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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > North > Human resources > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings




Index of tables

  1. Employment
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Boutique employment law firm Collingwood Legal is recognised for its expertise in dealing with complex, high-end disputes, particularly in the education and not-for-profit sectors. In addition, the practice is increasingly instructed by manufacturing, food and sport clients. Led by Paul McGowan, the team of employment-focused practitioners includes specialists in discrimination, #metoo-related cases and whistleblowing, as well as significant experience in training. Notable names are Paul Johnstone, recently promoted senior associate Jane Sinnamon and associate Charlotte McBride.

Practice head(s):Paul McGowan

Other key lawyers:Paul Johnstone; Jane Sinnamon; Alexandra Besnard; Charlotte McBride; Helen Scott

Key Clients

Humankind (formerly DISC)

Kaefer C & D

Eothen Homes

Rettig UK

Parmley Graham

Solutions Recruitment Group

Emmanuel Schools Foundation

Orbis Support


GT Harvey & Partners

National Golf Club Advisory Association

Projector Brand Communications

Work highlights

  • Advised an industrial manufacturing company throughout protracted internal disciplinary proceedings and its defence of an unfair dismissal claim from a (former) remote sales employee of French nationality.
  • Assisted the trade association in conducting a comprehensive review of full suite of template documents and guidance notes provided to its national members via its website.
  • Advised health sector client BW Medical Accountants with GDPR compliance.
  • Guidance on sensitive TUPE transfer following an outsourcing of services for High Voltage Partial Discharge Limited (HVPD).
  • Successfully advising an individual in defence of potentially career-ending professional conduct proceedings.

Primarily working for employers, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's experienced team has a range of specialists who work in sectors including energy, manufacturing and transport. Practice head Shirley Hall has particular expertise with gender pay gap and equal pay work, while principal associate Jessie Uppal specialises in immigration and Brexit related advice. Also notable in the team is associate Suzanne Caveney, who frequently assists clients with pension scheme changes.

Practice head(s):Shirley Hall

Other key lawyers:Jessie Uppal; Victoria Vallely; Suzanne Caveney; David Williams

Key Clients

British Broadcasting Corporation

Avery Dennison

British Polythene

Tata Global Beverages

Nestle UK

University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Chief Constable of Northumbria Police

FMC Technologies

Nissan Motor Manufacturing

Northumberland County Council

Work highlights

  • Prepared, conducted and successfully defended high-profile proceedings on behalf of Northumbria Police in unfair dismissal, whistleblowing, sex discrimination, disability discrimination and victimisation, which were progressed by the its former Director of Legal Services.
  • Instructed to represent  Northumberland County Council and individual senior officer and members  in tribunal proceedings alleging whistleblowing detriments progressed by a senior officer claimant.
  • Representing Northumberland County Council with two separate employment tribunal claims brought by former members of the HR team following a restructure.

Ward Hadaway is experienced in contentious and non-contentious employment law matters, across sectors including social housing, manufacturing, High Court work and trade union issues. Acting mainly for employers, practice heads Jamie Gamble and Paul Scope lead a team that was boosted by the additions of associate James English, who arrived from Hempsons, as well as solicitors Francesca Hawker from Watson Burton LLP and Alex Clark from Square One Law. Also notable is education employment specialist Graham Vials.

Practice head(s):Paul Scope; Jamie Gamble

Other key lawyers:Stuart Craig; Graham Vials; James English


'The team are very proactive and responsive and take a practical approach to problem solving'

'Very client focussed and clear'

'The team members appear to have good working relationships with one another and can provide cover for and support one another'

'Really practical advice that supports quick decision making - a great team who are well networked and have a strong team ethos so that you can rely on consistency of advice'

'Graham Vials has been incredibly helpful in various matters and is a pleasure to work with, his advice is always clear, concise and practical and he understands the need to have a view of risks whilst also making recommendations for a sensible way forwards'

'The individuals that we work with are very personable and diligent. Their knowledge of employment law generates confidence'

'Stuart Craig, Mark McKeever and Bernard Hodgson provide very good support'

'Paul Scope is excellent, effective and has a great knowledge of the sector. He is also always timely and pragmatic'

