Aadil Patel

Aadil Patel

Practice Head, Director

Aadil Patel is the Head of our Employment Law practice. A thought leader in his field, he is recognised for his in-depth expertise in employment law and has acted extensively for various employers in both the public and private sector.

Aadil has worked across multiple jurisdictions in Africa and globally. He has presented on a wide array of legal topics to different audiences and is featured regularly in published articles.

Recognised by both his peers and his clients for his proficiency in employment law, Aadil's track record includes having successfully advised and represented a number of state-owned enterprises as well as companies listed on the JSE and other employers.

t +27 (0)11 562 1107 f +27 (0)11 562 1607

Aadil joined Cliffe Dekker (now Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr) as a Director in 2006.

  • Aadil has extensive experience in acting as independent chairperson in internal disciplinary proceedings against junior and senior employees for clients in the various economic sectors where charges against the employee range from misconduct, incompatibility, poor performance and incapacity.

  • Represented ArcelorMittal in a dispute involving s197 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) (relating to transfers of businesses) which was the first case interpreting the Constitutional Court case on the same section (which, in turn, was also a case in which our employment team represented one of the involved parties).

  • Appeared in the ground-breaking case of Herholdt v Nedbank Ltd (2012) 33 ILJ 1789 (LAC), for the successful party, in which the principles applicable to review applications were re-examined, and which case has since had great impact in the area of review applications.
  • Successfully represented Eskom at the Supreme Court of Appeal (as well as in the courts a quo), in a far-reaching essential services dispute [ESKOM Holdings Ltd v NUM 2012 (2) SA 197 (SCA)].
  • Represented Eskom in Eskom v Marshall and Others [2003] 1 BLLR 12 (LC). This case dealt with the issue of what a benefit is.
  • Assisted SAA, ArcelorMittal, Murray and Roberts Cementation with their restructuring.
  • Advised various clients on their outsourcing transactions and in developing optimal staffing models with regard to the recent amendments to various pieces of labour legislation.
  • Assisted Absa with its various outsourcing transactions.
  • Representing Eskom Holdings SOC Limited and the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) at the essential services committee regarding the conclusion of minimum services agreement.
  • Advised LG on a large scale retrenchment, where recent authorities had to be innovatively interpreted and applied, in giving effect to the process.
  • Assisted and advised in the establishment of the principle that employers may institute a civil claim for damages in the Labour Court on behalf of Rand Water v Stoop 2013 JDR 0163 (LAC).
  • Established the conditions to be complied with before employees are entitled to engage in a secondary strike (the principle of reasonableness or proportionality of a strike being applied), when representing the applicant in the Clidet NO 957 (Pty) Ltd v SAMWU (2011) 32 ILJ 1070 (LC) case.
  • Advised Eskom for a considerable period of time in respect of the Central Bargaining Forum.
  • Represented Eskom in its interpretation of its recognition agreement in the Solidariteit v Eskom matter.
  • Advised AllLife (Pty) Ltd) on all aspects of their EEA compliance, from the creation of their consultative committees, to conducting the evaluation and consultation process that resulted in the creation of Employment Equity plans.
  • Advising Eskom on the creation of and implementation of its pension fund.
  • Acted for Eskom on a number of matters where the ambits of their employee benefits structures were tested. In this regard, various principles were developed relating to which tribunal must adjudicate Eskom employee benefits claims.
  • Represented Eskom in a private arbitration where it was determined that it was required to negotiate with the unions prior to introducing defined benefit rules.
  • Represented both Eskom and Transnet in protecting its interests in its disposal of Arivia.kom from a commercial, technology and employment perspective.
  • Represented SAA in the litigation of the applicability of s197 of the LRA to second generation outsourcing transactions, which culminated in a constitutional court decision that has created certainty of this topic for the first time in a decade of litigation.
  • Assisted and advised Eskom in the application of s197.
  • Together with Eskom, undertook national training of buyers and tender committee members on all aspects of public procurement;
  • Commented and advised Eskom on the regulations promulgated pursuant to the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, and developed and conducted training sessions on it;
  • Commented and advised Eskom on the National Energy Act and presented and accompanied Eskom to parliament when submissions were made.
  • Aadil has acted as a Judge in the Labour Court.

