Fergus McCombie has an established practice in employment and discrimination law. However, he also accepts instructions in related areas, including; commercial disputes, public and regulatory law.
Recent and ongoing cases include acting for a Premier League football manager in his contractual and unfair dismissal complaint against his former club; for the Easy group of companies defending the dismissal of senior executives; for a claimant in relation to the statutory authorisation regime for glider inspectors.
His previous experience includes a post as a judicial assistant to the Court of Appeal Civil Division. Before joining the bar he worked in corporate tax accounting in the City.
Solicitors see him as an “excellent technical lawyer” who produces “technically excellent” pleadings and opinions. They value his “commercial and pragmatic” advice. Local authority lawyers comment on his “ability to relate to officers and members whatever their level of seniority”. As an advocate “he quickly gains the respect of employment judges with his confidence, obvious experience and familiarity with the arena, realistic approach, quick identification and focus on the salient points and clarity of presentation”.
Lay clients are equally impressed by his “reassuring presence [which] naturally inspires confidence” – “His analysis and retention of the facts meant that his advocacy was right on the money and he could react and respond quite brilliantly to the other lawyer”.
Fergus regularly gives lectures to solicitors and other professionals on employment law topics.
Fergus is also able to accept instructions via the direct access scheme.
Fergus advises and represents claimants and respondents at all levels in the whole range of tribunal work, including unfair dismissal, discrimination, equal pay, whistleblowing, TUPE, contractual issues and holidays. As well as firms of solicitors and local authorities, he regularly acts for in-house legal departments of well-known and multinational companies.
He is frequently instructed in related commercial and civil areas of work such as partnership and director disputes, restrictive covenants and employee competition.
Sanderson v Exel Management Services Ltd  ICR 1337
A acted for the respondent in a pay dispute brought by multiple claimants in relation to the meaning of “normal working hours” under the ERA 1996.
Butt v Children & Family Court Advisory & Support Service (UKEAT/0362/07 30 Nov 2007)
Appeal for claimant on test for disability discrimination and automatic unfair dismissal (for claimant).
Lloyd v BCQ Ltd  1 CMLR 41
Resisted a claim from a former director of the company that the existence of a Permanent Health Insurance benefit had the effect of impliedly restricting the contractual power to dismiss.
Nabbumba v Merton Priory Homes (UKEAT/0112/13)
On appeal only for claimant, correcting error in ET’s approach to causation of dismissal under TUPE.
Blackbay Ventures Ltd (t/a Chemistree) v Gahir  ICR 747;  IRLR 416
Acted for claimant (on appeal only) to preserve finding in ET of automatic unfair dismissal (by reason of whistleblowing) and to correct an error made in relation to non-dismissal detriment; guidance given by EAT in relation to elements of whistleblowing claims.
Coleman v Polestar UK Print Ltd (UKEAT/0376/14, 20 Feb 2015)
Resisted union’s contention that contractual shift pattern arrangements amounted to awarding “rolled-up” holiday pay.
Plumb v Duncan Print Group Ltd  IRLR 711
Acted for respondent in holiday pay claim on meaning of being “unable or unwilling” to take annual leave during leave year and period of permissible carry-over of right to take leave under EU law.
Langford v Secretary of State for Defence  EWHC 875 (Ch)
Statutory appeal on grounds of discrimination under Article 14 ECHR, from decision of Pensions Ombudsman, concerning availability to nonspouse partner of survivor’s benefit.
Education and Qualifications
- Postgraduate Diploma in European Law (2000)
- BVC, College of Law (1998 – 1999)
- CPE, College of Law (1998 – 1999)
- BA (Hons), St John’s College, Oxford University (1996)
- Diploma in Political Science, Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (1995)