Health and safety in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has extensive cross-industry experience in serious health and safety matters, including disasters and multiple fatalities. The firm, which acts for both corporate clients and individuals, has former HSE consultants and safety consultants in its team and is instructed in cases nationwide. Partner Matthew Gowen, who is a qualified barrister, leads the regulatory and corporate defence practice from Ipswich, though he works across the firm's entire office network. Norwich-based legal director Julie Gowland is another key figure in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:

Julie Gowland


‘What makes this practice unique in my experience is the sheer experience and knowledge in-house. The partner leading the case for my company represented us exceptionally well, with a thorough understanding of the case and the law.’

‘The team is very strong. Matthew Gowen is exceptionally knowledgeable and has provided excellent legal advice, support when needed, and helped us through difficult times.’

Greenwoods Legal

Greenwoods GRM frequently advises high-profile clients across the UK on matters as diverse as compliance, fire safety and the defence of corporate criminal prosecutions. Head of the firm's regulatory practice Kathryn Gilbertson, who is primarily based in the Peterborough office, has a stellar national reputation for business defence. The firm is known best for its work in the hospitality, SME and constructions sectors, where it handles a broad scope of domestic and cross-border matters, and Gilbertson is also highly regarded for her work in food safety cases.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Gilbertson

Work highlights

  • Advised on an application by property guardians to obtain an order requiring the former managing director of a company in liquidation to pay £40,000 for failure to obtain an HMO licence.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP handles health and safety cases as part of the broad remit of its regulatory, public and commercial disputes practice, which frequently acts for clients in the construction, waste management, agriculture, education and charity sectors. Cambridge-based practice head Duncan Astill specialises in regulatory enforcement actions, investigation and public law disputes. Clients describe him as 'outstanding, offering clear advice'. Principal associate Amanda Narkiewicz handles regulatory and healthcare matters, including the defence of health and safety prosecutions, and managing investigations by the police and regulators.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Astill

Other key lawyers:

Amanda Narkiewicz


‘The work, delivered in a timely manner, was exceptional.’

‘Duncan Astill was outstanding. His in-depth investigation of an accident led him to offer clear advice in how to proceed in an arena that was unfamiliar to us. He took time to explain what was necessary and why. He was happy to consider our comments as he drafted documents which we subsequently polished with him.’

Key clients

American International Group UK Limited

Gotelee Solicitors

At Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich, criminal defence is a core practice and it receives a high volume of health and safety cases through referrals, often taking on cases previously handled by legal aid practices. Veteran litigator and practice head Hugh Rowland has a well-established reputation in the defence of health and safety matters, as well as regulatory, trading standards and licensing cases. Howard Catherall is a leading adviser to the logistics industry on criminal investigations and regulatory offences.

Practice head(s):

Hugh Rowland

Other key lawyers:

Howard Catherall

Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival LLP has 'commercially astute, diligent lawyers providing an unrivalled service', according to one client. The firm frequently acts for clients in the construction, manufacturing, healthcare and education sectors, and has particular expertise in cases arising from minerals and extractive industries. Practice head Alan Millband, who works from both the Norwich and Leicester offices, has a national reputation as a health and safety lawyer and acts for clients across the UK. Legal director Robert Starr, who splits his time between Cambridge and Northampton, is 'a standout lawyer, commercially astute, sensitive to clients and passionate about his work'.

Practice head(s):

Alan Millband

Other key lawyers:

Robert Starr


‘I have no hesitation to refer work to Rob Starr. He is a standout lawyer, commercially astute, sensitive to clients and passionate about his work. A true delight to work with.’

‘Extremely easy to work with – they provide support and guidance on the wider topic so that you are then able to make a balanced decision on the best way to deal with any situation..’

‘Alan Millband is superb and always give s us support on topics that are current – or about to become so. He provides insights into trends within the industry and actions being followed by enforcement officers so that we ensure that our clients are aware of such issues and we can inform them so that they have awareness of issues faced by others that we can then educate on how best to prevent them facing the same events.

‘As a company we have now worked with Howes Percival for a number of years. The service provided is unrivalled with a range of services provided from telephone support through to representation of clients in court and guest speaking at safety seminars.’

‘The team led by Alan Millband is always on hand to advise and support as required and go above and beyond expectation on every occasion.’

‘I found the team to be extremely professional in its approach and they provided me with high quality and easy to understand advice. I appreciated the way the advice was framed with a menu of options and recommendations that I could take to my executive board and talk through. I also appreciated how they met with the executive board and explained their recommended course of action and how the legal process would work.’

‘Robert Starr is the most competent and knowledgeable regulatory solicitor that I have dealt with. Robert has provided advice on a number of cases from lower level coroners to a serious Crown Court case, his case management is fantastic as is his knowledge. He became a trusted and valued part of our regulatory process.’

‘This is a small but focused team – Robert Starr is a particular talent. He has a strong white-collar crime background and a great relationship with clients.’

Key clients

Citation Limited

AHR Employment and Safety Services Ltd

M&J Engineers Limited

Hamilton Deed

Anchor Hanover Group

Anchor Carehomes Limited

Rotherham United Football Club

Poundstretcher Limited

Logistex Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented the former managing director of a steel fabrications company in health and safety investigation.