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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 > Scotland > Human resources > Health and safety > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Health and safety
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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BTO Solicitors LLP’s ‘effective’ team ‘consistently raises the bar to stay ahead of the other Health and Safety specialists’. The team is jointly led by Clare Bone  and Vikki Watt, who are rated as ‘practical, experienced and exceptional lawyers’. Watt acted for a former director of the Jim Clark Rally in the first joint fatal accident inquiry in Scotland, in a case concerning numerous spectator deaths at two separate rally events, resulting in a favourable determination for the client. Bone represented Tarff Valley following the death of a customer, who fell from height at one of its stores, which resulted in only a technical charge for the client and a trial acquittal for the store manager involved.

Burness Paull LLP is a ‘leader in the health and safety field in Scotland, across all industry sectors’ but particularly in offshore and oil and gas cases where its ‘breadth and depth of experience is unparalleled’. The practice is led by the ‘unmatched’ Rona Jamieson, who ‘leads an exceptionally strong team in Aberdeen’. Jamieson represented Stuartfield Wind Power, which was served with a noise abatement notice under the Environmental Protection Act, advising the client on investigations and potential mitigation measures. A director in the team, Lynne Gray handles regulatory compliance issues for a range of clients and represented the City of Edinburgh Council following the death of a 12 year old girl in a modesty wall collapse, which led to an HSE investigation which concluded that the client would not be prosecuted.

Clyde and Co LLP  is ‘a strong litigation firm with the breadth and depth to handle health and safety prosecutions and any corresponding civil action’. It is ‘a favourite with insurers and insured companies for its pragmatic approach and client focus’. Mark Donaldson, who is noted for ‘strong core knowledge, diligence, decisiveness and time sensitivity’, leads the team, which includes the ‘excellent all-rounder’, Ann Bonomy. The group advised Sparks Mechanical Services on a complex HSE investigation, following a crane collapse, which resulted in an employee suffering catastrophic spinal injuries; a case that led to a significantly reduced settlement despite the client having a previous conviction. It also represented Contract Electrical Services in an HSE investigation into serious injuries sustained by an employee after a fall from height, leading to a settlement without prosecution.

Pinsent Masons LLP has a team of ‘excellent all-rounders’ and ‘a very well-deserved reputation in Aberdeen’ for its oil and gas, shipping construction and energy sector related health and safety work. The practice is led by the ‘thorough and pragmatic’ Laura Cameron, whose highlights included advising joint venture company, Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, in relation to a fatal accident that occurred in 2016 – leading to the issuance of a determination with no criticism for the client. ‘An experienced and clever lawyer, recognised as a specialist in oil and gas cases’, Bruce Craig is acting for Transocean in an internal and marine accident investigation into the grounding of its oil rig in 2016. Tom Stocker represented the City of Edinburgh Council in an HSE investigation into grounds maintenance employees who developed hand-arm vibration syndrome, leading to a substantially reduce penalty in comparison to a similar instance. Senior associate, Katherine Metcalf, is also recommended for possessing ‘a second to none knowledge of legislation’.

The ‘amazingBLM predominantly acts for major insurers (such as Aviva, Allianz and QBE), but also handles complex regulatory investigations directly for corporate insured clients, including Glasgow City Council. The ‘particularly strongJames Varney leads the team, and is noted for ‘a particularly strong approach’ and ‘clear and pragmatic advice, tailored appropriately to the audience’. Associate Victoria Anderson has expertise in criminal health and safety and fatal accident inquiries and has handled several High Court prosecutions. Associate Zoe McDonnell experience in both prosecutions and defence work. Highlights included assisting a national corporate with an internal investigation and a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into an employee’s fall from height, which is likely to result in a high profile prosecution of the company.

Brodies LLP’s ‘excellent’ team has ‘a clear understanding of the commercial backdrop to which business operates in’, advising insured corporates and insurance companies. Practice head, Elena Fry, is ‘an excellent lawyer who you would want on your side in times of crisis’, and represented a European hotel operator in meetings with the regulator and advised the client on potential enforcement proceedings, following separate food and chemical safety incidents, both resulting in formal cautions rather than prosecution. The ‘vastly experienced and methodical’ Duncan McLean advised Transocean on potential liabilities arising from a rig which ran aground after a storm in 2016. Laura McMillan represented Liberty Mutual and the Jim Clark Memorial Motor Club in connection with a fatal accident inquiry into separate incidents at a rally that led to several injuries and fatalities – finding the organisers not directly liable and determining the rally could run again.

