Firms To Watch: Health and safety

The team at Bevan Brittan LLP is well known for advising public sector clients on healthcare matters, and is also well versed in fire safety.

Health and safety in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP fields a sizeable team and is well known for its expertise in the rail sector. This expertise extends into the aftermath of serious accidents. The team also has particular experience in food safety laws and is well equipped to oversee food safety issues, product liability and advise on relevant regulations. The practice is led by Ann Metherall. Another name to note is Sian Edmunds; she is known for her food and agricultural specialisms. Partner Guy Bastable joined the practice from BCL Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):

Ann Metherall

Other key lawyers:

Chris Jackson; Sian Edmunds; Guy Bastable; Charlotte Whitaker


‘Ann Metherall is hugely knowledgeable, tactically astute and manages client concerns with sensitivity and care. Never loses sight of the bigger picture.’

‘Leading health and safety team – excellent lawyers with exceptional industry knowledge and insight, backed up with superb organisation and hard work. Expertise across the whole range of industries in incident response, criminal investigations and prosecutions, and inquests. An asset to any client.’

‘A team that works together superbly, managed with skill and wisdom, and hardworking and smart from top to bottom.’

‘Ann Metherall – the consummate manager, shrewd, smart, committed and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Sian Edmunds is very reactive and approachable. Her pieces of advice are precise and do not miss any detail.’

‘Guy Bastable is one of the most experienced partners in the field of health and safety and has been specialising in this area his entire career. He is uncompromising on detail and a tough litigator, commanding huge respect.’

‘Charlotte Whitaker shows excellent judgement, legal skill, and an ability to read the room.’

‘Charlotte Whitaker and Ann Metherall are a pleasure to do business with. Their flexibility linked to high quality outputs make them great business partners and I have no hesitation recommending their services to others. Deep subject matter expertise, very practical view on legal risks.’

Key clients

The Crown Estate

FirstGroup PLC

John Lewis Partnership plc

Work highlights

  • Acted for transport operator following a multi-fatality accident during investigations by the police, safety regulator and Coroner.
  • Advised recycling operator during HSE investigation following a fatal accident at its site.
  • Acted for an energy company in relation to a multi-fatality incident during investigations by the police, safety regulator and Coroner.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP has a diverse practice, with health and safety expertise encompassing construction, real estate, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, transport and utilities. Chris Baranowski  has notable expertise advising clients on criminal liability following workplace incidents. He also advises on the management of contractors and risks such as the exposure to asbestos. He co-heads the team with Richard Ottley  who has over 30 years’ experience in both regulatory and crime cases. Clients include key players such as Royal Mail, Asda, Network Rail and Covea Insurance.

Practice head(s):

Chris Baranowski; Richard Ottley

Other key lawyers:

Bridget Sanger; Neil Scott


‘Team is pragmatic, sensible and brave – will focus on key issues, working tirelessly to obtain the best outcome for Insured and insurer.’

‘Very successful teamwork.’

‘They are good with client engagement and their face to face meetings with clients in the regional offices are an unusual and helpful feature for those clients, with the opportunity to have face to face discussions in a fairly informal atmosphere.’

‘Richard Ottley; hardworking, good at digesting detail and businesslike in his approach.’

‘Excellent sector knowledge and experience.’

‘Richard Ottley is a very knowledgeable partner and he has added significant value in all my interactions with him. He takes a very pragmatic approach and is quick to grasp the situation and identify the critical issues to focus on in any health and safety related case.’

‘Very professional and dedicated service. Communication is second to none.’

‘Richard Ottley: We find him extremely personable, competent, informative and responds to questions/concerns within minutes and seems to be available 24/7 for our needs. We would not wish to deal with anyone else.’

Key clients


Covea Insurance

Royal Mail




NFU Mutual

Network Rail


Work highlights

  • Acted for RNLI in a number of inquests relating to drowning incidents at various beaches in 2019.
  • Acted for a construction business in a GNM investigation following the death of one of its directors in a crushing incident.
  • Acted for a scaffolding company during its HSE investigation and inquest concerning the death of an individual practicing par court on the company’s scaffolding.