Key Clients

Newcastle United Football Company

NCG - Newcastle College Group

Newcastle Rugby

Story Homes

Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK

Merck Sharp and Dohme


Home Group

Connect Health

Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • Assisting in investigations and internal procedures throughout 2018 and significant and frequent liaising with the Head of Integrity and Head of Regulatory Legal at the FA for Newcastle United Football Company
  • Advised Connect Health in relation to the employment aspects of a number of multi-million pound NHS-commissioned contracts to provide musculoskeletal physiotherapy services, including in Newcastle/Gateshead, Herts Valley, Brent, Milton Keynes and Croydon.
  • Advised Arjo Huntleigh on the set up and implementation of a European Works Council covering its workforces across Sweden, Poland, France, Germany, the Republic of Ireland and the UK.
  • Advised the various colleges within the Newcastle College Group (NCG) on various issues, notably an ongoing large scale union dispute related to the removal of incremental pay scales, differences in pay scales across the group and strikes regarding lack of increases/pay increments.
  • Advised Home group on various contested TUPE transfers – one in particular involving a local authority and various other care providers where Home group was the outgoing supplier.

Employer firm Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP specialises in a range of sectors including technology, retail, healthcare, education and chemicals. The team is led by unfair dismissal and discrimination claims expert James Wilders, who can call on equal pay and gender pay gap specialist Lorraine Heard. Also notable is associate Alan Kennedy, who is experienced in tribunal representation.

Practice head(s):James Wilders

Other key lawyers:Lorraine Heard; Hilary du Randt; Alan Kennedy


'Strength in depth'

'Experienced, pragmatic lawyers'

'James Wilders is very practical and provides commercial solutions'

Key Clients


AIT Global

Cumberland Building Society



IBM United Kingdom

LSL Property Services

Network Rail

NHS Digital

Northern Powergrid

Sainsbury's Supermarkets


TOTAL Petrochemicals

Vertu Motors

Work highlights

  • Advising on the closure of one of a Holiday companies two head offices, involving the redundancy of over 100 members of staff.  The work included detailed, hands-on advice on the election of employee representatives, the conduct of collective consultations with those representatives and preparing employee communications.
  • Advising an insurance company on the employment and pensions aspects of closing two final salary schemes to future accrual and replacing pension provision with ongoing money purchase accrual.
  • Involved in carrying out the due diligence aspects of a transaction, providing advice in respect of any employment issues arising from the transaction and drafting the relevant employment documentation for the directors and non-executive directors for Tekmar Energy
  • Assisting US based supply chain solutions leader AIT Global in connection with its acquisition of ConneXion World Cargo, a freight forwarder headquartered in London.

Chris Maddock leads the team at Muckle LLP that includes Tony McPhillips, who is particularly well-known for his national sports related employment practice, and solicitor Roland Fairlamb, who joined from Swinburne Maddison in 2018. The firm has a range of expertise in the area, from executive appointments and terminations to inquiries and investigations, as well as offering bespoke employment law training. The team acts for employers in major commercial fields, notably educational institutions, sporting organisations and charities.

Practice head(s):Chris Maddock

Other key lawyers:Tony McPhillips; Jill Donabie


'The team demonstrate a specialised understanding of the education sector, particularly regarding multi academy trusts'

'They provide a blend of HR, governance and commercial expertise'

'Solution are pragmatic and well thought out'

'Jill Donabie has exceptional employment and education knowledge'

Key Clients

Sunderland Association Football Club

NG Bailey

The Football Association

Newcastle Building Society

Bishop Auckland College

Bonnier Publishing Group

Education Development Trust

Durham Cricket CIC

Silentnight Group

Hill & Smith

Work highlights

  • Obtained emergency interim relief for an insurance brokerage business to prevent a team move by approximately nine employees  to join a competing business. At the time of drafting, High Court proceedings in the matter continue and are likely to continue into 2019.
  • Advised an education charity on the transfer in of 200 staff from three different providers as a consequence of a public sector tender win. The outgoing employers refused to co-operate with our client in relation to the transfer process. This required substantial TUPE and restructuring advice within a very short period of time.
  • Advised an education charity on issues regarding the conclusion of a senior management secondment in the UAE and the potential considerations around the relocation of the affected employee to Saudi Arabia or their repatriation to the UK.
  • Advised A North West manufacturing client on all employment law aspects of a factory-wide restructure of roles and responsibilities across all roles, covering 250 plus employees.

