Employment in North

Collingwood Legal

Boutique employment law firm Collingwood Legal in Newcastle has a broad practice, ranging from TUPE and large-scale restructuring matters to equality, diversity and discrimination issues. The team provides non-contentious advice and supports clients in grievance and disciplinary investigations or employment tribunal claims. Practice head Paul McGowan is ‘incredibly knowledgeable‘, particularly on TUPE and whistleblowing issues while Paul Johnstone inspires an ‘enormous amount of trust in his knowledge and ability’. Associate solicitors Jane Sinnamon and Charlotte McBride continue to be highly active up-and-comers. Senior associate Alexandra Besnard left the firm for a position at Northern Gas and Power in March 2022.

Practice head(s):

Paul McGowan

Other key lawyers:

Paul Johnstone; Jane Sinnamon; Charlotte McBride; Helen Scott


‘The team really understand our organisations culture and challenges. They are so helpful and quick to respond and can take complex legal issues and get to the heart of them providing clear advice. Nothing is too much trouble and they actually feel like part of our team rather than an external supplier.’

‘Paul McGowan is incredibly knowledgeable and approachable and has an ability to get to the heart of matters clearly and provide concise, tailored advice. Helen Scott and Charlotte McBride are also invaluable and incredibly helpful, credible and effective.’

‘Hugely knowledgeable and expert. Pragmatic. We particularly value the expertise available in relation to equality matters.’

‘This first rate employment niche firm is headed by the skilled and steady hand of Paul McGowan. Paul has an engaging yet responsive manner with his clients. He is diligent, intelligent and on the money with his advice. He leads a great team of employment lawyers. He is supported by the very able and knowledgeable Charlotte McBride who provides clear, helpful advice and is a joy to work with. In my view, Collingwood Legal are “the region’s best”.’

‘Personal service from lawyers who are easy to get on with; Attention to detail; Correct, precise and concise advice.’

‘Paul Johnstone is the key stand out person for us. He is an incredible teacher, mentor, guide for our senior managers. They have an enormous amount of trust in his knowledge and ability. He is a fantastic communicator who is able to ensure our staff understand the complexities of Employment Law. Paul is responsive and dependable but most of all incredible knowledgeable in his field of work. Paul has had a huge influence on our organisational culture when it come to positive employment practice. He is a key reason for our rating of “Outstanding” from our CQC regulators .’

‘Paul McGowan is superb. His legal knowledge is exceptional. His commercial sense is also spot on.’

‘Collingwood Legal only focus on employment matters and as such they are deliver an exceptional service in this complicated area. The team has a broad range of experience coupled with differing expertise, enabling them to provide information and support quickly and easily.’

Key clients

Blackpool & The Fylde College

Parkdean Resorts UK Ltd

Mayborn Limited

Purmo Group UK Ltd



Emmanuel Schools Foundation

Orbis Support

Parmley Graham

National Golf Club Advisory Association


Eothen Homes

Ramarketing Ltd

Findhorn Foundation


Smithers Oasis

Simpson Print Ltd


Work highlights

  • Achieved maximum compensation at full Employment Tribunal hearing for a former Managing Director of a consulting engineering business. Achieved a six figure Tribunal Judgment including legal costs.
  • Acted for a global multi-national plc in implementing and introducing an Employee Consultation Forum. Provided full advice on constitutional arrangements and balloting process to manage employee relations at a huge industrial site.
  • Advised a large national charity on TUPE implications following a transfer of 60 staff from an NHS Trust.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

The Newcastle-based team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP provides a client base that spans the consumer, financial services, manufacturing, public and transport sectors with strategic contentious and non-contentious advice. Practice head Shirley Hall is an experienced advocate before the employment tribunal and a ‘superstar in the world of equal pay’. Principal associate Suzanne Caveney , who draws on employment as well as pensions expertise and ‘incredibly hard working’ principal associate David Williams , who focuses on financial services work, are also of note. Jessie Uppal left the practice in February 2022.

Practice head(s):

Shirley Hall

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Caveney; David Williams


‘The employment team provides all of the experience, expertise and “weight” that you would expect from a leading national firm, but the services are delivered in a personable and commercial manner.’

‘Personal service and named contact. Longstanding relationship with the firm and good assurance on soundness of employment law advice. High client priority is given and all queries are dealt with promptly and thoroughly.’

‘Shirley Hall – excellent long term, well established relationship with Shirley. Shirley absolutely understands our employment context and gives pragmatic advice.’

David Williams is the perfect fit for the team – incredibly hard working and dedicated, thorough but with a real eye for the key issues.’