Osborne Clarke LLP

The team at Osborne Clarke LLP has extensive expertise advising clients on Covid-19 compliance, ESG compliance and fire safety regulations. In addition, the team provides guidance on mental health and wellbeing for employees in the workplace. The practice is led by Mary Lawrence who is a specialist in media and entertainment matters, assisting clients such as ITV, Netflix and Vue Cinemas. Another notable individual is Reshma Adkin, who is well known for her incident management expertise.

Practice head(s):

Mary Lawrence

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Kyle; Georgia Lythgoe; Reshma Adkin; Anna Lundy


‘The Rolls-Royce in this area of work. They deliver a bespoke service of excellent to clients.’

‘All completely responsive, totally on top of client care and bringing expertise to the market at all levels.’

Key clients

ITV plc/ ITV Studios


RWE Generation




Eversholt Rail

Western Power Distribution plc

Vue cinemas




Work highlights

  • Conducted a legal risk review for an international software company’s health and safety management system and advised on the implementation of improvements to ensure compliance.
  • Advised a healthcare services provider to manage various overlapping regulatory investigations arising from the death of a child in a healthcare setting.


TLT has health and safety specialists in a range of areas such as real estate, retail and consumer goods. The team advises on Covid-19 compliance, product safety, asbestos risks and fire safety. The team also has particular expertise in leisure and food and drink matters, and advise pub companies across the country. The team is headed by Kerry Gwyther. He and Duncan Reed have a reputable track record in the handling of fatal incident cases. Jason Cropper is another name to note due to his experience advising solar clients in the clean energy sector.

Practice head(s):

Kerry Gwyther

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Reed; Richard Collie

Key clients

boohoo group Plc

Greene King Plc

Sports Ground Safety Authority

Department of Health and Social Care

Former employees of Rydon Group Limited (Grenfell)

Punch Taverns PLC

Work highlights

  • Advised boohoo Group Plc on a Modern Slavery Act Compliance review following allegations concerning working conditions, breaches of minimum wage and health and fire safety breaches.
  • Advised Sports Ground Safety Authority on its implementation of the Government’s Safe Seating policy including the lawfulness of methods of enforcement, compliant enforcement policy, and the lawfulness of SGSA producing guidance and research linked to its statutory functions.
  • Advised former employees of Rydon Group Limited, who gave evidence to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, and ensured the individuals were appropriately represented and supported in the context of giving evidence via live stream in a Public Inquiry.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

The team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP provides advice across three areas: strategic, compliance and enforcement related. Its strategic advice includes overseeing projects and identifying risks and reputational issues. Its enforcement advice pertains to HSE prosecutions and investigations as well as inquests, whilst they provide compliance advice on legislative changes. The team is lead by Jon Cooper who has longstanding experience representing clients before Courts and the Employment Tribunal. Kevin Elliott joined the practice from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Jon Cooper

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Panton; Ashley Borthwick; Steven Covell


‘The WBD team are our go to firm for all H&S matters. They are responsive, pragmatic and always available. Above all we value the team’s judgement and down-to-earth approach.’

‘We would give a special mention to Jon Cooper and Ashley Borthwick who have an excellent track record and unrivalled knowledge in this area of law. They always deliver clear and actionable advice in a cost effective and prompt manner. They are our go to lawyers in this space.’

‘Jon Cooper remains the guru regulatory lawyer, in particular in health and safety Law. He has recruited an exceptional team.’

‘Jon Cooper and Steve Panton’s ability to align legal advice to commercial operation of the business is unrivalled.’

‘Stephen Panton – excellent case knowledge with proactive approach to client management.’

‘One of the most experiences Health and Safety/Regulatory crime teams in the country. Would be one of my “go to” firms.’

‘Jon Cooper is undoubtedly one of the stars in this area of law. Hugely knowledgably and unrivalled experience.’

