Firms To Watch: Health and safety

DAC Beachcroft LLP, which has a market-leading national health & safety practice, has been rapidly building up its Manchester offering with the promotion of 'stand-out performer' Rhian Greaves to partner and the hire of Heather Vyse from DWF.

Health and safety in North West

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard is regularly instructed on high profile health and safety law matters including fire, building, food and product safety issues in addition to related public inquiries. The practice is well-versed in prosecutions, inquests and compliance work particularly regarding the Building Safety Act and its secondary legislation. Erin Shoesmith covers the full spectrum of issues including criminal regulatory defence work. She co-heads the team with Stuart Wardlaw who advises industrial, commercial and public service clients. Lisa McNeill handles public inquires and prosecutions while Priscilla Addo-Quaye defends individuals facing criminal and regulatory proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Erin Shoesmith; Stuart Wardlaw

Other key lawyers:

Lisa McNeill; Priscilla Addo-Quaye


‘Strength from top to bottom. Highly experienced team. Good strategic thinkers. Exceptionally experienced in complex cases.’

‘I have worked with and against Erin Shoesmith in cases for over 20 years. She is an excellent strategic thinker, a great motivator of her staff and a pleasure to work with. I rate her extremely highly. She has an exceptional track record in health and safety work.’

‘The deeply impressive Erin Shoesmith leads the team to truly brilliant effect. The practice works intensely and with huge commercial awareness to the highest standards, leaving clients with the correct impression that their every need has been factored in, addressed and sorted out.’

‘Erin Shoesmith, the senior partner, is at the very top of her game and this sector. Priscilla Addo-Quaye is an exceptional senior associate and a leader in her own right. The rest of the team works as one unit to get to the very bottom of every problem and solve it. The key is that this team has a completely genuine interest in their clients and an unparalleled track record of getting to the heart of the issues and solving them.’

‘Very good understanding of the issues and industry, excellent at strategy, very proactive and sensitive to the commercial and reputational issues’

‘Erin Shoesmith leads the team, very client friendly, excellent at strategy and considering the matter holistically, good industry and key player knowledge.’

‘The team’s in-depth knowledge of the legislation but also their relevant experience and contacts with relevant barristers and local courts was invaluable in this instance.’

Key clients

Siemens Plc

Eddie Stobart Limited

Bestway Northern Limited

Victorian Plumbing Plc

Westridge Furniture Design

Joseph Ash Limited, part of Hill and Smith Holdings Plc


Morrison Utility Services Limited

Boohoo Group

Asda Stores Limited

Belfield Furnishings Limited

B Braun Medical Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted in several public inquiries including Covid-19, Grenfell Tower, Manchester Arena, Scottish Hospitals, Scottish Child Abuse, Infected Blood and the Post Office Inquiries.
  • Represented clients in complex prosecutions by the regulators including HSE, ORR and Leeds City Council.

Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co is experienced in defending clients who face serious health and safety allegations from a variety of regulators. Chris Morrison heads the team, which was significantly bolstered by the 2022 merger with BLM; he provides extensive Covid-19 compliance advice in respect of policies, RIDDOR and enforcement. Rod Hunt represents businesses and individuals subject to criminal investigation and prosecution by regulators in the UK. Natalie Puce acts for corporate and public sector clients while Lucy Ryder  deals with coroner’s requests. Mark Brookes is experienced in workplace fatalities and individual liability allegations.

Practice head(s):

Chris Morrison

Other key lawyers:

Rod Hunt; Natalie Puce; Lucy Ryder; Mark Brookes; Richard Crockford; Stephanie Lunt


‘The team are well coordinated with excellent knowledge and a grasp of the sector, both commercially and in terms of legal issues.’

‘Mark Brookes is a star performer. Chris Morrison heads the team and offers strategic oversight.’

‘A really top notch outfit, with great experience at the top and at all levels of PQE. Excellent in the police station and at dissuading regulators from bringing proceedings. In my view they are at the very top level, street-wise and hard when required, as well as being good negotiators. The firm knows how to fight a trial, but also how to prepare a case and the buttons to press to stop a trial happening. 24 hour service and excellent judgement.’

