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



Index of tables

  1. Health and safety
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Bond Dickinson LLP is ‘one of the leading firms in the country in health and safety work’. It delivers strategic board-level advice, such as project planning and the identification of risks, but also assists clients with corporate governance issues, supply chain management risks and standardisation procedures. The team also assists clients with compliance issues and enforcement advice, among other things handling investigations and prosecutions brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and other enforcement bodies. Practice head Jon Cooper is ‘a leading solicitor in the country’ and ‘a very persuasive negotiator’, and managing associate Stephen Panton has ‘huge experience in all types of regulatory work’. Under Cooper’s lead, the team is advising the HSE on the ongoing investigation and potential prosecutions arising from the explosions at Pembroke Oil Refinery in 2011. Other highlights include advising Babcock Integrated Technology on a number of issues in relation to the death of a contractor’s employee at the client’s premises, including handling the internal investigation, advising on potential offences of corporate manslaughter by the police, and assisting with the investigation of health and safety offences by the HSE, establishing that any breach on the part of the client was not causative to the fatality. General Motors and Northern Powergrid are other clients.

Burges Salmon LLP’s team of ‘true specialists’ provides advice of ‘the highest standard’ and delivers a ‘truly excellent service’. It demonstrates particular strength in advising clients from the transport and construction sectors, but also has experience in supporting clients from the chemical, food and farming, advanced engineering, manufacturing and renewables industries. Ann Metherall heads the ‘top class’ practice and has ‘massive experience of the rail industry’. She successfully defended a food manufacturer in a HSE investigation arising from an accident involving a vulnerable adult visitor to the client’s manufacturing site. The team is also advising a train operating company on a complex prosecution brought by the Office of Rail and Road, including advice on the relation between a dutyholder and its contractor concerning health and safety issues. Another highlight was supporting a trade association with the drafting of guidance for key stakeholders on race day risk assessments, which involved knowledge of the regulations and guidance produced by the sport’s governing bodies as well as of relevant health and safety legislation. The practice also advised the managing director of a large company on the scope of the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch and the Maritime Coastal Agency investigatory process in relation to a fatality during a fire on a vessel. Chris Jackson specialises in the full range of safety compliance. Senior associate Matt Kyle’s ‘previous experience in the police is invaluable’.

DAC Beachcroft LLP is ‘regarded as being in the top tier of insurance-backed defence work’. It provides an ‘exceptional’ level of service and has ‘in-depth knowledge’ of the health and safety sector. Areas of expertise range from advising on product and environmental risk to high-profile fatal health and safety cases. The team focusses on work in the construction, manufacturing, retail and healthcare sectors and has in-depth knowledge of undertaking work for major insurance companies, regularly acting for large national and international businesses. Richard Ottley heads the team, supported by deputy head and associate Ian Manners. Consultant Neil Scott has experience in a wide range of regulatory proceedings, particularly health and safety prosecutions. Manners defended a company in a prosecution relating to a fatality caused by a fall from height at warehouse premises, representing the client at the inquest. Other highlights include acting for the managing director of a haulage company who had been charged with four counts of manslaughter and advising Keepmoat on incident investigations, enforcement matters and providing employee health and safety advice and training.

Lester Aldridge LLP’s ‘highly professional and expert’ lawyers undertake both prosecution and defence work, acting for the HSE, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and local authorities such as Torbay Council, also advising commercial clients, in particular from the marine, construction and care sectors. The practice is noted for having ‘a wealth of experience’ and being ‘on top of its game’. Practice head and ‘seasoned proMichael Veal is ‘highly experienced and extremely knowledgeable’ with ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of both the law and procedure that will apply to it’ while being ‘practical and realistic in his approach to cases’. He ‘invariably demonstrates excellent judgement’. The team is extremely experienced in conducting prosecutions for the HSE, such as the prosecution of the St James Group and two others in relation to the collapse of a platform during construction of a tower block in Putney causing one fatality and two serious injuries. It also prosecuted the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust in relation to the death of a patient after falling from a hospital trolley. Other work for the HSE includes prosecuting the St Austell Education Trust following an injury of a student in a science lesson and prosecuting Babcock DSG following the serious injury of a worker.

Osborne Clarke advises on high-profile national HSE and police investigations, acting mostly for clients in high-risk sectors, such as transport, energy and utilities, construction and infrastructure. The deep team is adept at providing advisory and litigation services, from liaising with the police and HSE to contractual management issues and reviews of policies and procedures, including large compliance reviews involving jurisdictions from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It excels at risk management, including early board briefing, PR and HR management, and increasingly undertakes work in the mental health sector. Another area of expertise is advising global businesses on the health and safety aspects of their UK operations, coordinating health and safety advice across jurisdictions, and giving strategic advice at senior and board level. Practice head Mary Lawrence is highly regarded among peers and was promoted to partner. She has experience in advising on niche health and safety issues, such as guidance on high security environments with potential hostage situations and political instability. Senior associate Jo Forbes joined from DAC Beachcroft LLP and Katie Vickery joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

TLT advises corporate clients, directors and individuals on a broad range of health and safety issues, with particular expertise in handling complex multi-jurisdictional prosecutions. The ‘outstanding’ team advises clients on the improvement of their policies, including advice in relation to driving at work and on noise abatement. Asbestos-related health and safety issues, such as handling contribution claims for asbestos exposure and asbestos management, are particular areas of strength, as are product safety matters, including health and safety regulations around advertisement promotions and the classification of products as medicinal products. The practice regularly undertakes work for national pub companies. Practice head Kerry Gwyther, who provides ‘good tactical advice’, has experience in handling investigations and prosecutions from a variety of regulatory bodies, including the HSE, the Environment Agency, the Office of Fair Trading, the Department of Trade and Industry, Trading Standards and the Food Standards Agency. Clients come from a broad range of sectors, including environmental remediation, charities, waste management, energy and transport. The practice’s client list includes Glastonbury Festivals, Punch Taverns and Merlin Entertainments Group.

