Julian Milford KC
Julian Milford was called to the bar in 2000. His main areas of practice are public law, information law, 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 advises on and acts in cases concerning information rights in the civil courts and statutory tribunals, and has been instructed in significant data protection and freedom of information cases. He appears 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/equal pay claims and industrial action cases. He also practices in the field of education law.
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 high- value commercial judicial review claims, and claims connected in particular with discrimination issues of all kinds; information rights; surveillance; and education. He has appeared on a number of occasions before the European Court of Human Rights. He also undertakes investigations and inquiries (for example, acting as an independent investigator or legal adviser in recent cases concerning pensions and allegations of bullying and harassment). He is recommended in the directories for Administrative and Public Law, Chambers and Partners stating: “he is excellent on his feet” and “he is a formidable and dogged opponent”; and Legal 500 stating: “Julian is an excellent barrister, with extensive experience and is excellent to work with, he is an excellent all rounder”. His recent and current work includes:
- Acting for HMG 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 4929,  1 WLR 243, and  QB 481).
- Acting in various Covid-19 related challenges, including R(Adiatu) v HMT and SSWP  IRLR 658 (judicial review of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme on Human Rights and EU law grounds by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain); JR challenges to Care Allowance rules and provision for the self- employed who have taken maternity leave (see e.g. R(Motherhood Plan) v HM Treasury  3 All E. R. 727); and a JR challenge to the Covid-19 related appointments of Dame Kate Bingham and Baroness Harding (R(Good Law Project Ltd) v The Prime Minister  EWHC 298 (Admin)).
- Acting for HMG in judicial review proceedings supported by the campaign group BackTo60, challenging changes to the state pension age for women (R(Delve) v SSWP  ICR 236).
- Acting for Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC in a challenge to a major school reorganization, which was the first case in which the CoA considered the proper interpretation of bilingual Welsh/English legislation: R(Driver) v Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC  ELR 193.
- Acting 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).
- 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.
- Acting for the Labour Party in internal disciplinary proceedings concerning Ken Livingstone and issues of anti-Semitism. Julian also acted 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 for the Prime Minister in proceedings challenging the make-up of the panel for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
- Acting before the European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber 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 (2022) 74 EHRR 17. Julian has acted in a number of other recent ECtHR cases concerning alleged state surveillance, including Lucas and Jones v United Kingdom (a claim that the UK’s legal regime concerning state surveillance of parliamentarians breaches the ECHR) and Wieder and Guarnieri v United Kingdom (a claim that the UK has breached human rights by surveillance of persons overseas).
- 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 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 complaints about the stop and search powers in the Terrorism Act 2000; sexual orientation discrimination in the armed forces; and changes to the state pension age.
Julian has acted in a number of high-profile cases concerning freedom of information, data protection, and data/privacy rights more generally. That includes data breach cases (where he has acted for data controllers and the Information Commissioner); cases raising significant questions about the interpretation of the GDPR, Data Protection Act 2018 and Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004; and challenges to surveillance or information sharing on human rights or EU law grounds. He is recommended in the directories for data protection/information law, Chambers and Partners stating: “he is calm, insightful, intelligent and approachable” and Legal 500 stating: “he is a very good, clear, clever advocate and knows his stuff”. Recent and current work includes the following:
- Acting for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in Webster v HMRC, a major current High Court claim in which the claimant challenges the system for the automatic transfer of tax data between the UK and the USA as being contrary to the GDPR and Data Protection Act 1998.
- Cases for HMG in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal concerning the activities of the Intelligence Agencies in connection with large-scale collection of data under warrants or authorisations, and data sharing with foreign intelligence See e.g. current proceedings against MI5 (Liberty and Privacy International v (1) Security Service (2) SSHD IPT/20/01/CH). Julian has also acted in a number of cases both domestically and in the ECtHR concerning the Intelligence Agencies, arising out of allegations made by Edward Snowden. Those include current proceedings against HMG in the Divisional Court challenging the compatibility of all the ‘bulk’ powers in the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 with human rights and EU law: R(Liberty) v (1) SSHD (2) SSFCO  1 WLR 4929,  1 WLR 243, and  QB 481; and in the ECtHR, Big Brother Watch v United Kingdom (2022) 74 EHRR 17.
