Call date: 2010
Areas of Practice
Oxford University: MA Hons Modern History (2:1)
Nottingham Trent University: LLB (1st)
Nottingham Law School: Bar Vocational Course (Outstanding)
College of Law, London: Graduate Diploma in Law (Distinction)
Catherine was awarded two scholarships by Middle Temple: the Queen Mother’s Scholarship and the Baron Dr Ver Heyden de Lancey Prize.
Experience & Expertise
Catherine joined Chambers in October 2011 after successfully completing her pupillage there. She is developing a broad practice across the main areas of Chambers’ work, including employment, personal injury, media and general common law work. She acts for both claimants and defendants/respondents and in both an advisory and a representative capacity. She is happy to accept cases on a CFA basis where appropriate, and also regularly accepts work on a pro-bono basis. Prior to coming to the Bar, Catherine worked for many years as a newspaper journalist, including spending ten years at The Times as its Travel Editor. This gave her a particular interest in consumer rights, and extensive experience of interview and conferencing skills, which she finds invaluable at the bar.
Current & Recent Work
Employment: In the Employment Tribunal, Catherine appears for both claimants and respondents, and undertakes all types of employment work, from preliminary hearings through to multi-day final hearings. In particular, she has experience of unfair dismissal claims (including constructive dismissal), discrimination claims, whistleblowing, holiday pay and National Minimum Wage Act appeals. In 2016, she won a ten-day whistleblowing case in which she defended a school against numerous allegations; and recently she was successful in a six-day constructive dismissal claim for a senior director client in a hard-fought battle where the respondent was represented by Queen’s Counsel. She has also successfully represented claimants seeking backdated holiday pay following the Bear Scotland judgment. She is instructed to represent a major hotel chain in an eight-day race discrimination case in autumn 2016.
Catherine is the editor of the Ely Place Chambers’ Employment Update newsletter, which appears in spring and autumn.
Media: In 2016 Catherine was instructed by a major supermarket chain to defend it from allegations of defamation and false imprisonment, and she succeeded in having the claim struck out on both counts. Other recent work includes defending a client against defamation claims made by a wealthy property developer, which due to her strong advocacy and detailed pleadings she was able to settle to the client’s satisfaction. Catherine has previously appeared in the High Court as junior to William McCormick QC, Head of Chambers at Ely Place, representing the Metropolitan Police in a third-party disclosure application within lengthy defamation proceedings.
Property: Catherine has experience of claims for possession and mortgage/rent arrears on behalf of both private and public authority landlords. She acts for both landlords and tenants and also advises on property ownership and ToLATA matters. She is currently instructed in two boundary dispute matters and has a growing disrepair practice.
Commercial: Catherine is regularly instructed by a nationally known glazing company to both pursue and defend claims for breach of contract. She is also representing that client in the High Court in summer 2016 in proceedings for contempt of court. She often appears in the High Court in winding-up proceedings, and also undertakes enforcement work to draft or apply for charging orders and other means of enforcing judgment debts. Catherine is also building a practice in the costs field, undertaking provisional assessments, detailed assessments, costs budgeting hearings and other costs litigation. She regularly advises clients on making, rejecting or accepting Part 36 offers.
Streetworks: Catherine regularly represents a major utility company in magistrates’ courts across the country in matters involving the signing, lighting and guarding of streetworks.
Personal injury: Catherine has a busy personal injury practice representing clients in the county court in road traffic, trip/slip, employers’ liability and other accident claims. She is regularly instructed to provide written advice on liability, quantum and procedure and to draft pleadings, and has extensive experience in litigation arising out of road traffic accidents, including claims for vehicle repairs and credit hire and dealing with claims involving issues of causation.
What clients say
“I want to write to you specifically to let you know what a marvellous job the barrister, Cath Urquhart, did. She was simply amazing. She is detailed oriented, she knew my case inside out, she was highly analytical and she did not miss any point. She was courteous during cross questioning and remained utterly professional at all times… I cannot recommend her more highly.” – claimant represented by Catherine in a constructive dismissal trial.
Employment Law Bar Association
Employment Lawyers’ Association
Personal Injury Bar Association
Property Bar Association
Fellow, Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, manufactures and commerce (FRSA)
Free Representation Unit
Outside work, Catherine is a keen swimmer and an enthusiastic traveller. She is the author of The Times Holiday Handbook: The Essential Trip Planning Guide (2006), and a contributor to Sunrise on the Southbound Sleeper: A Second Telegraph Book of Great Railway Journeys (2011).
Shared Parental Leave: Catherine gave a talk with Ely Place barrister Amy Stroud on the new shared parental leave regime and how it will affect families in the workplace from April 2015. Click here for notes.
Caste discrimination: Catherine gave a seminar in October 2014 with the head of the Ely Place employment group, Gill Crew, on the new frontiers in discrimination law – the talk considered whether obesity is a disability, and whether caste is a protected characteristic. Click here for notes.
“Zero hours? Zero pay!” Catherine delivered a talk with Aidan Briggs, fellow member of Ely Place Chambers, on the subject of zero hours contracts, and the employment rights of interns, at the Ely Place Chambers Employment Group seminar on 3 April 2014 – click here for notes.
In September 2013, Catherine gave a talk on obtaining Access Orders under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 as part of the Ely Place Chambers Property Group seminar series – click here for notes.
“Holiday Pay” – this talk, on the latest developments in the case law on annual paid leave, was delivered with Paul Powlesland to the Ely Place Chambers Employment Group on 25 October 2012 – click here for notes.
“Cohabitees and property law – the impact of Jones v Kernott  UKSC 53; issues under TOLATA 1996; plus the impact of insolvency and family law”. Catherine Urquhart delivered this talk with Faisel Sadiq, fellow member of Ely Place Chambers, 1 May 2012 – click here for notes.
Catherine is the author of “Actionability in Defamation” in the Insight series of legal guides, published by Westlaw UK, the legal publishers. She has also contributed articles to New Law Journal including, in February 2015, an article on caste discrimination, which is available here.
Catherine was interviewed by The Guardian in March 2011 about her career change to law: