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Arbitrators/Independent Appeal Chairpersons

Updated October 2014

Background Information

Carol Ackah

Carol is currently a consultant in human resource management, specialising in equality and dignity at work issues.  She is a non–executive Director on the board of Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

Carol was a member of the Local Government Staff Commission from 2005 to 2010.  From 1990 to 2004 she was a lecturer in Human Resource Management and Employee Relations at the University of Ulster.  Prior to this Carol was a Regional Manpower Manager with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, a position she took up following a two–year appointment as the Chief Executive of Age Concern (NI). She has also worked as a manager in the NHS.  

Carol has been an Industrial Tribunals panel member since 1999 and a Fair Employment Tribunal panel member since 2010. She has been an Arbitrator and Chair of Independent Appeals Committees with the Labour Relations Agency since 2000. She is a member of the Statutory (Fitness to Practise) Committee of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland and the Registration and Conduct Committees of the NI Social Care Council.

Carol has extensive experience of conducting independent investigations, audits and appeals on employment issues and job evaluation across all sectors throughout Ireland and in Great Britain. She is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Michele Berry

Michele has been a self–employed employment relations consultant working across all sectors since 1999.  She works extensively in dispute resolution through the delivery of mediation, arbitration, independent appeals and investigation services.  Michele is a highly experienced Mediator and is a Certified Practitioner with the Mediation Ireland Institute (MII) and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.  She holds a Level 7 Advanced Professional Certificate in Investigative Practice through the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).  She is a member of the Chartered Management Institute’s Professional Standards Investigation Panel.

Michele provides executive coaching/mentoring to chief executives, directors and senior managers to enable effective leadership and management.  She has particular expertise in the development of social and emotional intelligence within leaders.  She also extensive experience in providing training and consultancy services in response to bullying and harassment in the workplace, in particular using psychodynamic coaching/mentoring interventions to enable behavioural change.  She is a qualified coach/mentor and is an accredited member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC).  She also provides supervision to trainee and practicing coaches and mentors.

Michele is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and a Chartered Manager Fellow with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).  She is a Fellow of the Institute of Consultancy and has recently been conferred with Honorary Membership of City and Guilds due to her significant contribution to industry, education and training, having also been awarded two Medals of Excellence during the last sixteen years of her work with and on behalf of this organisation.

Since 2004 Michele has been a lay member on the Northern Ireland Bar Disciplinary Panel and lay member to the Lord Chief Justice’s Panel for Judiciary Complaints.  She fulfils the role as independent appeals chair for a range of public and local government sector bodies.

John Corey

John was appointed as a part-time Human Rights Commissioner in 2011 and since November 2013 has been acting as Interim Chair of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.  Previously he was the General Secretary of the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) from 2003 to 2010.

John’s employment experience included 10 years as a civil servant prior to his appointment as a full time trade union official with NIPSA in 1981.  He held appointments as NIPSA Assistant General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary before being elected as General Secretary in 2003.  John has over 30  years’ experience of collective bargaining in the civil and public services covering the full range of terms and conditions of employment.  

He was a former Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and a member of the ICTU Executive Council.

John is also a current Member of the European Economic and Social Committee. His previous public appointments in Northern Ireland include serving as a member of the Boards of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, the former Training and Employment Agency, the Staff Commission for Education and Library Boards, the Northern Ireland Economic Council and the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland.  He is currently a member of the Business and Industry Forum, the Management Committee of Trademark and Vice Chair of the Trustee Board of North Down Citizens Advice Bureau.

Paul Corrigan

Paul is a self-employed consultant with particular experience and expertise in the area of workplace dispute investigation and resolution.

Paul worked for a major public sector organisation for 28 years in a number of senior management positions including the last 5 years of his career as an Operations Director. This was a highly unionised environment so Paul has considerable experience in working alongside trade union colleagues. On behalf of his employer he carried out numerous investigations under discipline procedures, grievances, bullying and harassment and interpersonal conflict with many of these often complex and sensitive cases.

Paul has been an Arbitrator and Independent Appeal Chair on the LRA panel since 2002 and has also conducted a number of private cases for both local government and small organisations."

Liam Deane

Liam worked in local government for 30 years, the last 16 as a Personnel Officer with the Western Education and Library Board.  He has a wide practical experience of recruitment, training and development, staff appraisal, job evaluation, performance management and industrial relations.  

Liam has been an arbitrator and mediator since 1989 and is a member of the Labour Relations Agency’s panel of Independent Experts on Equal Value.  He was the Chair of Ulster Bank’s Negotiating Committee from 1999 to 2002. Liam has experience in both the public and private sectors, including carrying out reviews for the Staff Commission for Education and Library Boards, Staff Commission for Local Government, Government Departments and in individual voluntary and private organisations.  He worked with the Labour Relations Commission in the Republic of Ireland in the establishment of Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland.  He has extensive experience chairing disciplinary/grievance and job evaluation appeal panels.

