Employment in North

Collingwood Legal

With experience representing claimants and defendants  in complex whistleblowing and discrimination claims, the team at boutique firm Collingwood Legal frequently receives instructions from clients in the education and not-for-profit sectors. Other key industries in which the firm has particular expertise include construction and manufacturing. On the non-contentious side, the practice advises on TUPE related matters and restructuring and industrial relations issues. Along with practice head Paul McGowan, the team also includes Paul Johnstone, and senior associates Jane Sinnamon, who  advises on complex internal disciplinary, grievance or capability processes, and Alexandra Besnard.

Practice head(s):

Paul McGowan


All the team I have dealt with so far have been kind and courteous and extremely helpful and supportive.

I have mainly dealt with Alexandra Besnard and from our first telephone call she quickly put me at ease and explained what would happen at every stage.

The whole team have excellent knowledge of employment law and communicate their advice in a a way that clearly sets out the position. They understand our industry, our company and our culture and tailor their advice accordingly.

The turnaround time for advice is second to none and the whole team are friendly, approachable and credible.

Paul McGowan has a wealth of knowledge and is incredibly helpful and can get to the nub of complex matters quickly. Paul understands our specific needs and challenges and is always on hand to provide expert advice.

Key clients

Quartztec Europe Limited

Purmo Group UK Limited



Emmanuel Schools Foundation

Employee representatives at Car Manufacturing Plant

Orbis Support

Parmley Graham

Krystal Hosting Limited

Union Property Services

Work highlights

  • Helped employee representatives at a car manufacturing plant successfully negotiate enhanced redundancy terms following site closure.
  • Successfully defended an independent automation distributor against a claim of discrimination on the grounds of disability and sexual orientation.
  • Successfully assisted a specialist manufacturer with the defence of an emergency injunction application seeking to restrict the business.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

At Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP the team provides strategic HR advice to a wide variety of public sector clients in the local government, policing, education, and health industries, both regionally and nationally, as well as assisting commercial clients. The team is headed by equal pay and gender pay expert Shirley Hall, and also fields principal associate Jessie Uppal, who focuses on immigration. Other key names at the practice include principal associate Suzanne Caveney and senior associate David Williams, who specialise in providing pensions and financial services advice, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Shirley Hall


Shirley Hall is a pre-eminent practitioner.

Shirley Hall is commercially astute.


Key clients

British Broadcasting Corporation

Avery Dennison Plc

British Polythene Limited

Tata Global Beverages

Nestle UK Limited

University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Chief Constable of Northumbria Police

Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc

Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited

Northumberland County Council

Work highlights

  • Advised a large former public utility on the potential equal pay risks associated with a management restructure.
  • Represented Northumberland County Council in Employment Tribunal proceedings alleging whistleblowing detriments progressed by a senior officer.
  • Representing a UK County Council in two separate Employment Tribunal claims brought by former members of the HR team following a restructuring.

Ward Hadaway

The team at Ward Hadaway is experienced both in providing commercial advice at the pre-dismissal stage, and in representing employers in contentious matters. The firm has a core focus on two key sector specialisms, namely healthcare, which is an area of expertise for Stuart Craig, and education, in which Graham Vials is the key name to note. Joint practice heads Paul Scope and Jamie Gamble also advise on a range of other matters, including social housing, human capital, and trade union issues. The immigration offering at the firm was strengthened by the arrival of Roisin Patton from Square One Law in January 2020.

Practice head(s):

Paul Scope; Jamie Gamble


Really gets to know our business and how we operate and is able to have open discussions around multiple solutions/options.

The team is responsive and pro-active, we have key contacts but know that if we need an urgent response there will be someone who can talk to us.

The team has a client-focused problem solving approach which means we are able to positively move issues forwards.

The team at Ward Hadaway are extremely pro-active in their approach with our company. They are accessible at all times which is very important in the hospitality sector.

Graham Vials is really good to work with, he understands our sector and its specific challenges so always considers advice from our perspective, this enables us to fully understand the risks of any action without being overly cautious and preventing positive change.