‘Superb, highly skilled and diligent team providing high end services to a range of large corporate clients. They leave no stone unturned when striving to protect their clients interests.’

‘Shirley Hall – a superstar in the world of equal pay. She is incredibly hardworking, astute and helpful. Everything you’d want in a partner leading a team.’

Key clients

British Broadcasting Corporation

Avery Dennison Plc

British Polythene Limited

Tata Consumer Products

Nestle UK Limited

University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Chief Constable of Northumbria Police

Wm Morrison Supermarkets Limited

Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited

Northumberland County Council

Muckle LLP

The ‘future focused’ team in Muckle LLP’s Newcastle office acts for employers of all sizes and sectors, including educational institutions, sporting bodies and charities as well as for senior executives. The practice spans support on employment tribunal claims, TUPE issues and corporate transactions as well as investigations. Chris Maddock heads up the practice, he is known as ‘a leader in his field’. Tony McPhillips focuses on complex employment related litigation, while up-and-comer Lisa Kelly, who joined the partner ranks in April 2021, has particular strengths in discrimination and equal pay issues. Jill Donabie handles employment matters for education providers.

Practice head(s):

Chris Maddock

Other key lawyers:

Tony McPhillips; Jill Donabie; Lisa Kelly; Amy Sergison


‘The employment team at Muckle are true experts in their legal field, which they combine with human reality and apply to employment situations. The partnership approach taken results in organisationally authentic outcomes underpinned by robust legal input.’

‘My go to person at Muckle LLP is Chris Maddock. Chris is both professional and personable and is a trusted advisor to our business. He understands the customers needs and is able to bring a commercial understanding to the advice and support he provides. Chris is recognised in the region as a leader in his field, recognised and recommended by many.’

‘The Employment Team continue to be the most personable and supportive in the North East. They will always strive to provide individual support which is objective yet understanding, demonstrating an exceptional level of expertise in their field. Building strong networks with local organisations and facilitating a variety of forums to help engage and share updated information relative to employment law I feel is one of their unique strengths which has helped them establish the strong and credible reputation they hold.’

‘The team at Muckle are very interactive and work collaboratively with us an organisation to understand our needs and future developments to ensure they are best placed to provide an effective service. The team are also helpful in providing employment law updates as part of staff CPD activity.’

‘Regular informal catch ups with Jill Donabie who is always willing to help, have proved to be beneficial acting as a good ‘sounding board’ for advice. Chris Maddock maintains a highly visible presence in the local area and the ‘roadshows’ that Chris and his team deliver on employment law are well received and informative.’

‘In recent times, I have had the pleasure of working with Tony McPhillips and Amy Sergison with a particularly difficult organisational matter. Tony not only gave me the professional support needed to tackle the difficult issues at hand but he also gave me the energy to sustain the level of support needed over a protracted period of time. It felt like he was on the front line with me. Amy then supported me with some pertinent education and training by way of remedy. The ying and yang of good employment law support at Muckles! Communication within the team is excellent as individuals always appears to be appropriately briefed.’

‘Chris Maddock leads the team and I greatly value his highly experienced and intuitive advice. Chris sets the standards which are matched by all members of his team for a highly responsive and well balanced approach to dealing with any enquiries, no matter how large or small they may be in terms of their complexity. Lisa Kelly similarly provides well balanced and insightful guidance. It is a common theme with these individuals, and this team, but one of the key characteristics that one looks for when dealing with professional advisers is the extent to which advice is provided in a timely manner and that is always the case with Lisa in particular.’

‘My primary contact was Tony McPhillips (Partner). Tony was excellent in every way, from the quality of his understanding of client issues, decision making, client recommendations and his prompt and responsiveness service. Ultimately you pay for advice and strategy from a senior lawyer and Tony’s is certainly the best I’ve received in recent times.’

Key clients

NCG (Newcastle College Group)

University of Northumbria

Tyne Coast College

Preferred Hotels and Resorts

Education Development Trust


Bishop Auckland College

Gentoo Group Limited

Newcastle Building Society

END. Clothing

A & P Group

Dellner Romag

Rugby Players Association

Caribbean Premier League

Great North Air Ambulance Service

Turntide Transport Limited

Hill & Smith/Birtley Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Newcastle Building Society on a wide variety of matters related to changes of HQ and other locations and move to hybrid working.
  • Supported Preferred Hotels and Resorts with an international conference for its partner organisations on experience of managing through the COVID pandemic and what it means for the future.

