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Joe is a Consultant in the Employment team at Ward Hadaway, based in the Newcastle office.

Joe has specialised in employment and regulatory issues for more than 25 years and is Ward Hadaway’s lead in the management and delivery of employment advice and assistance prior to dismissal.

He is responsible for management of the firm’s insurance-based employment law package of services.

Joe’s focus is on providing advice and assistance devoted to achieving the appropriate outcome with limited exposure to Employment Tribunal litigation.

Often the cost in both management time and legal fees associated with Employment Tribunal litigation is such that the management of a dismissal, grievance, redundancy or other employment situation can only properly be described as having been successful if the result is that Employment Tribunal litigation is never commenced.


Joe is widely recognised as an expert in managing complex dismissals, grievances and discrimination matters in order to guide organisations through the legal process to avoid litigation.

A very detailed case in which Joe has been very closely involved in recent months involved the dismissal of a company’s CEO due to allegations of complex financial irregularities with the employee contending that his dismissal was due to protected interest disclosures and disability discrimination.

Joe is regularly involved in organisational restructuring involving redundancies and TUPE transactions within and between both the public and private sector.

He has considerable experience in managing collective consultation which is necessary in large scale redundancy and TUPE matters.

Joe is currently involved in advising on the complex TUPE and redundancy aspects of a demerger/separation of the UK division of a US listed operation.

Should issues result in litigation, Joe has considerable experience managing all types of cases within the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

He has considerable advocacy experience in the Employment Tribunal. A recent case involved Joe successfully defending a claim in the Reading Employment Tribunal against a claimant who contended that he had been subject to disability discrimination at the interview stage.

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What our clients say

  • “Joe … has that essential blend of excellent legal knowledge and practical application – always very happy to debate and discuss tricky employee relations issues rather than just delivering the pure legal line.”

    Jane Holliday, UK HR Manager, Energizer-Wilkinson Sword
  • “Joe’s excellent business acumen ensures his advice is always balanced from a commercial and legal perspective. Our recent business transformation project would not have been as successful without Joe’s expert advice.”

    Louise Bassett, HR Director, Gentoo Group
  • "Joe and his team at Ward Hadaway have incredible expertise and have provided outstanding professional services to PLG for a number of years."

    Graeme Hawes, Managing Director, Peterlee Glass
  • "Joe has provided Imprint Group with a first class service with regard to employment law guidance and support through the Ward Hadaway employment package. Having worked directly with Joe for over nine years now he has always delivered a personal first class service with integrity. I would have no hesitation in recommending the services of Joe Thornhill and Ward Hadaway."

    Dave Bullivant, Group Managing Director, Imprint Group
  • "I've used Joe and the Employment Team at Ward Hadaway for specialist work for almost 15 years. I've always found their work and advice to be of an extremely high standard and the team have worked hard to properly understand our business to help us effectively resolve issues."

Independent verdict

  • "He offers sound advice no matter the size of the issue and is helpful and flexible."

    Chambers & Partners
  • "Joe Thornhill is praised by an interviewee for his 'great sense of humour and pragmatic approach, backed up by a solid understanding of employment law. He is on our wavelength; he gets our commercial point of view'."

    Chambers & Partners
  • "Joe Thornhill has expertise in handling grievances, dismissals and discrimination issues. He is also experienced in restructuring and TUPE matters and managing collective consultation, with strength in both the public and private sectors."

    Chambers & Partners
  • "Joe Thornhill demonstrates expertise on the subject of high-level grievances, dismissals and discrimination claims, as well as handling structural issues such as TUPE and redundancy."

    Chambers & Partners
  • "Joe Thornhill earns praise for 'giving you sound advice without writing a long letter,' and is consulted for his guidance on managing redundancies."

    Chambers & Partners
  • "Joe Thornhill is highly recommended on all dismissal issues."

    Legal 500
  • "Joe Thornhill co-heads the team. He is highly rated for his work on the employment angles of large-scale restructurings as well as TUPE transfers."

    Chambers & Partners
  • "His advice is consistently excellent, but the differentiator is his commercial acumen and his ability to articulate the different options and risks, and not sit on the fence."

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