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School of Law

Professor Lizzie Barmes, MA (Oxon), BCL (Oxon), Solicitor (England and Wales) non-practising


Professor of Labour Law

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 3941
Room Number: Mile End
Twitter: @BarmesLIzzie


Lizzie Barmes joined the Department of Law in 2007. She previously taught at UCL and was a Government Lawyer in the Common Law Team of the Law Commission of England and Wales. Prior to that she practised as a solicitor, specializing in employment, equality and personal injury litigation.

Professor Barmes’ research interests are in the fields of equality and employment law. Her 2016 monograph, Bullying and Behavioural Conflict at Work: The Duality of Individual Rights, won the 2017 SLSA’s Hart Socio-Legal Book Prize. The book investigated the operation in practice of individual labour and equality rights at work, taking behavioural conflict as a case study, including about bullying. The methodology comprised analysis of relevant legal doctrine from 1995 to 2015, qualitative reading of judgments about this form of conflict from 1995-2010 and semi-structured interviews with senior managers and lawyers. Professor Barmes continues to work on the common law of the contract of employment and the contemporary evolution of labour law more generally.

Professor Barmes’ current research in the field of equality law concerns positive action, judicial diversity and the  use of confidentiality obligations/NDAs at work. Professor Barmes is working with Professor Malleson and colleagues from other universities and from legal practice on promoting diversity in the judiciary, in particular through the Judicial Diversity Initiative. Professors Barmes and Malleson are Co-Directors of QMUL's Centre for Law, Equality and Diversity (LEAD).

Professor Barmes has a long-standing interest in inter-disciplinarity and empirical research. She has drawn on the work of organisational psychologists to inform analysis of the law on workplace bullying, highlighted convergences and divergences between management thought on diversity and developments in equality law and is now exploring qualitative means of analysing ‘populations’ of judgments and undertaking empirical sociological enquiry into the impact of law within workplaces. Professor Barmes’ current work builds on her experience at the Law Commission, where she worked on many of the papers in the series on Damages for Personal Injury and, in particular, Damages for Personal Injury: Collateral Benefits (1997) Law Commission Consultation Paper 147, & the eventual Report, Law Com 262 and Damages for Personal Injury: Non-Pecuniary Loss (1999) Law Com No 257. The latter was innovative in its use of empirical evidence and resulted in changes to the tariff of awards in Heil v Rankin[2001] QB 272.

Undergraduate Teaching

  • LAW6061 Equality and the Law
  • LAW6157 Labour Law: Contract Law, Dismissal Rights and Workplace Justice
  • LAW6159 Labour Law: Individual Protections, Human Rights and Workplace Justice.



Professor Lizzie Barmes' SSRN page

Key Publications

  • ‘Silencing at Work: Sexual Harassment, Workplace Misconduct and NDAs’ (2022) Industrial Law Journal Advance Access
  • L Barmes & K Malleson, ‘Lifting the Judicial Identity Blackout’ (2018) 38 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 357–381
  • L Barmes, Collective Bargaining under the Fair Work Act in UK (and European) Perspective:  Ideology, Individualisation and the State’, chapter 11 in S McCrystal, A Forsyth & B Creighton, Collective Bargaining Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (2018, Federation Press).
  • The Contract of Employment and the Remedial Dimension’, Ch 8 in MRF Freedland (Gen Ed), The Contract of Employment (OUP, 2016)
    • Review at: P Elias, ‘Changes and Challenges to the Contract of Employment’ (2018) 38 OJLS 869-887
  • Remedies for Breach and for Wrongful Dismissal’, Ch 28 in MRF Freedland (Gen ed), The Contract of Employment (OUP, 2016)
  • Bullying and Behavioural Conflict at Work: The Duality of Individual Rights (OUP, 2016)
    • Reviews at: A Bogg, (2017) 44 Journal of Law & Society 702-708; N Busby (2017) 46 Industrial Law Journal 572-575; J Fudge (2017) 80 Modern Law Review 159-164
  • ‘Individual Rights at Work, Methodological Experimentation and the Nature of Law’ in A. Blackham & A. Ludlow (eds) New Frontiers in Empirical Labour Law Research (Hart Publishing, 2015).
  • 'Common Law Confusion and Empirical Research in Labour Law', in A. Bogg, C. Costello, A.C.L. Davies and J. Prassl (eds) The Autonomy of Labour Law (Hart Publishing, 2015).
  • 'Judicial Influence and Edwards v Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust & Botham v Ministry of Defence' (2013) (42) ILJ 192
  • 'Learning from Case Law Accounts of Marginalized Working', in J Fudge, S McCrystal and K Sankaran (eds) Regulating Legal Work: Challenging Legal Boundaries (Hart Onati Series, 2012)
  • L Barmes & K Malleson, ‘The Legal Profession as Gatekeeper to the Judiciary: Design Faults in Measures to Enhance Diversity’ (2011) 74 MLR 245
  • ‘Navigating Multi-Layered Uncertainty: EU, Member State and Organizational Perspectives on Positive Action’ in G. Healy, G. Kirton & M. Noon (eds) Equality, Inequalities and Diversity - From Global to Local (2010)
  • ‘Equality and Experimentation: The Positive Action Challenge’ (2009) 68 CLJ 623-652
  • 'Constitutional and Conceptual Complexities in UK Implementation of the EU Harassment Provisions’, (2007) 36 Industrial Law Journal
  • Joint Guest Editor Special Issue of the ILJ, Reconstructing Employment Contracts and contributor, ‘Common Law Implied Terms and Behavioural Standards at Work’ (2007) 36(1) ILJ
  • ‘Worlds Colliding: Legal Regulation and Psychologists’ Evidence about Workplace Bullying’ in B Brooks-Gordon and M Freeman (eds) CLI 9 Law and Psychology (Oxford: OUP, 2006) 274
  • ‘The Continuing Conceptual Crisis in the Common Law of the Contract of Employment’ (2004) 67 Modern Law Review 435
  • with Sue Ashtiany, "The Diversity Approach to Achieving Equality: Potential and Pitfalls" (2003) 32 Industrial Law Journal 274
  • ‘Promoting Diversity and the Definition of Direct Discrimination’ (2003) 32 ILJ 200
  • ‘Remedying Workplace Harassment?’ in (2002) 55 CLP (Oxford: OUP, 2003), 347
  • ‘Adjudication and Public Opinion’ [2002] 118 LQR 600
  • ‘Law Reform at the Intersection: Non-Pecuniary Loss for Personal Injury, the Law Commission and Judicial Process’ (2002) 31 Common Law World Review 286


Professor Barmes welcomes proposals for postgraduate research in any area of employment and equality law.

Public Engagement

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