Craig Rajgopaul is a highly rated senior junior specialising in employment law, with expertise in partnership and commercial law. He joined the bar in 2011, having previously practised as a solicitor-advocate with two leading City firms. Craig has a wide-ranging employment practice spanning High Court, Employment Tribunal and appellate work, with additional expertise in the business protection sphere, notably in cases involving allegations of a breach of fiduciary duty and shareholder disputes. He has been involved in many of the most high-profile team move and restrictive covenant cases, from Tullett Prebon v BGC, to, recently, Alesco v Bishopsgate.  He is regularly instructed in difficult discrimination and whistleblowing claims. 

Craig is consistently rated as a leading barrister by Chambers and Partners and Legal 500. His experience includes working on commercial matters in the County Court and High Court, in numerous multi-day claims in the Employment Tribunal, including complex discrimination claims, in High Court team move, restrictive covenant and confidential information cases and in education matters across different courts and Tribunals. Craig also has good experience of litigation in the Employment Appeals Tribunal, and the Court of Appeal, and regularly acts on high profile (and high value) claims.

Craig is frequently instructed as sole counsel against silks, and works well in a team being led by a QC. Craig prides himself on the quality of his written and oral advocacy, and has received plaudits for the clarity and persuasiveness of his submissions. He particularly enjoys cross-examination.

Craig uses his experience as a solicitor to bring a commercial, client-focused approach to his work, and likes to think that he is approachable, down to earth and enjoyable to work with. Comments from clients include: "not afraid of a good old fashioned scrap in our client’s best interests”; "really did a number on the [other side’s] witnesses in cross-examination”; "He is tenacious, well-prepared and fights to the end. A joy to work with," and "He is very responsive, robust in the positions he takes, really user-friendly and willing to help." (the final two were cited in Chambers & Partners).

Experience

Shortlist

Employment

Craig is consistently ranked in Chambers & Partners Guide to the UK Bar and Legal 500 as a leading Junior in employment law.  The directories have confirmed that his: "employment practice is going from strength to strength. He is a former solicitor and is praised for his commercial outlook and keen understanding of the pressures facing those that instruct him. His recent work includes high-profile discrimination claims in the Employment Tribunal and breach of contract and team move matters in the High Court.”

Craig has been instructed on numerous complex, multi-day discrimination and whistleblowing claims, and has a thorough knowledge of the different strands of discrimination law, and of whistleblowing, TUPE, employment status, unfair dismissal and unauthorised deductions issues. He has appeared successfully as sole Counsel for both Respondents and Claimants where the other side has instructed a Silk. He has particular expertise in disability discrimination claims. Craig regularly obtains strike outs, deposit orders and costs awards in the Tribunals.

Craig has extensive experience of litigation in the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeals Tribunal, High Court and Court of Appeal.  He is also regularly instructed to carry out sensitive investigations, grievances, disciplinary hearings and appeals (including by solicitors firms in respect of their partners). The nature and contents of such processes necessarily have to remain confidential.

Craig frequently gives talks and training on, and has written a number of published articles about, all aspects of employment law.

In his previous role as a solicitor-advocate, Craig acted on a number of high profile discrimination claims (e.g. a £19 million sex discrimination claim in the EAT and Court of Appeal) and on Burlo v Langley and Carter in the EAT ([2006] ICR 850) and the Court of Appeal ([2007] ICR 390).

Cases

Grid view
List view
Shortlist

Employee Competition

Craig has particular expertise in restrictive covenant/confidential information/team move claims, and has acted for the poacher, the gamekeeper and the employees involved in such claims. 

Chambers & Partners Guide has described his "in-depth familiarity with … restraint of trade issues” as one of the foundation stones of Craig’s practice. 

With a strong practice in obtaining injunctive relief as sole Counsel, Craig is also frequently led by the leading Silks in these areas, and works closely in partnership both with those leading him, and with his instructing solicitors. He regularly acts for inter-dealer brokers, insurance agents, insurance brokers, recruitment companies, financial institutions and companies in the scientific field obtaining injunctions followed by further relief including springboard relief arising from a team move. He is also adept at without notice injunctions, having obtained, by way of example: (i) a without notice garden leave injunction for a leading insurance broker (as sole Counsel); and (ii) without notice relief requiring preservation of documents, compliance with restrictive covenants and confidentiality clauses in contracts of employment and the provision of information by way of Affidavit for an insurance company.  

