Who we are

The Institute of Employment Rights is run by a small core team of staff, overseen by our Executive Committee and Members.


Ben Sellers, Director


James Harrison, Deputy Director – Operations


Professor Keith Ewing, President

Professor Keith Ewing is Professor of Public Law at King’s College London. He has written extensively on labour law including recognition procedures and international standards.

Lord John Hendy QC, Chair

Lord John Hendy QC is Chair of the Institute of Employment Rights. He is a barrister in Old Square Chambers, London and is standing counsel to ASLEF, CWUNUJNUMPOARMTUCU and UNITE. He is also President of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR) and a Vice-President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom. He is an honorary professor at University College, London. In 2019, he was made a peer by then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Geoff Shears, Treasurer

Geoffrey D. Shears was a trade union lawyer with Thompsons since 1971,eventually becoming CEO and then Executive Chair. He left in 2009 to set up Union Solidarity International, which in 2018 was transferred to the global union, IndustriALL. He is Treasurer of the IER and Vice-Chair of CLASS.

Carolyn Jones Carolyn Jones, Senior Vice President
Carolyn Jones was Director of the IER from its inception in 1989 until the end of 2021. Her hands on knowledge and experience of the Institute throughout her tenure are highly valued by the Executive.

Vice Presidents

  • Sharon Graham, UNITE
  • Professor Aileen McColgan
  • Professor Sonia McKay
  • Professor Tonia Novitz
  • Christina McAnea, Unison
  • Gary Smith, GMB
  • Dave Ward, CWU

The Executive Committee

  • Richard Arthur, Thompsons Solicitors
  • Baroness Christine Blower
  • Professor Alan Bogg
  • Amanda Brown, NEU
  • Steve Cottingham
  • Professor Nicola Countouris
  • Professor Ruth Dukes
  • Paul Fleming, Equity
  • Professor Mark Freedland
  • Steve Gillan, POA
  • Dr Jo Grady, UCU
  • Professor Lydia Hayes
  • Mick Lynch, RMT
  • Professor Phil James
  • Professor Aristea Koukiadaki
  • Paddy Lillis, USDAW
  • Sampson Low, UNISON
  • Paul Mackney
  • Professor Virginia Mantouvalou
  • Robert Monks, URTU
  • Laura Pidcock
  • Hannah Reed
  • Paul Scholey, Morrish Solicitors
  • Mark Serwotka, PCS
  • Tim Sharp, TUC
  • Bob Simpson
  • Barry Smith, GMB
  • Liz Snape, Unison
  • Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ
  • Barbara Switzer
  • Sarah Veale
  • Adrian Weir, Unite
  • Professor David Whyte
  • Spencer Wood, O H Parsons
  • Sarah Woolley, BFAWU


Members meet once a year to give direction to the work of the Institute. The day-to-day affairs are managed by an executive committee which is elected by the members.

Members of the Institute include:

  • the general secretaries of most of the trade unions in the UK
  • an impressive selection of labour law academics
  • legal practitioners who specialise in representing unions and their members.

Members of the Institute

  • Dr Mary Bousted, NEU
  • Manuel Cortes, TSSA
  • Professor Paul Davies
  • Professor Simon Deakin
  • Professor Linda Dickens
  • Mark Dickinson, NAUTILUS International
  • Richard Evans, SOR
  • Kate Fallon, AEP
  • Michael Ford, Old Square Chambers
  • John Foster
  • Roz Foyer, STUC
  • Steve Gibbons
  • Tess Gill
  • Chris Kitchen, NUM
  • Ian Lawrence, NAPO
  • Professor Jonathan Michie
  • Doug Nicholls, GFTU
  • Ged Nichols, Accord
  • Sophie Park, Pattinson & Brewer
  • Dave Penman, FDA
  • Roy Rickhuss, Community
  • Patrick Roach, NASUWT
  • Rod Robertson
  • Mickey Rubenstein
  • Claire Sullivan, CSP
  • Gordon Taylor, PFA
  • Rebecca Tuck, Old Square Chambers
  • Mick Whelan, ASLEF
  • Matt Wrack, FBU