A war of words has broken out between a high-profile divorce firm and a trade union in a row involving a former employee and a leaked memo about the firm’s dress code.

Vardags said on its website this week that it has been granted an order by consent against a former employee preventing her from disclosing confidential information obtained during the course of her employment - including a number of specific documents. The firm said its costs and counsel’s costs, amounting to approximately £68,000, have been reserved for a future occasion.

In September Vardags made national newspaper headlines when emails on the firm's dress code - which included a ban on cardigans - were leaked.  

Ayesha Vardag, divorce lawyer and President of Vardags, photographed at her office at 10 Old Bailey, London

Ayesha Vardag, president of Vardags

Source: Jonathan Goldberg/Shutterstock

Yesterday United Voices of the World, a trade union for legal sector workers, published a press release in which it 'declared victory following its member’s successful “High Court showdown” over an attempt by one of the country’s top divorce law firms to “gag” a former employee accused of leaking a memo’ in relation to the firm’s dress code. UVW said its members took on the case pro bono.

In a statement to the Gazette yesterday, Vardags said there had been no 'victory' by a member of UVW as Vardags was successful in obtaining an interim order preventing the former employee from further disclosing confidential information.

On the allegation that the firm sought to ‘gag’ the former employee, Vardags said it believed the former employee had already leaked confidential information belonging to the firm to third parties in breach of her employment contract and sought assurances there would be no further leaks. Vardags says it was forced to seek the court's assistance.

UVW disagrees with Vardags' assertions to the Gazette

The trade union said in its press release that the former employee's legal team is helping her pursue an employment tribunal claim against Vardags, alleging disability discrimination, culminating in her dismissal in March. Vardags firmly denies the allegations.