• He is immensely experienced; his strength is his ability to provide grounded advice enabling a focused approach.

    Chambers UK 2021

  • William Garnett is exceptional. He is very knowledgeable, helpful and robust; he clearly keeps abreast of the changing legal environment and provides up to the minute analysis and advice

    Legal 500 2021

  • He has a razor-sharp mind and can see the bigger picture.

    Chambers UK 2021

  • Thanks so very much for your wisdom, perseverance and quite frankly your creative genius.

    Frances Butler

    Chair of Friends of the Earth

  • Extremely diligent and passionate about his work.

    Chambers 2020

  • Not just a highly technical lawyer but also a good strategist.

    Chambers 2020

  • Recognised as a Key Lawyer

    Legal 500 2020

  • A name to note for boardroom disputes

    Legal 500 2020

  • William is "straightforward, pragmatic and knowledgeable while being very to the point and direct on what needs to be done"

    Chambers 2019

  • The 'excellent' William Garnett is the key name for senior executive work and boardroom disputes.

    Legal 500 2018

  • "Excellent client focus, professional availability and technical knowledge"

    Chambers 2018

  • Garnett ‘strikes the right balance between advocacy and outstanding tactical prowess’.

    Legal 500 2017

  • William is "extremely strong technically, commercially astute and fiercely practical"

    Chambers UK 2017

  • "If it hadn't been for your consistent support and intervention I would have been completely lost"

    Client feedback

  • "Your endurance and skill turned a difficult situation around"

    Client feedback

  • "None of the lawyers I have dealt with matched your speed, subtlety and empathy"

    Client feedback

  • His "crystal-clear" thinking on employment issues is highly praised.

    Chambers UK 2016

  • "An excellent lawyer and a very good negotiator."

    Chambers UK 2016


What I love about my job is helping my broad range of clients resolve the problem they bring to me.

I founded the successful Employment and Discrimination department (which is ranked highly in both Legal 500 and Chambers directories). The team acts for employers and senior executives.

I am ranked as a leading individual in National Directories. My clientele range from senior individuals in industry and the city, to members of professional partnerships, to corporates and household name charities. My work encompasses negotiation of contractual terms, whistleblower claims, restrictive covenants, employment related shareholder/boardroom disputes, breach of contract, and dismissals and the widest range of discrimination disputes.

I am always focused on a pragmatic and cost effective resolution of disputes.

Between July 2016 and 2019 I sat as an international judge (Chair of the Grievance Committee for the European Bank in Reconstruction and Development). The Committee adjudicates on employment disputes across 56 countries applying international administrative law.


  • I investigated allegations of bullying levelled against the Chief Executive of a National Charity

    I was required to interview multiple witnesses prior to reaching a conclusion that the allegations were not warranted. However tensions continue to exist, and I was asked to negotiate a resolution under which the Chief Executive would stand down. I provided further ongoing advice to the organisation in the light of factional criticisms made on social media by a minority group of members.

  • Advising the board of a large national charity on the management of the relationship between the board and the Senior Executives, and how to dispel the tensions arising from a confused allocation of responsibilities

    I was able to draw on my many years acting as a trustee and my experience as chair of a national youth development charity as well as my experience and qualifications as an employment lawyer.

  • Advising the global chief executive of an international investment bank on the terms of his departure.
  • Advising on team moves in the City and amongst professional practices, focusing on the enforceability of restrictive covenants and associated deferred remuneration.
  • Advising on a boardroom dispute and associated shareholder issues arising from the removal of directors, and the forfeiture of a substantial shareholding.
  • Advising members of an LLP on an internal dispute amongst the members, and successfully resolving the issues such that they could continue to work together.
  • Advising Further Education colleges across the country on restructures always achieving efficiency.
  • Advising high profile principals in FE colleges in connection with their employment and its termination, and the adverse media associated with that.
  • Enforcing, on behalf of a professional services firm restrictive covenants and confidentiality clauses by way of injunction in the High Court.
  • Advising a wide range of charities on their day to day employment relations and HR issues around performance, sickness, disciplinarians etc.
  • Advising public sector clients in respect of trade union recognition and negotiation and lawful strike action.

Qualifications and career

  • BSc (Hons) Law, 1983
  • Partner at Bates Wells, 1991
  • Head of Department 1987-2017
  • Chair Grievance Committee European Bank of Reconstruction and Development 2016-2019

Pro bono, memberships, and appointments

  • Non-Executive Director, Centor Insurance & Risk Management Limited
  • Charity Trustee, ( Tall Ships Youth Trust 11 years, Fareshare 7 years, UKSA 5 years (Chair 2016-2019)
  • Royal Yacht Squadron, Royal Cruising Club, Seaview Yacht Club