Martina is an established employment specialist. Martina specialises in complex discrimination and whistleblowing claims however advises on all aspects of employment law representing a wide variety of clients. She is an Executive Officer of the Employment Law Bar Association (ELBA) and has been appointed to the Bar Council’s Race Working Group 2020.

Employment and Discrimination

Martina specialises in employment litigation in the Employment Tribunal and the appellate courts (the Employment Appeal Tribunal, Court of Appeal) and the High Court. She is Secretary of the Employment Law Bar Association (ELBA).

She has substantial experience acting in complex and high value discrimination and whistleblowing claims before the Employment Tribunal, both for claimants and employers and for individual respondents.

Martina’s clients are often in the healthcare sector (for example NHS Trusts, Consultants, and Doctors). Her work can overlap with public law issues and she has experience extends to judicial review proceedings in the High Court, inquests and regulatory matters including disciplinary hearings.

Martina’s client base is wide-ranging and has recently included an International Energy Company, a Consultant Psychiatrist, inter-broker dealer, Solicitor, Barrister, Prison service employee, the Met Police, NHS, an International School and Royalty.

Martina accepts direct access instructions. Martina is regularly instructed to advise clients on cases involving issues of significant reputational importance.

Current and recent work includes:

  • Instructed in the first Employment Tribunal case to appoint a registered intermediary. (ELA Article)
  • Advising an International Energy Company on the ramifications of the UK Agency Worker Regulations in relation to a tender for a large construction project
  • Representing a Consultant psychiatrist in her 22-day whistleblowing claim against a private healthcare provider
  • Advising former employees and employers on enforceability of restrictive covenants and allegations of sharing confidential information.
  • Representing a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon in his whistleblowing and unfair dismissal claim against his former employer NHS Trust (restricted reporting order in place)
  • Acting for the MET Police in a 3-week liability Hearing defending claims of race and religious discrimination by a current civilian employee
  • Acting for a Claimant in his substantial disability discrimination claim including bullying and harassment against his former employer (public sector)
  • Representing an NHS Trust against a claim for unfair dismissal from their former Head of Midwifery whom they dismissed for bullying and harassment. Reported in the Press
  • Representing an inter-broker dealer in his whistleblowing, unfair dismissal, breach of contract claim (bonus) against an inter-broker dealer
  • Representing a solicitor in settlement negotiations and settlement agreement
  • Acting for a Nurse in a regulatory matter, judicial review of decision to strike her off from the Professional register
  • Representing a bus driver, a Jamaican national (Windrush Generation), dismissed for not being able to provide a document which would prove that he had the right to work in the UK
  • Representing a former employee of the DWP in her disability discrimination and harassment claim to the Employment Appeal Tribunal
  • Inquest – Article 2 arguments at a Pre-Inquest Review Hearing (mental health)


Qualifications & Awards

Masters (LLM), Labour Law, London School of Economics and Political Science

LLB (Hons), University of East Anglia (UEA)

Appointments & Memberships

Bar Council Race Working Group (ELBA Representative) (from July 2020)

Employment Law Bar Association (ELBA); Secretary (July 2019), Assistant Secretary (May 2017 to June 2019), Committee member since 2014.

Industrial Law Society (ILS)

Employment Lawyers Association

Administrative Law Bar Association

Other relevant information

Martina Murphy is a Pupillage Supervisor.

Martina is an active supporter of social mobility at the Bar, most recently arranging hosting a student from the Bar Council’s Bar Placement Scheme (in conjunction with the Social Mobility Foundation) and last year, arranging for 11 Tottenham primary school children to meet the Hon. Mr Justice Choudhury (now President of the EAT).

Martina, together with Charlotte Davies (of Littleton Chambers), share responsibility for ELBA’s social mobility portfolio.

 Martina actively supports Advocate (formerly the Bar Pro Bono Unit (BPBU)), the COAS and ELAAS schemes and has assisted a number of individuals with their appeals in the EAT on a pro bono basis.

Martina was a member of Tanfield Chambers from 1998-2017.


Martina is regularly asked to provide expert legal comment:

Joint submission with Rachel Crasnow QC on behalf of the Employment Law Bar Association (ELBA) to Parliament’s Women and Equality Committee’s Inquiry

‘Ensuring strong equalities legislation after EU Brexit’ (2016)

LexisNexis webinars with Ed Stacey, Partner, PwC, ‘Mandatory gender pay gap reporting: what you need to know’ (2016) and Employment Law round up (2015)

Legal Network TV (LNTV) on the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act (SBEE) 2015

Contributor to Westlaw’s Insight Employment Law Encyclopaedia (2015-16):

Equal pay: gender pay gap reporting (2016) Joint article by Martina and Ed Stacey

Zero hours contracts


U v Department for Work and Pensions [2017] IRLR 304 

Martina acted for a former employee of the DWP in her substantial disability discrimination and harassment claim before the EAT.  Martina successfully argued a new point of law on harassment – that ‘actual’ unfair dismissal (as opposed to ‘constructive’) can amount as a matter of law to harassment.

D Baker v Abellio London Ltd UKEAT/0250/16/LA (1.2.2017) 

Martina acted for the Appellant, Mr Baker at the Preliminary stage of his appeal before the EAT.  The Company had dismissed Mr Baker, a bus driver, a Jamaican national, for not being able to provide a document which would prove that he had the right to work in the UK.  Martina persuaded the EAT that the matter should proceed to a full Hearing regarding the reason and the fairness of the dismissal and the claim for unlawful deduction of wages.  The Full Appeal was reported in the Press.

Whistleblowing, Unfair Dismissal and Breach of Contract

Martina acted for a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, initially on a direct access basis at his internal appeal against his dismissal and finally at his Remedy Hearing before the Employment Tribunal, where (unusually) the Respondent had refused to comply with an order for re-engagement.

X v Public Sector Employer (2018)

Martina acted for a former employee in his claim for disability discrimination, Harassment and unfair dismissal.  There were non-disclosure issues and following Martina’s cross-examination of the Respondent’s witnesses the matter settled mid-trial.

Multiple Discrimination (Race, Disability)

Martina acted for the MET police in defending claims of multiple discrimination on grounds of race and disability over a 3-week trial period.  There were multiple preliminary issues including strike out and wasted costs.

Judicial Review / Regulatory

Holder v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2017] EWHC (Admin) 1565

Martina advised and drafted submissions on behalf of a Nurse judicially reviewing the decision to strike her off the professional register.

Whistle-blowing, Unfair Dismissal, Bonus scheme (2017)

Martina acted for an inter-broker dealer in his claim for whistleblowing, unfair dismissal and bonus.  It was successfully mediated.

Dr Arhin v Enfield Primary Care Trust, CA [2010] EWCA Civ 1481

Successfully defended 100% Polkey reduction. Obtained £10,000 costs for the Respondent Trust.