Key clients


Beaufort Maintenance Ltd







The market-leading Manchester-based health and safety practice at DWF acts for a range of clients including insurers, public bodies and large corporates. The firm has expertise across multiple sectors such as retail, transport, education, healthcare, construction and manufacturing. Vikki Woodfine is experienced in corporate manslaughter cases and co-heads the team with regulatory and compliance expert Steffan Groch. Other co-head Simon Belfield handles matters relating to public inquiries with support from Amanda Lea. Gary Smith provides advice on compliance and risk management while Joanne Witheford defends company directors and senior management from claims. In March 2023, Neena Sharma joined from Keoghs LLP.

Practice head(s):

Steffan Groch; Vikki Woodfine; Simon Belfield; Gary Smith

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Witheford; Amanda Lea


‘Wealth of knowledge, tenacity, client service, quality of their people.’

‘Vikki Woodfine is an outstanding partner – she is extremely knowledgeable, very approachable and fights for her clients with tenacity.’

‘The size of the team and its members experience and ability make it unrivalled.’

Key clients

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA)

Maritime & Coastguard Agency

Booker PLC

Wincanton PLC

Allianz Insurance

Severn Trent Water


Pen Underwriting

Arch Insurance

NFU Mutual

DAS Legal Expenses Insurance

Chubb Insurance Company

Hiscox Underwriting Limited

Amlin UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in relation to the Public Inquiry and Metropolitan Police criminal investigation arising from the Grenfell Tower fire.
  • Secured the acquittal of an individual charged with the Gross Negligence Manslaughter of his son following a 3.5 years Police investigation and 3-week trial.
  • Acted as crisis ‘first responder’ to a UK leading transport and logistics company following all workplace incidents.


The health and safety department at Kennedys is particularly prevalent in the construction, manufacturing, utilities and entertainment sectors. Practice head Nathan Buckley is particularly experienced in corporate manslaughter and gross negligence cases in addition to motor crime investigations and prosecutions. Steven North handles general regulatory compliance issues while Molly Mangan represents organisations and individuals facing investigations.

Practice head(s):

Nathan Buckley

Other key lawyers:

Steven North; Molly Mangan


‘Breadth and depth of practitioners. Long term market presence. Wide spread practice.’

‘Really committed user friendly and on top of cases.’

‘A wealth of skill and experience in the sector. Kennedys North West are a regulatory powerhouse. Their attention to detail is second to none.’

Key clients



Pen Underwriting


Dive Master Insurance

HDI Global

Rugby Football League

GreenSquare Accord

Penn Contracts Limited

The Ferns Group


Keoghs LLP

Keoghs LLP specialises in all aspects of regulatory investigations, prosecutions, inquests and inquiries arising from incidents in the workplace, on the road or in public places. David Rainey represents clients across the corporate and public sectors on regulatory matters. He co-heads the team with Nick Gianferrari who specialises in defending criminal investigations. Other co-head Tom Stevenson is experienced in coronial and motor prosecution law. In March 2023, Neena Sharma moved to DWF.

Practice head(s):

David Rainey; Nick Gianferrari; Tom Stevenson


‘I was represented by David Rainey and his associate, and I could not have been any better looked after. Their knowledge and attention to detail was second to none.’

Key clients


Catholic Insurance Services





Hastings Direct


Work highlights

  • Advised a transport manager in connection with a fatal accident where two colleagues drowned in a tanker containing liquid pig feed.
  • Advised Graham Engineering Limited on a fatal accident where an employee was crushed by a 100 tonne hydraulic press.

Pinsent Masons LLP

The health and safety team at Pinsent Masons LLP has significant experience of advising clients in high hazard industries such as construction, manufacturing, transport, waste and energy. The practice has also developed a specialism in marine safety, acting for offshore drilling contractors, marine insurers and fishing vessels. Practice head Kevin Bridges is acknowledged for his experience in trading law, food safety and related litigation. Zoe Betts is well-versed in regulatory issues pertaining to hygiene and product safety while Hannah Burton focuses on licensing matters.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Bridges

Other key lawyers:

Hannah Burton; Zoe Betts


‘What has always stood out with Pinsent Masons is their people and their attitude towards dealing with issues. Their technical knowledge and understanding of current issues are a given. Their ability to simplify complex issues and put it in plain English for one’s understanding is exemplary and a key strength for this practice. I have had experience of other practices and the service received from PM is well above and always exceeds my expectations.’

‘The team are knowledgeable, pragmatic and very easy to deal with. They are sector experts who bring that to each and every issue we need help with.’

‘Kevin Bridges’ ability to laser in on the key issues is invaluable. Health and safety matters can be complex and emotional so having quick, precise and user-friendly support through any matter is brilliant.’

