Southampton 02380 482 482
Winchester 01962 679 777

Claire Merritt

LLP Partner
T: 023 8048 2112

legal 500 top tier recommended lawyer top tier chambers


Employment Law

  • Employment contracts
  • Tribunal claims
  • Discipline/poor performance issues
  • Redundancies and restructuring
  • TUPE regulations
  • Settlement Agreements
  • Discrimination
  • Policies and procedures
  • Drafting handbooks
  • Agency worker regulations

Education Law

  • Special educational needs
  • Admissions
  • Exclusions
  • Schools and Academies

About Claire

Claire is a partner in the Employment Department. Claire is solutions driven and works to find the best solution for her clients. Claire gives practical options to move situations forward rather than theoretical explanations. She also seeks to work proactively to help avoid future problems for your organisation.

Day to day advice

Whether acting for companies or individuals, Claire drafts clear, concise contracts and other documentation and provides practical advice on a wide range of employment law issues. Claire provides prompt responses. She also advises on restrictive covenant breaches and agency worker regulation. Claire has a particular focus on advising in the education sector including Sixth Form Colleges, Further Education Colleges and Independent Schools. Claire also has clients in all types of transport and logistics connected businesses in the region and nationally.


Claire has a depth of experience when acting in a range of Tribunal Claims with issues of unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal, various discrimination, whistle blowing, TUPE and collective consultation rights. Claire also appears regularly in the Employment Tribunal and undertakes her own advocacy.


Claire has significant experience running bespoke training sessions for employers and HR professionals on many different aspects of employment law.  Claire co-ordinates the Paris Smith Line and HR Manager training sessions. Courses can be tailored to your needs to include case studies, practical examples and open floor forums.

Education Law

Claire has been successful in representing parents in the admission of their children to schools and academies and advising parents in relation to special educational needs. She also works alongside schools and academies, advising as to their legal duties and obligations with a variety of complex procedures surrounding admissions, exclusions and special educational needs.

She aims to help parents through the difficult process of EHC Needs Assessments and the making of an EHC Plan. Claire also provides advice regarding various time limits that are associated within these processes. She can also navigate parents through the Appeal process. Claire provides clear, robust and comprehensive advice to parents and schools through what can be complex and sensitive situations.

Other Responsibilities

  • Lower South East Regional Representative of the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) co-ordinating the Solent Region Training Seminars for employment lawyers and professionals, sitting on a national management committee and establishing a now Kent Regional steering committee.
  • Governor of a local sixth form college.

Recent Blogs


Industry – IT Services: I have used Claire’s employment law services now on a couple of occasions and every time, she has made herself available at short notice to speak to me and finalise documentation. With the added extra pressures of lockdown this year, I was concerned that the level of engagement and service would not be as good as in the past but yet again Claire delivered with the use of technology. Claire easily and quickly identifies any issues and always recommends useful and beneficial changes. Her friendly and personable manner make her a pleasure to deal with and I have no hesitation in recommending her services.

Industry – Education, Di Lloyd, Principal, St Vincent College: Claire Merritt is St Vincent College’s point of contact at Paris Smith. She has provided us with excellent support with some significant staffing issues and has helped us to negotiate compromise agreements with some members of staff. She is always extremely helpful, giving initial advice over the phone and following up by email when appropriate.

Claire has also delivered training at the College to the whole team of managers which was very well received. College HR staff, senior managers and several governors have also attended training delivered by Claire at other venues in the region and the feedback has been very good, with those attending commenting on the relevance of the sessions to their roles at the College.

Industry – NHS/Health Care : Claire’s advice and support have been invaluable – in particular what’s been so important is that her guidance is not just confined to the technical legalities but really goes to the practical realities of the situation.

Industry – Public Sector Organisation : I just wanted to write to thank you for your brilliant employment law session at our managers event yesterday. Your session was really excellent. It was pitched perfectly and extremely informative. By incorporating the real life examples this helped delegates to put into thought how this could happen with their own staff. I have received nothing but glowing feedback from all those who attended. You were engaging and friendly and the delegates expressed how much they enjoyed the session and how much they got out of attending.

Industry – London-based Commodities Trading sector : Claire was recommended to me by another legal professional and dealt with my case quickly, clearly and effectively. I would not hesitate to contact Claire again if another situation arises requiring legal assistance.

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Claire is one of the firm’s certified Mental Health First Aiders 

Paris Smith have been my ‘go to’ employment law providers for 21 years. Over the years the practice has also helped me with my GDPR, property, commercial and domestic legal needs. I have used Paris Smith all these years because they are knowledgeable, friendly, pragmatic and cost effective. It doesn’t matter which member of the team you are dealing with you get a consistent approach.


- Joy Craddock, Managing Director

JCV Consulting Ltd

At a very difficult time, when our son wasn’t offered a place at his catchment Junior school, despite attending the feeder Infant school, we needed swift, accurate & excellent legal advice. We were only too pleased with the help given to us by Solicitor Claire Merritt. Claire kindly saw us within days of calling her. Claire was very professional, had a strong understanding of what it was we needed to do & advised us accordingly. As a result, we were successful in winning our school place appeal having challenged the Education Department at County Council & our son was immediately given his place. Our legal success is attributable to the excellence of Claire Merritt’

- Beccy Isaac

I have been working with Claire Merritt for around 18 months. I am extremely happy with Claire’s advice and response rates. She advises many other colleges and therefore provides advice that is tailored to our organisation’s specific needs and standards. I feel Claire sets an excellent standard for legal advice in the sector. Claire helps us navigate the minefield of employment law and we appreciate the service she provides

- Gordon Dodds, Deputy Principal, Finance & Administration, The Sixth Form College, Farnborough

Clients state: ‘Clive Dobbin, David Roath and Claire Merritt are extremely approachable and offer practical solutions to our issues’; ‘All members of staff that we have dealt with, at all levels, are technically competent and able to provide a top-class answer to our employment questions straight away’.


Legal 500 2020

Recently I encountered a problem with an offshore company which we have dealt with for some years but became very concerned with the outcome of our dispute as it involved issues involving intellectual property, employment and business contracts. The team at Paris Smith went out of their way to guide me through a maze of applicable law to arrive at an amicable agreement with the other side. I have no problem in recommending the team and I am very glad they are on my side

- Trevor Linn, Director

Turbulent Aviation Limited

Clients say “Claire Merritt is a rising star in the Hampshire region. She has good commercial sense and is very hard working.”


Legal 500 2020-2021