piano and piano accompaniment at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and the Guildhall School of Music. He subsequently spent a number of years as a professional pianist, becoming one of Britain’s leading young chamber musicians.