Ward Hadaway LLP

In addition to its ‘stellar reputation’, the team at Ward Hadaway LLP stands out for its sector specialisms in education and healthcare and its offer of a fixed price package providing unlimited advice and insurance which many north-eastern SME clients make use of. Paul Scope , who is ‘very well regarded in the market’, heads up the practice together with Jamie Gamble , whose expertise includes complex employment tribunal claims and employment aspects of corporate transactions. Stuart Craig focuses on the healthcare sector while Graham Vials acts for education sector clients. Roisin Patton ’s practice includes business immigration issues, and Gillian Chinhengo provides ‘realistic and often innovative’ advice.

Practice head(s):

Paul Scope; Jamie Gamble

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Craig; Graham Vials; Roisin Patton; Gillian Chinhengo; Tom Shears


‘Supportive and proactive advice, always prepared to problem solve and discuss the best solution for us as clients, insurance backed advice gives real reassurance and enables us to make decisions effectively and with minimal impact on core purposes.’

‘I mostly work with Tom Shears and the advice given is always professional and reliable. Where the law may be ambiguous, Tom always provides helpful risk based options so that we can take informed decisions.  I’m particularly impressed by how well Ward Hadaway and Tom understand our business and culture – the relationship feels like an extension of our own organisation.’

‘Graham Vials is incredibly personable, skilled and willing to work with us to proactively problem solve, his understanding of the sector is exceptional. Gillian Burns is also a key contact, her advice is clear and direct whilst always looking to find the most effective solution.’

‘Gillian Chinhengo, is extremely professional and very approachable. Her advice is realistic and often innovative when trying to assist ourselves in addressing complex HR issues. She is quick to respond to queries and takes time to understand the issue and the outcome that the company is trying to achieve.’

‘Throughout the lockdown Ward Hadaway provided much needed support and guidance through webinars and their website on all matters furlough. This was invaluable during a hectic, stressful time for HR professionals.’

‘Roisin Patton has provided excellent employment advice and support on a variety of HR issues. The advice is given within context of our business needs with full support given throughout. I would recommend Roisin to other HR professionals without hesitation.’

‘One of the strongest employment teams in the north east. Excellent strength in depth and a well deserved stellar reputation.’

‘Paul Scope – very well regarded in the market. has the trust of his clients. Jamie Gamble – technically very adept. Graham Vials – a real fighter for his clients. ready to go the extra mile.

Key clients

Newcastle United Football Company Ltd

Durham County Cricket Club

Newcastle Rugby Limited (Newcastle Falcons)

Story Homes Ltd and Story Contracting Ltd

Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK Limited


North East Ambulance Service

Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Employment Services Partnership (ESP)

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Handling a broad range of contentious and non-contentious issues, the Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP practice takes a  ‘practical and pragmatic approach’ and draws on sector specialisations such as education, manufacturing, retail or energy. Hilary Du Randt, who joined the partner ranks in July 2021, now leads the team, and has particular expertise advising and defending clients in relation to claims for discrimination, as does ‘highly strategically astute lawyer’ Lorraine Heard. Managing associate Alan Kennedy, whose practice includes advising on immigration-related issues, a growing area of work, is also of note.

Practice head(s):

Hilary Du Randt

Other key lawyers:

Lorraine Heard; Alan Kennedy; Sandy Duncanson


‘For me personally, the team at WBD are very good at tailoring their services to our needs. We require the specialists we work with to have a good knowledge of our industry, org structure and roles to efficiently react and address specific issues. Their law updates and events are very useful and informative and demonstrate their progressiveness to current issues.’

‘Alan Kennedy is our advisor and he does an excellent job for us. When required he responds quickly and accurately to our needs, he has worked closely with us to form a trusted relationship with key stakeholders, to understand our business and our people challenges. He is personable and practical which really works for us.’

‘Sandy Duncanson is a solicitor who has particularly impressed me in a positive way from this firm. He prepared the cases excellently, despite huge cost pressures under the terms with the client, and gave an excellent service as a result.’

‘Lorraine Heard, Newcastle – a truly peerless lawyer with an unparalleled equal pay and discrimination specialism. A kindly and constructive manner belies this steely and highly strategically astute lawyer. A very hard worker and a highly effective leader of her team. Always thinking many steps ahead, Lorraine hits the ground running, even in highly complex matters.’

‘Alan Kennedy- a pragmatic and sensible lawyer who recognises the limits of what sensibly be acheived on behalf of a client and focusses his energies accordingly.’

‘Hilary du Randt is an extremely bright, diligent partner with a down to earth, easy to work with demeanour. She is incisive in her thinking and effective at communicating it.’

‘The team at WBD are professionals through and through. Very commercially minded and extremely well prepared.’

