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Freeths - Law firm

Paul Bownes

Managing Associate

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Paul Bownes has specialised in employment law since before he qualified as a solicitor in 2011. He carries out advisory and drafting work on the whole spectrum of day to day HR matters as well as more sensitive or strategic matters for senior management teams, provides assistance with and/or manages large scale projects such as TUPE transfers and collective consultations, and also manages employment disputes from inception through to settlement or final hearing if necessary. He has significant experience in being instructed as an external investigator for grievance or disciplinary investigations, as well as being instructed to sit as an adviser to disciplinary or grievance panels in the public sector. Paul primarily acts for employers and regularly deals with organisations of all sizes from SMEs through to multinational companies, providing advice to management up to plc board level. He has a wealth of experience in a broad range of sectors, including hospitality and leisure, transport and the public sector.

He regularly appears as an advocate in Employment Tribunals across both England & Wales and Scotland as well as in County Courts in employment disputes. Paul also appears as an advocate in the Employment Appeal Tribunal in both London and Edinburgh. He has represented clients in all types of claim that can come before the Tribunals and has undertaken complex multi-week hearings.

Paul assisted clients in understanding and preparing for the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation and continues to provide data protection advice from an employment and HR perspective. In addition, he regularly provides general HR and employment law training.

Legal Services

Employment Law Advice for Employees

  • Advising on the HR and employment matters arising from the £4bn sale of part of a multinational business.
  • Acting as the external investigator into serious whistleblowing complaints arising from a regulatory inspection.
  • Advising on the preparation for, implementation of and response to collective consultation with in excess of 30,000 employees.
  • Successfully defending an Employment Tribunal claim (including the advocacy) in a matter listed for a 15 day final hearing.
  • Representing the respondent (including the advocacy) in successfully defending an appeal before the President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Edinburgh in a case which dealt with the circumstances when an employer can fairly dismiss a long serving employee for unproven criminal allegations.
  • Representing the respondent local authority in an Employment Tribunal matter which went to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (including the advocacy at both levels) challenging a disclosure order made by the Tribunal which the local authority was precluded from complying with by law.
  • Successfully defending an Employment Tribunal claim (including the advocacy) in which the Claimant sought c.£400,000 in compensation.



Drinks, Hospitality & Leisure

Paul has provided day to day advice across his career for a range of the country’s leading names, including Whitbread, Pizza Express, Costa Coffee, Nuffield Health and TGI Fridays.

He has also taken the lead role in advising businesses about strategic matters such as restructuring, the employment implications of parts of a business and the response to the coronavirus pandemic.


Paul was the primary adviser for one of the UK’s largest food-to-go suppliers and dealt with most of the HR and employment matters arising.

Public Sector

Paul advises numerous local authorities and other public sector bodies on both day to day HR matters and more significant employment disputes, including representing local authorities in the Employment Tribunal.

He also has significant experience advising on industrial relations and issues arising from Green Book and JNC terms.


Paul has acted for a number of airline businesses including day to day advice, representing them in Employment Tribunal matters and also advising on matters connected to the trade unions.



To contact Paul or for more information…

Call: 0345 404 4142
Mobile: 0797 153 5780
Or email: Send an email



Employment Lawyers Association

Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

Our values


Talk to us

Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

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