Trade Unions

Pattinson & Brewer was born out of the trade union movement and we have been at the forefront of fighting for working people since then.

At the time working people were facing a barrage of legal attacks from the establishment – there’s a famous case back at the turn of the 20th Century called the Taff Vale case – it was met with outrage because it made trade unions liable for any loss of profit arising from strike action.

The case saw the start of a mass movement of people that led to the creation of the Labour Party.  We worked with that movement to lobby for change, and that change came in the form of the Trade Disputes Act of 1906 which provided the foundation for the right to strike.

We were also at the forefront of fighting for better compensation for working people who were injured at work.  We led the charge to take on and fight cases under the Workman’s Compensation Act, pursuing many to the House of Lords and winning justice for those who went to work and suffered life changing injuries.

Our position as one of the leading law firms was recognised by the trade union movement early in our history.  In the early 1920’s, the leader of the newly formed Transport & General Workers Union, Ernie Bevin, appointed us as the lawyers for what became the largest trade union in the country.

Ever since then we have been proud to act for many trade unions and their members.  We have fought their battles in all courts and tribunals, including the House of Lords, Supreme Court and in Europe too.

The one thing that has remained constant in the firm since 1890 is the unshakable belief of the people who work here that having access to justice is a basic human right, and should be available to all.

For further information about the work we do with unions and the services we offer their members, please contact Jamie Hanley on 02076533204 (Helen Clarke) or by email at

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