Sintons LLP’s employment practice is led by Keith Land, whose extensive experience includes reorganisations, strategic advice, TUPE and discrimination. He can call on the expertise of associate Ailsa Hobson, newly promoted partner Donna Anderson and associate Angela Carver, who joined from Samuel Phillips Law Firm in 2019. The team focuses on the areas of construction, healthcare, education and charities, as well as specialising in offshore and marine services.

Practice head(s):Keith Land

Other key lawyers:Donna Anderson; Ailsa Hobson


'The team works hard to understand the requirements an give advice based on risk'

'The firm balances knowledge of law and need to be commercial, with a genuine interest and commitment'

'Sintons genuinely wants to get to know the client and tailor their service to its needs'

Key Clients

Eleven Arches

Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust

The Percy Hedley Foundation

Mr Stephen Forbes

Hodgson Sayers Limited

CF Motoring Services Limited

Employment Services Partnership Limited

Freeman Clinics Limited

Work highlights

  • Steered Eleven Arches through the £31m Kynren project, in which over 1,000 volunteers have been cast and directed by a core production team for three consecutive years. Eleven Arches, having just completed its third year of Kynren has exciting plans to expand to replicate Puy Du Fou’s historical theme park and Sintons is guiding them through the full range of employment matters arising from Eleven Arches’ continued development.
  • Advised the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust in connection with a national procurement run by NHS England for the provision of genomic testing services.
  • Guided the The Percy Hedley Foundation through workforce initiatives, designed to ensure the long term sustainability of the charitable business, including drafting bespoke contracts and policies to best protect the foundation’s interests as it continues to expand its services.
  • Represented Stephen Forbes in his claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination against the GMB union.
  • Provided general employment advice to assist the Hodgson Sayers through its day to day operations. Specific matters have included advice in connection with settlement agreements between the company and several employees, the preparation and incorporation of data protection policies and advice in respect of their ongoing apprenticeships.

Watson Burton LLP focuses on risk management, project work and litigation. Christopher Graham leads a practice whose areas of expertise include TUPE, executive terminations and day-to-day tribunal work. Notable in the team are litigation specialist Jackie Turner, experienced associate Kerry Waters and solicitor Kayleigh Mountford, who joined from Newtons Solicitors Limited and specialises in injunctive relief cases.

Practice head(s):Christopher Graham

Other key lawyers:Jackie Turner; Kerry Waters


'Highly professional yet very personable, the team understands the needs of the business, as well as the culture and values'

'Stand out Chris Graham has a real in depth commercial understanding and approach to employment law'

'The firm is very responsive, supportive and can really assist in complex situations'

Key Clients

David Allen Chartered Accountants


University of Sunderland

Academies Enterprise Trust


The Maersk Company

Freudenberg Nonwovens

Lucion Services

Wear Inns

Gosforth Federated Academies

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of Academies Enterprise Trust in employment tribunal proceedings brought by a teacher in the maths department of a comprehensive school in Leeds for breach of the duty to make reasonable adjustments.
  • Acted on behalf of Academy Trust in the academisation of a large comprehensive school in Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Instructed to act on the sale of a National Training Provider.  There were a number of complicating features including the refusal by the purchaser to employ a senior member of staff assigned to the transferring business and an objection to transfer received late in the day from another senior employee.
  • Acted on behalf of a container shipping company in employment tribunal proceedings brought by a former employee for unfair and wrongful dismissal following a gross misconduct dismissal for various discriminatory comments on the client’s internal messenger system.
  • A telecommunications company employed the defendant as Global CEO who was employed predominantly with a view to securing investment for the client. Following his dismissal for a failure to secure investment, he issued a claim for breach of contract. The claim turned on whether the defendant had agreed to defer salary payments or whether he had agreed to waive them in consideration for share options.

Carlisle based Baines Wilson LLP acts for employers in day-to-day advice, managing sickness absence and TUPE support. The team, led by Joanne Holborn, also has expertise in the dismissal of senior executives and discrimination cases, with Tom Scaife and Caroline Rayner particularly experienced in the latter. The practice was strengthened by the arrival of solicitor Paul Carson from R.P Crawford & Co Solicitors in 2018.