Brian Garrett

Brian is a qualified solicitor, and formerly senior partner in a leading firm of Belfast based Solicitors.  He was a deputy county court judge for Northern Ireland and until recently a Parole Commissioner.  He is a Fellow, by examination, of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, having been admitted in 1978.  Brian is a former visiting fellow at the Centre for International Affairs at Harvard University.  

Brian has conducted a considerable number of arbitrations in relation to both the public sector and the private sector.  In the public sector, he has conducted arbitrations in relation to transport, education, labour relations tendering and public contracts, and agriculture (including various appointments by the Labour Relations Agency).  He has also acted as arbitrator in relation to professional issues affecting both the legal and accountancy professions and has been Chair of the Disciplinary Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accounting in Ireland.  He is currently Chair of the Joint Negotiating Committee responsible for settlement salaries etc of Chief Executives of the new Northern Ireland local councils.

Brian is a member of various commercial and charitable boards and is Chair of the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Salaries and Terms of Employment Joint Negotiating Committee.  Brian was the Northern Ireland member of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Advisory Committee on Arbitration, chaired by Lord Saville, whose report and recommendations led to the passing of the Arbitration Act 1996.  He is also a qualified mediator and former Chair of the International Bar Association Labour Law Committee.

Bill Gillespie

Bill was Managing Director, and later Chairman, of a building company.  He was also Chair of the Construction Industry Training Board from 1993 to 2004, Chair of Southern Health and Social Services Board from 1994 to 2003, Chair of Agricultural Wages Board from 2000 to 2009, and Chair of Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service from 2003 to 2010.  For 19 years he chaired the Board of Governors of a large college of further education, and remains on the Board of a Grammar School.

Bill is an accountant by profession, being a Fellow of the Association of International Accountants, and is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, holding a Certificate in Company Direction.  He has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and Certificate in Employment Law from Queen’s University, Belfast.  For almost 20 years he was a Panel member of Industrial Tribunals.  He is a Deputy Lieutenant and a Justice of the Peace.

Bill has chaired appeal panels dealing with redundancy and harassment issues, and has also conducted a number of investigations under various grievance and disciplinary procedures.  He chaired the first appeal under the Review of Public Administration Independent Third Party Dispute Resolution Procedure.  Bill has also acted as deputy Chair of a major Public Inquiry.

Clifford Jefferson

Clifford was formerly a senior lecturer in Economics in the School of Management and Economics, and Head of the Department of Economics at Queen’s University, Belfast. He has also lectured or undertaken research in USA, Malta, Malaysia, Dublin and for the Open University. He is the author of a wide range of publications in economics and has a PhD in Regional Econometric Modelling.

Clifford has been a Labour Relations Agency arbitrator for more than 35 years in addition to personal arbitration work in the local government, education and banking sectors.  He has worked widely as an economic consultant for industry and government. He is a former Chair of several Northern Ireland Wages Councils.

Alistair Joynes

Alistair has spent the last 35 years working within the human resources field, as both a manager of the function and as a senior consultant.  He has wide experience covering all aspects of employee relations, having worked with organisations of all sizes and within all areas of both the public and private sectors.

Over recent years he has conducted numerous investigations into bullying, harassment, intimidation and other disciplinary issues.  Alistair has worked as a mediator and arbitrator in a number of public and private sector organisations.  He has also carried out equal pay investigations and has had significant experience in the application of job evaluation techniques.

Since 2011, he has been Chair of the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency.

Olive Lundy

Olive has been a self–employed human resource management consultant since 2001.  Her range of services to organisations in this capacity include: alternative dispute resolution; investigation of employment issues, such as bullying and harassment; equal value investigation; chairing joint appeals in areas such as disciplinary, grievance and job evaluation; and advising on human resource policies and procedures including strategic human resource management.  

Prior to 2001, Olive managed aspects of the human resource management function within private industry for six years.  She then lectured in the subject areas of Organisation Studies and Human Resource Management at the University of Ulster and, as it was formerly, the Ulster Polytechnic, for 23 years.  She also engaged in research and consultancy.  She was a member of a panel of consultants maintained by the Government to assist organisations implement the requirements of the Fair Employment legislation.  She has been a member of the Labour Relations Agency’s panel of Independent Experts on Equal Value since 1984 and member of its panel of Arbitrator/Independent Appeal Chairpersons since 1990.  She also chaired job evaluation appeals in a range of public organisations, and chaired the joint appeals board in a local government council.

