Employment in North
Boutique employment law firm Collingwood Legal is recognised for its expertise in dealing with complex, high-end disputes, particularly in the education and not-for-profit sectors. In addition, the practice is increasingly instructed by manufacturing, food and sport clients. Led by Paul McGowan, the team of employment-focused practitioners includes specialists in discrimination, #metoo-related cases and whistleblowing, as well as significant experience in training. Notable names are Paul Johnstone, recently promoted senior associate Jane Sinnamon and associate Charlotte McBride.
Humankind (formerly DISC)
Kaefer C & D
Solutions Recruitment Group
Emmanuel Schools Foundation
GT Harvey & Partners
National Golf Club Advisory Association
Projector Brand Communications
- Advised an industrial manufacturing company throughout protracted internal disciplinary proceedings and its defence of an unfair dismissal claim from a (former) remote sales employee of French nationality.
- Assisted the trade association in conducting a comprehensive review of full suite of template documents and guidance notes provided to its national members via its website.
- Advised health sector client BW Medical Accountants with GDPR compliance.
- Guidance on sensitive TUPE transfer following an outsourcing of services for High Voltage Partial Discharge Limited (HVPD).
- Successfully advising an individual in defence of potentially career-ending professional conduct proceedings.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP
Primarily working for employers, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's experienced team has a range of specialists who work in sectors including energy, manufacturing and transport. Practice head Shirley Hall has particular expertise with gender pay gap and equal pay work, while principal associate Jessie Uppal specialises in immigration and Brexit related advice. Also notable in the team is associate Suzanne Caveney, who frequently assists clients with pension scheme changes.
British Broadcasting Corporation
Tata Global Beverages
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Chief Constable of Northumbria Police
Nissan Motor Manufacturing
Northumberland County Council
- Prepared, conducted and successfully defended high-profile proceedings on behalf of Northumbria Police in unfair dismissal, whistleblowing, sex discrimination, disability discrimination and victimisation, which were progressed by the its former Director of Legal Services.
- Instructed to represent Northumberland County Council and individual senior officer and members in tribunal proceedings alleging whistleblowing detriments progressed by a senior officer claimant.
- Representing Northumberland County Council with two separate employment tribunal claims brought by former members of the HR team following a restructure.
Ward Hadaway is experienced in contentious and non-contentious employment law matters, across sectors including social housing, manufacturing, High Court work and trade union issues. Acting mainly for employers, practice heads Jamie Gamble and Paul Scope lead a team that was boosted by the additions of associate James English, who arrived from Hempsons, as well as solicitors Francesca Hawker from Watson Burton LLP and Alex Clark from Square One Law. Also notable is education employment specialist Graham Vials.
Paul Scope; Jamie Gamble
‘The team are very proactive and responsive and take a practical approach to problem solving’
‘Very client focussed and clear’
‘The team members appear to have good working relationships with one another and can provide cover for and support one another’
‘Really practical advice that supports quick decision making – a great team who are well networked and have a strong team ethos so that you can rely on consistency of advice’
‘Graham Vials has been incredibly helpful in various matters and is a pleasure to work with, his advice is always clear, concise and practical and he understands the need to have a view of risks whilst also making recommendations for a sensible way forwards’
‘The individuals that we work with are very personable and diligent. Their knowledge of employment law generates confidence’
‘Stuart Craig, Mark McKeever and Bernard Hodgson provide very good support’
‘Paul Scope is excellent, effective and has a great knowledge of the sector. He is also always timely and pragmatic’
Newcastle United Football Company
NCG – Newcastle College Group
Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK
Merck Sharp and Dohme
Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust
- Assisting in investigations and internal procedures throughout 2018 and significant and frequent liaising with the Head of Integrity and Head of Regulatory Legal at the FA for Newcastle United Football Company
- Advised Connect Health in relation to the employment aspects of a number of multi-million pound NHS-commissioned contracts to provide musculoskeletal physiotherapy services, including in Newcastle/Gateshead, Herts Valley, Brent, Milton Keynes and Croydon.