Key clients

Kier Group plc

Morgan Sindall Group plc

Viridor Group

Bouygues Group

Masonite Corporation

Capital and Counties plc

Crest Nicholson Operations Ltd

Wainhomes NW and SW


Safran Group

Zurich Management Services Ltd

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs regularly advises on compliance with health and safety regulations as part of large corporate and real estate transactions. The practice is also experienced in public inquiries and internal investigations. Manchester managing partner Rob Elvin leads the team with expertise across the chemicals, construction, manufacturing, retail and leisure sectors. Gary Lewis handles accident investigations while Bethany Thompson focuses on public inquiries and inquests. Oliver Bristow specialises in fire and building safety laws.

Practice head(s):

Rob Elvin

Other key lawyers:

Gary Lewis; Bethany Thompson; Oliver Bristow


‘Real depth of experience and skills that mean team members provide very pragmatic and invaluable advice in difficult situations.’

‘Rob Elvin – high level of legal skill and also really aligns with client teams.’

‘All aspects of our experience were very positive including organisation, communication, collaboration, flexibility, billing etc.’

‘I worked with Gary Lewis, who was superb in understanding perspective and giving substantiated explanation from his. This ensured there was full clarity, and all aspects of the case were understood from a legal and practical sense.’

‘Gary Lewis communicated with myself, our insurers, insurance broker, HSE, witnesses etc co-ordinating the entire process excellently and without hinderance.’

‘The methodical manner in which our case was worked through and presented was critical to the successful outcome that we had.’

‘Gary Lewis was a pleasure to work with and would highly recommend.’

Key clients

Ashcourt Properties (Newland) Limited

D&C Mobile Welding Engineers Ltd

Horizon Specialist Contracting Limited

Mexichem Specialty Compounds Limited

Skyline Arcomet Limited

Pets At Home Ltd

Mercy Corps

Showsec International Limited

FC Nantes

Work highlights

  • Advised Showsec International Limited on the Manchester Arena Inquiry.
  • Advised FC Nantes in relation to the Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Emiliano Sala.
  • Represented a global humanitarian charity in the Inquest into the death of one of its British employees assigned to the Mercy Corps’ Nigeria program.

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP is experienced in defending and prosecuting matters such as trading standards, health and safety, fire and food. The firm acts for clients across the public, commercial, charity, sports and insurance sectors. Dewi Ap-Thomas leads the team and is recognised for his advice in relation to criminal and coronial matters. David Lewis  handles matters ranging from corporate and gross negligence manslaughter investigations to jury inquests.

Practice head(s):

Dewi Ap-Thomas; David Lewis


‘Weightmans is a firm which contains very talented lawyers who also happen to be really nice people to work with.’

‘Excellent acting for individuals with pragmatic advice to navigate potential conflicts between employer and employee.’

‘Dewi Ap-Thomas is a legal eagle – his human approach means he is interested in the person’s background and goals and able to engage effectively at all levels.’

‘Expertise in the law and practice, combined with a strategic eye on reputation of the client and support for witnesses.’

‘Readily accessible, attending to matters efficiently and in good time. Invest time supporting witnesses through stressful proceedings. Expert awareness of the organisational impact of judicial proceedings.’

Work highlights

  • Represented an individual scout leader following the death of a scout in 2018.

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP's work covers a range of key areas including health and safety procedures, compliance, accident investigations and corporate manslaughter. Practice head Lachlan Nisbet has a wealth of experience in litigation and regulatory matters with a specialism in firearms licensing law. Emma Evans handles criminal investigations while Matthew Coles has knowledge of the corporate insurance market.

Practice head(s):

Lachlan Nisbet

Other key lawyers:

Emma Evans; Matthew Coles


‘Good at keeping the client on track where other priorities might have arisen for the client that had the potential to distract them.’

‘Brabners are keen to get to know your organisation and the wider team to understand your needs and wants. They are very personable and flexible and are focused on the unique nature of the organisation or sector which differs from other firms that are very off the shelf with their offer.’

‘Very knowledgeable, keen to help and support and go the extra mile.’

Key clients

Peel Ports Group

The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation /Derwent Estates

Petty Pool Trust

Care Housing Association Ltd

All About Children

Polymeric Labels Ltd

Warrington Borough Council

Shaw Trust

Homes 2 Inspire Ltd

Federation of Environmental Trade Associations Ltd (FETA)

Smoke Control Association

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP acts for private sector organisations in relation to health and safety accidents. The practice advises on regulatory issues arising out of food safety, environmental and road traffic incidents. Andrew Hopkin leads the team and is experienced in criminal regulatory work. Helen Simm specialises in the defence of corporates with support from Charlotte Butler .

