Health and safety in North West
Addleshaw Goddard has considerable experience in all aspects of health and safety law, including fire safety, food safety and hygiene, and product safety. Under the 'exceptional leadership' of Erin Shoesmith, the team is currently instructed on two high-stakes public inquiries - Grenfell Tower and Manchester Arena Inquiry, acting for a corporate core participant in the former and various family members in the latter. The department comprises former prosecutors and defence lawyers, providing due diligence support, compliance advice, reviews, and training to clients.
‘I cannot speak highly enough of Erin Shoesmith. I have worked with her many times on high profile cases, including the Grenfell Inquiry. She runs her team brilliantly. They love to work for and with her and she sets the standard.’
‘Erin Shoesmith is one of the very best I have ever worked with. Nick Ashcroft, a new partner, is heading places.’
‘Erin Shoesmith is an outstanding solicitor. She is a leader in her field and supported by a good team.’
Erin Shoesmith is respected by her peers, counsel and other solicitors. She’s incredibly hard-working and provides excellent client care.’
‘The key to Addleshaw Goddard’s success is the exceptional leadership of Erin Shoesmith and the quality of the team she has built.’
‘Erin Shoesmith’s unique blend of client-focused and rigorous analysis rapidly identifies the real issues, and her personal leadership and commercial good sense identifies the solutions in a similar way.’
‘Broad coverage, good industry knowledge including employing ex-HSE personnel, good contacts in the industry, use technology well, well-considered practical advice.’
‘Erin Shoesmith is measured and very alive to the human element of the issues and able to create a full plan of attack that gives you confidence that all relevant issues have been considered and are being dealt with practically and sensitively.’
Centerplate UK Limited
Skanska Construction UK Limited and Morrison Utility Services Limited
Family members from the Manchester Arena Inquiry
Nazareth Care Charitable Trust
Barclays Bank PLC
Mamas and Papas
Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc
AAH Pharmaceuticals Limited
Eddie Stobart Limited
Manchester Metropolitan University
Sykes Cottages Holdings Limited
- Instructed on two of the largest public inquiries of our time, Grenfell Tower and Manchester Arena Inquiry, acting for a corporate core participant in the former and various family members in the latter inquiry.
- Represented a catering company in a fire safety prosecution brought by Rotherham Borough Council in relation to an evacuation of members of public on non-match day at Rotherham United’s Football stadium in 2015.
- Represented a registered charity in a health and safety prosecution arising out of a fatal incident in which an 87 year old resident fell down a set of stairs at their care home in May 2017.
BLM is particularly active on complex fatal accident investigations, gross negligence and corporate manslaughter cases, and high-profile inquests, in both the public and private space, with particular strength in the manufacturing, construction and care sectors. Practice head Helen Devery heads a 'cohesive' and 'committed' department which also includes a prison regulatory team, led by Michelle Flint and Lucy Ryder, who act on behalf of major providers of prison services across the UK on civil claims, allegations of negligence and misfeasance, assault, prison healthcare medical negligence, wrongful death, and deaths in custody. David Rainey and Nick Gianferrari are further names to note.
Other key lawyers:
‘Each and every member of the team is personable, professional, committed and always displays sensible judgement. They listen to advice, but do not simply accept it at face value – rather appropriately challenging for clarification if necessary. They deal with their lay clients particularly well and seek to manage expectations from an early stage.’
‘Nick Gianferrari is diligent, personable with excellent judgement. He does not shy away from the difficulties of a case, approaching them head-on.’
‘Excels at all aspects of health and safety in prisons.’
‘Michelle Flint knows prisons inside out and gets great results because of her industry knowledge.’
‘A cohesive team that always works in a very client-centric way, but never being worried about delivering bad news to a client, but doing it in a way that brings all people around the table together.’
‘Helen Devery is fantastic in bringing the team together and working with her team, but also working along with client and other partners.’
‘David Rainey is a safe pair of hands; knowledgeable and dynamic, he takes you through the process with ease.’
‘An excellent team and a real team ethos that is extremely helpful.’
‘David Rainey has superb judgement, prepares cases fully and is a pleasure to work with; his comments are spot on and inevitably lead to excellent results for the client. In fact, his work is so good it often leaves little for counsel to do other than present it. Nick Gianferrari is quite brilliant with clients, has a lovely manner and is fantastic at keeping channels of communication open.’
