A barrister who co-founded his law firm before being removed from the business was not an employee or worker, a tribunal has found.Employment Judge Davies, sitting at the North Shields employment tribunal ruled that Brian Mark could not be classed as an employee of north east firm Kyles Legal Practice. Mark has brought claims for ordinary and automatically unfair dismissal, protected disclosure detriment, breach of contract and claims for wages and other payments after his removal earlier this year.The firm was heralded as a pioneer of the Legal Services Act, bringing together barristers Mark and Nick Peacock and solicitor John Turner under one roof. Peacock told local media the business would provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for criminal clients going through the court system.The tribunal heard the three directors agreed at the outset in 2010 they would each receive £30,000 a year, initially paid through the PAYE system. However, by 2016 this changed so they were paid by way of dividend.The tribunal heard that Mark was assigned to do the ‘lion’s share’ of Crown Court work, but in practice he did not do so. He was free to take on or turn down any particular case and was paid his monthly amount regardless of the work he did. There were no consequences when he ‘regularly’ turned down instructions.It was also not disputed that Mark had no set working hours and could take annual leave when he chose to do so. Mark had also declared to HMRC in 2017 that he was not an employee and not self-employed.The tribunal heard that within three years of founding the business, disagreements emerged between the three directors, partly because Mark wanted to also practise as a member of the independent bar.In late 2018, Turner and Peacock were tipped off by a third party about what they believed was evidence that Mark had leaked confidential information about the business and deleted emails to cover his tracks. The tribunal made no assessment of whether these allegations were true or not.After a board meeting, staff were sent a memo informing them Mark would not be involved in the day-to-day business of the firm, and he himself was told words to the effect he was being suspended.Considering the question of employee status, Judge Davies said there was no discussion in 2010 or since about employment status, worker status or contractual terms of engagement.The judge said that without a contract there was no contract of employment or contract as a worker. Even if there was a contract, the basic elements of the employment relationship were absent: Mark chose when he worked and was not subordinate to anybody else.The judge added: ‘This was a relationship in which an individual could choose whether to work or not and could and did outsource the work to someone else to do it instead of them.’ This was the ‘antithesis’ of personal service associated with being a worker, the judge said. Mark’s claims were dismissed in their entirety.
Lionel Messi’s fine free-kick halved Barca’s arrears after the break.And the five-time World Player of the Year was inches away from a precious second away goal when he hit the post with the final kick of the game after Raul Garcia and Ander Iturraspe had been sent-off.“We struggled at the start,” admitted Barca boss Luis Enrique.“They used two counter-attacks to put together two good moves and get ahead.“In the second-half we concentrated more on what we could control, our play, and I think we did enough to deserve more, even taking into account Athletic’s numerical disadvantage.”Enrique started all three of his star strike force of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar despite handing them an extended winter break which meant they only returned to training on Monday after two weeks off.This is the sixth time Barca and Athletic have been paired together in the Cup in nine seasons, including three finals.Barca have emerged victorious in all five previous occasions, but Athletic looked well on their way to reversing that run with two excellent goals midway through the first-half.Firstly, Aduriz stooped unmarked to head home Garcia’s cross and round off a fine team move on 25 minutes.– Alvarez homage –Then, in the midst of a homage to Athletic defender Yeray Alvarez who was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer, the hosts struck again when Williams smashed home a volley from Aduriz’s neat backheeled layoff.Alvarez was in the crowd and the club announced earlier on Thursday he will return to training in the next few weeks after undergoing successful surgery.“I think in the first-half we were much better than them,” Williams told GolTV.Barcelona’s midfielder Sergio Busquets (C) vies with Athletic Bilbao’s forward Inaki Williams Arthur during the Spanish Copa del Rey round of 16 first leg football match Athletic Club Bilbao VS FC Barcelona on January 5, 2017 © AFP / ANDER GILLENEA“The referee left us with nine men, but that is football and we have to suffer. We will go to the Camp Nou and do our best to reach the next round.”The match was then dogged by refereeing controversy as Aduriz escaped unpunished for an elbow on Samuel Umtiti.Barca were even more incensed in first-half stoppage time when David Fernandez Borbalan somehow failed to point to the spot when Neymar was chopped down by Borja Etxeita.Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba were all booked for taking their protests too far, whilst Messi also had to be restrained from confronting Borbalan as the players left the field for half-time.“The first-half ended in the worst way with a lot of cards on our part and the players upset at what we saw on the field,” added Enrique.Borbalan did come to Barca’s aid just after the break, though, when he adjudged Messi’s free-kick to have crossed the line despite Gorka Iraizoz’s best efforts in the Athletic goal.Iraizoz tipped over a dangerously dipping effort from Neymar as the pressure from the visitors built and the home side were reduced to nine men in their efforts to halt the Brazilian.Barcelona’s forward Neymar kicks the ball during the Spanish Copa del Rey round of 16 first leg football match Athletic Club Bilbao VS FC Barcelona on January 5, 2017 © AFP / ANDER GILLENEAGarcia and then Iturraspe had few complaints after seeing second yellow cards for late challenges on Neymar.More Messi magic nearly prevented Barca starting the year with defeat as he danced past two defenders before a desperate saving challenge from Mikel San Jose prevented the Argentine getting a shot off.And in the dying seconds Messi smashed a loose ball inside the area off the inside of the post.No side other than Real Madrid has eliminated Barca from the Cup since 2008 and the holders will remain confident of turning the tie around on home soil on Wednesday.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Athletic Bilbao’s players celebrate after Athletic Bilbao’s forward Aritz Aduriz scored his team’s first goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey round of 16 first leg match against FC Barcelona at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on January 5, 2017 © AFP / ANDER GILLENEAMADRID, Spain, Jan 6 – Athletic Bilbao held out with nine men to secure a first win over Barcelona in four years and carry a 2-1 lead into the second leg of their Copa del Rey last 16 tie on January 11.Two goals in three first-half minutes from Aritz Aduriz and Inaki Williams put the hosts in command.