Key clients

Babcock International Group

B&Q Plc

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

Post Office Limited

RWE Innogy

Southern Co-operative Limited

Northern Powergrid

Nissan UK Limited Carlsberg UK

Princess Yachts Limited


IBI Group (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Carlsberg in relation to the Police and HSE investigation and prosecution pertaining to an incident which occurred at the Company’s brewery.
  • Advised Local Authority Building Control in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
  • Represented Princess Yachts in an investigation and prosecution by the HSE arising from a serious accident.

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP provides general regulatory advice to private organisations in sectors such as care, road traffic, food safety and the environment. The team is led by Andrew Hopkin who has vast experience acting for corporate bodies as well as individuals before the HSE. Dale Collins  and Nigel Lyons  have a combination of experience in conducting regulatory investigations and advocating before courts.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hopkin

Other key lawyers:

Dale Collins; Nigel Lyons


‘The team is always available. They put in the effort for the client and are client focused rather than self focused. They are very well organised and manage cases exceptionally well.’

‘Dale Collins: Attentive to the clients requirements, understands their needs and achieves the best results for the client either by his own advocacy or impressive tactical negotiation. He is able to do this because he he is empathetic and cares about his clients wanting to succeed for them.’

‘There are a multitude of talented individuals who help clients navigate interactions with the Executive at all stages. From secretarial to advocacy, the team had a depth of experience, intelligence, and skills suitably backed up with access to up to date IT and resources.’

‘Nigel Lyons has an excellent team behind him who are very approachable, resourceful and efficient. Nigel and Browne Jacobson LLP are where I would go if faced with a health and safety issue.’

‘The team covers the full range of issues in this area and to a remarkable degree, works in a close-knit way to give clients a comprehensive and superb service from start to finish. The leadership provided by Andy Hopkins and Nigel Lyons is second to none and with Dale Collins in close support, this is the most formidable team in the South West.’

‘Nigel Lyons and Dale Collins provide an unusual combination of both hard work and determined focus on the client\’s interests. Nobody else does the work in the way this practice and these individuals do it. Quite simply superb.’

Key clients

Classic Builders (South West) Ltd

Work highlights

    Foot Anstey

    Foot Anstey has a team dedicated to the anticipation, prevention and remedy of health and safety matters. Its team is well equipped to review policies and procedures in addition to conducting due diligence. Expertise also includes representing clients before the HSE and local authorities. The team is led by Nathan Peacey; he specialises in regulatory work.

    Practice head(s):

    Nathan Peacey

    Other key lawyers:

    Tim Williamson; Catherine Owlett


    ‘A friendly local firm. Their lawyers are down to earth and hard working. There is none of the arrogance which you sometimes see with the larger firms.’

    ‘Tim Williamson – always keen to understand what the clients want to achieve from the litigation and to explore any escape routes available. As a former barrister himself, Tim has a sensible and realistic approach to litigation.’

    ‘Foot Anstey’s Health and Safety team provide highly capable and practical advice. Tim Williamson’s expertise in this area is to be applauded.’

    ‘Nathan Peacey – responsive and incredibly practical. Completely plugged into our industry and business.’

    Key clients

    Go SkyDive

    Spaceport Cornwall – Cornwall Council

    Work highlights

      Lester Aldridge LLP

      Lester Aldridge LLP splits its focus between both prosecution and defence work. The team is well versed in the handing of prosecution work for the HSE in addition to the Maritime & Coastguard Agency. Its defence work mainly concerns key marine, manufacturing, care and construction players. Michael Veal  leads the practice.

      Practice head(s):

      Michael Veal


      ‘Michael Veal is head and shoulders above many other health and safety practitioners. His knowledge of this area of law is beyond impressive. Combined with a delightful and charming personality means he is a stand out.’

      ‘Michael Veal is an acknowledged expert in the field and someone whose judgement can be relied upon absolutely. His case preparation is meticulous and he brings real value to the conduct of a case. I would recommend him without hesitation.’

      ‘The team has a wealth of experience in managing legal interventions in a range of situations, which can be emotional and stressful for all concerned.’

      ‘The Lester Aldridge team members have a wealth of experience and provide pragmatic advice and reassurance. I would particularly recommend Michael Veal for their straightforward no-nonsense approach.’