Redrow Homes Limited
Thames Valley Community Rehabilitation Company
- Representing PSP Aluminium (via Aspen Risk Management) in corporate manslaughter investigation by police/HSE following a window falling from the Corniche Building in London and killing a passer-by below.
- Advising Doncaster Knights Rugby Union Football Club following the death of a player on the training pitch.
- Advising Mersey Docs and Harbour Company Limited (via Zurich Insurance) in connection with HSE investigation into serious injuries sustained by a dockside worker.
Clyde & Co LLP acts for an impressive assortment of insurers and corporate clients, with particular expertise in fatalities, corporate manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter. Chris Morrison heads the team, which includes Rod Hunt, who is regularly instructed by clients in the energy, construction and manufacturing sectors. Previously a criminal defence lawyer, legal director Nathan Buckley is a go-to lawyer in the region who undertakes his own advocacy before the Magistrates' Courts and the Coroner's Courts. Legal director Mark Brookes’ practice is focused on fatality-related cases, while senior associates Alan Kells and Steven North are also highly regarded.
‘Strong commercial understanding and customer focus. They are able to adapt to very diverse corporate requirements.’
‘Chris Morrison quite simply “gets it”. I have utilized Chris in a reactive regulatory manner in the past where the service was exemplary. Latterly, Chris has worked with us in a proactive manner with training sessions for managers. Chris’ style and ability to connect with and bring the information home to non-legal people is exceptional.’
‘Technically strong but able to put across their advice in a straight-forward and easy to understand manner. Excellent feedback provided to instructing insurer from policyholders and brokers.’
‘Nathan Buckley is very approachable and easy to work with. Keeps all stakeholders updated and commands respect due to his excellent health and safety knowledge and amenable manner.’
‘The key strength with this team is that they quickly identify the key stakeholders, build excellent relationships and from there always act with the clients best interests at heart. They are not afraid of giving the right advice, even if that is not what a client wants to hear and then working with the client to achieve the best outcomes.’
‘The entire team have been trained well and are excellent at what they do. The team ethos is that of “client first”, and this always comes across. They are pro-active and transparent in all matters. The individuals that I work with are always available to assist.’
‘Clyde provides a dedicated team for HSE matters; we trust their integrity and the support and advice they provide to our policyholders is invaluable.’
‘Steven North has provided unlimited support to our policyholders, kept them fully informed of all court procedure and what to expect. This is an invaluable service.’
- Successfully defended Olympic Installations Ltd for a workplace fatality following the service of four separate enforcement notices by the HSE and prevented a prosecution.
- Provided a series of bespoke health and safety/legal compliance training sessions to more than 600 Airbus managers at sites near Chester and Bristol.
Acting for a broad range of both companies and employees, DWF's health and safety team is frequently involved in disaster cases resulting from major incidents, including corporate manslaughter, fatalities and very serious injuries. North West team head Vikki Woodfine works closely with transport and logistics clients on health and safety matters, while Steffan Groch is considered a true heavyweight in this space. Solicitor Amanda Lea is noted for her work with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea regarding the Grenfell Public Inquiry and the ongoing criminal investigation by the Metropolitan Police, while Joanne Witheford is another name to note.
‘They are real people who talk like humans, not lawyers!’
‘Communication skills and the ability to reassure the client that everything possible that can be done is being done. Early recognition of the key issues to adopt the best strategy possible at the earliest opportunity.’
‘Immediate response and thorough investigation of the incidents plus continued liaison with all parties involved at all times outlining the key issues and strategies providing confidence to all that they will achieve the best possible outcome.’
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA)
Tokio Marine Kiln Group Limited
DAS Legal Expenses Insurance
Chubb Insurance Company
Hiscox Underwriting Limited
Amlin UK Limited
- Advising the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on the Public Inquiry and Metropolitan Police criminal investigation arising from the Grenfell Tower fire.
- Advised a national retailer with a turnover in excess of £1.4 billion in the criminal investigation and proceedings following a workplace accident.
- Acting as crisis ‘first responder’ to a large transport and logistics company following workplace incidents.