Practice head(s):Joanne Holborn

Other key lawyers:Tom Scaife; Caroline Rayner


'The team offers practical advice, rather than just legal and straightforward' 

'Baines Wilson is very approachable, engaging and professional. It knows its stuff and is always at hand to listen when help is required'

'There is a great feeling of inclusiveness and no problem is too small or too great'

Natalie Ruane leads the team at Burnetts and specialises in employment advice related to the education sector. Notable in her team is Nigel Crebbin, who oversees the commercial side of the firm’s employment offering. Recently promoted associate Anna Lovett adds expertise in disability discrimination employment tribunal claims, where she acts on the employee side.

Practice head(s):Natalie Ruane

Other key lawyers:Nigel Crebbin; Anna Lovett


'The team is very knowledgeable and professional and works hard with its clients to ensure it delivers the correct result'

'The key strength is its balance of the local sector and the key personnel in the region, particularly the current professional associations and trade union personnel

'Nigel Crebbin is professional, knowledgeable, hard working and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure he delivers for his clients. He quickly understand the issues and offers the correct solutions to those issues'

Key Clients

Cumbria Education Trust

Witherslack Group

Cumberland Building Society

Cumbria Waste Group

Orian Solutions


Innovia Films

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery

Eden Housing Association


Furness Academy

Furness College

Work highlights

  • Represented Cumbria Education Trust in its high profile acquisition of Whitehaven Academy from the Bright Tribe Trust.

DWF’s practice is led by senior associate Stephen Cairns, who specialises in advice to public and private sector employers on complex HR processes and tribunal claims. Associate Seema Ahmed joined the team from Short Richardson & Forth in 2019. She brings litigation experience, notably in tribunal cases as well as equal pay and union disputes.

Practice head(s):Stephen Cairns

Other key lawyers:Seema Ahmed

Key Clients


Watts Water Technologies



The Automobile Association

Lambert Smith Hampton

Immotion Group

2M Group and subsidiaries

Northern Gas & Power

Learning Curve Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Immotion Group on their listing as a plc and in particular the employment aspects of that transaction including redundancy advice, production of and negotiation of service agreements, production of settlement agreements and TUPE advice.
  • Advised Northern Gas & Power on the management of high value employment tribunal claims and associated injunction proceedings.
  • Successfully defended a potentially reputation damaging claim of whistleblowing and unfair dismissal made against Yodel by a former employee.
  • Advised Learning Curve Group on their recent acquisition of Profound Group providing (from an employment law perspective) due diligence, advice on risk management and the production of service agreements.
  • Advised Q-Park on a variety of employment issues including long term sickness absence, management of disciplinary procedures and redundancy advice.

Hay & Kilner¬†specialises in acting for employers in contentious and non-contentious work, notably reorganisations, corporate support and training. The firm is also experienced in termination packages, as well as representing executives in certain matters. Neil Dwyer¬†leads a ‚Äėresponsive and supportive‚Äô team that includes Sarah Hall¬†and Sarah Furness.

Practice head(s):Neil Dwyer

Other key lawyers:Sarah Hall; Sarah Furness


'It is good to work with a practice which has a team of HR support, this works well as there is always contact with somebody'

'Sarah Hall is very professional and knowledgeable, highly recommended'

'The team has an ability to grasp your problem immediately and provide practical solutions either proactively or as a result of challenges within the workplace reactively'

Key Clients

Care Home Business

Construction / Civil Engineering

Haulage / Logistics

Care Business


Leon & Susan Wright

Automotive Company

Work highlights

  • Advised on the employment aspects of a hive-up of three care home businesses into the group parent company, including TUPE advice and support.
  • A complex employment tribunal claim concerning a construction/civil engineering business was pursued by an ex-employee who alleged that he had been constructively dismissed and also that he was owed contractual monies totally some £35,000. The claim settled on a commercial and favourable basis shortly before the hearing.
  • An age discrimination claim was pursued by an existing employee for a haulage/logistics business who alleged that he had been subject to age discrimination when there was an issue with his driving licence and the client refused to offer him driving duties as a result. After a 4 day hearing, the age discrimination claim was dismissed by the tribunal.
  • Negotiation of TUPE transfer for a  care business with local authority.
  • Strategic HR advice and support to a petrochemicals company was provided on various HR issues, successfully avoiding any employment tribunal claims.