‘In depth knowledge of employment law. Practical and pragmatic approach. Excellent attention to detail in witness statements.’

Key clients

Mpac Group PLC

Vertu Motors PLC

Sky Betting & Gaming

Parkdean Resorts UK Ltd

NHS Digital



Dnata Limited

Northumbria University

VLS Limited

Sintons LLP

Employment expert Keith Land heads up the Newcastle-based team at Sintons LLP. Praised for his ‘responsive and attentive’ approach, Land acts for both public and private sector clients on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. The practice also draws on sector strengths such as in healthcare, charities and construction. Associate Ailsa Hobson regularly provides a broad range of employment advice, while Angela Carver contributes her litigation and advocacy experience.

Practice head(s):

Keith Land

Other key lawyers:

Ailsa Hobson; Angela Carver; Catherine Hope


‘Clear communication and team work are a clear strength. We have one main contact person, and if they are out of the office a full handover is done to a named individual who in my experience understands everything about the case when we contact them. Appreciate that Sintons LLP have embraced video conferencing and are able to provide training on this format for our managers.’

‘Angela Carver is simply put the reason we use Sintons LLP. She is always available, responds quickly, and treats every query with the same respect. She has taken the time to understand our company, our ethos and approach and factors this in to the advice she provides. She talks our managers through the situations that arise, providing coaching, support and advice. She helps them learn from every situation, much more than just legal advice.’

‘The time taken by the team to get to know my business has helped incredibly as the advice provided fits the commercial context.’

‘The level of customer service I receive from Catherine Hope is excellent particularly the quick responses to my queries regardless of the time of day and I am kept up to date with the timescales of her dealings with our matters. To know I can rely on an immediate response is reassuring in a fast paced business environment.’

‘I have always found the team at Sintons to be incredibly approachable, friendly and professional. They provide the personal touch which makes all the difference. The work Sintons do for me by definition tends to be sensitive in nature, and often urgent, and I have complete confidence in the team’s abilities and responsiveness.’

‘My main contact in the Sintons employment team is Keith Land. I couldn’t be more impressed by him. Over the years I have approached Keith for all kinds of employment advice and issues. As soon as I involve Keith in an issue, he puts me at ease and helps to reduce the stress of a situation. I have complete confidence in him and know that he will provide pragmatic, easy to understand advice. He is very responsive and attentive, and will work outside of office hours, and recently even on his holiday, in order to see an urgent case through to completion. I can’t recommend Keith highly enough.’

Key clients

The Auckland Project

Waste Managed Limited

Thomas Swan & Co Limited

Motel One (UK) Limited

Cramlington House Limited

Heating Trade Supplies Limited

Atom Bank PLC

Svanehøj Group A/S

Drayton Partners Limited

CF Motoring Limited

Work highlights

  • Supported the Auckland Project with the integration of staff from the Weardale Railway, including managing historical practices and harmonising terms and conditions of employment in line with TUPE legislation.
  • Advised Waste Managed Limited on the suspension, disciplinary process and dismissal of employee JT who was diverting business opportunities to his brother operating from a similar company to our client. Further support was given in response to a claim for unfair dismissal and breach of post termination restrictions.
  • Assisted Cramlington House Limited to navigate the rules imposed by the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021.


Praised for its ‘first rate’ technical knowledge, the Newcastle practice at Weightmans acts for a diverse client base of local, national and international corporates, senior executives, charities and individuals. The team regularly cooperates with corporate colleagues on complex transactions and also has particular expertise in post termination restrictive covenants litigation. Christopher Graham is experienced in representing clients before the employment tribunal, employment appeal tribunal and the High Court while Newcastle and Leeds-based principal associate Kerry Waters undertakes contentious and non-contentious work.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Graham

Other key lawyers:

Kerry Waters


‘A very experienced team with a background in a number of areas and a pragmatic approach.’

‘People are easy to deal with and as well as providing sound legal advice they work with the client on a human basis. I have seen them being very good in helping inexperienced and nervous clients through the process.’

‘Broad capability in range of specialities and geography. The practice acts as a partner rather than just a service when there is a need for legal support. This means that issues don’t escalate. We are also supported to build our own capability.’

‘I have worked with Christopher Graham for c15 years over which time we have built a relationship of trust and candour. Honest advice and guidance covering various scenarios where necessary is very useful. Kerry Waters has also been a good support to us.’

‘A very strong and capable team who fully understand the needs of clients. They are knowledgeable, approachable, easily contactable and adapted to the changing world with Covid. They always make the client feel as though they are the sole focus of their attention.’