At Keoghs LLP, the Bolton-based health and safety team is best known for being instructed on matters relating to corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, environmental offences, fire safety breaches, and care sector investigations. It regularly deals with prosecutions brought by the CPS, HSE, Fire Authorities, Environment Agency, Local Authorities, and the CQC against corporates and directors. In addition to contentious work, the department carries out risk reviews and audits to ensure clients abide by safety regulations. David Walton leads the department, which includes Neena Sharma, representing clients in a wide range of sectors.
Catholic Insurance Services
- Represents Philip Smith in ongoing CPS/HSE prosecution arising out of the Bosley Wood Mill explosion in July 2015, where four employees of Wood Treatment Limited were killed.
- Represented Sirap Uk Ltd in a prosecution by an employee who was injured from large dumpy bags falling and causing her to be seriously injured as she fell trying to avoid the bags.
- Instructed to represent Conservatory Outlet following a serious accident at their premises on 7 July 2016, when an employee of the company was driving a FLT and another who was assisting him at the time suffered severe injuries.
Pinsent Masons LLP
Headed by the 'outstanding' Kevin Bridges, the team at Pinsent Masons LLP acts for major clients in high hazard industries, including construction, manufacturing, transport, waste, and energy. Though the department is perhaps best known for its contentious work on fatal accident cases, non-contentious offerings such as routine health checks and stress tests to assess an organisation's policies and procedures also make up a significant component of the practice. Senior associate Zoe Betts specialises in the waste and recycling sector, while Emma Evans - who was promoted to senior associate in 2019 - is noted for handling manslaughter investigations, inquests and challenges to enforcement notices.
‘Pinsent Masons has an exceptionally strong health and safety and regulatory team.’
‘Kevin Bridges has a really good eye for strategy and is excellent at communicating with clients and letting them know what to expect.’
‘A particularly strong and decent sized team with deep experience in a wide variety of sectors, particularly construction.’
‘Kevin Bridges is an outstanding partner – leaving aside his outstanding legal capability, his strategic and practical judgement is top tier.’
‘Long established, cohesive, industry-leading team for health and safety and regulatory crime. First-class client care. Great attention to detail.’
‘Kevin Bridges leads the team and is fantastic. Great profile in the industry. Exceptionally well supported by others. He would be my “go-to” solicitor for health and safety and regulator cases.’
‘Kevin Bridges is an outstanding individual and supports our business in an exemplary manner at all levels.’
‘We have used Pinsent Masons for several years. As a practice, their reputation is impeccable hence why we have utilised their services.’
‘Emma Evans stands out for her expertise, intelligence and ability to respond timely to queries. Her customer service and relationship skills are first class. She has delivered training to colleagues with great feedback received.’
‘The team is very user friendly and super responsive. They are technical experts but provide their advice in a very simple to understand way.’
‘Kevin Bridges and Zoe Betts are excellent lawyers. When they are acting for you they feel like a member of the in house team, not external advisers. Zoe Betts is the most responsive, dedicated lawyer I’ve ever met.’
‘The technical knowledge has been excellent, and the team is very approachable, throughout all levels from the partner down, and they have listened to me and have shaped our response with regard to our specific circumstances. This is not my experience of others I have worked with.’
Kier Group plc
Morgan Sindall Group plc
Pennon Group plc (Viridor and South West Water)
Crest Nicholson Operations Limited
Notting Hill Genesis
Intu Properties plc
Seddon Construction Limited
Solicitor-advocate Rob Elvin leads the practice at Squire Patton Boggs, while also serving as managing partner of the international firm's Manchester base. The team has a strong national reputation for defending large corporate organisations and directors in high-stakes health and safety matters. Advising clients on regulatory compliance, real estate matters and audits of compliance management systems are other areas of strength. It also specialises in handling accident and internal investigation work across a wide range of sectors, including entertainment, energy, chemicals, construction, energy and sport. Gary Lewis is also noted for his expertise in this space.
‘Gary Lewis provides more than just “standard” legal support. He is genuinely concerned for his clients’ business and personal interests. He works closely with his clients and is always available at short notice to assist, even when this extends beyond his initial brief. He works with and provides clients access to high-quality advisers for the future interests of the client organisation.’