I fully believe that the individuals we work with at Ward Hadaway are invested in ensuring that our company succeeds on the correct basis. They approach each task with qualities that determine the outcomes in an appropriate manner, which is aligned with our own values.

Key clients

Newcastle United Football Company Ltd


Newcastle Rugby Limited (Newcastle Falcons)

Story Homes Ltd

Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK Limited

City of York Council

North East Ambulance Service

Home Group Limited

Connect Health Ltd

Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • Defended Newcastle United Football Company in Employment Tribunal proceedings regarding allegations of racism against club legend Peter Beardsley.
  • Successfully appealed against a declaration of discrimination and award of compensation on behalf of client Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Defended Berwick Academy in relation to the dismissal of an ex-teacher following unacceptable public comments made on social media.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Well-known local and national clients from a wide range of sectors, in particular technology, retail, transport and chemicals, instruct the employment team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. Practice head James Wilders has experience in Employment Tribunal representation in a wide range of cases including unfair dismissal, whistleblowing and discrimination claims. For matters concerning equal pay, Lorraine Heard is the key name to note. Also recommended are associates Hilary du Randt and Alan Kennedy, who assist with all aspects of change management, including redundancies and reorganisations.  

Practice head(s):

James Wilders


‘James Wilders is conscientious and very competent.

‘Substantial experience of running large equal pay matters for over 20 years. Organisational skills, powers of analysis and ability to communicate extremely complex and technical matters with great clarity.

Reliable, pragmatic advice. Tactically astute.

We found the practice to be very professional and thorough and well versed in Employment Tribunal law.

James Wilders is a very good lawyer.

Lorraine Heard is solution-focused and very experienced.

Alan Kennedy got to grips with the facts of the case quickly and was able to provide clear advice on the most appropriate strategy to defend the claim.

Lorraine Heard is the ‘go to’ lawyer for complex equal pay matters.

Key clients


Northumbria University

Cumberland Building Society

Dnata Limited


IBM United Kingdom Limited

Mundays LLP

Network Rail

NHS Digital

Northern Powergrid

Mpac Group PLC

Vertu Motors PLC

Sky Betting and Gaming

Juicebaby Limited

Blagdon Estate

Work highlights

  • Defending IBM against a long-running Employment Tribunal claim, brought by multiple claimants for constructive unfair dismissal and age discrimination.
  • Advising international client Mpac Group Plc on the employment due diligence aspects of its multi-million pound acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Lambert Automation.


Combining the expertise of both solicitors and HR professionals, the team at Burnetts is particularly focused on advising senior employees and employers in the education sector; a key industry specialism of practice head Natalie Ruane. The firm offers services spanning both litigious and advisory work, including assisting with the employment aspects of M&A, and acting in Employment Tribunal matters. Nigel Crebbin leads on the commercial side of the practice, assisted by associate Anna Lovett, who has particular expertise acting in disability discrimination claims.  

Practice head(s):

Natalie Ruane

Other key lawyers:

Nigel Crebbin; Anna Lovett


The professionalism, expert knowledge and total dedication in support of the client is abundantly clear whenever you speak to any member of the employment team.

My dealings with the employment team at Burnetts have always resulted in overall excellent service, however, in particular, the dedication, commitment, expert knowledge and attention to detail shown by Nigel Crebbin is simply outstanding.

Key clients

Cumberland Building Society

Innovia Films

Carlisle Brass

Witherslack Group

Cumbria Waste

Orian Solutions


Thomas Graham


People First

Eden Housing Association

FX Leisure

Otaq Group

Cumbria Education Trust

Furness Education Trust

Furness College

Bury College

Lakes College

West Lakes Academy

Riverside College

Cockermouth School

St Bernard’s Catholic High School

Settlebeck School

North Cumbra Pupil Referral Unit

Castle Park School

The Queen Katherine Multi Academy Trust

Energy Coast UTC

Caldew School

Newman Catholic School

Ullswater Community College

Black Combe Primary School

Morland Area C of E School

Work highlights

  • Assisted Cumberland Building Society with the employment aspects of the sale of its estate agency business, including the smooth transfer under TUPE of the relevant employees.
  • Advised on the re-brokerage of the Inspired Learning Trust, containing three academies, into the Furness Education Trust, including TUPE implications.
  • Assisted the Trust Board of Cumbria Education Trust with the conversion of Caldew Lea Primary School from Cumbria County Council to the Trust.

