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David Renton

  • Call: 2008
David Renton
"He has excellent attention to detail and thoroughly analyses the case."

Legal 500, 2019

"A wise and clever advocate, who is meticulous in his preparation and lucid and persuasive on paper."

Legal 500

Before being called to the bar, David was an author and historian and subsequently an official of the lecturers’ union UCU specialising in equality law. He now represents clients who are vulnerable, whether through illness, disability or addiction, and has been on the EHRC’s panel of approved counsel.

He has excellent attention to detail and thoroughly analyses the case.” Legal 500 2019

“An up-and-coming junior, who is very thorough and pleasant.” Legal 500 2017

“A wise and clever advocate, who is meticulous in his preparation and lucid and persuasive on paper.” Legal 500 2016

“A creative and diligent junior with a very professional approach.” Legal 500 2015


Employment law and discrimination

David represents claimants in all strands of discrimination claim at the Tribunal and EAT, including in lengthy, complex and high value cases, and in non-employment discrimination claims in the civil courts.

He particularly specialises in cases involving discrimination against trade unionists or discrimination on grounds of immigration status. David has written on employment law for New Law Journal. Before practising he was for several years an editor of an annual practitioners’ guide to employment law.

Recent cases

Smith v United Kingdom [2017] ECHR application number 54357/15. The ECHR considered whether a blacklisted construction worker who had no protection in ordinary UK employment law (IRLR [2015] 467) but who had later succeeded in a (settled) breach of contract case in the High Court had been deprived of an effective domestic remedy. Press reports in Guardian and Mirror.

Ssekisonge v Barts Health NHS Trust [2017] EAT/0133/16 David represented the Appellant in a case concerning the extent of the duties an employer owes to an employee in an SOSR dismissal (for immigration-related identity concerns) and whether this is a higher duty than in a misconduct dismissal.

McCafferty v Miah, Bow County Court, September 2016. Damages of £6,750 for discriminatory refusal to serve autistic child with service dog. Press reports in Evening StandardDaily Mail, Irish Post.

Other high-profile or reported cases

May v Secretary of State for Transport whether a claimant is protected where the diagnosis of a condition is unclear but there is medical evidence of adverse impact.

Ayoola v St Christopher Fellowship, whether costs order can be made without an assessment of whether the work done was reasonably payable.

Conway v Community Options Ltd [2012] EqLR 871 whether the same test applies in striking out discrimination and ordinary unfair dismissal claims.

Small v Barking and Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust, operation of burden of proof where Tribunal finds first stage has been satisfied.

Kurumuth v NHS Trust North Middlesex University Hospital, where there is error as to immigration status, whether reasonable enquiries defeat a wages claim.

Ross v Eddie Stobart Ltd, reported in Lawtel updates, whether Road Transport Workers are protected against dismissal for refusing to work in excess of 48 hour working week.

Housing law

David acts for tenants and mortgagors regularly in possession hearings, including lengthy and complex cases, cases involving very high arrears and cases involving allegations of anti-social behaviour or where possession is defended on human rights, equality act or public law grounds.

He also appears in homelessness appeals under section 204 of the Housing Act 1996, in occupation orders, and injunctions to prevent unilateral termination of joint tenancies and in related cases involving an overlap of housing and family law.

David is also regularly instructed in disrepair cases in the county court and magistrates’ courts and is willing to do this work both under legal aid and under no win no fee agreements.

Recent Cases

Benchlevel Properties Ltd v B-, Wandsworth County Court, February 2018. Disrepair damages settled for £15,000 at the door of court.

P- v Eaglepeak Ltd, Ornbach and Lok, Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court, February 2018. Disrepair damages awarded of 50% of rent for no heating, intermittent hot water, decayed plaster in one room rising to 90% when boiler failed altogether. Total damages £30,800.

Ryan v Hackney, Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court, January 2017, Compensation agreed at £9,500 (51% rent) for 2.5 years of water penetration in one bedroom and cracking in the other.

Other high-profile or reported cases

Mcloughlin v Tower Hamlets, Legal Action, December 2015. Disrepair damages of £21,700, being 5 years 7 months at 40% of rent, where windows were rotten and water penetration had caused a gas pipe to leak.

Espute v Lambeth LBC, Legal Action, December 2015. Disrepair settlement of £13,000 for heavy mould in three rooms and some mould in three others.

Addo v Sehmi. Legal Action, December 2012. David represented a tenant who was awarded £8,100 damages for disrepair (water penetration), being 3/5 of rent for a 15 month period.

Sun Street Properties Ltd v Persons Unknown [2011] EWHC 3432 (Ch) and [2012] EWCA Civ 1672 (judgment on Casetrack). David represented occupiers (“the Bank of Ideas”) who failed in an article 10 defence to a possession claim, but were granted permission to appeal and non-enforcement, and eventually settled the case two months after their occupation had begun.

Woldeab v London Borough of Southwark. Legal Action, December 2011. Successful challenge of finding that homeless person was not vulnerable where LA’s own medical officer had advised further enquiries.

Legal Publications


Justice Deferred: a critical guide to the Coalition’s employment tribunal reforms (IER).

Struck out: Why Employment Tribunals fail workers and what can be done (Pluto).

Articles and book chapters

‘Conspiring to unlawfully evict’, Landlord and Tenant Review 19(1) (2015)

‘The employment tribunal system at the crossroads’, in N. Busby et al., Access to justice in employment disputes: surveying the terrain (London: Institute of Employment Rights).


David has spoken about developments in employment law at courses organised by Equity, the GMB, RMT, UCU, Unison and Unite trade unions, and at events organised by the GFTU, IER, ILS and WEA.

He has given training for housing solicitors on how to bring disrepair claims and on how to bring and defend injunctions.

He is a member of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.