Craig Rajgopaul specialises in commercial, employment and education law. He is consistently rated as a leading barrister by Chambers & Partners Guide to the UK Bar, which has recently described Craig as "very hard-working and very highly rated within the market” (2014), "Commercial, responsive and practical … A rising star, he's quick and sharp, and gets stuff done." (2015), and "Lauded by respondents for his technical skill and unrivalled client service. He … has a well-deserved reputation for the high quality of hisadvocacy” (2016).
Craig has been a lawyer since 2005, and was a Solicitor-Advocate (with Higher Rights of Audience in all English Courts) from 2007 -2011. He previously worked as a Solicitor-Advocate at Ashurst and McDermott Will & Emery. Craig joined Littleton as a Barrister in 2011.
Since moving to the Bar in March 2011, he has been instructed on a variety of different commercial matters in the County Court and High Court, in numerous multi-day claims in the Employment Tribunal, including complex discrimination claims, in High Court team move, restrictive covenant and confidential information cases and in education matters across different courts and Tribunals. Craig also has good experience of litigation in the Employment Appeals Tribunal, and the Court of Appeal, and regularly acts on high profile (and high value) claims.
Craig is frequently instructed as sole Counsel against Silks, and works well in a team being led by a QC. Craig prides himself on the quality of his written and oral advocacy, and has received plaudits for the clarity and persuasiveness of his submissions. He particularly enjoys cross-examination.
Craig uses his experience as a solicitor to bring a commercial, client-focussed approach to his work, and likes to think that he is approachable, down to earth and enjoyable to work with. Recent comments from clients include:"not afraid of a good old fashioned scrap in our client’s best interests”; "really did a number on the [other side’s] witnesses in cross-examination”; " "He is tenacious, well-prepared and fights to the end. A joy to work with," and"He is very responsive, robust in the positions he takes, really user-friendly and willing to help.". (the final two were cited in Chambers & Partners 2016).
Craig has particular expertise in restrictive covenant/confidential information/team move claims, and has acted for the poacher, the gamekeeper and the employees involved in such claims. Chambers & Partners Guide has described his "in-depth familiarity with … restraint of trade issues” as one of the foundation stones of Craig’s practice. Craig is frequently led by the leading Silks in these areas, and works closely in partnership both with those leading him, and with his instructing solicitors. He recently acted (led by Stuart Ritchie QC) for a leading inter-dealer broker seeking injunctive relief against a former employee and his new employer both to enforce restrictive covenants and on a springboard basis, for a Lloyds managing agent (led by David Reade QC) resisting applications for springboard relief and delivery up of information, as sole counsel for an insurance broker seeking damages for breaches of fiduciary duties and restrictive covenants, and for a recruitment company in obtaining without notice injunctions followed by further relief including springboard relief arising from a team move (led by Gavin Mansfield QC). He is also adept at without notice injunctions, recently obtaining: (i) a without notice garden leave injunction for a leading insurance broker (as sole Counsel); and (ii) without notice relief requiring preservation of documents, compliance with restrictive covenants and confidentiality clauses in contracts of employment and the provision of information by way of Affidavit for an insurance company (led by Gavin Mansfield QC). Although many of these claims settle prior to reaching a Hearing, high profile reported claims on which he has acted include:
Craig also has experience of seeking ‘strike busting’ injunctions, including creatively using the threat of legal action to head off the Unions’ "leverage” campaigns and flash mobs (by way of example he acted for a number of London Bus companies during the strikes relating to the Olympics).
Craig is consistently ranked in Chambers & Partners Guide to the UK Bar as a leading Junior in employment law, and has been described in the following terms: "An up-and-coming junior, whose employment practice is going from strength to strength. He is a former solicitor and is praised for his commercial outlook and keen understanding of the pressures facing those that instruct him. His recent work includes high-profile discrimination claims in the Employment Tribunal and breach of contract and team move matters in the High Court.”
Craig has been instructed on numerous complex, multi-day discrimination claims, and has a thorough knowledge of the different strands of discrimination law, and of whistleblowing, TUPE, employment status and unlawful deductions issues. He has appeared successfully as sole Counsel for both Respondents and Claimants where the other side has instructed a Silk. He has particular expertise in disability discrimination claims. Craig regularly acts in unfair dismissal claims, and has obtained a number of strike outs, deposit orders and costs awards at preliminary hearings.
Craig has extensive experience of litigation in the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeals Tribunal, High Court and Court of Appeal.
Representative cases include:
Craig frequently gives talks and training on, and has written a number of published articles about, all aspects of employment law.
Craig has a long-standing interest in, and considerable experience of, education law, in particular the law relating to special educational needs.
Craig uses his experience in the education field – referred to further below - to bring a practical, analytical and sympathetic approach to the instructions he receives in relation to all areas of education law. Cases on which he acts include:
Craig has been a Representative for the charity IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice) since 2002, and has appeared for numerous parents in successful appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (now the First Tier Tribunal). Craig has been a school governor since 2003, so has practical experience of the application of education law in schools (and, as the Chairman of the Personnel committee, of the application of employment law in schools). Over the last six years, as a Governor of a state primary school in Wandsworth, he has helped to turn a school in special measures into one which received an Outstanding grade from OFSTED in February 2014. Craig has also worked with autistic children for more than 15 years, taught in a special needs school in Japan, and worked for a few months at the General Teaching Council.
Craig grew up, and went to school in, Edinburgh. He then read Modern History at Keble College, Oxford University, graduating with First Class Honours in 2000.
Craig spent two and a half years living in Toyota City, Japan (teaching English and studying Japanese), and holds Level 1 in the
Japanese Language Proficiency Test (the highest Japanese language qualification). He obtained Distinctions in the GDL and the LPC from BPP Law School.
Craig trained and qualified at Ashurst LLP (qualifying as a solicitor in March 2007, and as a Solicitor-Advocate in the same year). He has spent time on secondment to the in-house legal departments at IBM and Abbey. He joined McDermott Will & Emery in September 2008, and moved to the Bar in March 2011.
He is currently authoring chapters in a forthcoming book on discrimination law for OUP, and chapters on confidential information and legitimate interests for the next edition of the leading textbook on employee competition.