Muckle LLP

At Muckle LLP  the focus is on owner-managed businesses, educational institutions, charities, and senior executives. The practice is also known for fielding national sports related employment expertise, in which the key name to note is Tony McPhillips, who advises both sporting and governing bodies. At the helm of the wider employment practice is Chris Maddock, who offers clients expertise in executive severance, TUPE, and enforcement of post-termination restrictions and confidential information obligations. Also notable  are education specialist Jill Donabie and solicitor Hannah Beer.

Practice head(s):

Chris Maddock


I cannot commend their expertise, efficiency and sound counsel more highly. I know that their advice will be measured and will always be appropriate to the situation.

Chris Maddock and Lisa Kelly are highly experienced, pragmatic and fair, efficient and always provide sound and timely advice – a pleasure to deal with.

The team have always been very quick to respond to queries and have a strength of knowledge across the group to enable them to pick up other work/queries if the key account individual is otherwise engaged.

Chris Maddock gives very pragmatic advice, is not afraid to help manage difficult situations, is very client focused and has a great customer service ethos.

Key clients

Sunderland Association Football Club

NG Bailey Limited

The Football Association

Newcastle Building Society

Hays Travel Limited

NCG (Newcastle College Group)

Education Development Trust

Durham Cricket CIC

Silentnight Group Limited

Hill & Smith Holdings PLC

Port of Tyne

The Lakes Distillery Company PLC


Red Driving School

Work highlights

  • Representing a national insurance business in a damages claim following interim relief obtained to prevent a team move by nine employees to join a competing business.
  • Advised Hays Travel on the employment law aspects of its acquisition of the high street travel business, which was operated by Thomas Cook, before it entered liquidation.
  • Advised a manufacturing business on an attempt by a former and current employee to divert substantial amounts of the client’s business to a company that they had set up with one of the client’s suppliers.

Sintons LLP

For the team at Sintons LLP, key industries include education, charities, construction, and offshore and renewables. The firm's offering to healthcare clients has been strengthened by the arrival of associate Angela Carver, who acts in contentious litigation matters, including discrimination, unfair dismissal, and whistleblowing, on behalf of both respondents and claimants.  Keith Land, a restructuring and TUPE specialist, is the practice head and is supported by a team including Ailsa Hobson, who advises on a wide range of issues, including procedural compliance, HR matters, and employment related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Keith Land


Timely provision of information when required, accurate and very informative.

Fiona Campbell is extremely thorough and capable, provides a logical approach and information I can understand.

Excellent practical advice.

We have always found that Sintons have the answers we need (even if this is not always the answers we would prefer!), and this has always been delivered in a clear, concise and timely manner, providing a range of the options available to us, the likely outcomes and the recommended course of action.

Having baby walked us through the process of tailoring our employment procedures and documentation, Ailsa Hobson has always kept us abreast of any changes or updates needed.

The greatest strength I would say is that the methodology of understanding the bones of our business, and the nature of our business owners and senior managers. This means that when we need advice or guidance they have  insight into what it is we are trying to achieve.

The access to specialists that a multi-function law firm such as Sintons have means that they can respond swiftly if necessary.

Keith Land has always been available when needed and ensured that we have access to individuals and specialists with the required knowledge as and when we need them.

Ailsa Hobson, as the associate with direct responsibility for the HR and employment matters, has always been very pro-active.


Key clients

Tolent PLC

The Percy Hedley Foundation

Space Architecture (Europe) Limited

Eleven Arches

Employment Services Partnership Limited

CF Motoring Services Limited

Hodgson Sayers Limited

Dynamic Aerospace Fabrications Limited

Youngs RPS

Plan Digital Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Tolent Consutrction on employment matters arising from the managed wind-down of its office in London and consequential redundancies.
  • Assisted Eleven Arches with all employment matters arising from its annual production of the £31m Kynren project, a live action night show.
  • Advised Space Architecture (Europe) on the dismissal of one of its senior employees following allegations of bullying and harassment. Subsequently handled all aspects of its defence against claims of disability discrimination and unfair dismissal.