Ei Group Plc (formerly known as Enterprise Inns)
Suez Plc (and subsidiary)
National Grid Gas Plc
Bayer Crop Science
- Advising Mamas and Papas on a global child seat recall matter in relation to products that were found to be defective, including advice on the applicable safety laws, risk strategy and recall procedure and the recall itself.
- Representing Aeros Global Limited in relation to a fatal air crash involving a light aircraft. The matter was investigated by the air accident investigation bureau and was the subject of a duel inquest.
- Representing Minteq UK Limited in relation to a HSE investigation following a fatal accident in the workplace whereby the client’s health and safety manager was struck by a forklift truck sustaining fatal injuries.
Working closely with the firm’s other national offices, Weightmans LLP's health and safety offering in the North West handles a variety of matters, but is most active in fatal accidents, assisting clients with investigations and representing them at inquests. Its client base spans the public, commercial, charity, sports, and insurance sectors. Liverpool-based Dewi Ap-Thomas heads the practice, specialising in matters that arise in the sports and healthcare sectors. David Lewis, based out of Leeds, is a name to note on certain matters in the region.
Other key lawyers:
Premum Care Ltd
Contract Natural Gas Ltd.
Jaguar Land Rover
Wirral Borough Council
Eon UK plc
North West Ambulance Service
- Advised Manchester Universities Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on the listeria death cases in the North West.
- Served as lead legal advisers to North West Ambulance Services NHS Trust in the Manchester Arena Bombing Inquests/Inquiries.
- Advised on two fatal motor sports cases.
Compliance and accident investigations are among the strengths of the team at Brabners LLP, which is headed by the 'hard-working and clever' Lachlan Nisbet. The team is 'deeply experienced' in acting for clients in investigations conducted by the Health and Safety Executive, local authorities, and local fire and rescue authorities. Corporate manslaughter, coroners' inquests, asbestos issues, product safety, and the supply of safe machinery make up the bulk of the firm’s workload. Clients include individuals, SMEs and large companies from the ports and logistics, social housing, and manufacturing sectors.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is small but totally dedicated and focused. They have a real eye for detail and no stone is left unturned when it comes to a breaking a case down. Coupled with excellent legal brains they provide a first-class service for their clients. They are an excellent, in fact outstanding, unit.’
‘Lachlan Nisbett is totally on top of his game; a visionary, hard-working, clever lawyer with an eye for detail. The full package for a client. Also very personable and a delight to work with.’
‘Brabners are experts in dealing with a wide range of health and safety cases. They are deeply experienced in responding to HSE prosecutions, being sensitive to lay clients, insurer, and other parties’ needs. They have an excellent track record in instructing appropriate expert assistance and defending robustly where appropriate.’
‘Lachlan Nisbet has a longstanding and deep experience of Health and Safety cases. he has a tactical awareness dealing with all aspects of health and safety prosecutions. He has defended large-scale limited companies as well as sole traders and understands the needs of each lay client. He has long experience of working with instructed counsel to ensure the best outcome is achieved in all cases.’
‘Very experienced in defending regulatory prosecutions. Have acted for a number of prosecuting agencies and therefore have an inside track.’
‘Lachlan Nesbitt is very knowledgeable in his area. He understands the regulatory environment and how decisions are made. First-class understanding of the technical aspects of some highly complex legal areas.’
Peel Ports Group
- Advises Peel Ports Group on a monthly basis on how to manage health and safety responsibly. Sit on the QSSHE (Quality, Security, Safety, Health and Environment) Senior Management Health and Safety meetings.
Led by 'shrewd tactician' Philip Moy, the Liverpool-based team at Hill Dickinson LLP advises on the full gambit of health and safety matters, but is particularly active on investigations relating to corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, fire safety breaches, and environmental issues. The firm's key clients include corporations in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, construction, manufacturing, logistics, and energy sectors. Stephen Barnfield, promoted to legal director in 2019, is a name to note.
‘The team approaches matters in a coherent way, sharing information so that all team members are able to step in where necessary and make valuable contributions. Unlike other firms, they tend to be involved from investigation to conclusion which makes that inclusive joined-up approach especially helpful to lay client and counsel alike. They work excellently in a wide variety of sectors.’
‘Stephen Barnfield is that rare blend of exceptional intelligence, huge experience, switched on in terms of the law and tactics yet always down to earth and receptive to input from all others including clients. He is always available and never gives up a point let alone a case.’