Ashfords LLP specialises in defending large corporations and smaller businesses from a broad range of industry sectors, notably construction, manufacturing, food and agriculture, waste, education and sport. The ‘excellent’ team is ‘thorough and professional at all times’, delivering ‘excellent advice’. A key area of expertise is advising clients on the health and safety issues surrounding corporate and property transactions, also regularly acting on the health and safety aspects of fatalities in the workplace, especially allegations of corporate manslaughter. Practice head Richard Voke is ‘outstanding both in the depth of his knowledge and in his pragmatic and tactical approach’, providing ‘superb service’. He is also a director at Safety in Design, an organisation set up by the HSE and construction industry organisations with the aim of providing guidance to design professionals in relation to health and safety issues.

A ‘major player’ in the South West, Browne Jacobson LLP advises on a broad range of health and safety issues, advising both clients from the public sector, in particular local authorities, and private sector clients. It is adept at handling fatal and non-fatal investigations by all government enforcement agencies, the police, and the fire authorities. The practice’s expertise ranges from assisting with internal investigations to liaising with the HSE and providing training to senior level executives. Nottingham-based Andrew Hopkin heads the team, which also includes Dale Collins, who specialises among other things in serious pollution incidents and care home investigations undertaken by Ofsted, as well as ‘master tactician’ and ‘very experienced solicitorNigel Lyons. Highlights included advising a private client on a long-running prosecution for a number of offences in relation to the management and care of residents in a care home and acting for a client convicted in a prosecution for a health and safety breach involving the death by electrocution of an appointed contractor at a construction site. Gallagher Bassett, AIG, and Chaucer Insurance are clients.

Foot Anstey provides the full range of health and safety advice to public and private clients, delivering strategic and operational guidance on risk management, but also assisting clients with investigations and enforcement actions. It offers in-depth knowledge of prosecutions by the HSE and is adept at liaising with other regulatory bodies in case of health and safety breaches. Sector strengths include healthcare and charities, advising on serious incidents including fatalities and acting in inquests. Key work also includes advising on sports grounds, stadia and events safety issues. Nathan Peacey heads the team, which also includes Chris Pritchett who led in advising Bristol Sport on a dispute with its stewarding support partner, making sure the client’s stewarding practices met the Green Guide standards as enforced by the Safety Advisory Group. Other highlights included assisting Ashton Gate with the review of a draft special police services agreement for the provision of police at football matches at Ashton Gate, subsequently negotiating with the police on police liability and operational control on match days, and being appointed to BMW’s advisor list for health and safety. Senior associate Liz Perry joined from Bond Dickinson LLP. The Royal Shakespeare Company and Livewell Southwest are other clients.

Michelmores LLP is particularly experienced in handling cases involving workplace fatalities, providing initial crisis management and representing clients in prosecutions. It can also apply this expertise to cases involving serious injuries. The team handles reviews of policies and procedures, offers trainings to employees of large corporations and advises trustees, working closely with the firm’s employment and private client teams. Senior partner Andrew Oldland QC QC heads the practice and has considerable experience in prosecuting for the HSE.

The ‘very goodNash & Co advises private and public-sector clients on a broad range of issues, from assisting with formal investigations by the HSE to investigations by the police, environmental agencies and local authorities. It has experience in undertaking defendant work for clients from the construction sector in formal prosecutions brought by the HSE. Judicial review proceedings in health and safety matters are another area of strength, as is advising on Tree Preservation Prosecution orders, asbestos-regulations-related prosecutions, and food safety regulations. The practice delivers ‘very good and comprehensive level of service’. Practice head Ian Veater, who is ‘extremely good with clients’, specialises in contentious and non-contentious health and safety work. Consultant solicitor Guy Walker has ‘very good technical knowledge in the field and good communication skills’.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) advises on a broad spectrum of health and safety issues and is particularly experienced in assisting clients with incident management services. It handles issues relating to regulatory action by the HSE, local authorities, the Independent Schools Inspectorate, Ofsted, and the Charity Commission, also advising on related PR, insurance, and liability matters. The practice is adept at handling sports-related health and safety issues, including first aid and medical arrangements, and has strong expertise in delivering strategic as well as operational advice, conducting investigations, acting in highly sensitive matters such as abuse allegations, and representing clients in enforcement actions. Practice head Tabitha Cave further specialises in advising clients on due diligence matters. Advising on asbestos-related health and safety issues, in particular on internal investigations and RIDDOR procedure issues, are other areas of strength. The practice’s client base consists largely of clients from the education sector and includes independent schools, universities, academies, FE colleges, and schools for children with special needs. The team’s recent highlights include advising a number of schools on health and safety due diligence issues in relation to the acquisition and merger of schools, particularly with regard to asbestos, legionella, and fire safety compliance.

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