At Weightmans, practice head Christopher Graham is experienced in representing employers before the Employment Tribunal and the High Court, with particular expertise in business protection, unlawful discrimination, and industrial action. As well as handling contentious work, on the non-contentious side the team deals with risk management, including assisting with redundancy programmes, changes to terms and conditions, and labour relations. Also recommended is principal associate Kerry Waters, who works closely with the corporate team on transactional matters, and has particular experience in cases involving breach of restrictive covenants and discrimination.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Graham

Other key lawyers:

Kerry Waters

Key clients

David Allen trading as David Allen Chartered Accountants

Academies Enterprise Trust

TT2 Limited

Camerons Brewery

Lucion Services Limited

People First Independent Advocacy Limited

Talk Straight Group Limited

McParland & Partners Limited and Fairstone Financial Management Limited

Millbrook Proving Ground Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisting a client with the successful enforcement of post-termination restrictive covenants against an ex-employee in the High Court.
  • Advising the client, a broadband provider, on a dispute with the group finance director, regarding his employment, shares and directorship.
  • Advising a client within the automotive industry on a large scale redundancy process in which the client’s potential exposure is £1.1m.

Baines Wilson LLP

The team at Baines Wilson LLP acts exclusively on behalf of employers across a range of sectors, including manufacturing, construction, nuclear, renewables, and agribusiness. The firm offers clients a range of day-to-day employment advice on matters including redundancy, data protection, and managing sickness absence. For assistance with the dismissal of senior managers and executives, Joanne Holborn, who heads the practice, is the key name to note. Also recommended are Tom Scaife and Caroline Rayner.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Holborn

Other key lawyers:

Tom Scaife; Caroline Rayner

Hay & Kilner

Hay & Kilner 's employment offering includes advising on restrictive covenants and reorganisations, as well as assisting with all aspects of claims, from drafting documentation through to representing clients at the trial stage. For HR corporate support work, the key contact at the firm is Sarah Hall. Also notable in the team are Sarah Furness and practice head Neil Dwyer.

Practice head(s):

Neil Dwyer

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Hall; Sarah Furness


They have a direct, but friendly, approach.

The team have excellent employment law knowledge which is a key strength. All of the team know our business so if someone is unavailable someone else can deal with the matter.

Sarah Hall has taken the time to understand our business and has that in mind when delivering advice. She has sound knowledge of employment law and offers guidance and alternatives.

Excellent quality of advice. Partners lead rather than passing down to junior staff as is so often the case.

Notable for their quality of advice, attention to detail, and cutting through the waffle to focus on the pertinent points.

Sarah Furness is a particularly strong individual.

Key clients

Hyperdrive Innovation Limited

Indigo Software Limited

Pajunk UK Medical Products Limited

Royale Oceanic Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted a growing tech company with the departure and subsequent specific recruitment of a number of employees.
  • Defending a marine engineering company in an Employment Tribunal claim relating to its alleged failure to pay holiday pay.
  • Providing ongoing strategic HR advice and support to a business solutions company.

Swinburne Maddison

The vast majority of clients instructing the team at Swinburne Maddison are local and national employers, and include educational institutions, which represent a particular focus for the practice, manufacturing companies, and professional services providers, as well as religious organisations. Practice head Jonathan Moreland and associate Sharney Randhawa handle a wide spectrum of litigious and advisory work, including assisting with redundancy, restructuring and TUPE matters.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Moreland

Other key lawyers:

Sharney Randhawa


Very balanced and informed advice on employment law.

Jonathan Moreland and the team are very personable and always professional and succinct in their advice.

Pragmatic advice on matters large and small. A trusted partner.

Jonathan Moreland is an outstanding lawyer who provides a very personal, caring touch, listens very well and has an excellent eye for detail.

Very friendly and approachable team with a desire to assist clients.

