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Brian  Patterson

Brian Patterson



  • employment
  • anglophone africa
  • employee benefits
  • employee incentives

WSG Practice Industries


South Africa


Brian Patterson is Head of ENSafrica’s Employment department. He specialises in integrated employment solutions, international split employment contracts, global mobility, executive terminations, restructuring and retrenchments, transfers of business, employment equity and unfair discrimination, collective bargaining, employment-related pension law matters, and drafting and enforcement of restraint of trade agreements, as well as the law relating to confidentiality and privacy.

Brian has done extensive African employment law work and significant international employment law work in the United States and the United Kingdom (“UK”) and for many overseas law firms. He is qualified in South Africa and the UK.

Brian has acted for numerous African and international clients and has provided advice to corporate clients in most sectors, including the financial services, retail, hospitality/gaming, pharmaceutical, mining, metal engineering, ITC and chemical industries. He has also dealt with the South African aspects of restructuring/mergers of multinationals in respect of a number of jurisdictions.

In addition, Brian’s experience includes giving tactical and strategic individual and collective employment law advice, and he has extensive litigious and corporate employment law experience. He also engages in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms when necessary.

Brian has been involved with some of the leading employment law cases reported in Southern Africa since the inception of employment law, and he has personally argued many matters in the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court. Brian has also acted as a judge of the Labour Court and was an assessor of the Labour Appeal Court.

Brian is co-author of the South African chapter of the International Labour and Employment Compliance Handbook and The Employment Law Review and has contributed articles in many local and international publications.

He is a regular speaker on employment and labour law issues and has appeared on many television programmes over the years.


  • BA (University of the Witwatersrand)
  • LLB (University of the Witwatersrand)
  • Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test
  • Admitted as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa
Areas of Practice

anglophone africa | employee benefits | employee incentives | employment | ENS africa | pension and provident funds | retirement funds

Professional Career

Professional Activities and Experience

Brian is recognised as a leading/recommended lawyer by:

  • Chambers Global Guiden 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 – Employment (South Africa)
  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 – Labour and Employment - Leading Individual (South Africa)
  • Who’s Who Legal 2019, 2016 – Labour and Employment (South Africa)
  • Best Lawyers® 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 – Labour and Employment, Employee Benefits.  Employee Benefits Lawyers of the year - 2021 (South Africa)


Labour Court Hands Down New Judgment on Business Rescue
ENSafrica, February 2021

The South African Airways (“SAA”) saga continues, with another Labour Court judgment handed down on 8 February 2021. Given the financially parlous position that SAA has been in, even throughout its business rescue proceedings, the Department of Public Enterprises (“DPE”), SAA’s sole shareholder and sole lender, offered SAA employees a salary settlement agreement...

South Africa: Cost-cutting employment alternatives to retrenchment following the extended lockdown
ENSafrica, April 2020

Like many other countries worldwide, South Africa went into a 21-day national lockdown on 27 March, in an effort to help slow down the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The lockdown has already had a devastating impact on the economy and on employment in a country that was already in recession. This has already been felt by many in their pockets...

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