Elizabeth Casey leads the practice at Archers Law LLP, known for its commercial support and restrictive covenant work. The firm has experience in contentious tribunal cases and non-contentious matters, specialising in advising employer clients on TUPE, internal procedure and redundancy.

Practice head(s):Elizabeth Casey


'Very well connected with the local community for both business and personal affairs'

'Elizabeth Casey offers practical, solution-focused and timely advice'

'Friendly, accessible, knowledgeable and keen to work on mutually beneficial, creative solutions to challenges'

Key Clients

S&G Watson

Isotank Services Ltd

Boasso UK Ltd

TC Industries of Europe Ltd

Cleveland Alzheimers Residential Centre Ltd

Teesside Industrial Controls Ltd

Carroll & Meynell Transformers Ltd

The Montessori People Limited

On Agency Ltd

Jesmond Dene House Ltd

Wynyard Hall Ltd

St Mary’s Inn Ltd

Work highlights

  • Collective Consultation resulting in 2 sites closing and saving the on-going operation of 1 site for the Cleveland Alzheimer Residential Centre

Best known for its employment tribunal service, DAC Beachcroft LLP also has expertise in equal pay claims, TUPE transfers and capability cases involving doctors and executives in the NHS. Guy Bredenkamp leads the team and specialises in major organisational changes, as well as industrial action. Also notable is associate Sarah George, who has particular experience in employment disputes.

Practice head(s):Guy Bredenkamp

Other key lawyers:Sarah George


'The team is very professional and commercial thinking'

'Advice is always consistent and mindfully given'

'No problem is too big or too small'

'DAC has a specialist healthcare team to match that of any other firm'

'Specialist knowledge is matched with quality lawyers to produce a high level of service'

Key Clients

NHS England

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust



City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS FT

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

North Cumbria  University Hospitals NHS Trust

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS FT

Northumberland County Council

Work highlights

  • Multiple equal pay claims against an NHS Foundation Trust. Over 1600 equal claims were brought by staff at the client trust in 2006, with an aggregate potential value in excess of £10M. Defended the claims, including representing it as the lead Trust in a national test case on NHS terms and conditions. More than 96% of the claims have been withdrawn or struck out in response to the defences and the small remainder have now been settled.
  • Complex unfair dismissal and race discrimination claim from a consultant surgeon.
  • Instructed on behalf of a central government department to advise on equal pay and industrial relations issues following a major organisational change.
  • Dealing with a serious grievance relating to the behaviour of the chief executive of the Trust. The grievance was resolved effectively and the substantial risks in this matter were successfully avoided.

Specialist in immigration work David Gray Solicitors LLP has particular expertise in entrepreneur visas and assisting foreign nationals with setting up businesses in the UK. Bryony Rest leads the team that has increasing experience with tech companies, as well as the complex cross-border issues around immigration.

Practice head(s):Bryony Rest

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP offers experience in contentious work in courts and tribunals. The firm acts for claimants and respondents, as well as advising clients on day-to-day issues including disciplinary procedures, re-organisations and executive terminations. Nick Smith leads the practice and has a client base that ranges from public limited companies to large SMEs and individual clients. Also notable in the team is associate Robyn Aisbitt.

Practice head(s):Nick Smith

Other key lawyers:Robyn Aisbitt


'Its strength is the way in which each issue put to it is approached in a solid professional manner and with the utmost integrity'

The team at Mincoffs is very easy to deal with and issues great advice'

'Nick Smith the epitome of an employment solicitor. His advice and help is second to none'

Key Clients

Nicholson & Morgan Solicitors

All Saints Development

Northern Bear

L B Foster Rail Technologies

Total Jobs Group

Perfect Image

Tech Fluid UK

Yeshiva Le Zeirim Preparatory Academy

Historic Property Restoration

Work highlights

  • Acting as the primary external employment law advisor for Total Jobs Limited on a variety of complex employment law issues.
  • Advice on jurisdictional issues and a range of matters including dealing with disciplinary and performance related, as well as the management and successful negotiation of the exiting of senior executives and managers for L B Foster Rail Technologies
  • Dealing with a variety of employment law issues ranging from equality law to redundancies and re-organisations and also advice on disciplinary and performance related matters and TUPE for Perfect Image
  • Advising this firm of Nicholson & Morgan Solicitors in relation to specific employment law matters for its clients including the preparation and drafting of new documentation and advice on specific employment law related disputes.
  • Advising All Saints Development (North East) in respect of specific issues arising in relation to TUPE and how to manage and mitigate the risks of any issues arising as a result of separate TUPE transfers.