- Advised Arjo Huntleigh on the set up and implementation of a European Works Council covering its workforces across Sweden, Poland, France, Germany, the Republic of Ireland and the UK.
- Advised the various colleges within the Newcastle College Group (NCG) on various issues, notably an ongoing large scale union dispute related to the removal of incremental pay scales, differences in pay scales across the group and strikes regarding lack of increases/pay increments.
- Advised Home group on various contested TUPE transfers – one in particular involving a local authority and various other care providers where Home group was the outgoing supplier.
Employer firm Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP specialises in a range of sectors including technology, retail, healthcare, education and chemicals. The team is led by unfair dismissal and discrimination claims expert James Wilders, who can call on equal pay and gender pay gap specialist Lorraine Heard. Also notable is associate Alan Kennedy, who is experienced in tribunal representation.
‘Strength in depth’
‘Experienced, pragmatic lawyers’
‘James Wilders is very practical and provides commercial solutions’
Cumberland Building Society
IBM United Kingdom
LSL Property Services
- Advising on the closure of one of a Holiday companies two head offices, involving the redundancy of over 100 members of staff. The work included detailed, hands-on advice on the election of employee representatives, the conduct of collective consultations with those representatives and preparing employee communications.
- Advising an insurance company on the employment and pensions aspects of closing two final salary schemes to future accrual and replacing pension provision with ongoing money purchase accrual.
- Involved in carrying out the due diligence aspects of a transaction, providing advice in respect of any employment issues arising from the transaction and drafting the relevant employment documentation for the directors and non-executive directors for Tekmar Energy
- Assisting US based supply chain solutions leader AIT Global in connection with its acquisition of ConneXion World Cargo, a freight forwarder headquartered in London.
Chris Maddock leads the team at Muckle LLP that includes Tony McPhillips, who is particularly well-known for his national sports related employment practice, and solicitor Roland Fairlamb, who joined from Swinburne Maddison in 2018. The firm has a range of expertise in the area, from executive appointments and terminations to inquiries and investigations, as well as offering bespoke employment law training. The team acts for employers in major commercial fields, notably educational institutions, sporting organisations and charities.
Other key lawyers:
Tony McPhillips; Jill Donabie
‘The team demonstrate a specialised understanding of the education sector, particularly regarding multi academy trusts’
‘They provide a blend of HR, governance and commercial expertise’
‘Solution are pragmatic and well thought out’
‘Jill Donabie has exceptional employment and education knowledge’
Sunderland Association Football Club
The Football Association
Newcastle Building Society
Bishop Auckland College
Bonnier Publishing Group
Education Development Trust
Durham Cricket CIC
Hill & Smith
- Obtained emergency interim relief for an insurance brokerage business to prevent a team move by approximately nine employees to join a competing business. At the time of drafting, High Court proceedings in the matter continue and are likely to continue into 2019.
- Advised an education charity on the transfer in of 200 staff from three different providers as a consequence of a public sector tender win. The outgoing employers refused to co-operate with our client in relation to the transfer process. This required substantial TUPE and restructuring advice within a very short period of time.
- Advised an education charity on issues regarding the conclusion of a senior management secondment in the UAE and the potential considerations around the relocation of the affected employee to Saudi Arabia or their repatriation to the UK.
- Advised A North West manufacturing client on all employment law aspects of a factory-wide restructure of roles and responsibilities across all roles, covering 250 plus employees.
Sintons LLP’s employment practice is led by Keith Land, whose extensive experience includes reorganisations, strategic advice, TUPE and discrimination. He can call on the expertise of associate Ailsa Hobson, newly promoted partner Donna Anderson and associate Angela Carver, who joined from Samuel Phillips Law Firm in 2019. The team focuses on the areas of construction, healthcare, education and charities, as well as specialising in offshore and marine services.
