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Call: 2015
Joseph Bryan


Joe is a specialist in employment and sports litigation. Having joined Littleton in October 2016, he regularly represents clients in employment tribunals and the County Court. He has also been instructed (as sole or junior counsel) in the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the High Court and the Court of Appeal, and in applications to the Supreme Court.

He acted (led by David Reade QC) in the Court of Appeal in Agarwal v Cardiff University & anor; Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive t/a Nexus v Anderson & ors [2019] ICR 433, which is now the leading authority on the jurisdiction of employment tribunals in statutory wages claims.

He consistently receives high praise from clients and instructing solicitors:

  • “He put his case across to the judge in such a way that she could not say no! [My client] would want Joe fighting his corner any day.”
  • His pleadings and other written advocacy have been described as “brilliant”, “spot on”, “top-rate” and “impressive”.
  • He is “superb, proactive” and “at ease with the client and good value from my point of view” ; a “down to earth, good, decent barrister”; and “he was very professional but also matter of fact”.
  • “prompt and detailed attention” with “very clear analysis”
  • “excellent – very impressed with his preparation and always helpful – great client care”

Before his career at the Bar, Joe gained undergraduate and master’s degrees in Modern Languages and worked in both France and Germany. He was ranked in the top three students in his law conversion course cohort and went on to be graded Outstanding in his Bar exams.



Joe  regularly appears in employment tribunals and the EAT in all types of discrimination, whistleblowing and other statutory employment claims.

He acts for both claimants and respondents across a range of sectors (including education, the medical profession, retail and finance). He actively welcomes instructions to attend tribunals in Northern England and in other regions outside London. 

Joe can be relied on to produce written work of the highest quality. His pleadings have been praised by instructing solicitors and clients as “excellent” and “top-rate”. At a public hearing, Joe’s written argument was described as “excellent” by the Employment Judge in the course of giving judgment in favour of Joe’s client.

Recent cases include:

  • Representing a major international corporation resisting a claim of unfair dismissal.
  • Successfully representing a respondent employer in an indirect sex discrimination claim: the claimant withdrew her claim in its entirety at the end of Joe’s cross-examination of her, avoiding the need for the respondent’s witnesses to give evidence.
  • Successfully defending a claim of unfair dismissal in a redundancy context for a large national employer in the retail sector.
  • Successfully resisting a claim of disability discrimination, failure to make reasonable adjustments, unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal, following a multi-day trial.
  •  Achieving a costs order in favour of a respondent employer not exceeding £60,000 (subject to detailed assessment).
  • Representing the claimant in a multi-day harassment and sex discrimination case.
  • Providing pro bono representation to a charity-sector employer in a multi-day unfair dismissal, whistleblowing and discrimination case. Successfully obtained judgment dismissing all the claims.
  • Opposing Queen’s Counsel, securing a compensatory award for a claimant in an unfair redundancy claim.
  • Giving written advice on merits and quantum in a high-profile unfair dismissal claim for a senior official in local government.


Joe is a member of Littleton’s Sports Law Group and welcomes instructions in sports law, both as sole counsel and led by more senior counsel.

Recent sports law instructions include:

  • Litigating an FA Rule K Arbitration between a professional footballer and an intermediary.
  • Advising on, and drafting, an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against a decision of the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber.
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim in a multi-million-pound football breach of contract claim.
  • Representing an athlete charged with an Adverse Analytical Finding by the IAAF.
  • Representing a high-profile athlete in proceedings before the National Anti-Doping Panel.
As a pupil, Joe assisted his supervisor and other members of Chambers on various sports-related disputes, including:
  • Constructive unfair dismissal claim brought by the personal assistant to a football agent.
  • Drafting WP correspondence in a dispute between a Premiership rugby club and a coach.

    High Court

Joe has a keen interest in High Court business protection and has appeared as sole counsel on applications for interim injunctive relief.

During his pupillage, he also assisted with a number of interim injunction applications (including in the information technology and insurance sectors).

Other recent High Court appearances include:

  • In the QBD, successfully resisting an application to enforce the terms of settlement of an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
  • Various applications to Masters in the QBD and Chancery Division.
  • Various winding-up petitions.


Joe has appeared as sole counsel in commercial trials and applications in the County Court, including:
  • In a multi-track trial before a Circuit Judge, successfully obtaining judgment and five-figure damages for a claimant in the telecommunications sector.
  • Obtaining judgment at trial for unpaid fees on behalf of an independent school.
  • At trial, successfully defending a claim against an employment agency for loss of earnings alleged to be due to a candidate after a job offer was withdrawn.
  • Successfully applying to strike out, on grounds of res judicata, a claim brought by a former employee who had previously litigated against the same employer in the employment tribunal.
  • Successfully resisting a claim brought by a recruitment agency for an introduction fee.
  • Successfully defending a breach of contract claim brought against a major telecommunications provider.
  • Applications to extend administrations.
Joe welcomes instructions to advise on civil litigation strategy and draft letters before action, pleadings and preliminary applications.

    Education, Scholarships and Prizes


  • 2015: BPTC: Outstanding
  • 2014: GDL: Distinction
  • 2012: MSt Modern Languages (University of Oxford): Distinction
  • 2011: BA (Hons) Modern Languages (Durham University): First Class

Scholarships and prizes:

  • Prize for performance in BPTC finals, Inner Temple (2015)
  • Law First Scholarship, University of Law (2014)
  • Exhibition Award, Inner Temple (2014)
  • Paul Methven Award, Inner Temple (2014)
  • Merton College Graduate Prize (2012)

    Publications and professional memberships