- Acting as Counsel to the Tribunal in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in cases concerning vetting by the Security and Intelligence Agencies, and proceedings concerning the acquisition of communication data.
- Acting for the Information Commissioner in proceedings concerning the Information Commissioner’s investigation into AdTech and targeted advertising on the internet (Veale and Killock v Information Commissioner  1 WLR 2241).
- Acting for the Information Commissioner in current High Court proceedings raising the issue of when the UK GDPR applies to data controllers outside the UK (Soriano v Forensic News LLP).
- Acting for HMG in proceedings in the ECtHR brought by Privacy International, challenging the exclusion of GHCQ from the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as being contrary to Article 10 ECHR.
- Ittihadieh v Cheyne Gardens RTM Co Ltd/Deer v University of Oxford  QB 256. Cases concerning the meaning of “personal data” under the DPA 1998, the ambit of the duty to comply with subject access requests under the DPA, and the scope of the court’s remedial discretion.
- 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 1998; 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 2004 (Fish Legal and Shirley v Information Commissioner and ors  UKUT 52; Cross v Information Commissioner and ors  UKUT 0153).
- FOIA proceedings concerning 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; and the release of documents held by the Cabinet Office related to the Hillsborough football disaster.
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 cases. He is recommended in the directories for his employment practice, Chambers and Partners most recently stating: “He is exceptionally bright; he is articulate and he strikes the perfect balance of being technically on top of every detail while being a pleasure to work with” and “he is a go-to person and a formidable barrister; he is not somebody you would want to be against” , while the Legal 500 states: “ Julian is exceptional – supportive, approachable, able to keep a clear head, and calm and eloquent in even the most testing of situations”. His recent and current experience includes:
- Current or recent Employment Tribunal cases include acting for Sainsburys in ongoing mass equal pay claims by retail staff (also currently on appeal to the Court of Appeal); acting for the BBC in equal pay cases brought by claimants including the presenter Samira Ahmed; 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. Julian acts regularly in cases involving industrial action/union recognition issues.
- Acting for the Royal Parks in current discrimination proceedings in the EAT concerning the comparability of terms and conditions for employees and contract worker
- Complex employment tribunal discrimination/whistleblowing claims including a claim in which he obtained for a client what was at that time the highest employment tribunal award for disability discrimination.
- Test cases concerning the National Minimum Wage, including the largest mass NMW employment tribunal claim yet brought, concerning around 50 claimants in the care sector (Henry and ors v Sevacare).
- 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, and large outsourcing companies.
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Julian has recently developed an education practice, with a particular focus upon the higher education sector. He acted successfully 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. In addition:
- Julian acted for Rhondda Cynon Taff CBC in proceedings in the Court of Appeal concerning the proper interpretation of the School Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 in the context of a major school reorganization (R(Driver) v Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC  ELR 193).
- Julian acted for a Welsh local authority in several recent judicial review claims involving the interpretation of the Welsh School Organisation Code in the context of rural school closures.
- Julian is acting for Anglia Ruskin University in current High Court proceedings challenging its termination of franchise arrangements with an education partner in Malaysia.
- Julian recently acted for an Oxford College in breach of contract and disability discrimination proceedings.
- Julian has recently acted for Essex University in the Employment Appeal Tribunal in a claim raising questions about the interpretation of the university’s ordinances (Korthals-Altes v University of Essex).
- Julian acts on behalf of a higher education institution in current proceedings challenging alleged race discrimination in the curriculum.
- Julian acted 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 .
Julian has been recommended for a number of years in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500. Comments include for example the following:
Chambers and Partners
“Julian is immensely hard-working and responsive. He produces advice that is an impressive blend of technical expertise and commercial pragmatism.”
“He is very smooth and reassuring in his advocacy style.”
“Julian is very much on top of the detail on a case and is very good with clients.”
“He has excellent commercial judgement and is able to put across complicated situations in a way that is clear and reassuring.”
“A great combination of intellectual and sharp but in a client friendly and team player oriented package. Overall a superb operator!”