Jonathan Moreland is a excellent employment litigation lawyer.

Sharney Randhawa is a standout individual who has exemplary knowledge of her area – from my initial meeting with her it was clear she was passionate about her work in this area and fully committed to providing an outstanding service for her clients.

Jonathan Moreland is a first class communicator and provides a strong, balanced opinion where required.


Key clients

Durham Cathedral

Ramside Estates Limited (Owner of, amongst others, Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham)

The Esh Group

Hargreaves Services plc

St Chad’s College, Durham University

The Enquire Learning Trust Limited

Building Design (Northern) Limited

Richard and Julie Bennett (former owners of Derwentside Environmental Testing Services Limited)

GT Cleaning Machines Limited

Durham City Rugby Club

Clever Clogs Day Nurseries Limited

Derwentside Trust for Sport and the Arts

Berger Closures Limited

AKV Cladding Limited

Singletrack Systems Limited

Teescraft Engineering Limited

Churchview Dental Practice

Get Carter Productions

Work highlights

  • Achieved a successful outcome in a whistleblowing case, which included six separate protected disclosures and five resulting detriments.
  • Providing ongoing support to the head of HR of an organisation with nearly 200 employees, including assisting with the creation and implementation of a Job Evaluation Scheme.
  • Successfully representing a company in a complex TUPE dispute, involving associated claims for unfair dismissal, redundancy payments and unpaid wages.

Archers Law LLP

Led by Elizabeth Casey , the team at Archers Law LLP specialises in providing employment law and HR support to businesses. The practice assists clients in the North and nationally with matters including collective TUPE and redundancy consultations, senior personnel dismissals, and harassment and bullying issues.

Practice head(s):

Elizabeth Casey

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Mills


Very knowledgeable across all areas.

The team are nothing short of spectacular when dealing with any business circumstances.

I cannot recommend this firm highly enough, during my 12 years of dealings with the team, I have never once been steered in a wrong direction, nor do I have any criticism of their advice and the passion that they bestow on us.

Elizabeth Casey and Lauren Mills are easy to talk to, friendly and professional with a breadth of knowledge that inspires confidence.

Archers are a very professional organisation maintaining high standards and integrity whilst providing a comprehensive offering to their clients.

I have worked with all the team members and would say they are down to earth, understanding of client needs and really want to make a difference.

Elizabeth Casey is an exceptionally talented and skilled communicator.

They all have excellent analytical and communication skills- an essential for the work they do.


Key clients

TC Industries of Europe Ltd

Cleveland Alzheimers Residential Centre Ltd

Rivergreen Developments Plc

Teesside Industrial Controls Ltd

Carroll & Meynell Transformers Ltd

The Montessori People Limited

On Agency Ltd

Jesmond Dene House Ltd

Wynyard Hall Ltd

St Mary’s Inn Ltd

Brierley Events Ltd (Acklam Hall)

Guisborough Hotels Ltd

Holiday at Home Ltd

MSP Legal Services LLP

Syntex Engineering Services Ltd

Kookaburra Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Cleveland Alzheimer Residential Centre on a successful TUPE collective consultation concerning the sale of a centre, as well as conducting the nomination process.
  • Providing annual employment law support to TC Industries.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

At DAC Beachcroft LLP, the employment team specialises in strategic employment matters such as major organisational change, board level disputes, industrial action and complex litigation. The practice advises clients from a wide range of sectors including retail, healthcare, and local government.

Practice head(s):

Guy Bredenkamp

Other key lawyers:

Sarah George


‘Guy Bredenkamp is an outstanding practitioner. He effortlessly combines intellectual analysis with common sense. In addition he is well respected by his peers and his reports for his fairness and integrity.’

‘Sarah George is a first-rate lawyer with strong analytical skills. Always gets to the nub of the issue. She is tuned in to the client’s needs.’

‘Guy Bredenkamp is an exceptional leader who has created and developed a solid team of support for his clients. He has the ability to operate at a high level whilst always providing a sound platform of support for the junior members of his team. His technical ability is second to none and is balanced with a highly pragmatic approach together with exceptional client care skills. To my mind, he is the gold standard of employment practitioners.’

