Catherine Urquhart

Call date: 2010
View Catherine Urquhart's LinkedIn profile LinkedIn Page

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 has a broad practice across the main areas of Chambers’ work, including employment, property, 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 qualified under the Public Access scheme to accept instructions directly from members of the public. 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 she successfully defended a well-known hotel chain against claim of race discrimination in a seven-day hearing; 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.

Current work includes representing the hotel chain in a further five-day discrimination case, due to be heard in July 2017, and representing 64 claimants in a union-backed claim for holiday pay, due to be heard over six days in autumn 2017.

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 applying for an injunction over defamatory allegations posted on Facebook; and 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.  

Contempt of court: Catherine represented a defendant in the High Court in summer 2016 in proceedings for contempt of court, succeeding in having the proceedings struck out as an abuse of process. In summer 2017 she is acting for clients, accused of a making false claims for personal injury damages, in contempt of court proceedings brought by the claimant insurance company.

Commercial: Catherine is regularly instructed by a nationally known glazing company to both pursue and defend claims for breach of contract. 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.

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.

Directory Comments

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.

“Please allow me to express my sincere appreciation of the excellent way in which you conducted my recent case. Your initial advice was constructive and throughout you were willing to discuss and explore points with me. Your cross-examination and advocacy in Court were clear and effective. I am most grateful for the preparation and effort you put in on my behalf and that you were able to achieve such a satisfactory outcome” – claimant represented by Catherine in a trial of a breach of contract matter.

Professional Memberships

Employment Law Bar Association

Employment Lawyers’ Association

Personal Injury Bar Association

Property Bar Association

Public Access Bar Association

Fellow, Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, manufactures and commerce (FRSA)

Additional Information

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).


Disrepair: in March 2017, Catherine gave a seminar with Ely Place barrister Sally Blackmore on the impact of the Supreme Court decision in Edwards v Kumarasamy on the law governing disrepair and the notice tenants are required to give landlords. Click here for notes.

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 [2011] 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:

VAT registration number: 107 8017 32

Catherine recently achieved the Briefed Data Protection Quality Mark