The Public Duty Disclosure Act has been in force since 2 July 1999 and provides legal recourse (via Part IVA of the Employment Rights Act 1996) for employees and workers who "blow the whistle" and are either dismissed for doing so, or are subjected to a detriment (such as being denied promotion).

The idea behind the legislation was to enable individuals to speak out to prevent avoidable tragedies or scandals.

To mark the  25th anniversary of the whistleblowing charity Protect (formerly known as Public Concern at Work), the Guardian newspaper has interviewed 12 people who have taken great personal risk to expose everything from warmongers to tax dodgers and sexual and physical abuse.

One of these, Claire Gilham, a district judge at Warrington County Court raised complaints about the health and safety of the family courts. She witnessed hostage taking and violence and was alerted by the police that someone was threatening to kill her.

Judges are not classed as workers and so are not entitled to the legal protection of other whistle-blowers. Ms Gilham is trying to change the law because, as she says, "If judges, the most privileged people in the country can't speak out, then who can?" 

Our partner, Emilie Cole is assisting Ms Gilham as she takes this issue to the Supreme Court next year.  

Emily has considerable experience in all aspects of employment law and professional discipline, with a particular focus representing professionals in high value and complex whistleblowing actions.

Need more information?

Please contact our expert, Emilie Cole: or 44 (0)207 400 8776.