Cathy James


Cathy is an expert in whistleblowing law and practice. She currently sits as a lay member on Employment Tribunal panels, working across a range of employment law, including whistleblowing. She has worked with 1,000s of whistleblowers, advising them how best to raise their concerns while ensuring their rights are protected. Having qualified as a solicitor in 1993 Cathy worked at Edward Lewis acting for insurers in personal injury cases. She later became a Partner at Kennedys law firm for five years, before leaving to work as Head of Complaints and Legal Services at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital.

In 2005 Cathy moved to Protect, initially as Legal Officer and later Legal Director. She was appointed CEO in 2011 and oversaw the development of business services, ensuring the ongoing success of the charity as a self-funding organisation. Extensive overseas work included projects run by UNODP, OECD, the Open Society Justice Initiative and the Council of Europe as well as assignments for the Ministry of Labour in Saudi Arabia, Mexico and anti-corruption officials from states as diverse as Indonesia, Bulgaria, Korea, Serbia and the Czech Republic, as well as many state parties in Europe.

Cathy established the Whistleblowing Commission in 2012 to conduct a review of the effectiveness of whistleblowing in the UK. The work of the commission and associated public consultation was instrumental in bringing about changes to the whistleblowing law in 2013, providing an improved set of rights for whistleblowers. Cathy was awarded an OBE for her services to employment rights in June 2015.

Cathy is keenly interested in defending the rights of individuals and protecting the rule of law. She has always been motivated by social justice and applies this passion to her work with whistleblowers. She combines a practical approach with a focus on the tactical and understands the need to make the complex seem simple, to ensure the best outcome for her clients.

Cathy is currently a trustee of four charities: London Pathway a charity seeking better healthcare outcomes for the homeless in the NHS; WhyMe? A charity seeking restorative justice for victims of crime (currently interim Chair); Whistleblowing International Network aimed at fostering collaboration for NGO’s working on whistleblowing around the world; The Rebecca Swift Foundation a charity focussed on the wellbeing and professional development of women poets