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James Murray | Mishcon de Reya

James Murray

Managing Associate

Personal Profile

James is a Managing Associate in the higher education and employment teams.

As a Managing Associate, he has developed a particular expertise on the law around academic freedom and free speech on campus, on which he has advised institutions, academics, think tanks and Government.

He has published multiple articles on that topic, including submissions of evidence to the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of expression, the UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights and the House of Commons Public Bill Committee in relation to the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill (both individually and in collaboration with English PEN, one of the world’s oldest human rights organisations).

In relation to the Bill, he has also spoken with Government lawyers and policy makers about the Bill while it was being drafted to contribute his expertise. He is now working with law makers in the House of Commons and House of Lords on amendments to the Bill, having an opportunity to influence how it is shaped through the legislative process. His evidence is recorded in Hansard, having been cited by the Public Bill Committee during public deliberations.

Prior to the Bill being drawn up, James contributed to the paper of the think tank Policy Exchange, which formed the basis for the Bill. He has also worked with academics at the University of Oxford’s McDonald Centre on academic freedom.

He is also an honorary Research Fellow at the University of Buckingham with a focus on the law around academic freedom. In conjunction with the Humanities Research Institute at Buckingham, he has convened and spoke at an academic conference on the topic of academic freedom, which brought together leading thinkers in academia, journalism, politics and the law.

On academic freedom and the Bill, he has spoken at the Westminster Higher Education Policy Forum at the Institute of Ideas’ Battle of Ideas festival, and has been interviewed on Talk Radio.

James has been quoted on academic freedom in The Times and Times Higher Education, and by the CIEO think tank.

Key Experience

  • Advising on all aspects of domestic and international employment law and practice.
  • Advising a wide range of clients on a mixture of contentious and non-contentious matters, both in the UK and across the globe. His expertise includes supporting clients on:
    • multi-jurisdictional projects and international employment issues
    • employment contracts, consultancy and service agreements, and settlement agreements
    • employment litigation (including the defence of unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing claims)
    • business restructuring and redundancies
    • restrictive covenants, confidentiality issues and team moves
    • data protection issues
    • day to day HR management

Career History

Managing Associate, Mishcon de Reya LLP

Professional bodies, associations and awards

  • Member of the Employment Lawyers Association and Industrial Law Society.
  • Research Fellow (Law and Policy) at the Humanities Research Institute, the University of Buckingham.
  • Awarded inclusion in ‘Thomson Reuters Stand-Out Lawyers 2023’ by senior in-house lawyers- along with the testimonial: "He tends to be really practical and pragmatic…when it comes to employment issues in the UK. Those issues can be quite sensitive and complicated, much different than in the US, so it’s sometimes a challenge to get a US-led company to understand why some things have to be done the way they have to be done".
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