Employment in North
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.
‘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.‘
Quartztec Europe Limited
Purmo Group UK Limited
Emmanuel Schools Foundation
Employee representatives at Car Manufacturing Plant
Krystal Hosting Limited
Union Property Services
- 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.
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.
‘Shirley Hall is a pre-eminent practitioner.‘
‘Shirley Hall is commercially astute.‘
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
- 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.
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.
‘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.‘
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
- 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.
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.
‘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.‘
Cumberland Building Society
IBM United Kingdom Limited
Mpac Group PLC
Vertu Motors PLC
Sky Betting and Gaming
- 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.
‘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.‘
Cumberland Building Society
Eden Housing Association
Cumbria Education Trust
Furness Education Trust
West Lakes Academy
St Bernard’s Catholic High School
North Cumbra Pupil Referral Unit
Castle Park School
The Queen Katherine Multi Academy Trust
Energy Coast UTC
Newman Catholic School
Ullswater Community College
Black Combe Primary School
Morland Area C of E School
- 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.
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.
‘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.‘
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
- 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.
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.
‘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.‘
The Percy Hedley Foundation
Space Architecture (Europe) Limited
Employment Services Partnership Limited
CF Motoring Services Limited
Hodgson Sayers Limited
Dynamic Aerospace Fabrications Limited
Plan Digital Limited
- 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.
Other key lawyers:
David Allen trading as David Allen Chartered Accountants
Academies Enterprise Trust
Lucion Services Limited
People First Independent Advocacy Limited
Talk Straight Group Limited
McParland & Partners Limited and Fairstone Financial Management Limited
Millbrook Proving Ground Limited
- 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.
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.
‘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.‘
Hyperdrive Innovation Limited
Indigo Software Limited
Pajunk UK Medical Products Limited
Royale Oceanic Limited
- 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.
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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.‘
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
- 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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.‘
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
- 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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.
‘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.‘
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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.‘
Chameleon Bar and Dining Limited
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
- 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.
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
- 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.