Ronnie Dennis

Ronnie is ranked as a leading junior in his two main areas of practice: employment and public law. He is described as: “A tower of strength with incredible capacity for work and someone you would always want on your team”; “laser-focused, client-friendly and a relentless cross-examiner”; someone who “adopts a collaborative approach and has the ability to get to the crux of a case quickly”; and, “An immensely valuable junior” (Legal 500).

Specialisms

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Ronnie has acted in a broad range of commercial disputes, including claims for breach of contract, directors’ duties and restrictive covenants; misuse of confidential information and economic torts.

Examples of his work in the field of employee competition include:

  • Obtaining an urgent High Court injunction, at a hearing without notice, to prevent a solicitor from misusing confidential information about his firm’s clients;
  • Acting for 11 employees defending claims of conspiracy, breach of duty and restrictive covenants in an alleged “team move”;
  • Acting for 2 employees defending claims of conspiracy, breach of duty and misuse of confidential information in an alleged “team move”;
  • Acting for an employee defending claims for damages and injunctive relief arising out of the alleged misuse of confidential information. Led by Anya Proops QC;
  • Acting for a music management company in claims against two former employees for breach of fiduciary duty and unlawful means conspiracy.

Examples of his other commercial work include:

  • Acting for a property asset manager defending claims for negligence and breach of contract in connection with an interest rate hedging arrangement;
  • Acting for a Cloud Software company bringing claims against an employee for failing to carry out his work with reasonable skill and competence;
  • Obtaining a High Court injunction to prevent a sampling agency from dealing with clients in breach of a contract for the sale of goodwill;
  • Acting for a senior employee bringing claims against his employer for breach of a bespoke commission agreement.

Employment

Ronnie is ranked as a leading junior in employment law. His practice encompasses:

  • the full range of claims in the Employment Tribunal, with a particular focus on discrimination, equal pay and whistleblowing claims;
  • industrial relations disputes; and
  • employee competition claims: see further under “Commercial Dispute Resolution” above.

Examples of his work in this field include:

Beal v Avery Homes (Nelson) Ltd
[2019] 6 WLUK 89
The High Court conducted the equivalent of a “Stage 2” hearing in equal pay claims brought by over 70 female care workers. The judgment contains helpful guidance on what constitutes a person’s work for the purposes of any equal value assessment. Ronnie acted for the claimants, led by Sean Jones QC.

R. (Independent Workers Union of Great Britain) v Central Arbitration Committee
[2019] I.R.L.R. 530
The High Court rejected claims that workers have a right to compulsory collective bargaining with a third party who is not their employer under Art. 11 ECHR. Ronnie acted for the University of London, led by Christopher Jeans QC.

Patel-Jones v Babylon Partners Ltd
(April 2019)
The Employment Tribunal dismissed claims for direct disability discrimination (including by association), harassment, failure to make reasonable adjustments, whistleblowing detriment and automatic unfair dismissal after a 12-day hearing. Ronnie acted for the Respondent.

Ayodele v Citylink Ltd
[2018] I.R.L.R. 114
The Court of Appeal ruled that employees bringing claims for discrimination bear the initial burden of proof under the Equality Act 2010, despite the change in wording as compared with the pre-EqA legislation. Read more about the case here.

A v B
(2018)
Ronnie acted for a senior manager bringing claims against a FTSE 100 company for victimisation, sex/ maternity discrimination, and automatic unfair dismissal under the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999. The claimant relied on acts allegedly committed whilst she was on assignment to the USA, raising complex issues of territorial jurisdiction.

Merseyrail Electrics 2002 Ltd v RMT
(2017)
Merseyrail sought an injunction to prevent RMT members from going out on strike in connection with the introduction of driver only operated trains. Ronnie acted for Merseyrail, led by Bruce Carr QC.

Other Employment Tribunal cases include:

  • Obtaining interim relief for an employee bringing claims for whistleblowing dismissal against his former employer;
  • Acting for a leading UK housebuilder defending claims of disability and age discrimination, victimisation and unfair dismissal at a 10-day hearing;
  • Acting for an overseas bank defending claims for discrimination, whistleblowing and automatic unfair dismissal on a TUPE transfer at a 15-day hearing. Led by Jane Mulcahy QC;
  • Acting for a high street bank defending claims for disability discrimination, failure to make reasonable adjustments and unfair dismissal at a 7-day hearing;
  • Acting for a national rail company defending its shift premium policy against claims for indirect sex discrimination;
  • Acting for a nationwide retailer defending claims for indirect sex discrimination and unfair dismissal arising out of a redundancy process at a 7-day hearing;
  • Acting for employers and employees at hearings to determine whether there has been a service provision change, and issues of assignment, under TUPE.

Public

Ronnie’s public law practice encompasses all areas of judicial review, with a particular focus on claims with a commercial context. He also specialises in State aid and public procurement: see separately below.

Examples of his work in this field include:

R. (L) v Buckinghamshire CC
(2019)
Supperstone J rejected the claimant’s application for interim relief to prevent the council from taking any further steps to implement a decision to repurpose 19 of its 35 children’s centres. Ronnie acted for the council.

R. (Independent Workers Union of Great Britain) v Central Arbitration Committee
[2019] I.R.L.R. 530
Supperstone J rejected claims that workers have a right to compulsory collective bargaining with a third party who is not their employer under Art. 11 ECHR. Ronnie acted for the University of London, led by Christopher Jeans QC.