      Key clients

      Health & Safety Executive

      Maritime & Coastguard Agency

      Hampshire County Council

      CK IT Solutions Limited

      Work highlights

      • Represented the Health and Safety Executive in the prosecution of Ensure Asbestos Management Limited, Philip Hopwood and Billy Hopwood, following work to asbestos on a construction site.
      • Represented CK IT Solutions Limited and Stephen Chisholm, an IT sector company, in defending a prosecution concerning the safety of electrical accessories.
      • Represented the Health and Safety Executive in investigating and prosecuting following conversion of a property to flats, which resulted in a gas explosion causing life changing injuries to a resident.

      Ashfords LLP

      Ashfords LLP has a full service practice, advising clients on investigation management and press and media management as well as crisis response support. Clients range from public authorities to regional healthcare trusts and food production companies. Ian Manners - who recently joined from DAC Beachcroft LLP - and Ben Derrington  lead the practice.

      Practice head(s):

      Ian Manners; Ben Derrington


      ‘Ian Manners: a keen legal brain and quick to see the issues. He has always demonstrated a good understanding of the link between technical issues and the law.’

      ‘The team at Ashfords has great supporting technical knowledge that allows them to quickly understand and analyse cases. The advice provided is always pragmatic and realistic and is accessible to clients.’

      ‘Ben Derrington is an excellent leader and leaves no stone unturned for his clients. He is particularly strong at technical analysis and long term case management.’

      ‘The Ashfords team gets to know its clients in a comprehensive and unique fashion. Having got to grips with the client’s business, it is uniquely well-placed to steer the client through the difficulties the case may present.’

      ‘Ben Derrington is second to none. His knowledge of client businesses goes before him, both in legal circles and in the commercial community.’

      Work highlights

      • Secured an acquittal for Garry Harbutt, director of Night and Day Glaziers Ltd, for a charge of Gross Negligence Manslaughter following a fatal construction site accident.
      • Represented a transport company at inquest following the death of a child and advised the company of potential health and safety implications and further regulator action.
      • Represented a hospital trust in relation to a regulatory investigation into a fall from height following a patient accessing the roof of a trust building.

      Michelmores LLP

      The team at Michelmores LLP is well equipped to advise on crisis management. They have particular expertise in the handling of workplace fatalities and serious injury cases, whilst  also specialising in marine safety. The team is led by Andrew Oldland.

      Practice head(s):

      Andrew Oldland

      Other key lawyers:

      Jayne Clemens; Scott Love; Katharine Everett Nunns

      Key clients

      Clinton Devon Estates

      W Stevenson & Sons Ltd

      Work highlights

      • Represented Clinton Devon Estates concerning charges of corporate manslaughter following a fatal accident on one of its farms and advised on the police and HSE investigations.
      • Represented W Stevenson & Son Ltd, the UK’s second largest fishing fleet owner, in respect of investigations by the police, HSE, MCA & MAIB into two separate incidents where fatalities occurred.


      RPC is highly regardedfor its insurance expertise, advising on liability and professional indemnity policies. The team also regularly advises on fatalities involving gross negligence and corporate manslaughter. Gavin Reese and Fiona Hahlo lead the practice.

      Practice head(s):

      Gavin Reese; Fiona Hahlo


      ‘Highly specialist, sensitive, and appreciative practitioners, who are a delight and privilege to work for.’

      ‘RPC provide a first rate service for insurance clients. The team combines legal excellence with a commercial approach to both litigation and costs. They combine a warm and collegiate approach to client care and they add real value to every case in which they are instructed.’

      ‘Fiona Hahlo is a outstanding lawyer. She exudes confidence and charm even in the most highly pressurised situation. Her outstanding attention to detail and impeccable judgment makes her the go-to-lawyer for any health and safety prosecution.’

      Key clients

      AXA XL

      Work highlights

      • Advised a Port on a HSE investigation concerning injuries upon a visiting contractor after he fell from the bed of a trailer he was netting.
      • Represented individual director in prosecution for health and safety offences following a fatality from a wall collapse.
      • Represented specialist contractor in HSE prosecution pertaining to another contractor who suffered injuries on site from an installation falling on him.