Short Richardson & Forth specialises in contentious work, acting primarily for claimants. On the defendant side the firm has experience representing SMEs and PLCs. Practice head Max Winthrop leads a team that includes discrimination and TUPE expert David Gibson.

Practice head(s):Max Winthrop

Other key lawyers:David Gibson

Acting for employers and employees, Swinburne Maddison¬†specialises in litigation, particularly in matters arising from the education sector. The ‚Äėoutstanding‚Äô Jonathan Moreland¬†leads the practice and is ‚Äėextremely knowledgeable and professional‚Äô. His team was boosted by the arrival of solicitor Sharney Randhawa, who joined in 2018 from Bindmans LLP¬†and has expertise in professional discipline.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Moreland

Other key lawyers:Sharney Randhawa


'A very personal and friendly company'

'The team shows knowledge and compassion, making all legal issues clear to in an easy to understand way'

'The service was efficient, professional and worth every penny'

Key Clients

Durham Cathedral

Ramside Estates

Durham City Rugby Football Club

The Enquire Learning Trust

The Esh Group

GT Cleaning Machines

Hargreaves Services

St Chad’s College, Durham University

St John’s College, Durham University

Richard & Julie Bennett

Clever Clogs Day Nurseries Limited

Derwentside Trust for Sport and the Arts

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented client in claims brought by a former employee relating to a ‘heat of the moment’ resignation.

Cartmell Shepherd handles contentious and non-contentious employment matters, notably handling data protection work and providing corporate support for M&A and transfers. Discrimination specialist Joanne Stronach is practice head and can call on the litigation expertise of director Mark Aspin. Also notable is Claire Davies, who has particular experience in corporate related work, advising on the employee aspects of acquisitions, disposals and company reorganisations.

Practice head(s):Joanne Stronach

Other key lawyers:Mark Aspin; Claire Davies

Endeavour Partnership LLP covers a broad range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters, notably tribunal claims for unfair or constructive dismissal and complex discrimination claims. The firm also has a particular specialism in business immigration law. Stephen Elliot leads the team and his expertise in the area includes data protection and pension issues.

Practice head(s):Stephen Elliott

Health and safety

Index of tables

  1. Health and safety
  2. Leading individuals

Specialising in preventative works and training, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is particularly active for diversified industrial manufacturing clients and construction clients. The practice increasingly provides proactive consultancy, assurance and governance, as well as notable expertise in compliance reviews. Kevin Elliott is the national head of the health and safety team, while Tim Hill leads in the north and is an expert in the high hazard energy area.

Practice head(s):Kevin Elliott; Tim Hill

Key Clients


CPM Group

Mitchells & Butlers plc




Leeds University

Marshalls plc



Kier / Turriff Contractors

Sir Robert McAlpine

Interserve plc

National Grid Electricity Transmission plc

Dairy Crest

Work highlights

  • We acted on behalf of DFDS in respect of a criminal investigation brought by the HSE following the death of a security guard who was employed by a third party company.
  • We acted on behalf of Turriff Contractors Limited following a serious gas explosion.
  • We acted on behalf of Frutarom, the world’s largest producer of food flavourings, in respect of two separate health and safety incidents.
  • Advising Forterra PLC in respect of a prosecution brought by the HSE.
  • Advised CPM in respect of a fatal accident when a maintenance fitter became trapped in a conveyor. Eversheds Sutherland took over the running of the case after previous advisors were dis-instructed.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has experience acting in high profile investigations and potential prosecutions, notably involving fire safety and building safety issues. In addition, the firm provides a range of contentious and non-contentious services, including strategic board level, enforcement and operational advice. Stuart Wardlaw leads the regulatory and environment team and has expertise in advising industrial, commercial and public sector clients on various aspects of environmental, health and safety and related regulatory law.

