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Professor Michael D Ford


  • BS8 1RJ


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Personal profile

Research interests

Professor Michael Ford QC joined the Bristol law School in 2015 and specialises in labour law, human rights and public law. He is a QC in private practice at Old Square Chambers and a fee-paid Employment Judge. He recently appeared for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the Supreme Court in R(UNISON) v Lord Chancellor , a case of great constitutional importance on which he is writing at present. He has a particular interest in social rights, EU law as it affects labour law (he wrote a widely publicised advice for the TUC on the effects of Brexit), international protections of labour rights, and empirical changes in the labour market. His current interests include the effects of recent reforms on enforcing workers' rights in the UK and the implications of Brexit on labour law.


After a period as a full-time racing cyclist, Michael studied law at the University of Bristol (1983-6). He then worked as a Solicitor at Slaughter and May, did an MA in Socio-Legal Studies, and taught at the University of Manchester and, later, Birkbeck College, University of London. In 1992 he was called to the Bar, and practised at Doughty Street Chambers (1992-2001) and then at Old Square Chambers, where he still practices. He was formerly a Visiting Fellow at LSE, was appointed an Employment Judge in 2002 and was made a QC in 2013. He is currently the Special Adviser to the Parliamentary Committee investigating the world of work. In practice he specialises in labour law, covering most areas including equal pay, working time, industrial action, judicial reviews, EU law and EHRC applications. His work also encompasses human rights, health and safety, data protection, wildlife law (he has a BSC (Hons) in Biology from…Bristol) and judicial review. He has appeared several times in the House of Lords and Supreme Court, and often in the Court of Appeal. His seven appearances in the ECJ were all successful, and included cases such as Stringer v HM Revenue and Customs, British Airways v Williams and most recently in Lock v British Gas. His cases in the European Court of Rights include ASLEF v United Kingdom and RMT v United Kingdom. He is on the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s ‘A’ panel of specialist Counsel, and acted for them in judicial review in the Supreme Court which led to the abolition of employment tribunal fees (R (UNISON) v Lord Chancellor) and on the first appellate case on caste discrimination (Chandhok v Tirkey). He was Chambers & Partners Employment Junior of the Year in 2012 and Employment Silk of the Year in 2015. has written widely on employment law. His publications include “Two Conceptions of Worker Privacy” (2002) 31 ILJ 135 and “Re-thinking the Notice Rule” (1998) 27 ILJ 220. He was formerly the editor of Redgrave’s Health and Safety and co-author of Munkman on Employer’s Liability. He spends his spare time cycling, learning Spanish and trying to deal with his two boys.

External positions


1 Apr 2013 → …

Employment Judge

1 Jan 2002 → …

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Research Output

There is Power in a Union? Revisiting trade union functions in 2019

Ford, M. D. & Novitz, T. A., 2020, The Constitution of Social Democracy: Essays in Honour of Keith Ewing. Bogg, A., Rowbottom, J. & Young, A. (eds.). Hart Publishing, p. 261-286

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Between Statute and Contract: Who is a Worker?

Ford, M. & Bogg, A., 1 Jul 2019, In : Law Quarterly Review. 135, p. 347-353 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Open Access
  • 64 Downloads (Pure)

    The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Working Time: Bauer, Kreuziger and Shimizu before the Grand Chamber

    Ford, M., 29 Aug 2019, In : International Labor Rights Case Law. 5, 2, p. 242-246 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)