As one the UK’s top barristers Caspar Glyn crosses swords on an almost daily basis with some of the finest minds in the country but that, he claims, is easy compared to his passion of rugby refereeing.
“Rugby refereeing is the most difficult thing I ever do,” he said. “It is far more difficult than being a lawyer. You have to think much more quickly and it is terrible because people shout at you, hundreds of people shout at you. When you’re in court there’s only one person who shouts at you and that’s the judge so that’s much easier to deal with.”
Caspar is an employment and sports law expert who, before taking silk, had a rather varied CV having worked as a bus boy (pouring iced water and collecting glasses) in Miami Beach, been a barman in a Chinese restaurant and a ski instructor in the Chilean Andes. One of his finest moments came while working at another university vacation job as an ice-cream seller in Hyde Park when he served a cone to Crocodile Dundee, or Australian actor Paul Hogan, who at that time was at the peak of his fame.
However, it will be matters of a more serious nature he will be addressing when he visits Aberdeen on November 9 for the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce annual Employment Law Conference, sponsored by Burness Paull LLP, Clyde & Co (Scotland) LLP and Pinsent Masons LLP.
Caspar has been recognised as one of the top 10 highly most regarded employment silks and described as a “scintillatingly good QC with a razor-sharp brain,” an “intellectual heavyweight” and “fiendishly brilliant.
He has been at the forefront of employment status, holiday pay, working time and minimum wage cases in recent years and will be offering guidance on some of these subjects at the seminar.
He is a former chair of the Industrial Law Society, a trained mediator and sits as a chairman of Football Association arbitration panels.
He regularly lectures to employment judges in Scotland and last year, amongst many other engagements throughout the UK, delivered a legal update to the Scottish Discrimination Law Association conference, whistleblowing lectures both to the Employment Law Group and to the Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet.
One of the issues he will be discussing at the seminar will be this summer’s Supreme Court ruling that employees will no longer have to pay tribunal fees which were introduced four years ago.
“Employers will have to wake up to the fact they are going to face a lot more claims or are going to be vulnerable to a lot more claims from their employees,” he said.
“They will have to ensure they are complying with holiday pay, with the national living wage, paying their employees correctly and then there are all of the discrimination angles. Whistleblowing is a particularly important right because people can get that from day one and can break the cap – are able to claim more than the unfair dismissal maximum of £80,000 - so it puts employers at risk. It is absolutely key that employers ensure that the are complying with these things. Employees used to have to pay £390 or £1200 to claim and they can now go immediately so it makes those rights much more real and much more enforceable.
“For the past four years employers might not have been doing quite the right thing but people wouldn’t claim because they had this big hurdle to get over. Now employers must make sure they are far more compliant. It has made employment law more important for employers.”
Caspar is in demand from employers and employees which, he says, helps him assist both.
“I’m a poacher and gamekeeper. I know where all the birds are and where all the traps are so I know all tricks but I think that’s a really useful thing to have.”
He doesn’t foresee Brexit causing major employment law problems but will be talking about the impact of the introduction of gender pay reporting for companies of more than 250 employees.
“it will be very important in terms of complying with that,” he said.
“The other big thing is employment status – and employers will have to work out whether someone is self-employed, a worker, or an employee.
“If employers don’t work that out then they won’t know what rights they are going to be entitled to - whether that’s national minimum wage, whether it’s pension, whether it’s holiday pay and that will put them in breach well.”
Caspar is looking forward enthusiastically to his Aberdeen trip.
“I enjoy working with Scottish people the most because the evening meetings after a successful tribunal tend to be far more interesting,” he said.