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Christopher Graham


Chris heads up the Commercial Litigation and Employment teams at Watson Burton.

He has almost 20 years’ experience of advising commercial and public sector organisations on all aspects of employment law. He has always conducted his own advocacy, representing employers before the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the High Court as well as the Employment Tribunal. He has a very broad range of experience involving almost all applications before the Employment Tribunal and has particular expertise in business protection, unlawful discrimination, outsourcing (TUPE 2006) and industrial action.

As well as advising on all aspects of employment law, Chris frequently provides industry specific training in both the private and the public sectors. ACAS regularly rely on Chris to provide elements of training to their own advisors.

Legal 500 recently rated the employment team very highly, stating "Christopher Graham acted as advocate for Atkins before the Croyden Employment Tribunal in its defence against whistleblowing and disability discrimination allegations. Graham, who heads the employment practice, has extensive experience representing employers before employment appeal tribunals and the High Court."  See more at:

Chris also has substantial experience in protecting businesses from unlawful competition, misuse of confidential information and fraud. He usually runs a number of high court actions for employers involving injunctions to enforce restrictive covenants to prevent database misuse and to recover diverted funds. Chris has a particular interest in technology and has recently secured a first injunction allowing for imaging of the defendant's servers and systems. Chris is experienced in freezing orders and contempt applications as well as Director's duties more generally.

Chris is the Training Principal for up to 11 Trainee Solicitors, Client Partner for many of our Commercial and Education clients and responsible for the Firm’s relationship with The Social Mobility Foundation.

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

Christopher Graham is praised for being "very commercial and pragmatic, with a good understanding of what businesses want to achieve as well as a robust negotiating style."

Chambers and Partners 2018

Team head Christopher Graham is ‘hugely experienced and completely unflappable’ and ‘has a sense of how litigation affects his clients’ commercial interests’.

Legal 500, 2019

recent experience

  • Successfully resisting multiple claims under the TUPE Regulations 2006 for an outsourced contractor under a local authority framework agreement following a two week hearing. Such a decision develops the law on fragmentation in the context of framework agreements and, on appeal, will change the law relating to outsourcing
  • Project managing large programmes for redundancy and the transfer of almost 3000 employees following a changeover of a contractor providing services to the government
  • Successfully defending multiple claims under discretionary bonus schemes, resisting complaints for enhanced redundancy terms and managing changes to final salary and other types of pension scheme
  • Successfully bidding for an exclusive contract for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to provide all employment services.
  • Advising a range of new clients including Balfour Beatty Limited, Cape Plc and Whessoe Oil & Gas Limited

Chris enjoys field sports and other outdoor activities. He enjoys all aspects of fishing. He is a keen fly fisherman and has a haaf netting licence to catch salmon in the Solway Estuary. He has been game fishing around the world, catching his first sail fish (243lbs) in 2003 and his first Marlin (400lbs) in 2007. Chris is a member of the Billfish Foundation and supports the catch and release of all pelagic fish.

Chris shoots regularly and particularly enjoys wildfowling on both sides of the northern coastline. He has trained a number of gun dogs and currently has a Labrador called Milo and a Springer Spaniel called Tess.