Kirsty Cooke



Kirsty is a partner in the employment team and leads the firm’s Immigration practice.

Kirsty predominantly works with employers, in both the public and private sectors, on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious employment law and HR issues and on immigration-related employment issues. She has particular experience advising employers in the healthcare and technology sectors, including large NHS trusts, care providers and fast growing businesses.

Kirsty trained with Ashfords, qualifying in March 2008.

During her time with the firm, in addition to her employment practice, she set up and has grown the firm’s immigration practice which is ranked as Tier 1 in Legal 500 2023.

Kirsty is praised by clients for providing 'helpful, clear and firm' advice and is rated as a ‘rising star’ in both the Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 directories.

Relevant experience

NHS Foundation Trust: Principal advisor to an NHS Foundation Trust on all employment law and immigration issues for over nine years. Work carried out includes:

  • advising and representing the trust in employment tribunal cases (a number of which have been multi-day hearings involving allegations of discrimination and whistleblowing);
  • providing strategic advice to the board including in relation to issues with potential reputational implications; 
  • conducting an independent investigation into sensitive and wide reaching service delivery issues; 
  • supporting the director of governance, CEO and chair of the board with managing a complex whistleblowing and grievance investigation involving a number of employees, in circumstances where allegations had been made against some of the trust’s most senior personnel.

National Logistics Firm: as the main employment adviser to the client, Kirsty has provided pragmatic, commercial and strategic advice on a number of issues including:

  • negotiating the exit of personnel by way of protected conversations and settlement agreements;
  • dealing with voluntary recognition requests by two different trade unions; 
  • Covid-19 related advice;
  • frustration of contract following the imprisonment of an employee.  

Boutique Hotel Group: Kirsty defended the client in a constructive unfair dismissal and whistleblowing detriment claim by a former employee. The claimant was a litigant in person with mental health difficulties, so a robust but careful approach had to be taken to managing the litigation. Kirsty successfully negotiated a favourable commercial settlement for her client, to avoid the time and costs of a final hearing, at which the claimant wanted to call 20 witnesses.

National Care Provider: advising the organisation on numerous serious compliance issues relating to its sponsored workers and its sponsor licence.  In addition to resolving the compliance issues, managing employment related claims and dealing with reputational management issues such as responding to press articles, we conducted a full scale on-site audit of the client’s sponsor licence with robust recommendations for resolving issues identified.

UAE early-stage Venture Capital Firm: Kirsty represented the newly incorporated UK subsidiary company with obtaining a sponsor licence to sponsor/employ a key individual in the UK and advising and on numerous ancillary UK immigration and employment issues.

Awards and Accreditations

Legal 500 Next Generation Partner 2024
Chambers Kirsty Cooke 2024

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