David Gray Solicitors LLP

David Gray Solicitors LLP provides a specialist immigration offering, with particular experience in advising on business immigration, family migration, and EEA law issues. Clients from a wide range of sectors, including leisure, healthcare, and entertainment, instruct the team, which is headed by Bryony Rest.

Practice head(s):

Bryony Rest


Bryony Rest has an incredibly deep understanding of the most recent immigration laws and rules. She is very aware of the changes in law and will give me clear instructions on how to approach the case.

David Gray’s immigration team are highly professional and have in-depth knowledge of immigration law and how to apply it to assist their clients’ interests.

Bryony Rest is very honest and gives professional advice on what to do.

Bryony Rest is unparalleled in her knowledge and application of immigration law.

Bryony’s best strength is her understanding of humanity and kindness. She has an approachable personality and is someone I could put my full trust in for dealing with the case.

Endeavour Partnership LLP

Strengthened by the promotion of Theresa Carling to partner, the team at Endeavour Partnership LLP has expanded its influence in the agricultural and education sectors. The practice provides assistance with the full range of advisory and contentious matters, specialising in business immigration work. Practice head Stephen  Elliott  is another key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Elliott

Other key lawyers:

Theresa Carling


Their advice is always practical.

The team at Endeavour are consistent and clearly passionate about their organisation and the delivery of excellence.

Stephen Elliott is simply exceptional; our businesses cover a number of industry sectors – no two issues are alike and he addresses all of them calmly, methodically and with an unrivalled commercially astute approach.

A local company but with national standards and yet highly competitive rates.

Endeavour is a business focused practice – it provides us with all the business services from a common source.

Stephen Elliott is helpful, knowledgeable and respectful.

Their attention to detail and knowledge of the law is impeccable.

They are personable, efficient and effective.

Key clients

Chameleon Bar and Dining Limited

Yarm School

Tees Valley Combined Authority

Thorpe Underwood Services Limited

The Darlington Farmers’ Auction Mart Limited

Metcalfe Farms (Haulage) Limited

Ramsdens Financial Limited

FRP Advisory LLP

Silverstone Circuits Limited

Caring for Life

Work highlights

  • Assisted Chameleon Bar and Dining with employment obligations arising from the sale of three large licensed premises.  
  • Advised the Tees Valley Combined Authority on the early termination of the fixed term contract of a high-profile senior employee.
  • Advised the Darlington Farmers’ Auction Mart on the suspension, disciplinary and appeal stages after serious allegations were made against a senior officer.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP

With a growing client base from the manufacturing and finance sectors, the team at Mincoffs Solicitors LLP continues to provide advice on many day-to-day HR issues, including terminations and disciplinary proceedings. The practice is also seeing an increasing number of instructions from claimants. Key contacts include practice head Nick Smith and associate Robyn Aisbitt.  

Practice head(s):

Nick Smith

Other key lawyers:

Robyn Aisbitt; Martha Craven

Key clients

Barter Books Limited

Cascade Cash Management Limited

Document Risk Solutions Limited

Canny Creative Limited

Northern Bear Plc

L B Foster Rail Technologies (UK) Limited

Total Jobs Group Limited

Perfect Image Limited

Historic Property Restoration Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting as the primary external legal adviser to Barter Books on a variety of employment matters, ranging from advising on sickness absence, to performance management, disciplinary hearings and termination.
  • Acting as the primary external legal adviser to Document Risk Solutions on a variety of employment matters, ranging from advising on sickness absence, to performance management, disciplinary hearings and TUPE.
  • Providing a range of employment assistance to Northern Bear, including advising on the departure of senior executives, managers and employees, as well as providing training, and preparing and drafting new documentation.

Short Richardson & Forth

Clients including SMEs, PLCs, and senior employees and office holders instruct the employment team at Short Richardson & Forth. Practice head Max Winthrop frequently represents both claimants and defendants in cases involving multiple strands of discrimination and whistleblowing.

Practice head(s):

Max Winthrop