“Julian is an intellectual titan. He couples intellectual prowess with approachability, commerciality, and bags of practicality and common sense. His advocacy is calm, persuasive, and with a mastery of the factual and legal detail – a joy to work with”
“Julian is exceptional – supportive, approachable, able to keep a clear head, and calm and eloquent in even the most testing of situations. Julian thinks creatively about solutions to problems and is a pleasure to work alongside. He is also incredibly responsive. One of his particular strengths is his ability to combine incredible intellect with abundant commerciality and practicality”
“He’s exceptionally bright; he is articulate and he strikes the perfect balance of being technically on top of every detail while being a pleasure to work with”
“He is a go-to person and a formidable barrister; he is not somebody that you would want to be against”
“He is a formidable and dogged opponent”
“He is extremely bright, has empathy for his clients and is willing to take on any challenge”
“Extremely clever and thorough, and very impressive in writing.” “Charming, technically excellent and very supportive.”
“He combines razor-sharp intellect with an ability to think practically and creatively.”
“Extremely knowledgeable and a good communicator who cuts to the chase and puts people at ease.”
“Very meticulous in his approach and on a personal level he’s always approachable and never too busy for a quick word of advice.”
“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.”
“His manner in conference is beautiful. He’s approachable, articulate and very good at dealing with clients and understanding their perspectives.”
The Legal 500
“An exceptional barrister, who is very bright and has excellent technical knowledge. He has a razor-sharp mind, and is able to unravel the most complex of factual and legal cases into concise and convincing submissions.”
“Julian is a very considered advocate. He strongly advocates for his client but he is not unnecessarily aggressive or combative, which is a real strength in my view in a public law barrister.”
“He has an exceptional mind as well as being extraordinarily good with all kinds of different clients.”
“He is effective and charming.”
“He is intellectually rigorous and works very well with clients, commanding their complete confidence.”
“He’s highly responsive and a pleasure to deal with; he has an exceptional ability to distil highly complex issues and is extremely practical”
Recent Reported Cases
R(Liberty) v (1) SSHD (2) SSFCO
 1 WLR 4929,  1 WLR 243,  QB 481
Liberty challenges a range of surveillance powers in the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 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.
R(AB) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
 PTSR 1092
Transitional provisions for claimants entitled to severe disability premium within legacy benefits, who had transitioned to Universal Credit, discriminated against them in breach of Article 14 ECHR.
Killock v Information Commissioner
 1 WLR 2241
An application by a data subject for a remedy under the Data Protection Act 2018 s.166 was limited to procedural failings by the Information Commissioner.
R (Motherhood Plan) v HM Treasury
 3 All ER 727
Scheme to provide for payments for the self-employed who had lost income because of the coronavirus pandemic did not indirectly discriminate against self-employed women who had taken maternity or pregnancy leave.
Big Brother Watch v United Kingdom
(2022) 74 EHRR 17
State powers to intercept communications and share information with foreign intelligence agencies – Articles 6, 8 and 10 ECHR
R (Driver) v Rhondda Cynon Taf
 ELR 193
Schools reorganisation – Sixth form education – Interpretation of bilingual legislation
R (Delve) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
 ICR 236
Legislation which raised the state pension age for women born on or after 6 April 1950, with the aim of equalizing the state pension age between men and women, did not discriminate directly or indirectly against women or breach any requirements of notice.
R (Palestine Solidarity Campaign) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
 1 WLR 1774
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 (Prichard) v Secretary of State and Pensions
 PTSR 2255
Secretary of State had not failed to comply with public sector equality duty when introducing legislation which excluded mixed age couples from entitlement to state pension credit
R(Adiatu) v (1) Her Majesty’s Treasury (2) SSWP
 IRLR 658,  PTSR 2198
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was not discriminatory contrary to the ECHR or EU law. The lower earnings limit within, and rate of, statutory sick pay were not discriminatory contrary to EU law against BAME workers in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Government had not failed to comply with the public sector equality duty.
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.
News, Articles and Publications
Contributor to Tolley’s Employment Handbook and Butterworth’s Employment Service.
Julian read English at St. John’s College, Oxford, and studied piano and piano accompaniment at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and the Guildhall School of Music. He spent a number of years as a full-time professional pianist and chamber musician.