I am a partner in the employment team at Gordon Dadds. After graduating with a law degree from what is now Liverpool John Moores University, I began my legal career at Booth & Blackwell, where I was made partner. I joined the Gordon Dadds team in April 2014 from Davenport Lyons, where I held the role of partner and head of employment for over ten years.
I am a trusted advisor with an established reputation and ability to deliver results for clients using my excellent strategic and legal skills. I have considerable commercial acumen and am very approachable. I advise on both contentious and non-contentious employment matters, principally working with employers and senior executives.
I have advised on partnership issues as well as the full range of employment law issues, including business restructures and reorganisations (including large scale redundancy exercises, outsourcing and TUPE), unfair dismissal, team moves, enforcing restrictive covenants, handling dismissals and negotiating settlement agreements across a number of sectors (including Financial Services and Professional Practices), breach of contract, and a range of day-to-day employment matters such as disciplinary and grievance procedures, managing performance and sickness absence. I also have particular expertise in complex discrimination claims involving race, sex, disability and religion. Furthermore, I advise in relation to child protection and diversity issues in the work place; plus I deliver bespoke training to HR and line managers.
I am also a Trustee for a number of charities and regularly speak on radio and television.
My clients include: religious institutions and charities; retail, fashion and leisure establishments, including clubs; corporate entities and SMEs; media, PR and publishing organisations.
What are you most passionate about professionally?
I thrive best working on complex litigation claims or settlements, particularly those that need careful strategy and application of the law.
What is your most interesting legal experience?
That would have to be going to the Court of Appeal and winning in the highly publicised and ground breaking case where we were acting for Stringfellows. This concerned a claim by a lapdancer who asserted she was an employee and had been unfairly dismissed. After much complex argument, it was held that the lapdancer was actually self-employed.
Davenport Lyons, Partner and Head of Employment
Booth & Blackwell (now Kingsford Stacey Blackwell), Partner and Head of Employment
Liverpool John Moores University, LLB (Honours) Law
The Legal 500 - recommended lawyer in 2016, 2017 and 2018 for Employment.
Chambers UK – ranked in Chambers UK 2015 and 2016 in Band 4 and 2017 and 2018 in Band 5 for Employment, described as "extremely precise, knowledgeable, effective, prompt, courteous and commercially aware."
Clients say Marie "has a sharp legal mind and a pragmatic style is approachable and good at talking through issues"
"For 8 years we have worked with Marie van der Zyl, a consultant at Gordon Dadds LLP for all our employment matters. Marie has an in-depth knowledge of the Diocese and the particular employment challenges we face. Her advice is always very clear and relevant and she explains complex legal matters extremely well. It would be difficult to find another lawyer with Marie’s empathy and detailed knowledge of the workings of the Catholic Church. In essence, she is simply excellent and I would have no hesitation recommending her to other charities, particularly religious ones."
- Clare Losty, Diocese of Brentwood
Employment Tribunal Users Group
Employer Lawyers Association (ELD)