Although many of these claims settle prior to reaching a full hearing, high profile reported claims on which he has acted include: 

Cases

Grid view
List view
Shortlist

Partnership

Craig has extensive experience of acting for partnerships and LLPs in defending claims brought by partners/members, and of acting for partners and members in bringing such claims.  He has a keen understanding of the partnership- specific nuances of such claims, and the paramount importance of confidentiality.  Craig works closely with his solicitors and clients to determine the best strategic approach to each such claim: whether punchy pleadings, interlocutory skirmishes and a focus on a hard fought trial, or the best means of leveraging an appropriate settlement.  

Cases

Grid view
List view
Shortlist

Investigations & Inquiries

Craig is also regularly instructed to carry out sensitive investigations, grievances, disciplinary hearings and appeals (including by solicitors firms in respect of their partners, and into the most serious and sensitive of allegations). The nature and contents of such processes necessarily have to remain confidential.

Cases

Grid view
List view
Shortlist

Commercial

Craig is an experienced advocate and adviser in a broad range of commercial disputes, at all stages from pre-action and interim stages to trials, ranging from insolvency related matters through shareholder disputes to disputes relating to partnerships and business sale/joint venture agreements. He appears in both the High Court and the County Court, as well as in arbitrations.

Craig has particular expertise in commercial disputes in the business protection arena: i.e. those relating to the sale of shares and businesses; shareholder and LLP membership; commercial fraud; and director relations (in addition to his experience in confidential information, restrictive covenant and team move claims referred to in the Employee Competition section above).  The strategic approach he brings to such claims means that he is frequently able to work with his solicitors and clients to obtain favourable settlements, following the issue of punchy pleadings, and hotly contested interim applications.

Commercial claims on which Craig has acted include:

• Unfair prejudice disputes, derivative actions and petitions for just and equitable winding up (Craig has acted for both the minority shareholder and the company in respect of such disputes);

• Commission claims, and claims for breach of warranty/covenant in respect of share sale agreements;

• Misrepresentation claims (both in respect of business sale agreements, and in respect of joint venture arrangements);

• Disputes relating to the dissolution/winding up of partnerships, and of the rights of partners (by way of example, Craig has acted at various stages on the long-running dispute in Lie v Mohile, which has been in the County Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal);

• Commercial fraud disputes (Craig has experience of acting both for the alleged fraudster, and for the victim of such fraud);

• Errors and omissions claims for a leading insurance broker (both in the County Court and in the High Court);

• Professional negligence claims against solicitors firms;

• An LCIA arbitration arising out of a dispute concerning the operation by a Russian bank of a trading account. The dispute involved issues of agency and complex estoppel arguments; and

• A claim relating to the sale of an aircraft involving conflict of laws issues.

Shortlist

Education

Craig has a long-standing interest in, and considerable experience of, education law, in particular the law relating to special educational needs. 

Craig has been a Representative for the charity IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice) since 2002, and has appeared for numerous parents in successful appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (now the First Tier Tribunal). Craig has been a school governor since 2003, so has practical experience of the application of education law in schools (and, as the Chairman of the Personnel committee, of the application of employment law in schools). Over the last 10 years, as a Governor of a state primary school in Wandsworth, he has helped to turn a school in special measures into one which received an Outstanding grade from OFSTED in its most recent OFSTED inspection. Craig was vice-chair of Governors for a number of years, and became Chair of Governors in September 2017. Craig has also worked with autistic children for more than 15 years, taught in a special needs school in Japan, and worked for a few months at the General Teaching Council.

Craig uses his experience in the education field to bring a practical, analytical and sympathetic approach to the instructions he receives in relation to all areas of education law. 

Cases on which he acts include: 

  • Appearances before the First Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal relating to SEN issues 
  • Acting (for both sides) on disputes between universities and lecturers
  • Advising higher education establishments on governance issues
  • Educational negligence claims (both in contract and by way of judicial review)
  • Acting for and against a variety of primary, secondary and tertiary education establishments in relation to exclusion, disability discrimination, SEN and other issues. 

Achievements

Education

Craig grew up, and went to school in, Edinburgh. He then read Modern History at Keble College, Oxford University, graduating with First Class Honours in 2000. 

Craig spent two and a half years living in Toyota City, Japan (teaching English and studying Japanese), and holds Level 1 in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (the highest Japanese language qualification). 

He obtained Distinctions in the GDL and the LPC from BPP Law School. 

Craig trained and qualified at Ashurst LLP (qualifying as a solicitor in March 2007, and as a Solicitor-Advocate in the same year). He has spent time on secondment to the in-house legal departments at IBM and Abbey. He joined McDermott Will & Emery in September 2008, and moved to the Bar in March 2011.

Publications

Craig co-authored two chapters on confidential information and legitimate interests for the latest edition of the leading textbook Bloch & Brearley on Employment Covenants & Confidential Information.


VAT registration number: 105953223

Barristers regulated by the Bar Standards Board

Clerks

Staff