Olive has held a number of public appointments including the Local Government Staff Commission from 1985 to 1989, the Northern Ireland Wages Councils from 1989 to 1994 and the Fair Employment Tribunal from 1995 to 2006.  Olive holds a Bachelor of Education degree, a Masters degree in Business Administration and a Ph.D.  Her doctoral thesis is on the subject of strategic human resource management.  She is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

John Lyttle

John has worked in human resources throughout his career.  For some 30years he worked in the field of management education and training in the further education sector and was formerly Head of the School of Management at the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education (now Belfast Metropolitan College).  In his early career John spent 15 years in a range of industries, working in a number of roles from shop-floor to work study engineer to senior management.  He was for 24 years a tutor with the Open University on the Management of Complexity unit.

John was a Labour Relations Agency Board Member from 1992 to 1998, and an Industrial Tribunals panel member for 12 years.  He continues to act as an independent chairperson of arbitrations and also of appeals for a number of organisations in the private and public sectors.  He is a member of the Labour Relations Agency’s panel of Arbitrators and the panel of Independent Experts on Equal Pay for work of Equal Value and has completed a number of Equal Value claims cases.

John holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration.  He is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and of the Institute of Management Services. He is also a member of the European Institute of Industrial Engineers.  

Deborah Malcolm

Deborah qualified as a solicitor in N Ireland in 1982. She worked in a private practice in Belfast until 1987 when she moved to the BSO, formerly the Central Services Agency of the Health Service, where she subsequently specialised in employment law. In 1997 she was appointed as Deputy Coroner for Greater Belfast until May 2007, including a period on secondment as Coroner for Greater Belfast. Whilst Coroner, she chaired a multi disciplinary committee considering Sudden Infant Deaths and best practise and co ordination of statutory bodies within N Ireland. She also sat on the UK National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death.

Whilst employed by the Business Services Organisation, Deborah has considered and advised on a wide variety of areas impacting upon the Health Service in N. Ireland and in particular contractual matters.

Deborah obtained an LLM in European Law and Policy in 2001 and a Certificate in Health Service Management in 2002.

Teddy Martin

Teddy is a self–employed employment relations consultant.  He has experience as an investigating officer, an arbiter, an advisor and as a representative in employment relations issues in both the private and public sectors.

He was the Senior Official with the Irish National Teachers Organisation in Northern Ireland having previously been a Senior Industrial Relations Officer with the Labour Relations Agency.  Teddy has served for over twenty years on the panels for Industrial Tribunals and on the Appeal Panels for Disability Living Allowance.  

Currently he is a Chair of the Disputes Panels in the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Belfast City Council and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Harry McConnell

Harry has worked in the personnel and equality field since 1984, and has been a self–employed independent consultant in personnel and equality–related issues since 1999.  As a consultant a large part of his work involves him in conducting independent workplace investigations into complaints of misconduct, bullying or harassment, in undertaking organisational reviews, and in providing training for those required to conduct investigations.  He also sits as an independent appeals chairperson for a range of public and private sector bodies.

Harry worked as Equality Manager with Northern Ireland Electricity from 1991 to 1995, Director of Human Resources at Queen’s University, Belfast from 1995 to 1997, and Chair of the Northern Ireland Disability Council from 1996 to 1999.  

He was a Commissioner for the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland from 1999 to 2004 and a Board Member of the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission from 2005 to 2008.

He is a Fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators.  He holds an MBA and was awarded an OBE for services to disabled people and equal opportunities in Northern Ireland.

Anthony McDowell

Anthony works with Invest Northern Ireland providing business advice and support to the small business sector. He has spent 10 years as an independent assessor for the Office of Public Appointments and is currently a P/T lecturer at South West College and Queens University, Belfast.

Anthony holds a Law degree and a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and recently obtained the PG CIMA DIP Management Accounting

His early career was in the legal field in international banking, before moving to lecturing law and business at the North West Regional College for a number of years. He then changed career path and spent 13 years with multinational companies working in human resource management at a senior level. Anthony has extensive experience of employee relations in the private sector, in both union and non–union environments, was a union representative of the local branch of NIPSA at Invest Northern Ireland. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and a Fellow of the RSA.

Throughout his career, Anthony has also run his own businesses, including a consultancy business, an electronics company, a retail outlet, property investment, and has now moved on to developing internet businesses.

Rodger McKnight

Rodger has occupied various senior human resource and general management roles within both the private and public sectors for more than 20 years.  He is currently a Deputy Chief Executive within local government in Northern Ireland.

Rodger has also served as a member of the Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunals for the last 16 years, and is also a member of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.  He previously acted as a chairperson for the independent complaints processes for the former Eastern and Sothern Health and Social Services Boards.