‘The team works hard to understand the requirements an give advice based on risk’
‘The firm balances knowledge of law and need to be commercial, with a genuine interest and commitment’
‘Sintons genuinely wants to get to know the client and tailor their service to its needs’
‘A strong and stable team that is pragmatic, commercially savvy and offer sound reasoned advice’
‘Ailsa Hobson is brilliant. She works hard and ensures advice given is in appropriate, as well as fully explaining any risks’
‘Keith Land is extremely knowledgeable, practical, highly commercial and nearly always has an alternative solution’
Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust
The Percy Hedley Foundation
Mr Stephen Forbes
Hodgson Sayers Limited
CF Motoring Services Limited
Employment Services Partnership Limited
Freeman Clinics Limited
- Steered Eleven Arches through the £31m Kynren project, in which over 1,000 volunteers have been cast and directed by a core production team for three consecutive years. Eleven Arches, having just completed its third year of Kynren has exciting plans to expand to replicate Puy Du Fou’s historical theme park and Sintons is guiding them through the full range of employment matters arising from Eleven Arches’ continued development.
- Advised the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust in connection with a national procurement run by NHS England for the provision of genomic testing services.
- Guided the The Percy Hedley Foundation through workforce initiatives, designed to ensure the long term sustainability of the charitable business, including drafting bespoke contracts and policies to best protect the foundation’s interests as it continues to expand its services.
- Represented Stephen Forbes in his claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination against the GMB union.
- Provided general employment advice to assist the Hodgson Sayers through its day to day operations. Specific matters have included advice in connection with settlement agreements between the company and several employees, the preparation and incorporation of data protection policies and advice in respect of their ongoing apprenticeships.
Watson Burton LLP
Watson Burton LLP focuses on risk management, project work and litigation. Christopher Graham leads a practice whose areas of expertise include TUPE, executive terminations and day-to-day tribunal work. Notable in the team are litigation specialist Jackie Turner, experienced associate Kerry Waters and solicitor Kayleigh Mountford, who joined from Newtons Solicitors Limited and specialises in injunctive relief cases.
Other key lawyers:
Jackie Turner; Kerry Waters
‘Highly professional yet very personable, the team understands the needs of the business, as well as the culture and values’
‘Stand out Chris Graham has a real in depth commercial understanding and approach to employment law’
‘The firm is very responsive, supportive and can really assist in complex situations’
‘Jacqueline Turner has an excellent approach to handling disputes’
David Allen Chartered Accountants
University of Sunderland
Academies Enterprise Trust
The Maersk Company
Gosforth Federated Academies
- Acting on behalf of Academies Enterprise Trust in employment tribunal proceedings brought by a teacher in the maths department of a comprehensive school in Leeds for breach of the duty to make reasonable adjustments.
- Acted on behalf of Academy Trust in the academisation of a large comprehensive school in Newcastle upon Tyne.
- Instructed to act on the sale of a National Training Provider. There were a number of complicating features including the refusal by the purchaser to employ a senior member of staff assigned to the transferring business and an objection to transfer received late in the day from another senior employee.
- Acted on behalf of a container shipping company in employment tribunal proceedings brought by a former employee for unfair and wrongful dismissal following a gross misconduct dismissal for various discriminatory comments on the client’s internal messenger system.
- A telecommunications company employed the defendant as Global CEO who was employed predominantly with a view to securing investment for the client. Following his dismissal for a failure to secure investment, he issued a claim for breach of contract. The claim turned on whether the defendant had agreed to defer salary payments or whether he had agreed to waive them in consideration for share options.
Baines Wilson LLP
Carlisle based Baines Wilson LLP acts for employers in day-to-day advice, managing sickness absence and TUPE support. The team, led by Joanne Holborn, also has expertise in the dismissal of senior executives and discrimination cases, with Tom Scaife and Caroline Rayner particularly experienced in the latter. The practice was strengthened by the arrival of solicitor Paul Carson from R.P Crawford & Co Solicitors in 2018.
