By choosing to continue, you are consenting to the use and functioning of this site as is in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

find a lawyer

our people


Brian  Patterson

Brian Patterson

no boundaries

practical experience

Brian Patterson is an Executive at ENS in the Employment practice and joint head of the Johannesburg Employment team. He specialises in compensation and remuneration, distress, restructuring and business rescue, integrated employment solutions, international split employment contracts, global mobility, restraint of trade agreements and enforcement, executive terminations, redundancy and retrenchments, transfers of business, employment equity and unfair discrimination, collective bargaining disputes and strategy, administrative law and the law relating to confidentiality and privacy.

Brian has extensive African employment law experience and provides significant international employment law advice to clients and overseas law firms in the United States, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

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

Brian’s experience includes giving tactical and strategic individual and collective employment law advice and 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 former Labour Appeal Court. He also serves pro bono as a Commissioner at the Small Claims Court in Alexandra.

Brian is co-author of the South African chapter of the  Wolters Kluwer International Labour and Employment Compliance Handbook, International Employment Law, Second Edition 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. Brian regularly speaks at client seminars, conferences, and workshops and moderates workshops dealing with the latest developments in African labour law.  

Brian is recognised as a leading/recommended lawyer by:

  • Chambers Global Guide 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 – Employment (South Africa)
  • Best Lawyers 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 – Labour and Employment Law; 2023 - Employee Benefits Law; 2022, 2020 - Employee and Benefits Lawyer of the year (South Africa)
  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 – Employment (South Africa) – Tier 1
  • Who’s Who Legal 2019, 2016 – Labour and Employment (South Africa)
  • World Services Group (WSG) member
  • World Law Group (WLG) member 

area of expertise



  • BA (University of the Witwatersrand)
  • LLB (University of the Witwatersrand)
  • England and Wales: Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (“QLTT”)
  • Member of the American Bar Association
  • Admitted as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa