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Who Represents Who

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Birketts LLP has ‘an excellent team that is professional but at the same time has personality, and which can offer clear advice with little jargon’. The corporate criminal defence team has extensive cross-industry experience in serious matters including disasters and cases of multiple fatalities. It also provides a full service from solicitors, barristers and health and safety consultants, who advise corporate clients on regulatory compliance. Barristers Laura Thomas and Matthew Gowen provide ‘excellent counsel and practicality; both are very knowledgeable and superb in court’. Consultants Frank Sykes, who has experience as principal inspector at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and Malcolm Savory are recommended for their ‘candid and considered advice’. Senior associate Julie Gowland and associate Philippa Dyer both have extensive experience in criminal and regulatory law. The firm is currently acting for a company in the engineering sector that faced charges relating to a multiple fatality that occurred on a construction project. The case is due for trial in the High Court this year.

Greenwoods Solicitors LLP is best known for its work in the hospitality, manufacturing and construction sectors. It has a strong regional client base but acts for clients across the UK, who seek its advice not only on contentious matters, but also on new developments in regulation. Business defence specialist Kathryn Gilbertson has a well-established reputation as a leading light in the field and clients praise her ‘in-depth knowledge and ability to find solutions that are both practical and creative’. She leads the firm’s regulatory team and advises national and international companies on UK and European safety law. Among Gilbertson’s many highlights was the prosecution of private landlord Keith Newsum on behalf of the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service following a fire at one of his properties, forcing tenants to escape through broken windows. Following a three-week trial Newsum ultimately pleaded guilty and received a custodial sentence and an order to pay £100,000 in costs. The team also advised Principal Hayley Hotels Limited following the drowning of an unruly guest who had been evicted from the hotel.

Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘responsive and professional in its approach to regulatory matters’. Clients ‘value its balanced approach and its pragmatism’ and laud the firm as ‘one of the best by far’. ‘Trusted adviserDuncan Astill leads the team and advises clients in the high-risk industries of construction and healthcare. His caseload includes advice on cross-border matters and he recently acted for German and Spanish clients involved in construction-related HSE prosecutions, and advised a US-owned healthcare business on compliance issues. Regulatory specialist Ian Mayers retired from the partnership but continues to act as a consultant. Principal associate, in-house barrister and Crown Court judge Philip Grey in Cambridge is ‘particularly helpful; he understands the sector and provides a level of clarity to complex matters’. Astill and senior associate Amanda Narkiewicz are currently acting for a client in the healthcare sector in a health and safety investigation into the death of a patient.

The health and safety at Hunt & Coombs LLP is based in the firm’s Peterborough office and falls under the guidance of Simon Milburn’s crime department. Milburn and the firm’s other specialists in criminal law Andrew Cave and senior solicitor Jason Stevens all have extensive experience in complex health and safety matters for corporates and individuals. The strength of the team’s advocacy is one of the main reasons for its success, with Cave and Stevens both having Higher Rights of Audience. The firm’s varied caseload in 2016 included an appeal against health and safety prohibition and improvement notices on behalf of a client seeking to continue use of commercial premises, and assisting numerous clients with regulatory compliance and record-keeping to prevent prosecution. The firm regularly advises the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency on prosecutions relating to fraudulent tachographs.

Leathes Prior provides a full range of services for corporates and individuals, and its health and safety team handles both civil and criminal litigation arising from breaches of legislation. Head of business regulation and defence Tim Cary is a recognised expert in his field and has a growing roster of national clients. The team also includes solicitor Tej Thakkar, who has extensive experience in criminal, transport and regulatory matters before magistrate and crown courts. The firm’s highlights included advising a transport-sector client on a case arising from a fatal accident in which it was accused of operating a defective vehicle.

At Gotelee Solicitors, veteran litigator Hugh Rowland has many years’ experience in health and safety law and is known for his strong niche practice in the defence and prosecution of enforcement matters. He regularly defends clients who are subject to HSE, local authority and police investigations, and also handles Trading Standards cases. His recent work includes advising a local authority employee accused of regulatory breaches relating to the removal of asbestos, and representing a company prosecuted for the supply of dangerous goods following an accident.

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Legal Developments in East Anglia for Health and safety

  • Companies should plan now to minimise their pension protection levy

    The amount that pension schemes have to pay to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) for the year 2006/07 may have increased by as much as five times the previous year's levy. Employers who ultimately bear the cost of many pension schemes will need to make plans now to ensure the levy payable for the year 2008/09 is kept to a minimum.
    - Stephenson Harwood

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