‘The team offers practical advice, rather than just legal and straightforward’
‘Baines Wilson is very approachable, engaging and professional. It knows its stuff and is always at hand to listen when help is required’
‘There is a great feeling of inclusiveness and no problem is too small or too great’
‘Excellent current knowledge of employment law and the ability to communicate it to business’
‘Maintain a good and transparent dialogue with the client. Pragmatic and efficient in all responses’
‘The training provided by Tom Scaife, Joanne Holborn and Caroline Rayner is fantastic’
‘Two standout individuals are Joanne Holborn and Tom Scaife in the employment law team’
‘Joanne Holborn adopts a very hands on pragmatic approach to every situation. She knows systems and policies and is able to comment when updates are needed to fit in and adapt to the situations’
‘Tom Scaife is very thoughtful and detailed in his replies. He has a very logical brain which always considers the outcome required’
Natalie Ruane leads the team at Burnetts and specialises in employment advice related to the education sector. Notable in her team is Nigel Crebbin, who oversees the commercial side of the firm’s employment offering. Recently promoted associate Anna Lovett adds expertise in disability discrimination employment tribunal claims, where she acts on the employee side.
‘The team is very knowledgeable and professional and works hard with its clients to ensure it delivers the correct result’
‘The key strength is its balance of the local sector and the key personnel in the region, particularly the current professional associations and trade union personnel
‘Nigel Crebbin is professional, knowledgeable, hard working and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure he delivers for his clients. He quickly understand the issues and offers the correct solutions to those issues’
‘They are calm, considered and enormously helpful to us. Everyone I have dealt with has been fantastic’
Cumbria Education Trust
Cumberland Building Society
Cumbria Waste Group
Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery
Eden Housing Association
St Benedict’s Catholic High School
St Bernard’s Catholic High School
Westfield Primary School
Cumbria Academy for Autism
West Lakes Academy
- Represented Cumbria Education Trust in its high profile acquisition of Whitehaven Academy from the Bright Tribe Trust.
DWF’s practice is led by senior associate Stephen Cairns, who specialises in advice to public and private sector employers on complex HR processes and tribunal claims. Associate Seema Ahmed joined the team from Short Richardson & Forth in 2019. She brings litigation experience, notably in tribunal cases as well as equal pay and union disputes.
Other key lawyers:
Watts Water Technologies
The Automobile Association
Lambert Smith Hampton
2M Group and subsidiaries
Northern Gas & Power
Learning Curve Group
- Advised Immotion Group on their listing as a plc and in particular the employment aspects of that transaction including redundancy advice, production of and negotiation of service agreements, production of settlement agreements and TUPE advice.
- Advised Northern Gas & Power on the management of high value employment tribunal claims and associated injunction proceedings.
- Successfully defended a potentially reputation damaging claim of whistleblowing and unfair dismissal made against Yodel by a former employee.
- Advised Learning Curve Group on their recent acquisition of Profound Group providing (from an employment law perspective) due diligence, advice on risk management and the production of service agreements.
- Advised Q-Park on a variety of employment issues including long term sickness absence, management of disciplinary procedures and redundancy advice.
Hay & Kilner
Hay & Kilner specialises in acting for employers in contentious and non-contentious work, notably reorganisations, corporate support and training. The firm is also experienced in termination packages, as well as representing executives in certain matters. Neil Dwyer leads a ‘responsive and supportive’ team that includes Sarah Hall and Sarah Furness.
‘It is good to work with a practice which has a team of HR support, this works well as there is always contact with somebody’
‘Sarah Hall is very professional and knowledgeable, highly recommended’
‘The team has an ability to grasp your problem immediately and provide practical solutions either proactively or as a result of challenges within the workplace reactively’
‘The ability to call at any time during working hours and gain immediate access to a qualified employment solicitor sets them apart from their competition’
‘Sarah Hall has the ability to provide a sanity check on your existing processes or recommend best practice advise in a way that ensures complete understanding which ensures that the practical application is flawless.’
‘Sarah Hall is approachable and knowledgeable and you feel you can ask any question no matter how strange, to ensure you are providing the best service within your company’
Care Home Business
Construction / Civil Engineering
Haulage / Logistics
Leon & Susan Wright
- Advised on the employment aspects of a hive-up of three care home businesses into the group parent company, including TUPE advice and support.