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hopkin

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Butler; Helen Simm


‘Helen Simm is the lead partner in the Manchester office – she is knowledgeable and a savvy operator. She is clued into the market in the North West and works that market well. Her repertoire of expertise is wide and I would highly recommend her in this field of work.’

‘I undertake work with Helen Simm on some cases where we co-defend and she is a very hands-on pragmatic lawyer who works hard for her clients.’

‘Helen Simm is a great lawyer. She really cares and as a result puts her all into each case. Clients are lucky to have her.’

Key clients

NHS England

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP provides contentious support to large corporates facing investigations by the regulator. The non-contentious offering includes mandates to undertake assurance and compliance work in the energy, logistics and construction sectors. Paul Verrico leads the team with expertise in matters relating to odour control and waste. Catherine Henney is experienced in public inquiries.

Practice head(s):

Paul Verrico

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Henney


‘This firm is a genuine leader in the fields of health, safety, environmental, inquests and inquiries.’

‘Strengths are in the unrivalled experience in the practice areas, both in case preparation, the selection of counsel, and working as a team. Realistic expectations are core, as is ensuring the best outcome for its vast client base. This involves detailed advice across many industries and organizations.’

‘Keeping up with the latest case law, legislation, technology and diversity is second nature. Seminars are undertaken regularly for clients, the profession and selected counsel where collaboration and the exchange of ideas is writ large.’

‘A quality practice throughout.’

‘In every case, the attention to detail is clear, converting complex issues into easily understood digestible advice. All angles are covered, and response times impressive. Those undertaking advocacy are always well prepared, giving both clients and the court confidence, achieving excellent outcomes.’

‘Very experienced and approachable team. Very knowledgeable of my industry hence return instructions.’

‘Catherine Henney- at partner level, provides an exceptional service to clients, always going the extra mile.’

Key clients

American Pan UK Limited

Telford & Wrekin Council

South London Coroner – Inquest into the death of Sabina Rizvi

Nestle UK Limited

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited


Harworth Group plc

Parker Hannifin

AMES/Griffon Group

Drax Power Limited

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP services clients with niche specialisms in marine and healthcare. The practice, led by Philip Moy, is experienced in defending companies and directors in corporate manslaughter and negligence cases. Stephen Barnfield is a regulatory defence specialist with expertise in the pharmaceutical sector. Aoife Ryan acts for clients in the construction and commercial space.

Practice head(s):

Philip Moy

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Barnfield; Aoife Ryan


‘Hard working, with great communication skills. Overall a team with good legal skills, an eye for detail and great to work with as part of a team.’

‘Phil Moy is a great communicator who is very popular with his clients. Uses considerable common sense when sorting out issues and problems. Good lawyer and a dream to work with as part of a team.

‘Stephen Barnfield has a great eye for detail and a good sounding board as part of a team. Excellent legal brain.’

Markel Law LLP

Markel Law LLP's Manchester team provides advice in regulatory, business, health and safety-related matters. Practice head Deborah Nicholson undertakes both contentious and advisory mandates, acting for regulators, organisations and professionals. The 'extremely bright and highly capable' Lauren Wilson focuses on health and social care regulation with support from Francesca Snape.

Practice head(s):

Deborah Nicholson

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Wilson; Francesca Snape


‘Markel Law LLP are highly skilled and experienced in regulatory law, with particular expertise in challenging decisions. These cases, which can often involve difficult and emotive factual backgrounds, are handled with great sensitivity, care and thought by a highly specialist team.’

‘Markel continues to maintain positive relationships which is of real benefit to their clients.’

‘Lauren Wilson is an extremely bright and highly capable solicitor. She has particular expertise in CQC and Ofsted appeals, advising clients in very challenging circumstances. She is is pragmatic, hard-working and empathetic. She is able to instill confidence in her clients through her calm and logical approach.’

‘Francesca Snape is an experienced and knowledgeable solicitor with a keen eye for detail. I have confidence that she will go far. She is one to watch: truly a rising star.’

‘The team are always a pleasure to work with, they are very well briefed and always deliver a quality product to chambers.’

‘We work with Francesca Snape who has a great knowledge of her area and has a real passion for what she does.’