Anderson Strathern  has ‘a well-deserved reputation’ for advising a wide mixture of insured corporates and public sector clients on health and safety matters. The practice head, Jonathan Guy is a recognised thought leader in the industry and is an external legal adviser to the HSE in Scotland. Senior associate Dominic Scullion’s ‘experience in complex high court litigation’ is offset by ‘good knowledge of the law and well-developed analytical skills’. The ‘conscientious’ senior associate, Sarah Phillips, handles health and safety matters for the Scottish Prison Service, and successfully defended numerous damages actions involving prisoner-on-prisoner assault, workplace accidents and excessive use of control and restraint techniques, in addition to death in custody cases. Other clients include INEOS, Scottish Water, Scotmid and the Highland Council.

CMS’ ‘exceptional’ team is led by the ‘extremely knowledgeable and able’ Jan Burgess, who works closely with the ‘direct and hard-working’ senior associate, Rosalind Morgan. The firm advises an impressive client roster includes a number of global corporates on regulatory compliance, prosecutions, investigations and corporate governance. It focuses on the offshore and energy sector in Scotland and has substantial experience in cases pertaining to offshore fatalities and gas releases in the North Sea. The group also has experience in handling health and safety matters in the construction, communications, leisure, manufacturing and transport industries.

Dentons’ team possesses ‘first class industry knowledge and great attention to detail’. Malcolm Gunnyeon leads the practice and, alongside senior associate James McMillan, is noted as ‘very sharp’. The group’s main areas of expertise are the food and drink, oil and gas and rail transportation sectors, and the firm has a mixture of high-profile public and private industry clients. Recent highlights included representing the Educational Institute of Scotland in police and HSE investigations and a subsequent fatal accident inquiry, into the collapse of a changing room wall at an Edinburgh school, which killed a student – leading to no adverse comment in relation to any of the teachers involved. It also provided detailed and wide-ranging advice to Menzies Distribution on its health and safety obligations pertaining to contract workers it engages to supplement its existing team.

Morton Fraser’s practice is led by Jenny Dickson, and primarily advises the HSE on a variety of matters, including notice appeals and fatal accident inquiries. Its representations for the HSE included a fatal accident inquiry into the high-profile death of a child killed by the collapse of a wall at an Edinburgh School and an appeal lodged by Lidl against a notice to disallow a planned store extension – which was ultimately abandoned by the opposing party. David Hossack represented O’Brien Properties in a criminal prosecution following a serious accident, leading to a negotiated settlement with the prosecutor and a substantially diminished fine.

The ‘driving-force’ behind DAC Beachcroft Scotland LLP’s team is Colin Bissett, who has ‘assembled a good team around him’, which includes associate, Karen Railton. The group is noted for its case preparation skills, which is ‘backed up by in-house resources and skills that can be called upon, as and when required’. Highlights included representing Highland Car Club, the permit holder and operator of the Snowman Rally, at a fatal accident inquiry into the death of a spectator – leading to no adverse findings for the client. It also successfully defended Norbord Europe against a Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) prosecution into a leaking fuel pipe; a case in which the client was found not guilty and the offence was treated as a strict liability.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP handles contentious and regulatory compliance health and safety work for a mixture of major insured public and private sector clients. Practice head, Alastair Drummond, is advising Airbus Helicopters on a number of matters, including disclosures and attendant civil claims in preparation for a fatal accident inquiry into the high-profile Clutha police helicopter crash in 2013. The group is also advising and representing Sodexo and its insurers, SLS, in connection with fatal accident inquiries arising from its operation of HMP Addiewell, which has so far led to no further actions raised against the client. Senior associate Jennifer Talbot is recommended for vast expertise in health and safety, environmental and regulatory compliance matters; and experience that spans judicial reviews, fatal accident inquiries, criminal prosecutions and reparation actions.

At Weightmans LLP, Seonaid Busby, who specialises in insurance litigation and regulatory proceedings, acts for clients in defence of regulatory prosecutions, and has extensive experience in fatal accident inquiries. The group has significant insurer panel appointments and a number of corporate insured corporate clients. The group represented AIG and John Power, a lorry driver who had lost control of his vehicle after a medical event, in a fatal accident inquiry with parallels to the Glasgow Bin Lorry case – leading to a determination that was critical both the client and his doctor.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Health and safety

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    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.
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