Case details

Gilham (Appellant) v Ministry of Justice (Respondent)

Case ID: UKSC 2018/0014

Case summary

  1. Whether the Appellant worked under contract of employment - thus satisfying the applicable statutory definition of a ‘worker’ under s.230 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 ("ERA") - so that she is eligible to bring a whistle-blowing claim against the Respondent;
  2. Whether the Appellant is eligible to bring her claim as a Crown employee;
  3. Whether the domestic statutory definition of ‘worker’ must be interpreted purposively in order to give effect to rights under Article 10 of the ECHR, or Article 14 ECHR in conjunction with Article 10.

The Appellant is a district judge, who was appointed in 2006. Over the following years she worked first at the Crewe County Court, and then the Warrington County Court, but in January 2013 she went on sick leave suffering from depression and anxiety. She has been on sick leave since that date.

In 2015 she brought a claim in the Employment Tribunal against the Respondent, arguing that she had been subject to disability discrimination, and to detrimental treatment for making public-interest disclosures (i.e. whistle-blowing). These disclosures related to the supposedly poor working conditions and excessive workload which she and her fellow judges suffered. The Tribunal held, however, that the Appellant could only bring a whistle-blowing claim if she satisfied the definition of a worker under s. 230 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, and the Tribunal considered that she did not. The Appellant was an office-holder, not a worker, and therefore could not bring a whistle-blowing claim. The Appellant appealed to both the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal but was unsuccessful on both occasions. She now seeks to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Judgment appealed

[2017] EWCA Civ 2220



Claire Gilham


Ministry of Justice





Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Carnwath, Lady Arden, Sir Declan Morgan

Hearing start date

05 Jun 2019

Hearing finish date

06 Jun 2019

Watch hearing
05 Jun 2019 Morning session Afternoon session
06 Jun 2019 Morning session Afternoon session