Practice head(s):Stuart Wardlaw

Key Clients

Vauxhall Motors (Groupe PSA)



Lotte Chemicals

Chemoxy International

Fine Organics


Banks Group

The Education and Skills Funding Agency

Augean plc


Index of tables

  1. Pensions
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has contentious and non-contentious expertise, with notable experience in the public and voluntary sector pensions field. The team advises trustees and sponsoring employers of UK pension schemes and is led by Martin Poore, who has a particular focus on corporate and scheme restructuring. His team includes Suzanne Duff, who works for a wide range of companies and pension scheme trustees, specialising in regulatory matters. Her non-contentious work is primarily based on advising employers on restructuring their organisations, liability management and winding up pension schemes.

Practice head(s):Martin Poore

Other key lawyers:Suzanne Duff


'The team is easy to deal with, has the necessary range of experience and skills and is accessible'

'Very professional and very reactive. Always available'

'Suzanne Duff has created an excellent team who work together seamlessly to provide a superb service'

'The firm has depth of knowledge, pensions, housing sector and market trends awareness'

'The team is excellent and effectively advises on complex issues in a straightforward way'

'Suzanne Duff stands out in the quality of her advice, her commitment to find an innovative solution and her loyalty to and mentoring of her team'

'Tracy Walsh and Naomi Jacques provide a first-class advisory service, cutting through complexity and working well both with my in-house team, Board and other advisers, particularly actuaries'

Key Clients

Procter & Gamble


Go-Ahead Group plc

Taylor Wimpey plc

Bellway plc

Newcastle Building Society

Northern Powergrid plc

Sabic UK Petrochemicals Limited

Research Machines plc Pension Scheme

2020 Trustees

Work highlights

  • Advising Procter & Gamble (P&G) on the pension implications of P&G's decision to acquire Merck KgAA's consumer health division.
  • Advised the trustee of the Go-Ahead Group Pension Plan in relation to a proposal that future increases to pensions should be based on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), rather than the Retail Prices Index (RPI).
  • A combined flexible retirement offer and enhanced transfer value exercise, as well as the buy-in of all Scheme benefits with an insurer on a risk basis, for the trustees of the 600 Group Pension Scheme.
  • Advises Northern Powergrid on its section of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme (ESPS) and its own occupational money purchase scheme.
  • Advised NEPIA (a leading marine mutual liability insurer) on the pensions-related issues it faced when restructuring its group of insurance companies in preparation for Brexit.

The pensions team at Irwin Mitchell is best known for its legal advisory service for trustees and sponsoring employers of occupational pension schemes. The firm also has expertise in documentation and scheme governance. Martin Jenkins leads the national practice from London, while senior associate Kate Byers is head of pension documents in Newcastle and specialises in drafting pension scheme documentation and providing technical support.

Practice head(s):Martin Jenkins; Kate Byers


'The firm takes a practical and pragmatic approach'

'Reasonably competitive on price and build good client relationships'

'The team is very approachable and works with clients to identify a realistic solution'

'They are personable, knowledgable and build strong relationships with their clients'

Key Clients

PAN Trustees Limited

Trusteeship : Fishing Co-operative (UK) Ltd Retirement & Death Benefits Scheme

Work highlights

  • Established life assurance only scheme for all UK staff of a European manufacturer of medium-size and large crawler excavators and working gear excavator.
  • Advising the trustees of a care home provider’s pension arrangement in relation to the scheme’s merger with a pension arrangement sponsored by a national health care association.
  • Provision of training and scheme governance advice to trustee board of the UK branch of a multinational food manufacturer to ensure compliance with the Pension Regulator’s twenty-first century trusteeship guidance.
  • Provision of step-by-step legal support for the trustees of a north east housing association’s pension scheme to ensure full compliance with GDPR.
  • Provision of legal advice to the trustees of a defined benefit pension plan sponsored by the UK company of an American chemical and fibre processor following the Lloyds GMP equalisation case taking into account both the immediate and longer term implications for the scheme.

Boutique pensions law practice Neon Legal¬†is ‚Äėsmall, flexible and cost effective‚Äô, with a particular expertise in advising SMEs and smaller schemes. The ‚Äėknowledgable and down-to-earth‚Äô Tushar Bhate¬†leads the team and is known for his ability to handle complex matters.

