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Wednesday, 01 July 2015 08:30

Paul Johnstone

I am passionate about equality, fairness, and justice with a first class reputation for achieving successful results for clients. I am a solicitor and specialist employment and equality rights lawyer. I am highly skilled in dealing with UK and EU employment, discrimination and human rights law with 20 years’ experience of resolving complex and challenging disputes.

I have devised and delivered training programmes for individual and collective leadership and development to improve workplace culture, teamworking and productivity. I am a recognised expert in advising on all aspects of Equality Act 2010 not only in terms of workplace relationships but also in terms of public sector equality duties and related duties for private sector service providers.

Professional experience

  • Currently partner at Collingwood Legal and formerly a partner at Muckle LLP;
  • chairman of Muckle LLP Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee;
  • former chairman and board member of Equality North East;
  • contributor to Government Equalities Office consultation forums on benchmarking equality standards for employer organisations;
  • member of Newcastle University's Equality and Diversity Committee, providing strategic advice to the University both in its capacity as an employer and in relation to the services provided to its students and the wider community;
  • working in partnership to promote good employment practices with organisations such as Government Equalities Office, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Acas, North East Chamber of Commerce, Department of Business Innovation and Skills, Equality North East, the North East Employers Network, the former Strategic Health Authority and Clinical Commissioning Groups;
  • member of the Employment Lawyers Association and Newcastle upon Tyne Employment Tribunal User Group.


Significant achievements

  • dealing with highly sensitive and confidential cases involving allegations of neglect and abuse for clients working in the health and social care sector – including dealing with regulatory investigations, advising on disciplinary sanctions and handling media enquiries.
  • achieving significant financial awards in claimant litigation cases, for example a settlement of over £220,000 for a terminally ill client in relation to disability discrimination and death in service benefits and an award in excess of £200,000 for sexual harassment and sex discrimination for an HR director;
  • successfully prosecuting a claim for disability discrimination for a client with Motor Neurone Disease which resulted in a substantial award of damages and a significant costs order against the former employer
  • leading the team of lawyers which provided guidance and advice to a major UK university over a period of 5 years with an outstanding record of successfully defending many complex, high value and high profile employment tribunal cases;
  • leading and co-ordinating a sensitive investigation into allegations of bullying and harassment against a senior HR manager in a large public sector organisation including interviewing more than a dozen witnesses and preparing a detailed and comprehensive factual analysis and report together with appropriate recommendations for future action by the CEO and management board;
  • advising on several long terms sickness absence situations involving consideration of disability issues and duties under health and safety at work legislation and Equality Act 2010.
  • drafting pleadings for employment tribunal claims, preparing cases for hearing and dealing with all case management issues.
  • providing advocacy at the employment tribunal to win complex tribunal litigation cases some of which involved allegations of public interest disclosure whistleblowing, breach of academic standards and allegations of sex, age, race, sexual orientation and disability discrimination;
  • advising on highly sensitive and complex industrial relations disputes for clients in the public and private sector and utilising the services of Acas for collective conciliation workforce agreements;
  • securing settlement agreements by way of mediation, negotiation and conciliation

Equality Act training and advice programmes


  • Specific and focused guidance and training on how to use Equality Act 2010 and other legislation to promote the interests of people with disabilities;
  • How to use Equality Act and the public sector equality duty in conflict situations to engage successfully with regulatory bodies, institutions, organisations and members of the public;
  • How to promote the rights of people with disabilities in dealing with public and private sector service providers;
  • Guidance on how to require NHS Trusts, Local Authorities, Social Services and the Police to deal effectively with “hate-crime” attacks and anti-social behaviour.

I can give on line advice through this site.

Published in Biographies
Friday, 24 April 2015 09:01

Zoe Thompson

I am a Mum to a teen with autism and his typical younger brother and together with my husband, we have set up our own special school for children with autism  Our school brings a new approach to autism education in that it seeks to help young people address the difficulties at the heart of autism.  We use the principles and practice of Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) to work on the developmental milestones that young people have missed in order to help them become more able to regulate themselves and better able to manage uncertainty and change.

I have experience in supporting parents through the Education Heath and Care Plan process, as well as in supporting families to ensure they get the social care services (such as direct payments for respite) they are entitled to.  I have a track record of successfully helping parents to challenge in these areas via complaints and judicial review.  You can see some of the testimonials from parents I have supported on the school web site.

In response to Thomas Rawnsley’s sad and unnecessary death, I am one of the founders of Justice Together – a new project from Bringing us Together that seeks to make information and support available to families whose children and young people have been detained or are at risk of being detained against their wishes.

I am well connected to other parent activists and professionals and if I don’t know the answer to something, or the right way to help someone, I can usually find someone who does.

I blog sporadically (time is an issue!) about autism and RDI, as well as about helping families to challenge providers. and I am on Twitter as @notnigellajamie 


Published in Biographies
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