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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 > South East > Human resources > Health and safety > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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Shoosmiths LLP has ‘star quality from partner level all the way down to the associates’, and the team ‘genuinely understands health and safety law and its application’, providing ‘a seamless legal service designed specifically to meet the needs of the client’. The firm’s broad sector expertise covers the petrochemical, retail automotive and healthcare sectors, among others, and the group handled a number of significant corporate manslaughter cases over the last year. The practice saw a number of partner arrivals in 2016, including the ‘highly knowledgeableCharles Arrand, who is, according to clients, ‘one of the best solicitors working in health and safety – he is an unflappable adviser who gives great attention to every single one of his cases’. Roy Tozer heads the nationwide practice, and Philip Ryan is a key figure in Reading; Ryan is ‘a first-class litigator with excellent judgement’, who ‘is able to drill down the details of a case and expose prosecution weaknesses’. In a recent highlight, the group represented West Coast Railways following a near-collision of two trains, a matter with a potential value of up to £2m. Other key clients include Molson Coors, Ikea and Mercedes-Benz.

Top-drawer firmTaylor Haldane Barlex Solicitors LLP has ‘a strong specialist reputation for health and safety work’ and ‘a wide range of knowledge vested in a number of strong lawyers’. The firm provides advice and representation to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) across the South East, and provides ‘high quality’ advice on appeals, prosecutions and inquests. ‘Polished lawyer’ Matthew Taylor heads the practice and ‘is a force to be reckoned with, robustly prosecuting cases while also being sensitive to meritorious defence arguments’; Briony Clarke has ‘excellent instincts for the merits of a case’ and is ‘first choice for factually complicated matters’; and Abigail Bainbridge has ‘great experience and excellent judgement, setting realistic expectations and achieving them consistently’. Highlights included representing the HSE in an appeal against ConoccoPhillips following the prosecution of the oil and gas company two years previously. The firm also advised the HSE on its prosecution of Foodles Production, the UK arm of Disney, in relation to an injury sustained by Harrison Ford on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

BLM provides ‘an excellent regulatory service’ to clients in the public and private sectors, and has a strong background in criminal matters including corporate manslaughter and gross negligence. The practice is also strong in construction and complex engineering cases, and has substantial experience handling manufacturing incidents and vehicle accidents, where it advises on mitigating loss, minimising business disruption and protection of reputation. The firm counts a number of insurers, underwriters and corporate policyholders as key clients, providing local representation and advising on regulatory proceedings. David Tye-Reeve has particular expertise in motor, health and safety and regulatory offences, representing clients at both civil and criminal courts.

Blake Morgan LLP advises a wide range of businesses, from multi-site UK and European companies to small, owner-managed entities, along with a number of legal expenses insurers, on the full gamut of health and safety issues. The firm undertakes a significant amount of non-contentious work alongside its substantial workload of civil and criminal litigation, and also provides transactional support concerning future liability for occupational illnesses, such as asbestos-related diseases. Recent highlights include acting for a window installer company in a case regarding an injury sustained by a fitter as a result of a faulty risk assessment, where the HSE eventually decided not to prosecute. Claire Rawle leads the health, safety and environmental team, handling primarily contentious matters across the public and private sectors. John Mitchell is the other name to note.

Gardner Leader LLP provides ‘a very thorough, partner-led service, doggedly supporting clients in often difficult circumstances’. Key specialisms include risk management, compliance and health and safety litigation, and the team handles complex instructions concerning investigations and prosecutions by the HSE. Notable clients include Natures Way Foods and Race Interiors; the team is advising the latter on its health and safety policies following its prosecution and sentencing. The ‘thorough, pragmatic and practical’ Michelle Di Gioia, who heads the practice, is ‘a safe pair of hands who will fight to the nth degree for the best results’. Senior associate Julie Taylor advises a range of individuals and small to mid-sized businesses.

Brachers is noted for its expertise in the healthcare sector and retains a significant number of NHS trusts as longstanding clients, advising on the full range of health and safety matters including risk management, regulatory issues and contentious claims. Highlights included representing Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust in a prosecution following the death of a patient as a result of a fall, successfully achieving the significant mitigation of costs. Healthcare specialist John Sheath regularly represents respondents in cases concerning clinical negligence and corporate manslaughter, and also handles risk management, governance issues and inquests.

Cripps LLP is ‘an outstanding firm which delivers the highest standards of client care’ and its team provides ‘prompt and practical advice specifically geared towards the nature of the client’s business’. The group handles the full range of issues arising out of health and safety-related incidents, including police investigations, negotiations with the HSE and Traffic Commissioner hearings, and also has significant expertise in construction and transport-related incidents. Recent work included representing Horder Healthcare in an inquest that considered issues of causation and liability, among others. ‘Astute tactician’ Philip Youdan ‘swiftly grasps the practical concerns involved in each case’ and has ‘a prompt and friendly approach which inspires confidence’. Myles McIntosh has ‘a calm and pragmatic approach’.

Gullands Solicitors acts for a range of businesses and individuals on health and safety prosecutions, and also handles compliance issues, contracts, formal notices and the health and safety aspects of commercial transactions. Criminal practitioner John Roberts, who heads the department, advises on litigation and regulatory criminal offences, and Andrew Clarke is the other key figure. Highlights including representing a food business prosecuted by a local council under food hygiene legislation, and acting for a client during a HSE investigation following a fatal fall at a construction site.

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