- A complex employment tribunal claim concerning a construction/civil engineering business was pursued by an ex-employee who alleged that he had been constructively dismissed and also that he was owed contractual monies totally some £35,000. The claim settled on a commercial and favourable basis shortly before the hearing.
- An age discrimination claim was pursued by an existing employee for a haulage/logistics business who alleged that he had been subject to age discrimination when there was an issue with his driving licence and the client refused to offer him driving duties as a result. After a 4 day hearing, the age discrimination claim was dismissed by the tribunal.
- Negotiation of TUPE transfer for a care business with local authority.
- Strategic HR advice and support to a petrochemicals company was provided on various HR issues, successfully avoiding any employment tribunal claims.
Archers Law LLP
Elizabeth Casey leads the practice at Archers Law LLP, known for its commercial support and restrictive covenant work. The firm has experience in contentious tribunal cases and non-contentious matters, specialising in advising employer clients on TUPE, internal procedure and redundancy.
‘Very well connected with the local community for both business and personal affairs’
‘Elizabeth Casey offers practical, solution-focused and timely advice’
‘Friendly, accessible, knowledgeable and keen to work on mutually beneficial, creative solutions to challenges’
‘Archers Law has a multi-disciplined practice, which can cover any and all requirements for any business whether it be a sole trader or a corporate body’
‘Their response time is second to none, they fully realise that when problems occur a business needs to react very quickly’
‘Elizabeth Casey and her team handled issues with both expertise and empathy.
‘Debbie Howes is a very competent assistant’
‘The firm is prepared to offer additional support when required and understands where high quality HR help is needed’
Isotank Services Ltd
Boasso UK Ltd
TC Industries of Europe Ltd
Cleveland Alzheimers Residential Centre Ltd
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)
Rivergreen Developments Plc
Holiday at Home Ltd
Lemon Business Solutions Ltd
NEMS Market Research Ltd
Imperial Workforce Ltd
MSP Legal Services LLP
Garment Quarter Ltd
Covol Engineering Ltd
- Collective Consultation resulting in 2 sites closing and saving the on-going operation of 1 site for the Cleveland Alzheimer Residential Centre
Best known for its employment tribunal service, DAC Beachcroft LLP also has expertise in equal pay claims, TUPE transfers and capability cases involving doctors and executives in the NHS. Guy Bredenkamp leads the team and specialises in major organisational changes, as well as industrial action. Also notable is associate Sarah George, who has particular experience in employment disputes.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is very professional and commercial thinking’
‘Advice is always consistent and mindfully given’
‘No problem is too big or too small’
‘DAC has a specialist healthcare team to match that of any other firm’
‘Specialist knowledge is matched with quality lawyers to produce a high level of service’
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust
North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS FT
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust
North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS FT
Northumberland County Council
- Multiple equal pay claims against an NHS Foundation Trust. Over 1600 equal claims were brought by staff at the client trust in 2006, with an aggregate potential value in excess of £10M. Defended the claims, including representing it as the lead Trust in a national test case on NHS terms and conditions. More than 96% of the claims have been withdrawn or struck out in response to the defences and the small remainder have now been settled.
- Complex unfair dismissal and race discrimination claim from a consultant surgeon.
- Instructed on behalf of a central government department to advise on equal pay and industrial relations issues following a major organisational change.
- Dealing with a serious grievance relating to the behaviour of the chief executive of the Trust. The grievance was resolved effectively and the substantial risks in this matter were successfully avoided.
Specialist in immigration work David Gray Solicitors LLP has particular expertise in entrepreneur visas and assisting foreign nationals with setting up businesses in the UK. Bryony Rest leads the team that has increasing experience with tech companies, as well as the complex cross-border issues around immigration.
