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  • Charles Bourne QC
    Areas of Practice

  • Commercial Judicial Review
  • Employment
  • Health & Community Care
  • Human Rights
  • Information
  • Media Law
  • Mediation / Arbitration
  • Pensions
  • Procurement and State Aid
  • Professional Discipline and Regulatory Law
  • Public
  • Public Access
  • Activity from
    Charles Bourne

  • Recent cases

    Two-tier criminal legal aid contracting abandoned

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    Court of Appeal judgment in part-time judges and same-sex partners pensions cases

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  • Article

    Employment Law Conference 2016 'Tribunal Time Limits'

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    De Facto Authority

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  • News

    Charles Bourne QC authorised to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge of the Queen’s Bench Division

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    11KBW acting in challenges to criminal legal aid tender process

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  • Podcast

    Whistleblowing and "Gagging Clauses"

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Charles Bourne QC

Charles Bourne

Charles Bourne QC

Practice Overview

Charles Bourne’s practice includes employment cases of all kinds, public law and a wide range of litigious and advisory work, especially involving Government, local authorities, regulators and other public sector bodies. Charles is also a CEDR-accredited mediator. He is authorised to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge and is also a Crown Court Recorder.

He is also registered for Public Access and can therefore be instructed directly by lay clients. Companies, employment consultants and individuals needing advice or representation are encouraged to take advantage of this possibility and the significant cost savings this can offer.

Representative Experience


Charles’ particular specialisms include whistleblowing, discrimination of all kinds, equal pay, local government (including relating to senior officers and members of local authorities) and national security procedures. He is currently representing the Government in pension and pay claims by thousands of judges raising UK and EU issues of part-time workers discrimination, holiday pay entitlement, selection of comparators and operation of time limits.

He also appears in High Court injunction applications. At 11KBW, he has advised numerous organisations on their employment contracts and policies. He is also available to conduct investigations for employers, benefiting from years of judicial experience in courts and disciplinary tribunals.

Charles is an author of Tolley’s Employment Handbook.

Ministry of Justice v Burton
[2016] IRLR 100, EAT, November 27 2015
Part-time judges of the Residential Property Tribunal were less favourably treated than their full-time comparators.

O’Brien v Ministry of Justice
[2015] EWCA Civ 1000, [2015] IRLR 1005; Times, November 10 2015, CA, October 6 2015
EU law on pensions not retrospective.

Martineau v Ministry of Justice
[2015] ICR 1122, EAT, June 17 2015
Claimant in lead case declining to appeal – Whether jurisdiction to entertain appeal by claimants in related cases.

Kiani v Secretary of State for the Home Department
[2015] ICR 418, EAT, November 21 2014
There was no absolute requirement for an employment tribunal to disclose a gist of the evidence against an employee immigration officer in closed proceedings where national security was held to apply.

Moultrie v Ministry of Justice
[2015] IRLR 264; EAT, January 16 2015
Pension rights for part-time tribunal members – Whether work of part-time members ‘broadly comparable’ to that of full-time members.

Re a local authority
Advice to a council on TUPE and procurement issues arising from restructuring of delivery of the National Careers Service

O’Brien and others v Ministry of Justice
[2014] IRLR 440 EAT
Group litigation by thousands of judges claiming equal pension and pay rights under Part-Time Workers Regulations, raising numerous issues of EU law and domestic discrimination law.

Owen v HM Treasury
Successfully defending whistleblowing claim in employment tribunal, and dealing with complex remedies issues such as pension loss in unfair dismissal claim.

Hunt v Ofsted
Defending claim following gross misconduct dismissal of an Inspector following her report on a special school which was closed after allegations of sexual abuse.

Mingay v Secretary of State for Transport
[2012] All ER (D) 350 (Nov)
Following the collapse of the franchise process for the West Coast Main Line, the claimant was suspended pending disciplinary investigation. She applied for an injunction to lift the suspension. Charles represented the Secretary of State for Transport at the hearing, persuading the Court that the application was premature, and then in a settlement process by which the case was resolved.

Local Government

Charles frequently acts for or against local authorities and advises councils on matters including consultation and equality duties, governance and constitutional issues and public procurement. He is particularly experienced in public transport matters, especially concerning concessionary travel schemes where he regularly advises on operators’ reimbursement rights. In community care he has fought judicial review claims regarding residential care and funding, age assessment, and cases raising issues as to mental health and capacity. Charles has also appeared in planning inquiries and judicial reviews and trading standards litigation.

Jones v Southwark London Borough Council
[2016] EWHC 457 (Ch), [2016] HLR 14, Ch Div, March 4 2016
Local authority which had made an agreement with a water undertaker was acting as a re-seller, not an agent – The amount of water charges which the authority could recover from its tenants was therefore limited.

Re local authority newspapers
Representing two councils who have received Notices from DCLG requiring compliance with the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity

Re a local authority
Advising a local authority on the lawfulness of proposals for a promotional bus scheme

R (South West Care Homes Ltd ) v Devon County Council No. 2
[2012] EWHC 2967 (Admin), [2013] Eq LR 50 National Assistance Act 1948 s 21, “usual cost” of care, compliance with equality duty. Successful defence of rationality challenge against decision setting usual cost. Charles is currently representing  another local authority facing a similar challenge.

