Courtney Step-Marsden

Courtney Step-Marsden

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Courtney Step-Marsden’s core practice includes Employment LawPensions LawPublic Law, Court of ProtectionEducation,  and Commercial work.

Much of Courtney’s practice stems around disabilities, which is a particular interest of hers. In the Employment Tribunal, she has extensive experience representing claimants and respondents in discrimination proceedings, often with a particular focus on the failure to make reasonable adjustments and Section 15 Equality Act 2010. Through both her Education practice and Court of Protection work, Courtney has gained extensive experience dealing with complex disabilities and presentations.

Courtney also has appellate experience, having acted as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal decision of Kong v Gulf International Bank (UK) Ltd, and having appeared in the Employment Appeal Tribunal and Upper Tribunal for SEND matters.


Courtney has been instructed on a variety of employment law matters, acting for both Claimants and Respondents, including discrimination matters, unfair dismissal, and TUPE matters.

Courtney has also represented clients pro bono through the ELAAS scheme. She is currently instructed on matters before the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Courtney has a strong advisory practice. She advises on matters at all stages of proceedings, including advising on whether proceedings should be issued, strategy for conducting proceedings, prospects and settlement offers.

Courtney also has experience in non-employment discrimination cases before the County Court.

Notable Employment & Discrimination cases

Kong v Gulf International Bank (UK) Limited [2022] EWCA CIv 941

Courtney acted for the Appellant as Junior to Will Young in this matter, which was an appeal from the EAT against the ET’s dismissal of the Claimant’s claim for automatic unfair dismissal arising out of whistleblowing. This raised questions relating to the separability of protected disclosures and conduct whilst making them.

Rahim v The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2022] EAT 3

Courtney assisted the Appellant (Claimant) in the preparation of this case, which addressed whether the tribunal erred in not allowing the claimant to appear by video link or telephone from abroad at the open preliminary hearing. In the judgment, Courtney was complimented on her ‘excellent’ skeleton argument.

Robinson v Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Courtney successfully represented the Claimant in his claim for a statutory redundancy payment. The Claimant was successful in arguing that the respondent did not offer suitable alternative employment, and that the Claimant was not unreasonable in refusing the offer of employment offered.

Abassi v University of Surrey

Courtney successfully represented the Claimant in his claim for redundancy pay, on the basis that he was treated less favourably in contravention of regulation 3 of the Fixed Term Employees (prevention of less favourable treatment) regulations 2002.

Dornan v Maritime Transport Limited

Courtney represented the successful Claimant in his claim for section 15 disability discrimination arising from his dismissal. The Respondent was unable to show that dismissal was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Reid v 363 Transport Limited

Courtney represented the Claimant at a 3-day hearing in which the Claimant was found to have been unfairly dismissed and that the respondent had discriminated against the claimant in contravention of Section 15 Equality Act 2010, and that the respondent had failed to make reasonable adjustments for the Claimant.

Courtney has gained experience in pensions work, including Beckmann claims under TUPE and Courage fetters. She also assisted Naomi Ling in Speed v Teachers Pensions and Department for Education [2019] EWHC 3108 (Chancery Division) which involved an appeal from the Pensions Ombudsman in relation to the Teachers Pensions Regulations 2010 for applications for ill health pensions.

Courtney has also been instructed on matters relating to ‘fire and rehire’ in the context of employers seeking to change pension schemes.

Courtney has experience in Judicial Review proceedings, advising on Community Care matters and drafting Statements of Facts and Grounds. This has included reviewing respite, accommodation, the duty to assess and Local Authorities’ failure to meet needs under Section 18 and Section 20 Care Act 2014.

During her secondment to the FCA, Courtney worked on Judicial Review proceedings brought against the FCA.

As a member of the Junior scheme, Courtney has drafted summary grounds of resistance in immigration cases, assisted in drafting Letters of Response and has appeared in the High Court at a permission hearing.

Courtney practices in both the property/financial affairs and health/welfare jurisdictions of the court. She acts regularly for the Official Solicitor, the Office of the Public Guardian and local authorities and family members.

Courtney is frequently instructed in welfare proceedings and in cases involving deprivations of liberty. She is instructed as long-standing counsel on ongoing matters involving P’s with complex presentations. She has experience dealing with matters where challenges have arisen regarding the assessment of capacity due to P’s presentation.

In the property and financial affairs jurisdiction, Courtney has been involved in matters challenging P’s capacity when LPAs were signed, the removal of deputies and the appointment of Panel deputies.

Courtney has a busy education practice, and frequently represents parents and Local Authorities in statutory appeals before the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) under the Children and Families Act 2014. Courtney also has experience in assisting in drafting working documents. Recent examples of Courtney’s cases include:

  • Securing an ABA provision and direct SLT therapy for a child.
  • Representing a parent at an appeal against Section I, B and F, resulting in the Local Authority conceding Section I on the morning of the hearing, and at the hearing, successfully securing 1:1 Occupational Therapy.
  • Successfully securing a waking-day placement.
  • Successfully representing a Local Authority in an appeal against Section B and F of the EHCP. This matter was appealed to the Upper Tribunal, and Courtney was successful at the appeal hearing in resisting the application to appeal.

Courtney’s employment practice leaves her well suited to advise and act in disability discrimination claims brought in the First-tier Tribunal. Courtney’s recent work includes:

  • Representing a young person in the Upper Tribunal on a disability discrimination case, against a Silk. This case centred on the tribunal’s approach to the question of disability, whether the tribunal considered non-explicit protected acts, and matters of procedure in the first-tier tribunal. Judgment is due in April 2024.
  • Courtney represented a Responsible Body in a claim brought for section 15 disability discrimination and failure to make reasonable adjustments, arising out of the Responsible Body’s uniform policy and sanctions for breaching the policy. Judgment is outstanding.

Courtney has advised and represented both claimants and defendant in commercial matters. Some examples of her recent work includes:

  • Advising and representing in a claim against a deceased’s estate for unpaid invoices.
  • Advising and representing a defendant in a claim for breach of contract stemming from an alleged failure to replace appliances.
  • Representing a defendant in a claim for breach of contract stemming from the claimant’s suspicious activity in making insurance claims.

Courtney has also worked in commercial matters on secondment. Courtney was seconded to the Bank of England to work in Legal Services on a financial investigation to determine whether an insurer had breached its regulatory requirements prior to the potential issuing of a warning notice. Courtney was also seconded to the FCA, where she worked in the General Counsel’s Division focusing on the regulation of claims management companies.

As a pupil, Courtney undertook legal research into the Financial Conduct Authority; in particular FCA authorisation and sanctions. She has focused on cross-border matters, including Mutual Legal Assistance treaties and Memoranda of Understandings that allow the FCA to obtain information from other jurisdictions. Furthermore, she assisted with work on cross-border investigations involving tax fraud.

Related updates

Courtney Step-Marsden is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.

To find out more, contact contact Nick Levett +44 (0)20 7427 4908 or Mark Gardner +44 (0)20 7427 4909 for a confidential discussion.

Our dedicated practice management team can help you identify the right barrister for your case.

  • The Honorable Society of Gray’s Inn
  • Employment Law Association
  • Association of Pensions Lawyers

  • Co-editor, Employment Law Handbook, 9th ed (2023)

  • Hebe Plunkett Scholar (Gray’s Inn – 2018-2019)
  • Highest mark in Professional Ethics (University of Law – 2019)
  • Highest mark in Law Moderations (Somerville College -2016)

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