Burges Salmon LLP‘s ‘excellent reputation‘ in the health and safety sphere stems from a sizeable and highly regarded team with ‘strength across the board from partner to trainee level‘. The firm is particularly well known for its work in the rail sector; the arrival of senior associate Ben Davies from the Office of Rail and Road in May 2022 further highlighted the group’s commitment in this field. Ann Metherall heads up the practice, as well as overseeing the firm’s disputes offering. Charlotte Whitaker, who was promoted to partner in May 2023, has particular expertise in handling multi-fatality incidents, another area of expertise for the department. Senior associate Sam Aldous ‘embeds himself in every case he does‘.
Health and safety in South West
Other key lawyers:
Chris Jackson; Guy Bastable; Charlotte Whitaker; Sam Aldous; Ben Davies
‘Hugely efficient and experienced team, with strength across the board from partner to trainee level. A go-to firm.’
‘Ann Metherall – brilliant brain, great judgment, complete commitment. Charlotte Whitaker – excellent, superb at managing a case and identifying key strengths and weaknesses.’
‘Charlotte Whitaker always has both a great rapport with her client and an eagle eye for the detail. Guy Bastable is the original health and safety lawyer, never misses a trick and knows the law inside out.’
‘I have worked with Ben Davies – his relaxed manner belies a sharp intellect and comprehensive understanding of this area of law. I would recommend him highly.’
‘They have have an excellent reputation in providing robust legal support. Their tailored approach is impressive, which, combined with a strong industry knowledge and understanding of client needs, always makes them stand out from others.’
‘In particular I would mention Charlotte Whitaker and Ann Metherall, both of whom I have engaged with extensively with over the years. Both individuals exude a high degree of knowledge and solutions offered are always well researched, considered, and articulated in a clear, concise and confident manner. You always feel assured that Ann and Charlotte have the clients’ interests at the heart of everything they do.’
‘Guy Bastable is formidable. He represents large corporate clients and is always realistic in his advice and representation. He is commercially astute and tactically savvy but always realistic. He is able to explore creative options during the investigatory stage to best position the case for his clients.’
‘Sam Aldous embeds himself in every case he does. He is bright and knows his cases well, but provides realistic and grounded advice.’
The Crown Estate
John Lewis Partnership plc
- Acting for a transport operator, following a multi-fatality accident, during investigations by the police, safety regulator and coroner.
- Representing a recycling operator during an HSE investigation following a fatal accident at its site.
- Acting for an energy company in relation to a multi-fatality incident during investigations by the police, safety regulator and coroner.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
With expertise spanning the construction, real estate, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, leisure, transport and utilities sectors, DAC Beachcroft LLP is regularly instructed to handle the gamut of health and safety cases, including those with an environmental element. The team is also noted for its non-contentious strength, and typically leverages the firm’s breadth to provide cross-departmental regulatory advice. Chris Baranowski oversees the national practice from the Leeds office, with Richard Ottley taking the helm in Bristol. In January 2023, the group benefitted from the arrival of legal director Peter James, formerly of Clyde & Co.
Richard Ottley; Chris Baranowski
Other key lawyers:
Neil Scott; Peter James
‘The team is ahead of the curve, pre-empting potential issues that may arise, and providing solid and useful advice to protect clients, in a situation where they may feel pressured by the external investigations ongoing.’
‘Richard Ottley – a fantastic and personal service is always offered and the way he approaches clients is always perfect and always what is needed in the circumstances.’
Somerset County Council
At Osborne Clarke LLP, ‘the team is never phased‘; the practice is wide-ranging, but is particularly well known for its inquests and inquiries, internal investigations, crisis management and cross-border expertise. Recently, the group has seen a marked increase in building and fire safety work, for which it has also long been highly regarded. Practice head Mary Lawrence is most frequently instructed by notable clients from the media and entertainment sector. The team fields a number of regulatory crime experts, including Matthew Kyle and senior associate Georgia Lythgoe.
Other key lawyers:
Matthew Kyle; Georgia Lythgoe; Reshma Adkin; Matthew Vernon
‘The team are really friendly, knowledgeable about our business and really approachable. We sometimes bring up issues that are very production specific and left-field; the team is never phased and offer professional and timely advice.’
‘I work most closely with Mary Lawrence. She is wonderful. Approachable, knowledgeable and professional.’
‘Understanding of our context, curiosity and partnership approach.’
‘Mary Lawrence has been fantastic to work with and has been a real thought-partner with challenges.’
National Grid Electricity Distribution
TLT‘s specialised team is particularly valued for its expertise in the leisure, food and drink, clean energy, real estate and retail spheres. Kerry Gwyther heads up the firm’s national commercial regulatory practice, regularly assisting with compliance issues and handling investigations. Solicitor advocate Duncan Reed is the name to note for contentious work, and is noted for his ‘innate understanding of the client‘. In December 2022, the arrival of Nicola Mead-Batten from Capital Law Limited further strengthened the group’s capabilities in the public sector.