R (Dulai and others) v Chelmsford Magistrates and Essex County Council, Essex County Council v Chelmsford Crown Court
[2012] EWHC 1055 (Admin), [2013] 1 WLR 220
Trading standards, powers of entry and seizure, powers of Crown Court. Successful judicial review of Crown Court decision purporting to overturn local authority search and seizure warrant and award costs against it, and successful defence of judicial review of the council’s issue and execution of the warrant.

Stagecoach Group and others v Secretary of State for Transport and travel concession authorities
[2010] EWHC 223 (Admin), [2010] 3 CMLR 8
Concessionary fare schemes, reimbursement of bus operators, interpretation of EU Regulation 1191/69. Successful defence of challenge by bus operators attempting to overturn principle of reducing concessionary fare reimbursement to reflect extra journeys generated by scheme.


Charles is a CEDR-accredited mediator. He has particular experience in employment but is available for mediation work (whether as mediator or advocate) in civil disputes of all kinds. He has assisted Government departments, NHS bodies and private companies and claimants with dispute resolution.

Public Law

Charles acts in judicial review claims and advisory work both for and against public bodies in areas such as immigration, prisons, hospitals, mental health and community care, and was on the Attorney General’s A Panel for 5 years before taking silk. He is also experienced in damages claims involving public bodies, with particular expertise in multi-party actions.

His public law practice also covers information law, where he regularly advises the Government and local authorities on their obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1998 and provides representation in tribunals.

Charles has extensive experience in human rights law, is editor of the Human Rights section of Butterworths’ Civil Court Practice (the Green Book) and was chairman of the Human Rights Lawyers Association in 2003-04. He is also well known for his public inquiry work, having appeared in the Baha Mousa Inquiry, the Billy Wright Inquiry and the Zahid Mubarek Inquiry.

He is regularly instructed in public procurement cases and recently represented a number of the successful firms in challenges to the procurement of Duty Crime Contracts by the Legal Aid Agency.

R (on the application of C) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
[2014] EWHC 2403 (Admin)
Challenge to the lawfulness and compliance with Human Rights Act 1998 of the SSWP’s policy for holding data of transsexual individuals.

Governor of the Cayman Islands v Information Commissioner
Successful judicial review challenge to ICO’s decision requiring disclosure of the Governor’s reasons for dismissing a complaint against members of the Islands’ judiciary.

R. (on the application of AHK) v Secretary of State for the Home Department
[2012] EWHC 1117 (Admin); [2012] A.C.D. 66; (2012) 109(20) L.S.G. 26
Whether closed material procedures available in judicial review

Lumba v Secretary of State for the Home Department
[2011] UKSC 12, [2012] 1 AC 245
Supreme Court appeal. The leading case on the effect of public law error in a tort claim. False imprisonment, effect of unpublished policy, quantum of damages

R. (on the application of Suppiah) v Secretary of State for the Home Department
[2011] EWHC 2 (Admin); (2011) 108(4) L.S.G. 18; Lawfulness of Government policy on immigration detention of families with children.

HJ Iran v Secretary of State for the Home Department
[2010] UKSC 31, [2011] 1 AC 596
Supreme Court appeal. Landmark decision on refugees, persecution on grounds of sexual orientation, effect of being forced to conceal sexuality.

Regulatory and Disciplinary Law

Charles advises professional bodies on policy issues and individual cases and is regularly instructed to draft rules, regulations and disciplinary schemes. At present he is retained by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in relation to its successful application for approval as a regulator and alternative business structure licensing authority in the field of probate services, and its implementation.

Charles also advises and represents individuals facing disciplinary proceedings. His clients have included doctors, opticians, accountants and surveyors. For many years he sat as a member of the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal.

What the Directories Say

Described by Chambers & Partners as "an elegant advocate", "an impressive and compelling advocate" and  as "stellar".

"The standard of his written work is first-class, as is his oral presentation."

"A very effective advocate, he gets respect from the court."

"Charles has a very unassuming demeanour that belies a fearsome intellect and an ability to present arguments in a logical, compelling and simple way."

"He provides sound, practical advice, is very approachable and always has time for you no matter how busy he is."

“A fantastic lawyer.”

“A clear and calm advocate.”

 "He is technically excellent and a very good advocate."

"He is an extremely good advocate who is good at helping the tribunal understand the intricacies of his case."

“Excellent grasp of the law and ability to apply it to the facts of a case.”

"Effective and well-organised advocate."

"A very clear thinker, who is admirably calm and always stands his ground."

"Very good intellectual skills and powers of analysis.”

"Sharp intellect and approachable manner."

Regulatory Information

All members of Chambers are registered with the Bar Standards Board of England and Wales. For general terms and conditions on which services are provides - click here

Professional title: Barrister

Full name (as registered with Bar Standards Board of England and Wales):
Charles Bourne

VAT Number: GB 564359908

Legal Status: Sole Practitioner

Professional Insurance: All members of Chambers have professional liability insurance provided by the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd - click here for details

Territorial coverage is world-wide, subject to the terms of the Bar Mutual, which may be found here

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