‘Have worked with Christopher Graham on several occasions. He has many years’ experience and his down-to-earth and robust approach demonstrates his understanding of clients and their needs. He is commercially minded, tactical and has a brilliant memory for detail and impressive knowledge of employment law. It is always possible to get in touch with him directly and he always clearly explains everything. Have always been glad to have him in my corner!’

‘Their technical knowledge is first rate but it is their ability to take this and guide you through what can be difficult waters that makes their work so good.’

‘Chris Graham is very responsive, pragmatic and commercial in his approach.’

Key clients

Federal Signal Inc

Stewart Reader

Bluetree Design and Print Limited

Adrian Shaw

AIG UK Limited

The shareholders of Frontier Telecom Ltd

J & B Recycling Limited

Building Design Partnership Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised a US Parent company with a UK subsidiary on the closure of one of its operations in the UK. Instructions came from the parent company in the US and so detailed local guidance and assistance was needed throughout.
  • Advised an individual who had claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal against his previous employer, South Tyneside Council (STC).
  • Advised on the employment aspects of Bluetree Design and Print Limited’s acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Kingsbury Press Holdings Limited.

Baines Wilson LLP

The Carlisle-based team at Baines Wilson LLP focuses on supporting employers, this includes advising on managing sickness absence and rehabilitation, advising on the dismissal of senior managers or executives and defending claims before the employment tribunal. Joanne Holborn leads the practice, drawing on deep experience and with particular interest in issues of absence, rehabilitation and disability discrimination. Tom Scaife is a key practitioner with strengths in tribunal work and employment aspects of corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Holborn

Other key lawyers:

Tom Scaife; Caroline Rayner


‘Very knowledgeable, technical, unflappable softer skills. They tell you the risks but are pragmatic about what you should do. Very helpful with written comms and always refer to handbook and contracts, which they keep us up to date with. Often host a wide range of business seminars.’

‘Jo adopts a very hands on pragmatic approach to every situation. She knows our systems and policies and is able to comment on when updates are needed to fit in/ adapt to our situation.Tom also offers this, and is very thoughtful and detailed in his replies. He has a very logical brain which always considers the outcome required.

‘As a practice everyone is exceptionally efficient in what they do, from the first point of contact of a receptionist taking your call to the solicitors advising you. They are a company that you can truly trust, billing is always correct and on time with no discrepancies. Communication is always very good with a regular newsletter updating us on any changes in law that may be likely to happen and seminars that we can attend. They have a fantastic network of professionals from a variety of sectors whom we meet on a periodic basis through the excellent seminars that Baines Wilson facilitate. The information is always up to date and topics covered highly pertinent.’

‘I would highly recommend using the services of Baines Wilson, as a practice they have been working with our well established reputable care organisation for the past 17 years. Jo Holborn is one of the senior partners at the practice, as a consultant and advisor she has always provided clear accurate information and her attention to detail has aided in keeping our organisation on track during the recent pandemic and though some exceptionally difficult times prior to that. Jo is not only thorough but also easy to work with and is always willing to take the time to discuss my concerns and respond to questions in a timely way. Equally her colleagues Tom Scaife and Carolyn Rayner are professionally noteworthy too.’

‘The team at Baines Wilson have a very practical and pragmatic approach to the advice they give you, which is what you need as a business so that you can make informed decisions on the right approach and the risks involved. Every time that I speak to Baines Wilson for advice I feel confident that I am being given the best advice for our business and culture and the solicitors really make you feel protected by their approach.’

‘Jo, Tom and Caroline are all extremely personable when you work with them and they give you advice in a way that doesn’t sound patronizing and allows you to come to your own decisions about the advice. I always find that they are really down to earth and realistic in their approach which is refreshing.’

‘I work closely with Joanne Holborn and her approach and support is excellent. Jo always provides detailed reasons and different options we can take, as well as being available for us when we need her.’


The team at Burnetts advises clients on various issues such as complex TUPE questions or the employment aspects of acquisitions in addition to defending employers in contentious matters. The additional services of an HR professional complement the team’s legal practice. Newcastle-based David Gibson, who joined the firm in June 2021, has replaced Natalie Ruane, who left in August 2021 to found her own firm, at the head of the practice. He is supported by associate solicitor Anna Lovett in Carlisle.

Practice head(s):

David Gibson

Other key lawyers:

Anna Lovett


‘A great employment law team. What we appreciate: No question is too trivial- Use of technology during the pandemic was a huge help – Free workshops. They sponsored the CIPD to provide mental health awareness – someone in the team is always readily available.’

‘David Gibson and Anna Lovett – Delivered some excellent TUPE workshops for our managers. Easy to understand, clear advice, communicated at the right level.’