Other key lawyers:
Duncan Reed; Nicola Mead-Batten; Richard Collie
‘Duncan Reed is calm and measured with a sense of humour. He has an innate understanding of the client (and makes the effort to get to know the client) and provides clear, practical advice on complex matters. Follow-up is also always good.’
JD Sports Plc
Keolis Amey Metrolink
Greene King Plc
Sports Ground Safety Authority
Department of Health and Social Care
Punch Taverns PLC
British Solar Renewables
Manchester Airport Group
G. Network Communications Limited
- Advising Greene King on various health and safety and regulatory matters, including food safety and hygiene, gas and electrical safety, anti-social behaviour, noise, statutory compliance testing, and Equality Act compliance.
- Advising the Sports Ground Safety Authority on the implementation of the government’s safe seating policy, including advising on the lawfulness of various methods of enforcement, the development of a compliant enforcement policy, and the lawfulness of the client producing guidance and research linked to its statutory functions.
- Advising Punch Taverns on various ongoing compliance issues arising in relation to health and safety.
Ashfords LLP is instructed by clients of all sizes, including multinational food production companies, national water providers, public authorities, and regional healthcare trusts. Representation at inquests following fatal injuries or care-related suicides, crisis management, and advice in relation to building and fire safety regulations are all particular areas of strength. Ian Manners heads up the practice. Lara Moore, who leads the marine and transport department, brings her expertise in port and harbour-related work to the team.
Ian Manners; Lara Moore
Other key lawyers:
Cappagh Public Works Ltd
Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, Cornish Mutual Insurance and Educating Safely LLP
EHSL Supported Housing
Farm Partnership / Cornish Mutual
Cattewater Harbour Commissioners
- Representing a London-based recycling company in a HSE investigation into a serious accident at a material recovery facility.
- Representing an NHS Trust in a regulatory investigation into a serious incident following a fall from height on the trust estate by a patient.
- Providing crisis management advice and ongoing representation to a farming partnership in relation to a police and HSE investigation into a fatal accident on Dartmoor.
With a client base spanning both the private and public sectors, Browne Jacobson LLP is well placed to handle the gamut of issues stemming from fatal and non-fatal accidents, as well as advising on health and safety matters arising from food handling, environmental factors, and road traffic work. ‘Ultimate leader‘ Andrew Hopkin oversees the national practice from the Nottingham office, while ‘in the South West the flag is carried to excellent effect‘ by Exeter-based Dale Collins and Nigel Lyons. Solicitor-advocate Collins brings 10 years’ experience as a prosecutor for HSE to the team, and Lyons leverages his criminal law background to act in contentious regulatory mandates.
Other key lawyers:
Dale Collins; Nigel Lyons
‘Extensive involvement in all aspects of cases across the board provides confidence in their knowledge and expertise so that nothing is missed. Broad range of expertise which remains undiluted.’
‘A personal approach by appropriately qualified lawyers ensures ownership of cases leading to detailed, pragmatic, sensible and legally sound advice; fully explained and crystal clear. This allows for focused decision-making through the progress of a case. All carried out with a personable and empathetic attitude to the client and their position.’
‘Dale Collins has an encyclopaedic knowledge which he deploys with tactically astute skill. A personable approach ensuring the client is ‘listened to’ and their case heard as they desire it to be. Hard working. Always on top of his brief. Approachable, sensible and a skilled advocate. Top drawer performer.’
‘They have a raft of expertise and experience in dealing with a wide range of individuals and companies throughout their involvement with various agencies and the executive. They provide a safety net and comfort blanket of exceptional quality. Their team is varied in age and resourcefulness, with someone with the appropriate skills to meet all needs in this area.’
‘Nigel Lyons heads a team with professionalism, enthusiasm, utter commitment, and extracts from his team the absolute best. Nigel is a very approachable practitioner whose personal dedication and determination shines through and is reflected throughout his team who obviously respect and enjoy working for this incredibly personable lawyer. He is a dogged advocate for his clients and will always go way over and above to achieve the best outcome.’
‘Nobody can match their energy, thoughtfulness and commitment to their clients. The team leader is quite simply at the very top of the tree and he is exceptionally well supported by the partner and associate team.’
‘Andrew Hopkin is the ultimate leader in every sense and in the South West the flag is carried to excellent effect by Nigel Lyons and Dale Collins.’
‘The partner team has a deep and sincere interest in the client’s needs and as a result clients feel – correctly – that they could not possibly be better looked after.’
Classic Builders (South West) Ltd
The wide-ranging practice at Foot Anstey spans strategic and operational advice, support with investigations and enforcement actions, and defence against prosecutions initiated by the HSE and local authorities. Nathan Peacey leads on the regulatory side, and has extensive experience assisting with risk management, compliance and corporate governance matters. ‘Superb‘ legal director Tim Williamson is the key contact for contentious work, and is instructed by clients from the gamut of sectors to represent them in criminal and civil cases.
