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Emma McIlveen

Emma is a specialist employment disputes barrister. She is based in Northern Ireland but is qualified to practice across Northern Ireland, GB and ROI. She has a passion for people, a sharp legal mind, and is solutions driven with experience of governance and driving organisational change.

Emma has experience in public law, with particular experience in employment, immigration and judicial review. She is keen to develop her planning law practice.




Emma McIlveen

Emma's Experience

Called in 2016


Barristers in England and Wales are regulated by the Bar Standards Board

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Employment Law

Emma is regularly instructed by Claimants and Respondents across the full spectrum of employment law. She has expertise in complex discrimination, equal pay, and whistleblowing. 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 and unfair treatment. She has experience of church disputes and advising charities. Emma also has a keen interest in sports law and has represented several Irish League clubs.

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.

Trusts & Estates

Emma is an affiliate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). She has successfully completed the Advanced Certificate in Advising the Family Business and is currently working towards obtaining the STEP Diploma. She has a particular interest in cases which involve capacity issues and/or exploitation of vulnerable individuals.

  • Independent Assessor for the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Northern Ireland (CPANI)
  • Chair of Appeals Committee for Irish Football Association
  • Member of the Football Association’s National Serious Case Panel
Memberships & Committees


  • Government Legal Service Civil Counsel Panel (B Panel)
  • Coroners Service Counsel Panel (C Panel)


  • Vice Chair of Employment Lawyers Group NI
  • Treasurer of The Northern Ireland Medico Legal Society
  • Secretary of The Immigration Bar Association
  • Member of Public Bar Association Committee
  • Accredited Mediator, Mediation Forum Ireland
  • Vulnerable Witness Training, Institute of Professional Legal Studies
  • Affiliate member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
  • 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)
  • New York Bar (2016)
  • Inspirational Women in Law Finalist - Under 35 Category (2021), Next 100 Years
  • Forbes' 30 under 30 - Europe- Law & Policy (2018)
Case Profile


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.

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

Privacy Policy

1. This is a privacy notice that describes how, why and for how long I will process or keep your personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’).
2. The GDPR governs how an individual’s personal data is used, and your rights in relation to that data.
3.  I, Emma Mcilveen, have been instructed by you or your litigation friend (usually a parent), through your solicitor or agent, or via the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
4.  It is necessary for me to process your personal data in order for me to provide you with legal services, for example:

  • Advise on the prospects of litigation;
  • Advise on the value of your claim;
  • Representation at a court hearing;
  • Representation at trial;
  • Advise, review or comment on legal issues or evidence.

5. Processing means anything done to data such as: recording, organising, adapting, altering, copying, consulting, transmitting, combining, erasing or storing it.

6.The processing for the purposes listed above will take place in accordance with either Article 6(1)(a) GDPR or Article 6(1)(b) GDPR, depending on how you instructed me.

7. If you have instructed me on a direct access basis, or engaged a solicitor (or legal agent), to assist you in bringing or defending a claim then the processing is necessary to perform a contract to which you are a party (Article 6(1)(b) GDPR). To give effect to that contract (i.e. to bring a claim) it is necessary for me to process your personal data for litigation purposes.

8. If I am assisting you on a pro bono basis, it will be necessary for me to seek your consent to be able to represent you (Article 6(1)(a) GDPR). In this scenario, you will be sent a consent form.

Recipients of your data

9.  I may also be required to share your data with others, depending on the nature of your case. This may include:

(i)  Courts and other tribunals to whom documents are presented;

(ii) Your solicitors, or agent representing you, through whom I have been instructed;

(iii) Potential witnesses, experts and other persons involved in the case;

(iv) Solicitors, barristers, or other legal representatives;

(v) Ombudsman and regulatory authorities;

(vi) Education and examining bodies; and

(vii) Current, past or prospective employers.

Special Categories of Data

10.  In some cases I will have been given your personal data that is within the ‘special categories’ of data described in GDPR Article 9(1). For example, personal data that reveals your race, ethnicity, sexual preferences, political or religious beliefs, trade union membership or health. There are also restrictions for processing information regarding criminal convictions.

11. This type of personal data will only be processed where it is necessary in order to represent you in your legal claim, or advise on the prospects of a legal claim.


12. I will retain your personal data for no longer than is necessary, and where it is possible, I will anonymise your data.

13. How long your personal data is kept will depend on a number of factors. The retention period will be reviewed when the service I am providing you with is complete. However in general, I am obliged by the Bar Code of Conduct to retain records of my cases, and by HM Revenue and Customs to retain records for 6 years.

14. Once your case has concluded and fees have been paid, I shall retain only the personal data necessary for the following purposes:

(i) The legal and professional obligation to retain information relating to my cases;

(ii) To check for any potential conflict of interests that may arise in the future when I am instructed on other cases;

(iii) For use in the defence of potential complaints, legal proceedings or fee disputes;

(iv) To refer back to in future cases which raise similar legal, factual, or procedural issues.

15. The processing for the purposes listed in paragraph 14 (ii), (iii), and (iv) above, will take place in accordance with Article 6(1)(f) GDPR. That is, for the purposes of legitimate interests that are not outweighed by your interests or fundamental rights and freedoms.

16. The processing for the purposes listed in paragraph 14(i) above, will take place in accordance with Article 6(1)(c) GDPR. That is, the processing is necessary for me to comply with a legal obligation. 

Your Rights

17. Where processing of your personal data was based on your consent (see paragraphs 6 and 8) you have the right to withdraw that consent at any time. This does not affect the lawfulness of the processing based on consent before its withdrawal.

18. Withdrawal of your consent to process such data will most likely mean that I am no longer able to provide you with the legal services you seek.

19. You may request confirmation that your personal data is being processed by me and details about the personal data, the source, the processing, the purposes of the processing, the recipients and the retention period.

20. You may request a copy of your personal data that is being processed by me. You may also request rectification (i.e. correction) where there are inaccuracies in the personal data.

21. You have the right to object, on grounds relating to your particular situation, at any time, to processing of your personal data in paragraph 14 of this privacy notice. Should you object, the processing will only continue where there are compelling legitimate grounds for the processing which override your fundamental rights, freedoms and interests. 

22. Where the processing or retention of your data is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims, it will not be possible to object. 

23. You have the right to request that your personal data is erased where any of the following apply:

(i) The personal data are no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which they were collected or otherwise processed;

(ii) You withdraw your consent where the basis of processing was based on consent and where there is no other ground for the processing;

(iii) Where your fundamental rights, freedoms and interests override the legitimate interests of processing in paragraph 14;

(iv) The personal data has been unlawfully processed; or

(v) The personal data have to be erased to comply with a legal obligation.

24. You have the right to request that your personal data is restricted from processing, so that it is simply stored, for the following reasons: as an alternative to deletion; so that it can be corrected; for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims; to verify if a legitimate ground exists (paragraph 14).

25. Where it is necessary to correct your personal data, or you have requested the restriction or erasure of your personal data, I shall endeavour to contact the recipients of the personal data, unless this involves disproportionate effort. 


26. I take appropriate physical and technical procedures to safeguard your personal data to prevent it from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way. 

Complaints or Queries

27. If you have any questions regarding this privacy notice, or how I use your personal data please email me: mailto:, or my clerks: telephone 01823 247 247.

28. I shall aim to respond as soon as possible, and within 30 days.

29. You have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) if you believe I have not handled your request in an appropriate manner. For information on contacting the ICO please go to:



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Contact us about working with Emma

If you’d like to work with Emma Mcilveen or any of our other TBG Employment barristers, send us your details and we’ll get back to you.