R. (Mas Group Holdings Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
[2019] 2 WLUK 12
The claimant challenged the defendant’s policy of refusing to allow animal exporters to use a route via Ireland unless a shorter route via the Channel was unavailable. The claimant argued the policy constituted a disproportionate restraint on trade contrary to the EU Regulation for the protection of animals during transport and Art. 35 TFEU. Ronnie acted for the claimant, led by Conor Quigley QC.

R (Hussain) v Sandwell Metropolitan BC
[2017] P.T.S.R. 142
An elected member of the council sought judicial review of on-going investigations into allegations against him. Green J dismissed the claim, ruling that the Council had the power to investigate under s. 28 of the Localism Act 2011, and that the process had not been tainted by actual or apparent bias. Ronnie acted for the Council, led by James Goudie QC. Read more about the case here.

R. (Justice for Health Ltd) v Secretary of State for Health
[2016] A.C.D. 119
The junior doctors’ contract dispute: Green J dismissed claims that the Health Secretary’s decision to approve a new contract for junior doctors in the NHS in England was unlawful. The Judge found that the decision was within the scope of his powers, complied with his duty of transparency and was not irrational. Ronnie acted for the Defendant, led by Clive Sheldon QC.

R. (British Medical Association) v Secretary of State for Health
(2016)
The BMA sought to challenge the Health Secretary’s decision to approve a new contract for junior doctors in the NHS in England, arguing that he had failed to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty. Ronnie acted for the Health Secretary, led by Clive Sheldon QC.

R (O’Neill) v Lambeth LBC
(2016)
Lang J dismissed a challenge to the Council’s decision to vary a lease on the South Bank of the River Thames as part of the Garden Bridge project. The Judge found that the decision was within the Council’s powers, did not involve any disposal of land under the LGA 1972, and that Reg. 13(1) of the Asset of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012 was intra vires. Ronnie acted for the Council, led by Clive Sheldon QC.

R (Logan) v Havering LBC
[2016] P.T.S.R. 603
Blake J ruled that a Council Tax Reduction Scheme, under which all taxpayers paid some council tax except in cases of exceptional hardship, was not discriminatory on grounds of age or disability. Ronnie acted for the Council, led by Clive Sheldon QC.

R (Sky Blue Sports and Leisure Ltd) v Coventry City Council
[2014] B.L.G.R. 616
Hickinbottom J ruled that the Council had not acted irrationally or failed to take account of relevant considerations when it made a loan of £14.4m to the company that manages the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Ronnie acted for the Council, led by James Goudie QC.

Sky Blue Sports & Leisure Ltd v Coventry City Council
[2014] A.C.D. 48
The claimant applied for specific disclosure between its application for permission to seek judicial review having been refused, and the oral renewal hearing. Silber J refused the application. Ronnie acted for the Council, led by James Goudie QC.

Procurement & State Aid

Ronnie specialises in State aid and public procurement. He acted for Coventry City Council in the first domestic cases to consider the private investor/ vendor tests for State aid: R (Sky Blue Sports and Leisure Ltd) v Coventry City Council. He also acts for public authorities and economic operators in all areas of public procurement.

Examples of his work in this field include:

R. (Sky Blue Sports and Leisure Ltd) v Coventry City Council (No. 3)
[2018] EWCA Civ 2252
The claimants, who are the owners of Coventry City Football Club, argued that the Council had granted a State aid to Wasps RFC by selling its interests in the Ricoh Arena at an undervalue. The Court of Appeal upheld the Judge’s decision that the claim was unarguable. The Council had been entitled to rely on an independent valuation from KPMG, which demonstrated that it had complied with the private vendor test. Ronnie acted for the Council, led by James Goudie QC.

Waste and recycling contract
Ronnie acted for a local authority defending claims for breach of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 in connection with a tender for waste, recycling and street cleaning services. Led by Jason Coppel QC.

R. (Sky Blue Sports and Leisure Ltd) v Coventry City Council (No. 2)
[2016] EWCA Civ 453
The claimants argued that the Council had granted a State aid to its half-owned subsidiary, ACL, by making a loan of £14.4m on non-commercial terms. The Court of Appeal upheld the Judge’s decision dismissing the claim. The Court’s judgment contains a helpful summary of the principles to be applied under the private investor test. Applying those principles, a private investor might also have made the loan, because it was at a commercial rate of interest and safeguarded the Council’s 50% share in ACL. Ronnie acted for the Council, led by James Goudie QC.

R. (Sky Blue Sports and Leisure Ltd) v Coventry City Council (No. 1)
[2014] EWHC 1747
Hickinbottom J refused the Claimants permission to rely on expert evidence in their claim for judicial review of the Council’s loan to ACL, which they argued constituted a State aid.

Education

University of Oxford, Bachelor of Civil Law, Distinction & Law Faculty Prize

University College London, Law LLB, First Class

Recommendations

“A tower of strength with incredible capacity for work and someone you would always want on your team” Legal 500

“An immensely valuable junior” Legal 500

“He is laser-focused, client-friendly and a relentless cross-examiner.” Legal 500

“He adopts a collaborative approach and has the ability to get to the crux of a case quickly” Legal 500

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Regulatory Information

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Professional title: Barrister

Full name (as registered with Bar Standards Board of England and Wales): Ronnie Dennis

VAT Number: GB 165795266

Legal Status: Sole Practitioner

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