Human resource management and employee relations issues have been a major feature of Rodger’s career and he has carried out a significant number of independent investigations into breaches of discipline, bullying and harassment, etc, in both the private and public sectors.  He is also trained and experienced in a number of job evaluation schemes, including Hay and the local government schemes.  Rodger was elected a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in 1999, and holds the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Advanced Certificate in Investigative Practice.  He has completed the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators special members course, which allowed him to become a corporate member, and is an accredited and experienced mediator through the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR).

Rodger has been a Justice of the Peace for the County Court Division of Antrim since 2002.  He holds Masters degrees in Law and Employment Relations and EU Employment Law.  

Stephen Mearns

Stephen is a qualified a solicitor, specialising in employment law.  He joined John Ross and Son Solicitors in 2008 and runs the firm’s Employment Law Clinic.  He regularly advises employers and employees on all aspects of employment law, and represents employers and employees in Tribunals.  Stephen also specialises in personal injury law, contentious probate matters, professional conduct hearings, judicial reviews, human rights law, inquests, medical negligence and criminal law.  He regularly speaks at employment law seminars and has been involved in several high profile cases which have set new law.  He is a member of the Northern Ireland Employment Lawyers Group.

In his early career, Stephen specialised in defence litigation and major incident investigations.

In 2002 Stephen represented the Northern Ireland Law Society in the Louis M Brown International Client Consultation Competition at the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa, where he was a semi–finalist, competing against lawyers from 17 other countries.

In 2010 Stephen was awarded the Certificate of Advanced Advocacy from the Law Society of Northern Ireland in association with the National Institute of Trial Advocacy in Boulder, Colorado.

John O’Neill

John is a solicitor and a partner in Belfast solicitors, Thompsons McClure, where he specialises in employment and discrimination law and regularly presents cases in front of the Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunals and other legal fora.

John is currently the chairperson of the Employment Lawyers Group (NI).  He provides talks and articles on employment law issues. He has a Masters degree in Organisations and Management and is a qualified workplace mediator.

He has worked at a senior level in the private, public and voluntary sectors, having previously been the Director of the Law Centre (NI) and Chief Executive of the Irish government's Refugee Agency. He has held a number of public appointments, including Chair of Social Security Appeal Tribunals and a member of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism in the Republic of Ireland. John has also served as an office bearer / member on the Boards of a number of charities and voluntary organisations, including the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, where he was a trustee, and the Irish Association (for cultural, economic and social affairs)

Petra Sheils

Petra qualified as a barrister and practised at the Bar until 1990.  She left the Bar to take up the post of Deputy Director (Legal) of the then Equal Opportunities Commission and subsequently became Legal Director of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland from 1998 until 2004.  

In 2004 Petra left the Equality Commission to become a fee–paid Chair of the Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunals.  She has since added to this by becoming a fee–paid Chair of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal, the Police Appeals Tribunal and the Health and Safety Tribunal.  

Petra also works in a self–employed capacity conducting employment investigations and providing guidance and training on employment policies and procedures to small to medium size businesses and charities, as well as supporting individual clients with job applications, resumes and CVs.

John Simpson

John is self–employed as a consultant on business and employment related subjects.  He regularly contributes as a writer on topical business questions.  

John was a senior lecturer in economics and Assistant Dean at Queen's University, Belfast.  Recently he has been appointed as a visiting Professor at the University of Ulster.  He has held several positions in public life, including those of Chair of the Eastern Health and Social Services Board, the Probation Board, Teachers' Negotiating Committee, and Northern Ireland Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux and other voluntary or community organisations.  John was the Commissioner for Judicial Appointments for Northern Ireland from 2001 to 2006 and served as a member (later Vice-President) of the European Economic and Social Committee.

John Young

John has worked in human resources throughout his career.  For the past 10 years, he has worked as an independent consultant, specialising in the areas of recruitment and selection, management assessment and development, equality/discrimination/fair employment, and has acted as expert witness in the areas of workplace stress, bullying and harassment.  Recently, he has had considerable experience of the use of workplace mediation as an alternative dispute resolution methodology, and is an Associate Practitioner with Mediation Northern Ireland.

From 1990 to 2002 John was the Northern Ireland Director of an international management consultancy specialising exclusively in the employment relations field.  Prior to this, he was part of a multi–national management consultancy firm, working as Managing Consultant/Director in charge of the Human Resources Division.  

Earlier in his career, John was a Senior Lecturer in the Queen’s University,  Belfast’s Business School from 1969 to 1987, with responsibility for teaching, research and consultancy in the areas of human resource management and organisational behaviour.  

John is an Industrial Tribunals panel member and is a member of the Labour Relations Agency’s panel of Independent Experts on Equal Value.