Mincoffs Solicitors LLP
Mincoffs Solicitors LLP offers experience in contentious work in courts and tribunals. The firm acts for claimants and respondents, as well as advising clients on day-to-day issues including disciplinary procedures, re-organisations and executive terminations. Nick Smith leads the practice and has a client base that ranges from public limited companies to large SMEs and individual clients. Also notable in the team is associate Robyn Aisbitt.
Other key lawyers:
‘Its strength is the way in which each issue put to it is approached in a solid professional manner and with the utmost integrity’
The team at Mincoffs is very easy to deal with and issues great advice’
‘Nick Smith the epitome of an employment solicitor. His advice and help is second to none’
‘Nick Smith has fine tuned all of our systems regarding HR and was instrumental in implementing our staff handbook and a number of excellent policies’
‘Ailsa Charlton is an able deputy, efficient and a delight to work with’
Nicholson & Morgan Solicitors
All Saints Development
L B Foster Rail Technologies
Total Jobs Group
Tech Fluid UK
Yeshiva Le Zeirim Preparatory Academy
Historic Property Restoration
- Acting as the primary external employment law advisor for Total Jobs Limited on a variety of complex employment law issues.
- Advice on jurisdictional issues and a range of matters including dealing with disciplinary and performance related, as well as the management and successful negotiation of the exiting of senior executives and managers for L B Foster Rail Technologies
- Dealing with a variety of employment law issues ranging from equality law to redundancies and re-organisations and also advice on disciplinary and performance related matters and TUPE for Perfect Image
- Advising this firm of Nicholson & Morgan Solicitors in relation to specific employment law matters for its clients including the preparation and drafting of new documentation and advice on specific employment law related disputes.
- Advising All Saints Development (North East) in respect of specific issues arising in relation to TUPE and how to manage and mitigate the risks of any issues arising as a result of separate TUPE transfers.
Short Richardson & Forth
Short Richardson & Forth specialises in contentious work, acting primarily for claimants. On the defendant side the firm has experience representing SMEs and PLCs. Practice head Max Winthrop leads a team that includes discrimination and TUPE expert David Gibson.
Other key lawyers:
Acting for employers and employees, Swinburne Maddison specialises in litigation, particularly in matters arising from the education sector. The ‘outstanding’ Jonathan Moreland leads the practice and is ‘extremely knowledgeable and professional’. His team was boosted by the arrival of solicitor Sharney Randhawa, who joined in 2018 from Bindmans LLP and has expertise in professional discipline.
Other key lawyers:
‘A very personal and friendly company’
‘The team shows knowledge and compassion, making all legal issues clear to in an easy to understand way’
‘The service was efficient, professional and worth every penny’
‘The firm is consistently decisive with problem solving and inspires confidence that the advice is always of a high quality’
‘Jonathan Moreland is very responsive and enormously helpful’
‘Jonathan Moreland offers a calm, friendly and precise service, I cannot rate his work highly enough’
Durham City Rugby Football Club
The Enquire Learning Trust
The Esh Group
GT Cleaning Machines
St Chad’s College, Durham University
St John’s College, Durham University
Richard & Julie Bennett
Clever Clogs Day Nurseries Limited
Derwentside Trust for Sport and the Arts
Building Design (Northern) Limited
Building Design (Northern) Limited
AKV Cladding Limited
Singletrack Systems Limited
Teescraft Engineering Limited
Churchview Dental Practice
Get Carter Productions
- Successfully represented client in claims brought by a former employee relating to a ‘heat of the moment’ resignation.
Cartmell Shepherd handles contentious and non-contentious employment matters, notably handling data protection work and providing corporate support for M&A and transfers. Discrimination specialist Joanne Stronach is practice head and can call on the litigation expertise of director Mark Aspin. Also notable is Claire Davies, who has particular experience in corporate related work, advising on the employee aspects of acquisitions, disposals and company reorganisations.
Endeavour Partnership LLP covers a broad range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters, notably tribunal claims for unfair or constructive dismissal and complex discrimination claims. The firm also has a particular specialism in business immigration law. Stephen Elliot leads the team and his expertise in the area includes data protection and pension issues.