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Edward Cooper

Head of Practice - OMS Employment

It’s an honour to be a leader of an award-winning employment department, which has been named 'Employment Team of the Year' at a number of legal awards over the years.

Holding slide for male colleague

Get to know Edward

I joined Slater and Gordon in London in 1985 and established the employment department shortly thereafter, which built a leading reputation representing employees, trade unions and senior executives. I am now the national Head of Practice for OMS (Organisations and Member Services) Employment, which handles the “corporate” needs of unions and staff associations as well as all the employment law needs of their members.

I specialise in all aspects of employment law for individuals and the “corporate” needs for trade unions. My experience has a particular emphasis on collective and policy matters, including trade union and industrial law. I've advised on the rules and procedures governing numerous trade unions and have a wide experience in advising trade unions on mergers, internal disputes and industrial action issues. I've conducted numerous judicial review applications in public sector employment rights issues and have also acted for a wide range of individual clients in a wide range of industries.

I also have handled clients in right to practise cases and in professional negligence claims arising from the previous handling of their employment disputes by other solicitors and advisers.

I regularly deliver lectures to clients, most recently on the implications of GDPR for trade unions.

Career highlights

I have many career highlights, but some of the most recent include:

  • Acting for Sir Philip Rutnam, who progressed a well-publicised claim for constructive dismissal to settlement, having publicly resigned against a background of bullying claims involving Home Secretary, Priti Patel.
  • Acting for civil service trade unions in challenging by judicial review the imposition of pay remit in 2019.
  • Representing the Police Federation in their pay disputes with the Home Office in 2007/8 and in 2018, progressing judicial review on both occasions.
  • Acting for an association of Gurkhas regarding their pension treatment, through to the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Acting for a teacher in the longest right to practise hearing ever in that profession and securing the striking out of the case on grounds of abuse of process.


I’ve been recognised in independent legal guides the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for over a decade.

Chambers and Partners consistently ranks me at Band 1 and in the 2022 edition said: "Edward Cooper has a practice encompassing industrial relations and trade union law. He is experienced in a variety of contentious employment matters including equal pay claims. He is extremely bright. He is clever, he is thoughtful, he has an enormous knowledge of employment, he is strategic and he is a delight to work with."

I’m also consistently ranked as a 'Leading Individual' in the Legal 500 and for the past three years have received the highest recognition, in the Legal 500 Hall of Fame. The Legal 500 recognises my high-profile recent work of acting for the special adviser to former Chancellor Sajid Javid who was fired by Dominic Cummings.

Additionally, my team has won several awards over the years, including Employment Team of the Year at The Lawyer Awards in 2006, 2000 and 2002, and Executive Reps, the service I introduced, was recognised as a “stand out” client service in the FT Innovative Lawyer Awards 2008. The 2014 London Super Lawyers Magazine listed me as a ‘Top Solicitor in London’.

The extra mile

I’m a member of the Employment Lawyers Association and the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association.

I’m also a regular speaker at seminars and I’ve written articles for several publications.

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