‘A fantastic team of lawyers who go above and beyond for their clients. They are fully committed and talented and you want them on your side.’

‘Lauren Wilson is a great lawyer, with a strong career ahead of her. She’s technically very good. She’s also thorough. One to watch.’

Key clients

Federation of Small Businesses

Markel UK

Markel Legal Expenses Insurance





Tower Hamlets GP Care Group

Work highlights

  • Advised a large charity following a choking death where there was a failure to follow a SALT plan at one of their supported living centres.
  • Defended an equipment provider where a recently serviced hoist failed while in use.

Osborn Abas Hunt

Osborn Abas Hunt has developed a strong reputation for providing advice on compliance issues, representing clients at inquests and appealing enforcement notices. The well-regarded Madeleine Abas leads the team and acts for a range of clients including public bodies and large corporates on infrastructure projects and judicial reviews.

Practice head(s):

Madeleine Abas

Key clients

Catalloy Limited

Heyrod Limited

BDW Trading Limited (Barratt)

Invacare UK Ltd

McPhillips (Wellington) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for one of the UK’s largest hotel chains following a fatality on one of their properties.
  • Represented Heyrod Construction in respect of life-changing injuries at a large construction project in Manchester.

Pannone Corporate LLP

Pannone Corporate LLP‘s regulatory team advises across the full spectrum of health, safety and compliance issues. Bill Dunkerley leads the practice and is experienced in representing care providers subject to investigation. David Walton recently joined from Keoghs LLP and is well-versed in defending corporate manslaughter and gross negligence cases.

Practice head(s):

Bill Dunkerley

Other key lawyers:

David Walton


‘I have been working with David Walton on a complex and long running health and safety case for my business. David has been an outstanding partner to myself and the whole business. Nothing is too much trouble for him. He very quickly appreciated the nature of our business and the very distinct difference between our not for profit status, and our mission and values and other more corporate business.’

‘Undoubtedly the firm to watch in the North West, buckets of experience mixed with in-depth knowledge of the regulatory landscape means the firm is going from strength to strength.’

‘This firm has a developed an individualised approach to clients where the client’s needs are considered in detail before an appropriate strategy is put in place. This has been developed by Bill Dunkerley, who has personalised his substantial insurance experience into this sought-after practice. He has taken the firm into the premier league in the North West, to such an extent that he has been able to recruit “Mr Health and Safety” himself, David Walton, to assist servicing his client base. They are now the class act of the North.’

‘A high-quality and expanding team with in-depth knowledge of all aspects of health and safety law. Particular experience and expertise in representing individuals, and an ideal firm for tricky conflict referrals in large multi-party cases.’

‘David Walton – a hugely popular and respected figure in the safety field. Recent experience of representing individuals in the highest-profile manslaughter and health and safety prosecutions. Tenacious and committed, and a tower of support for clients facing the most difficult circumstances.’

‘Bill Dunkerley – thorough, detail-oriented and commercial. A significant asset to any company or individual facing a regulatory investigation.’

Key clients

Rochdale Boroughwide Housing

Manchester Arena Inquiry

Kingsley Care Homes Limited

Euro Foods Group Limited

Bestway Retail

Total Fitness



Trackwork Limited

Crown Farm Meats Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented Rochdale Boroughwide Housing in connection with the inquest touching upon the death of Awaab Ishak.
  • Advised and represented an individual in connection with the Manchester Arena Inquiry.


TLT specialises in compliance and incident management, investigations and prosecutions by major regulators across the water, utilities, public and retail industries. Jason Cropper is experienced in dealing with investigations in connection with corporate manslaughter in addition to criminal proceedings. Liam Whitfield acts for financial institutions and individual senior managers.

Practice head(s):

Jason Cropper

Other key lawyers:

Liam Whitfield

Key clients

Iceland Foods

Boohoo Plc

JD Sports Plc

Keolis Amey Metrolink

Greene King Plc

Sports Ground Safety Authority

Department of Health and Social Care

Punch Taverns PLC

Iceland Manufacturing

British Solar Renewables

Southern Water

Argos Limited

G. Network Communications Limited

Bendpak Inc.

Work highlights

  • Acted for KAM in respect of a fatality which occurred in December 2021 and involved the death of an individual as a result of a crush death after falling off a platform and in-between a double tram unit.
  • Acted for KAM in respect of a fatality which involved the death of a pregnant woman as a result of an incident involving a double tram.
  • Advised JD Sports concerning their child protection/safeguarding policy.