Experience in African Jurisdictions (Excluding South Africa)

  • Acted for SAP regarding the application of several HR and employee policies in use in SA and in other African countries. The project covered the following jurisdictions: Angola, Nigeria, Kenya, and Morocco.
  • Acted for Total regarding the application of several HR and employee policies in SA and in other African countries. The project covered the following jurisdictions: Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana and Lesotho.
  • Advised Coca-Cola on 'localising' their HR policies and employment contracts in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Angola.
  • Advised MacMillan on 'localising' their HR policies and employment contracts in Botswana and Namibia.
  • Advising and assisting Dell Computers (Pty) Ltd on internal disciplinary proceedings instituted against an employee in Nigeria on charges of misconduct including appointment of Nigerian correspondents and acting as liaison between client and correspondent.
  • Advising and assisting Standard Bank of South Africa Limited with issues around the commencement of business and the employment and remuneration of staff in Ivory Coast.
  • Assisting and advising Total South Africa in its dealings with the Employment Equity Commission following charges instituted against it by the Commission including the appointment of a Namibia correspondent to assist client and acting as liaison and facilitator between client and correspondent.


Aadil presents at various seminars and runs customised training workshops on topical issues, these include:

  • How to run disciplinary hearings;
  • How to chair a disciplinary hearing;
  • Preparing and running arbitrations; and
  • New developments in the law and several other related topics.

Aadil is a regular contributor and speaker at the LexisNexis Annual Labour Law Conference. Some of the topics he has covered include ‘Employment, the economy & growth: The implications for Labour Law’ in 2013 and 'Labour Law in transition: the role of Labour, Business and Government' in 2015. 

He was one of two world class speakers at The Law Society of South Africa's Seminar on the subject, 'Shedding light on Administrative Scrutiny: Tenders & Licencing in areas of public administration'.

Aadil presented at the 26th Annual Labour Law Conference, held at the Sandton Convention Centre in 2013. The theme, ‘Employment, the economy and growth: The implications for Labour Law’, examined the impact of the prolonged global economic crisis on labour law and the need for the South African economy and labour market to develop tools to address these challenges.

In addition he presents at the CDH: Annual Labour Law Conference and Education Seminars.

  • Chambers Global 2015–2022 ranked Aadil in Band 2 for Employment.
  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2021-2022 ranked Aadil as a leading individual for employment. From  2012–2020 Aadil was recommended in labour and employment.
  • Aadil was the exclusive South African winner of the ILO Client Choice Awards 2014 in the employment & benefits category.
  • Aadil was identified in The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2014.
  • The International Who’s Who of Management Labour and Employment 2011–2014.
  • Who's Who Legal: Labour & Employment 2018 named Aadil as a leading lawyer. Who's Who Legal 2017 recommends Aadil as a leading Management Labour and Employment practitioner. Who's Who Legal - International Who's Who of Management Labour and Employment 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 identified him as being among the world’s leading Management Labour and Employment lawyers.


  • B Proc LLB LLM and H Dip (Company Law), University of the Witwatersrand
  • Year of admission as an attorney: 1999
  • Diploma in Pension Funds, University of the Witwatersrand (2012)
  • Completed the DLA Piper Harvard Leadership Programme from the Harvard Business School in 2012
  • Registered with the Legal Practice Council


  • The South African Society for Labour Law (SASLAW)
Aadil Patel discusses the four day week
12 July 2022 Employment Law

Aadil Patel discusses the four day week

Whilst a four-day work week is attractive, South Africa needs to move to a productivity-based work model, in order to achieve success; this according to Aadil Patel, Director and Practice Head in our Employment Law practice, during his interview with Newzroom Afika.

Employees not taking leave during the lockdown
19 June 2020 Employment Law

Employees not taking leave during the lockdown

Aadil Patel, Director in our Employment practice joined eNews Channel African to discuss the challenge companies are faced with due to employees not taking leave during the lockdown

All Videos
Wearing of masks may be a thing of the past
22 June 2022 Employment Law

Wearing of masks may be a thing of the past

With a steady decline in infection rates, hospitalisations and deaths related to COVID-19, the Minister of Health has recommended a reconsideration of the COVID-19 regulations pertaining to the wearing of masks indoors, the limitations on gatherings and the regulations pertaining to entry requirements.

All Podcasts