Other key lawyers:
‘I can say that Foot Anstey keep you very well informed with progress and give you great confidence that they will achieve what you need them to. Over the years we have used a number of law firms for our prosecutions and by far Foot Anstey has been the easiest to deal with and, at times, overdelivered, making sure of a successful outcome.’
‘Tim Williamson is exceptional when dealing with prosecution matters for the Statutory Harbour Authority. He is very quick to respond to questions and has a 100% success rate for prosecutions.’
‘Foot Anstey provide practical advice which is value for money.’
‘Tim Williamson is a pleasure to work with. His knowledge and experience are superb and he is provides an excellent client service.’
‘Nathan Peacey is a practical. Fights hard when the circumstances demand.’
Port of London Authority
Poole Harbour Commissioners
Signet Trading (H Samuel)
RPC‘s ‘strength and depth allows the team to effectively offer a seamless service‘ which spans both the contentious and regulatory sides. The group regularly deals with fatal cases, including gross negligence and corporate manslaughter investigations. Gavin Reese and Fiona Hahlo are the key contacts; the former is singled out by one client as a ‘perfect practitioner‘, while the latter, who made partner in May 2022, is described as ‘a terrific asset in every case in which she is instructed‘.
Gavin Reese; Fiona Hahlo
Other key lawyers:
‘RPC has a very strong health and safety team with huge experience in representing both individuals and companies facing serious health and safety prosecutions.’
‘Their strength and depth allows the team to effectively offer a seamless service covering regulatory prosecutions, civil claims and inquests.’
‘Gavin Reese is the perfect practitioner. Outstanding judgment and tactical acumen, allied with a forensic eye for detail, always ensures great results.’
‘Fiona Hahlo is a terrific asset in every case in which she is instructed. Works extremely hard and especially adept at understanding technical, expert evidence. Adds real value into every case.’
‘Really in-depth team covering a range of sectors.’
‘Gavin Reese leads with calm authority.’
‘Fiona Hahlo marshals the expert evidence superbly.’
- Represented the director of a structural engineering company in a prosecution for health and safety offences following a fatality resulting from a wall collapse.
- Acted for a window frame manufacturer following an accident on a construction site which led to an employee being very seriously injured.
Bevan Brittan LLP‘s expertise spans both non-contentious advice and representation in proceedings, with the team acting equally comfortably for local authorities prosecuting, and for private and public sector organisations defending. Practice head Adam Kendall, who oversees the offering from the Birmingham office, ‘approaches his cases in an intelligent and analytical way‘. In April 2022, the firm gained legal director Louise Mansfield from Pinsent Masons LLP; operating nationally, she expertly handles the gamut of criminal regulatory matters. In Bristol, Hannah Taylor and Carlton Sadler are the key senior contacts.
Other key lawyers:
Hannah Taylor; Carlton Sadler; Louise Mansfield
‘Adam Kendall is an excellent practitioner. He brings his commercial nous into the sector and approaches his cases in an intelligent and analytical way. His client care is excellent and is suitably tough in dealing with the regulator. Always gives clients good, practical advice. Fights winnable cases hard and will compromise where necessary.’
‘Highly professional, engaging and knowledgeable team with a good insight into the housing sector.’
‘Adam Kendall and Louise Mansfield have supported us for a number of years and grown a deep understanding of our needs within our sector and how they can assist and advise on matters raised.’
Reading Borough Council
- Represented Reading Borough Council in the health and safety prosecution of multiple defendants, including a major retailer, following the death of a young child in a store.
Following the departure of Michael Veal to take up a judicial role in January 2023, the offering at Lester Aldridge LLP has been under the leadership of Laura Guntrip, who oversees both the healthcare team, and the regulatory and business crime department; her area of niche expertise lies in social care, including advising on matters relating to the safety of people in receipt of care services. The team is differentiated by its equal balance between prosecution and defence work.
Health & Safety Executive
Maritime & Coastguard Agency
Hampshire County Council
CK IT Solutions Limited
- Representing the Health and Safety Executive in the prosecution of Ensure Asbestos Management following work to asbestos on a construction site.
- Defending an IT sector company and its director in a prosecution concerning the safety of electrical accessories.
- Representing a care home operator in relation to the death of a care home resident who fell from a window and died, including representation at the inquest and in the subsequent criminal investigation by the Care Quality Commission.
Helmed by Andrew Oldland KC, an experienced advocate who has previously held a number of senior regulatory and prosecution posts, the team at Michelmores LLP has notable experience when it comes contentious health and safety mandates. Fatality and serious injury cases in the workplace are a particular area of strength, as is marine safety. Jayne Clemens and associate Scott Love complete the roster of key names.
Andrew Oldland KC
Other key lawyers:
Jayne Clemens; Scott Love
Clinton Devon Estates
W Stevenson & Sons Ltd
- Represented Clinton Devon Estates in a HSE investigation into a fatal accident on one of its farms, and acted in the successful defence of the client on charges of corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences following a five-week trial at Exeter Crown Court.
- Representing W Stevenson & Son in investigations by the police, HSE, MCA and MAIB into two separate incidents where fatalities occurred.