Practice head(s):Tushar Bhate


'The small, compact practice allows for decisions to be made quickly and advice provided in a timely manner'

'A boutique offering in the pensions market and as such it is very competitive on price'

'Advice is given in a pragmatic way and in particular the senior partner has also the benefit of experience with top law firms'

Key Clients

Trustee of the Barratt Group Pension & Life Assurance Scheme

Plumbing Employers Action Group (PEAG)

Hays Travel Limited

MHM Pension Trustee Services

John N Dunn

Kingswood Trustees

National Federation of Retail Newsagents

Sir John Fitzgerald Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising the Plumbing Employers Action Group, an action group composed of small, medium and large employers, in respect of the Plumbing and Mechanical Services (UK) Industry Pension Scheme as regards trustee decisions and the action (or lack of) by the Pensions Regulator in respect of s75 debts which have not been collected by the trustee.
  • Advises the trustee of the Barratt Group Pension & Life Assurance Scheme on a number of various issues.
  • Advising John N Dunn on a number of its DB and DC pension arrangements.
  • Drafting a consolidated trust deed and rules for the trustees of the Andrews Sykes Group Pension Scheme.

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Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Court of Justice rules on source of income for Derivative Residence applications

    On 2 October 2019, the Court of Justice delivered its judgment in Bajratari v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Directive 2004/38/EC) Case C-93/18 which concerns Chen applications and the source of funds for self-sufficiency. 
  • End of the ‚Äėcentre of life test‚Äô in Surinder Singh cases?

    In the recent case of¬† ZA (Reg 9. EEA Regs; abuse of rights) Afghanistan ¬† [2019] UKUT 281 (IAC ), the Upper Tribunal found that there is no basis in EU law for the centre of life test, as set out in Regulation 9(3)(a) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 (the ‚ÄúRegulations‚ÄĚ). It further found that it is not to be applied when Judges assess ¬†Surinder Singh ¬†cases that appear before them.
  • Terms of employment as a sole representative

    In this article we examine the working arrangements of sole representatives, looking at the terms and conditions of employment that the Home Office will expect a sole representative to have in order to qualify as a representative of an overseas business.  
  • Can Sole Representatives Be Shareholders?

    The Immigration Rules require that an applicant for a¬† sole representative visa ¬†is not ‚Äúa¬† majority shareholder in the overseas business‚ÄĚ.
  • Immigration Skills Charge - A Guide for Employers

    As a Sponsor, you may be required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) each time you sponsor a migrant in the  Tier 2 General  or  Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Long-term Staff  subcategory.
  • 5 FAQS about paragraph 320(11)

    In applications for entry clearance where the applicant has a negative immigration history in the UK, the application may be refused under the general grounds for refusal, which are found in part 9 of the Immigration Rules. Where an applicant has ¬†‚Äėpreviously contrived in a significant way to frustrate the intentions of the Immigration Rules‚Äô,¬† the application could be refused under paragraph 320(11). In this post we look at five frequently asked questions about paragraph 320(11).¬†
  • Multiple nationality and multiple citizenship (including dual nationality and dual citizenship)

    British nationality law permits multiple nationality and multiple citizenship, including dual nationality and dual citizenship.
  • Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the Exceptional Talent or Promise Category

    The  Exceptional Talent  and Exceptional Promise categories are for individuals who are recognised leaders or emerging leaders in their field of expertise. There are a number of endorsing bodies for lots of different fields of work, including  artists and musicians ,  architects ,  digital experts ,  scientists  and  academics . While there isn’t an endorsing body for every expert, the growing list means that many individuals could enjoy the flexibility that this category has to offer. 

    Syedur Rahmanconsiders the factors that determine when civil proceedings can go ahead before,or at the same time as, criminal proceedings relating to the same circumstances.
  • Rights of appeal after the Immigration Act 2014

    The Immigration Act 2014 (‚Äúthe 2014 Act‚ÄĚ) reduced the circumstances in which the refusal of an immigration application will give rise to a right of appeal.¬†The¬† explanatory notes ¬†to the 2014 Act state that the Act was intended to restructure rights of appeal to the Immigration Tribunal. Previously, a right of appeal to the Immigration Tribunal existed against any of the 14 different immigration decisions listed in s.82 of the¬† Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 ¬†(‚Äúthe 2002 Act‚ÄĚ). As explained below, whether or not the refusal of an immigration application currently generates a right of appeal depends on the subject matter of the application rather than its categorisation.

Press Releases in the UK

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