‘The team at Burnetts Solicitors have always maintained high professionalism and great service delivery, whilst maintaining that key personal approach to customer service. Having had a long serving business relationship with Burnetts, they maintain a valued customer relationship with us here.’

‘Each member of Burnetts has displayed a personal approach to their role. Pleasant, engaged, efficient and very responsive. Always aiming to provide the very best customer experience.’

‘We prefer to use Burnetts because they have an excellent supportive team who are very friendly, approachable, and engaging. No matter when we ask for help, they are always immediately there giving good sound advice whether this is legal or good general HR practices.’

‘In the main we use David Gibson. David is absolutely excellent; he really listens to the issues and always finds a way to help. His friendly disposition makes him very likeable and gives to confidence that you are in good hands. David goes above and beyond to help and as an example on many occasions following an issue David has developed and delivered excellent training packages to support our teams.’

‘Local & business knowledge. Innovations with local businesses in terms of seminars and forums.’

Key clients

Cumberland Building Society

Innovia Films Limited

Carlisle Brass Limited

Witherslack Group Limited

Cumbria Waste Group

Orian Solutions Ltd

Lloyd Limited

Thomas Graham & Sons Limited

H&H Group Ltd

People First Independent Advocacy

ECM (Vehicle Delivery Service) Ltd

FX Leisure Limited

Otaq Group Ltd

Howgill Family Centre

St John’s Hospice

Bury College

Lakes College West Cumbria

Border Group Ltd

Gretna Green Limited

Go North East Limited

East Yorkshire Bus Company

HQN Limited

Lake District National Park Authority

Distinctive Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Border Group Limited on complex TUPE transfer and MD appointment related to its acquisition of Border Barriers.
  • Advised Thomas Graham & Sons Limited on employment aspects of a complex acquisition.
  • Advised ECM (Vehicle Delivery Service) Limited on a complex TUPE transfer matter.

Swinburne Maddison LLP

Jonathan Moreland leads the practice at Swinburne Maddison LLP in Durham, known for his ‘vast and in depth knowledge of the law’, drawing on expertise in dispute resolution and employment law. The practice ranges from contentious work representing employees as well as employers, to non-contentious, restructuring and transactional issues. Managing associate Sharney Randhawa contributes experience in discrimination claims, as well as unfair dismissal and whistleblowing cases.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Moreland

Other key lawyers:

Sharney Randhawa


‘The team at Swinburne Maddison is absolutely fantastic. They are highly skilled knowledgeable and professional. Compared with other law firms I have dealt with they have taken ownership of my case from the onset and have ensured that at every juncture they have dealt quickly and efficiently with any matters that arisen and have kept me fully informed throughout. The firm prizes itself on a truly personal service and there is absolutely no doubt that any client requiring legal assistance will be in entirely safe hands with Swinburne Maddison.’

‘Jonathan Moreland is the Managing Partner and a stand out individual in the firm who has a vast and in depth knowledge of the law. He is both highly skilled and meticulously organised. Jonathan promptly deals with any matters that may arise and keeps me fully informed through regular emails and phone calls so I am fully aware of everything I need to know in relation to my case.’

‘Extremely professional but friendly . I have used the Swinburne Maddison to support me to reach a settlement agreement with my previous employer. My husband’s business also have used the team to support with employment contracts. We have both very much appreciated personal, immediate advice by telephone.’

‘Jonathan Moreland has at all times provided excellent support and advice. He is professionally extremely knowledgable with a friendly and supportive manner which makes life easier in difficult circumstances.’

‘Everyone I have dealt with at Swinburne Maddison LLP has been extremely professional. Excellent communications with me at all times regarding my case.’

‘The stand-out people I have dealt with over the past 10 months since I first contacted Swinburne Maddison are Jonathan Moreland and Sharney Randhawa. They have both shown me a high level of respect whilst providing their advice, which I cannot fault. Both are excellent communicators, responsive and extremely diligent.’

‘The fact that Jonathan Moreland demonstrates a real desire to partner with the client, and solve their problems in a consultative approach is highly appreciated. We have benefited from excellent communications, fair pricing and excellent service overall. The way our recent case was handled demonstrated sensitivity and excellent interaction to formulate the solution required.’

‘The employment team at Swinburne Maddison are a genuine pleasure to deal with. Each of our employment law contacts, being Jonathan and Sharney are both very approachable and I would have no reservations about running any issue we have by them. They are both highly knowledgeable, and the workshops they have run have been invaluable to me.’

