Mr James Davies

James Davies

Lawyer biography

Alongside my day job of advising clients on all matters employment law, I co-head our 90-strong, award winning team of employment lawyers. I enjoy an international focus through my role on the Executive Committee of our global alliance of employment lawyers, Ius Laboris, and contribute on a national level to the Employment Lawyers Association as a member of its Legislative and Policy committee and chair of various of its working groups. I am recognised as a leading employment lawyer by a variety of legal guides including Chambers and The Legal 500 and The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers.


I advise a diverse group of employers large and small on everything from restructurings to discrimination claims to team moves. I have a particular interest in advising law firms on their internal employment and partnership issues and recently advised on what was reported as the largest law firm team move in recent years. From time to time I also advise senior executives.

A major part of my practice is advising organisations on their international employment law needs. As a member of the Executive Committee of Ius Laboris, I have responsibility for the Alliance’s geographical coverage so am a good person to contact if you need the best employment law advice in, say, Gabon or Tajikistan. I am also a francophile having obtained a Diplôme d’Etudes Juridiques Françaises from the University of Strasbourg to add to my Masters degree in Employment Relations.

I am a regular speaker at employment law conferences both domestically and internationally, Executive Editor of Age Discrimination (published by Bloomsbury) and an author of Partnership and Discrimination Law for Professional Partnerships (published by Legalease).

Many of my clients are partnerships and LLPs. Amongst these clients are several major national and international law firms as well as financial services and other professional firms.
Partnership disputes regularly require me to apply discrimination law and those employment laws which cover partnerships as well as partnership and LLP law. I have been involved for many years in the issues surrounding retirement age for partners. Additionally, the issues surrounding the management and remuneration of partners are of particular interest in my management role at Lewis Silkin.
From time to time I also advise members and partners on their positions.
I am an author of Partnership and Discrimination Law for Professional Partnerships (published by Legalease).


Employment & Immigration

Algorithms and employment law: do they reduce or embed bias?
United Kingdom | 09 September 2020

Recent years have seen rapid growth in the use of algorithms in employment, particularly in recruitment. Algorithms are now being used in interviews – for example, to assess candidates on their facial and vocal expressions. This article explains why claims regarding algorithms and discrimination are likely to become more common in the years ahead, something which UK employment law and enforcement mechanisms are ill-equipped to deal with.

Travelling from Spain – new self-isolation rules and employment
United Kingdom | 05 August 2020

A requirement to self-isolate for 14 days in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 has been re-imposed on all people returning to the United Kingdom from Spain. Happening in the middle of peak summer holiday season, how does this affect employees who are already travelling or due to travel in the next few weeks?

Local lockdowns: HR and employment law issues
United Kingdom | 15 July 2020

As national lockdown restrictions begin to ease, employers can expect local lockdowns to become more common. This article explores the relevant HR and employment law issues, including with regard to employee pay, refurloughing and staffing workplaces that are trying to stay open.

Something to be-leave in? Brexit as a philosophical belief
United Kingdom | 18 December 2019

In the face of undoubtedly strong feelings on both sides of the Brexit debate, questions are likely to arise regarding the implications of employees bringing their Brexit views into the workplace. Specifically, are there potential discrimination risks and could a strong belief regarding Brexit count as a philosophical belief for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010?

Class discrimination and the workplace: TUC proposes new laws
United Kingdom | 16 October 2019

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) recently published its recommendations for eliminating class-based bias in society. Its report points to a number of statistics demonstrating that working-class individuals suffer disadvantage in the employment sphere. As such, the TUC has proposed (among other things) the introduction of compulsory class pay gap reporting for all employers.

When to pay interns
United Kingdom | 21 March 2018

Media outlets have reported that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has initiated a crackdown on unpaid internships, including sending letters warning that workers must be paid the national minimum wage and setting up teams to tackle the problem. Organisations that fail to pay the minimum wage to interns who are workers may be penalised and the individuals could bring claims for back pay.

Beating the Brexit deadlock: squaring free trade with immigration controls
United Kingdom | 21 July 2017

The government and UK businesses want the United Kingdom to have maximum access to the single market following Brexit, but the European Union has stated that single market membership is conditional on allowing free movement of persons. There are a number of possible compromises that could enable the United Kingdom to continue to participate in the single market while retaining at least some control over migration.

What does Brexit mean for UK employment law?
United Kingdom | 08 February 2017

It seems unlikely that UK employment law will be transformed in significant ways as a result of Brexit, at least in the short term. In the medium term, the government may start to tweak the law to make it more business friendly. However, it is difficult to envisage a wholesale 'bonfire of regulations', at least without a radical cultural and political shift. In the longer term, if the United Kingdom is outside the single market, there will inevitably be a growing divergence between UK and EU employment law.

Brexit: impact on UK employment law
United Kingdom | 20 July 2016

The implications of Brexit for the UK workplace could be major, as a significant proportion of UK employment law comes from Brussels. Once out of the European Union, the UK government could theoretically repeal laws such as those related to discrimination, collective consultation, transfer of undertakings, family leave, working time and duties to agency workers. But would the government do that?

Voting for a 'Brexit'? Employment law implications if UK exits European Union
United Kingdom | 05 November 2014

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised that he will renegotiate the conditions of the United Kingdom's EU membership and put the new terms to the public in an 'in-out' referendum in 2017. If he makes it that far, what will happen to all EU-derived employment law that has become entrenched in the UK legal system, including discrimination rights, holiday entitlement, duties to agency workers and data protection obligations?