Phil Moy is vastly experienced and a shrewd tactician with great ability to relate to clients.’
‘Aoife Ryan is thorough, with a background in local authority prosecutions – the classic poacher-turned-gamekeeper.’
Numerous NHS Trusts
Numerous approved inspectors/building inspectors
Association of Northern Scaffolding Contractors
- Successful defence for a roofing company of an individual gross negligence manslaughter and corporate manslaughter allegation arising from a fatal roof fall.
- Representing NHS Trusts facing investigation by CQC and HSE in respect of alleged safety and clinical failings – representation from outset, through interview and submissions to prosecution and sentence.
- Advice and representation leading to acquittal of a private sector building inspector accused of committing fire safety breaches endangering a large number of students who had to be evacuated.
Osborn Abas Hunt
Headed by vastly experienced health and safety specialist Madeleine Abas, Osborn Abas Hunt primarily handles inquests, defends at trial, and appeals enforcement notices, particularly for clients in the construction sector. The firm also provides advice to clients on compliance, designing bespoke programmes for increased compliance. Solicitor-advocate Atiyah Malik, another name to note, was made partner in January 2020 after joining the firm in 2019.
Other key lawyers:
‘One of the strength’s of this practice is their ability to fully understand our business, caring as much about our business and our success as we do, sharing our determination.’
‘Madeleine Abas has an abundance of drive and enthusiasm that is infectious in everything she does and is passionate in achieving the highest standards of health and safety for our organisation through a range of innovative solutions.’
‘We worked closely with the team to develop a training package that fitting our delegates, highlighting their responsibilities and legal requirements, after the first two deliveries we again worked together to take on board delegate feedback and adapt the material.’
‘Atiyah Malik has delivered five training sessions for us so far with very positive feedback from all learners. She has been incredibly engaging and accommodating throughout the entire process adapting to the audience, timescales and locations. I would highly recommend Atiyah and Osborn Abas Hunt.’
Bowmer & Kirkland Limited
Mick George Limited
Invacare UK Ltd
Vinci Construction Limited (and its civil engineering division Taylor Woodrow)
- Represented Bowmer & Kirkland Ltd in criminal proceedings brought by the HSE when, during Storm Doris, a man was blown from the roof of a building under construction.
- Continue to represent Beautiful Drinks Limited and its directors in the aftermath of the death of an 18-year old customer who suffered anaphylaxis after consuming food to which she was allergic.
- Representation of medical devices manufacturer following the death of a patient in a Care Home.
Pannone Corporate LLP deals with both contentious and non-contentious health and safety matters, excelling in the care, retail, logistics, social housing, minerals, manufacturing, and food industries sectors. Rhian Greaves heads the regulatory practice, which is well-versed in the areas of corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, coroners inquests, food, fire and product safety, as well as environmental law issues. Another name to note is director Bill Dunkerley, who specialises in care sector work.
Other key lawyers:
‘It is good to have a diverse mix of core skills, which Pannone offers. Their specialist knowledge of the minerals sector is supported by the addition of a range of specialisms within their portfolio.’
‘Well supported and assisted by Rhian Greaves. A good level of knowledge of industry sector specifics.’
The team at TLT is led by Jason Cropper, an experienced regulatory investigation and enforcement lawyer who covers health, safety and environmental matters, as well as criminal conduct investigations. Conducting a range of regulatory investigations for public and private sector clients, the team also provides compliance advice to clients with a focus on remedial action by a company after an injury or fatality.
Iceland Foods Limited
Southern Water Services
Greene King plc
Nationwide Building Society
Yorkshire Water Services
Keolis Amey Metrolink
Halewood International Ltd
Elavon Financial Services
Iceland Manufacturing Ltd
JD Sports Plc
- Advising Iceland Manufacturing Ltd on a matter which concerns a a fall from height and potential fatality involving a contractor at their Deeside HQ and main DC.
- Instructed by Keolis Amey Metrolink on an investigation concerning the death of an individual as a result of actions taken by a number of sub-contracted customer service operatives.
- Instructed by Keolis Amey Metrolink on a matter concerning the death of a pedestrian after being struck by a tram, advising the client during a joint Office of Rail Regulator/Police investigation concerning both the incident as well as safety systems, training and other operational matters.