Key clients

Durham Cathedral

Ramside Estates Limited

The Esh Group

Hargreaves Services plc

St Chad’s College, Durham University

St John’s College, Durham University

The Enquire Learning Trust Limited

Building Design (Northern) Limited

Richard and Julie Bennett

Durham City Rugby Club

Clever Clogs Day Nurseries Limited

Berger Closures Limited

GT Cleaning Machines Limited

Derwentside Trust for Sport and the Arts

AKV Cladding Limited

Singletrack Systems Limited

Teescraft Engineering Limited

Land Technologies Limited

Fusion for Business Limited

St Cuthbert’s Hospice

Merit Estates (Yorkshire) Ltd

Broadacres Housing Association

Premier Community Care Limited

Glenwood Paint Supplies Limited

Interlink Scaffolding Ltd

Yakkr Limited

Moving On (Durham) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising a London-based IT company on a range of cost-saving options in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, including discussions around a possible restructure and the implementation of a limited redundancy programme as well as variations to the salary provisions of various contracts of employment.
  • Representing a client in a high-profile whistleblowing case involving one of the UK’s primium leisure groups.

Endeavour Partnership LLP

The Stockton-based team at Endeavour Partnership LLP not only provides strategic advice to clients, for example on collective redundancy exercises, mergers and acquisitions but also covers business immigration issues and supports clients with Employment Tribunal claims. Practice head Stephen Elliott is described as ‘hugely experienced, efficient in delivering advice’ while key lawyer Theresa Carling draws on long-standing experience in employment law.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Elliott

Other key lawyers:

Theresa Carling; Jessica Thompson


‘One of the key strengths is team work. Every member of the team is happy to help and has a good knowledge of ongoing cases. Technical knowledge is always excellent.’

‘We have used Theresa several times now and would recommend her to anyone. Employment issues are never easy to deal with however Theresa approaches everything in such a calm and easy to understand manner that it really does take the stress away. She is always available to talk no matter when it is.’

‘Community and region-focused, spearheads lots of charitable work and collaboration with local businesses to put Tees Valley on the map. Takes graduates from local universities for their qualifying year as solicitors, and also provides careers guidance for ‘aspiring lawyers’ in local schools. An Employment Tribunal seminar/training for local clients was a particular highlight, before the pandemic struck.’

‘Stephen Elliott, Head of Employment Law Team: Grounded and down-to-earth, hugely experienced, efficient in delivering advice. Also highly skilled at reducing complex legal argument into language readily accessible to a layman. Jessica Thompson, Employment Law Team: Gives comprehensive advice in a timely manner, and is always ready to help. Great to have on your team!’

Key clients

Silverstone Circuits Limited

Yarm School

Tees Valley Combined Authority

Teesside International Airport Limited

Cowie Technology Group Limited

Racz Group

IntelliCentrics UK Limited

JH Mechanical Limited

Essential Healthcare (UK) Limited

South Tees Site Company Limited

Visualsoft Limited

Seymour (Civil Engineering Contractors) Limited

Queen Ethelburga’s College (Queen Ethelburga’s Services Limited)

The Equine & Livestock Insurance Company Limited

Tomahawk Steakhouses Limited

Rio’s Brazilian Steakhouse Limited

Wensleydale Dairy Products Limited

Correll Services Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Silverstone Circuits Limited on an application for a sponsorship licence and in relation to the post-Brexit immigration requirements for the new Head of Business Sustainability, a French national.

Hay & Kilner

The Newcastle-based team at Hay & Kilner provides ‘exceptional’ support to clients, designing and managing HR strategy, advising on disciplinary and grievance matters, terminations, TUPE transfers and reorganisations. Sarah Hall, who draws on deep employment experience, leads the practice together with Sarah Furness, who gives ‘clear and concise advice’.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Hall; Sarah Furness

Other key lawyers:

Tom Clarke


‘The practice offers top of the range services at a cost effective price. They respond to queries in a timely manner and tailor their responses depending on the recipients so are easily understood.’

‘They are very approachable and able to explain themselves clearly to the audience. Sarah Furner, partner and Tom Clarke, solicitor stand out.’

‘Sarah Furness is our main contact, she is always quick to respond and we are never left waiting. This is important in our line of work as issues can arise quickly with a response being required just as quick. Sarah gives clear and concise advice which makes it easy for us to understand the situation and how we should deal with it.

‘From the very start Hay & Kilner have always been extremely professional. I would highly recommend their services to anyone. It is always easy to get to speak to one of the team and they respond to emails quickly. We have previously used alternative HR support; Hay & Kilner have been by far the best. The advice we get is very helpful and we are guided and talked through every step of the way especially when dealing with very sensitive situations. The law changes so frequently so it is important as a business to be able to reach out to experts for advice. Hay & Kilner have also guided us though situations that have arisen during the pandemic. We pay a monthly subscription for the services provided.’

