Barrister Profile


Year of Call: 2016

Main Areas of Practice

Administrative Law or Judicial Review
Employment Law
Personal Injury


Emma has a varied civil practice and has appeared before a range of courts and tribunals. She is qualified to practice in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and GB and has experience of disputes with cross border elements.

Employment, Discrimination & Equality Law

Emma is regularly instructed by Claimants and Respondents across the full spectrum of employment law. She has particular expertise in complex discrimination, equal pay, whistleblowing and cases requiring ground rule hearings. She is the current Vice Chair of the Employment Lawyers Group in Northern Ireland and publishes a monthly newsletter known as McIlveen on Employment. Outside of the Tribunal, Emma is also regularly instructed in employment related civil litigation as well as other cases which involve elements of discrimination/unfair treatment. She has experience of church disputes and advising charities on how to comply with equality legislation. Emma also has a keen interest in sports law and has represented a number of Irish League clubs.

Mental Health/Court of Protection

Emma has a particular interest in cases which involve mental health/capacity issues. Between 2018-2022, Emma was junior counsel on the Independent Neurology Inquiry. Alongside her inquiry experience, she has experience of cases involving neurodiverse and vulnerable clients. She has been instructed in several cases where Registered Intermediaries have been appointed to assist clients to give evidence. She has also completed the vulnerable witnesses course at IPLS. Outside of the courtroom, she serves on the committee of the Northern Ireland Medico Legal Society.

Judicial review

Emma has been instructed in judicial reviews for applicants and respondents. She has particular experience and interest in cases involving children with special educational needs, healthcare and disabled applicants. Emma also serves on the committee of the Public Law Bar Association.


LL.B. Law with Politics with First Class Honours, Queen’s University, Belfast (Ranked 1st in Class)

Kennedy Scholar, Harvard University

Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Studies with Distinction (Ranked 1st in Class)

2016; Called to the Bar of NI

2016; Admitted as Attorney of Law, New York

2019; Called to the Bar of Ireland

2020; Called to the Bar of England & Wales

Emma is also a Door Tenant with Broadway House Chambers and has experience of appearing before Employment and Immigration Tribunals in England.

Professional Memberships & Accreditations:

Accredited Mediator, Mediation Forum Ireland

Mediator, Resolution Centre. See mediation profile here

Member of the Government Legal Services B Panel

Member of the Attorney General’s Junior Counsel Panel

Member of the Coroners Service C Panel


Independent member of Appeals Committee for Irish Football Association

Member of the Football Association’s National Serious Case Panel


Vice Chair of Employment Lawyer’s Group

Member of Northern Ireland Medico-Legal Society

Member of Immigration Bar Association

Member of Public Law Bar Association

Member of Pro Bono Committee

Outside of The Bar

Independent Assessor for the Commissioner for Public Appointments (CPANI)

Non-Executive Lay Member of the Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council for Nursing and Midwifery (NIPEC)

Independent Assessor for Diversity Mark


A selection of published cases


In the matter of an application by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) [2018] UKSC 27:Represented Department of Health in challenge to Northern Ireland’s abortion laws


Smyth, Re Application for Judicial Review [2018] NICA 25: Represented the Attorney General in a challenge regarding the recognition of humanist marriages in Northern Ireland

JR76, Re Judicial Review [2019] NIQB 103: Represented the Attorney General in a challenge to the decision of the PPS to prosecute a mother for procuring abortion pills online

Li, Re Judicial Review [2019] NIQB 99 (2 December 2019): Represented Applicant who challenged a decision of the Secretary of State to remove him from the United Kingdom.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (abortion services) [2021] NIQB 91: Instructed on behalf of the Department of Health in a case concerning the provision of abortion services in Northern Ireland.

Crowter & Ors, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Health And Social Care [2021] EWHC 2536 (Admin) - Represented Heidi Crowter in respect of her challenge against law which
permits abortion of children with Down’s Syndrome until birth (GB case)

SPUC Pro-life Ltd, Re Application for Judicial Review [2022] NIQB 9 (08 February 2022)- Instructed on behalf of the Minister of Health in a case which concerned the provision of abortion services in Northern Ireland


Gruzdaite v McGranes Nurseries Ltd 17421/18IT- Successfully represented woman who was unfairly dismissed because of her pregnancy.

Rice v Dignity Funerals Limited [2017] NIIT 02651/16IT- Made application to enable the Claimant to rely upon material obtained as a result of a covert recording. Respondent alleged this material was “without prejudice”. The Tribunal disagreed and admitted the material into evidence

Wahab v Four Seasons (No7) Limited (Discrimination - Race Breach of Contract Unfair Dismissal Other) [2021] NIIT 24540_19IT (18 November 2021)- Successfully defended a claim of race discrimination on behalf of a Respondent

McEldowney v Randox Farming Limited trading… (Breach of Contract Unfair Dismissal) [2021] NIIT 17412_18IT (26 March 2021)- Successfully represented Claimant in unfair dismissal case. First case in Northern Ireland where Tribunal appointed a Registered Intermediatory to assist the Claimant as a reasonable adjustment for hearing

Lendrum v Northern Excavators Ltd & Ors NIIT/2019/01863_18IT (04 April 2019): Successfully made an application to allow Claimant to amend his claim form and extend time

Percy v Lenelea Electronics Ltd (Discrimination - Age Discrimination - Disability Discrimination - Sex Unfair Dismissal) [2021] NIIT/2021/06347_20IT: Successfully defended company facing allegations of age & disability discrimination


Represented parents of child with Down’s Syndrome who alleged disability discrimination before Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. Case report can be assessed here