‘Our main contact is Sarah Hall. I cannot praise Sarah enough. She visited our premises initially to introduce herself and we have maintained her as our contact since. Sarah is extremely professional and knowledgeable, she is easy to communicate with and has guided us through different HR situations. If Sarah is unavailable she always makes sure that one of the team is on hand to assist.’

‘I have always found the employment team at Hay & Kilner to be very flexible. They always ensure that they really understand our business issues and the nature of the employment problem so that they can provide clear and commercial advice.’

‘When dealing with employment matters, availability and responsiveness are almost always very important. I have always found the Hay & Kilner employment team to be available, accessible and responsive and able to provide support and advice when needed, whatever the issue or timescale. In particular, our main point of contact, Sarah Furness, has always been available to provide an excellent service.’

‘The team is a joy to work with, in what is usually a stressful time, the team acts promptly and with ease as they assist and support our business in all employment aspects.’

Key clients

Sabic UK Petrochemicals Limited

St Martin’s Care Group

Robson Laidler Accountants Limited

Beamish Museum

NECS UK Limited

Wingrove Motor Company Limited

Renolit Limited

Vale of Mowbray Limited

Darlington Building Society

Rocket Medical Plc

Hyperdrive Innovation Limited

Pyrocel Limited

Advanced Adhesives Limited

Airport Retail UK Limited

NuLeaf Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised St Martin Care Limited on a range of complex employment matters, most significantly on the impact of vaccine mandates for care workers and the complex employment matters arising from this policy.
  • Providing regular employment advice to NECS UK Limited and all associated companies on all HR Matters to this group of companies with a significant number of employees in a demanding and fluid environment.
  • Advised a company on a complex employment tribunal matter based on alleged joint employment with an associated company and successfully ensured the claim was struck out on the basis of no reasonable prospects of success following a number of preliminary hearings in the matter.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP

The Mincoffs Solicitors LLP team in Newcastle advises particularly on reorganisations, compliance and disciplinary matters as well as handling contentious claims. The client base spans employers and individuals, sector strengths include retail, care homes, leisure and construction. Practice head Nick Smith is a ‘trusted advisor’ for clients, covering a range of contentious and non-contentious work, he is supported by solicitor Laura Liddle.

Practice head(s):

Nick Smith

Other key lawyers:

Laura Liddle


‘Mincoffs Employment Team, headed by Nick Smith, provide a highly efficient and reliable resource for our employment law queries. Every query to Mincoffs is dealt with couteously and professionally, and without exception competent and compliant advice is given in written form the same day, and often with a backup telephone call. We particularly appreciate the annual retainer basis for our relations with Mincoffs. This allows us to reliably factor in HR legal costs into our annual budget.’

‘We deal primarily with Nick Smith and Laura Liddle. They are both worthy of superlatives in dealing with any of our Company’s business.’

‘I have found Mincoffs Solicitors to be efficient and dilligent in all aspects of the HR and Property Services they provide. They are particularly suited to extremely delicate matter of HR issues which they expertly deal with in a calm and professional manner. ’

‘Highly responsive, genuine considered advice that is grounded in experience and a measured approach. Always take the time to understand the issues in full and then respond with a range of options with a risk based approach. Documentation is prompt, accurate and timely with greater concern for getting it right rather than ‘ thinking of the fees first ‘ which generates a high sense of trust and confidence. Good range of expertise in the Employment Team and a consistent standard regardless of whom you deal with. Billing always fair .’

‘Nick Smith is a trusted adviser. Quiet approach that allows considered discussions. Up to date and highly responsive. Respected by other firms and by barristers.’

Key clients

Barter Books Limited

Document Risk Solutions Limited

Historic Property Restoration Limited

Thompson Power Tool Services UK Limited

Northern Bear Plc

Komodo Digital Limited

LB Foster Rail Technologies (UK) Limited

Thompson Opticians Limited

Tustain Motors Limited


Work highlights

  • Acting as the general external counsel on all employment matters for Barter Books Limited, advising on a wide variety of matters involving employment and HR law.
  • Acting as the main external employment law counsel for Document Risks Solutions Limited, a fast-growing business based in Newcastle upon Tyne and London, providing advice on a wide range of employment and HR matters.
  • Acting as external employment law counsel for Northern Bear Plc, a AIM listed group,  providing advice on a wide variety of employment and HR related matters.