Health and safety in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP's health and safety practice has a standout reputation in the transport and construction sectors. In addition, the firm is becoming increasingly well-known in the chemicals, agricultural, engineering, manufacturing and renewables industries. Also notable is that it is prominent in the food sector; the practice covers all safety issues, including contamination, liability and product recall. The team has a wealth of expertise in criminal and civil matters arising from health and safety incidents; practice head Ann Metherall, who has a strong track record in rail sector health and safety,  is experienced in police and regulatory investigations, and public inquiries.

Practice head(s):

Ann Metherall

Other key lawyers:

Sian Edmunds; Chris Jackson


They have a tremendous presence in the rail & transport sectors and are able to tailor health & safety advice to the needs of their clients as a consequence of the industry knowledge they possess

They have an excellent knowledge of the rail industry

We rate their depth of experience in Health and Safety combined with real knowledge, experience and understanding of industries

In regulatory investigations that I have been involved in with Burgess Salmon over many years I have learned to appreciate the skill and expertise of Ann Metherall and Chris Jackson in particular

Ann is a very astute lawyer and Chris Jackson knows the rail industry like the back of his hand

Ann Metherall has exceptional experience of the rail sector which makes her input hugely valuable to clients

Key clients

The Crown Estate

London and South Eastern Railways

FirstGroup PLC

John Lewis Partnership plc

Work highlights

  • Ongoing advice to a major construction company in connection with an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive following a major structure failure.
  • Advising a train operating company during the British Transport Police (BTP) and Office of Rail and Road (ORR) investigations into the death of a passenger at the platform/train interface.
  • Acting for one of the Core Participants in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, in relation to their collation, review and analysis of evidence for submission to the Inquiry.
  • Ongoing advice to a client on all aspects of its response to a high-profile, multi-fatality transport incident, including in relation to investigations by the investigating body, regulator, and police.
  • Acting on a claim against a supplier for losses arising from a significant product recall in the food and drink sector.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP primarily acts for insurers in health and safety cases, and has been appointed to a number of insurer panels to provide ongoing support to clients. The practice's national coverage permeates the construction, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, transport and public sectors. The team advises clients on regulatory issues, corporate manslaughter investigations and offences. Another driver of work involves advising corporate entities and directors on health and safety obligations, particularly within workplaces and public spaces. Practice head Richard Ottley specialises in serious regulatory investigations and criminal prosecutions, and has extensive crisis management experience. Senior associate Ian Manners is highly experienced in acting for corporate and insured companies, and is recommended for his expertise in the construction, manufacturing and health and social care sectors.

Practice head(s):

Richard Ottley

Other key lawyers:

Ian Manners


DAC Beachcroft’s Bristol office is a centre of excellence in the area of Health and Safety in the region and cannot be matched for its strength in depth. They handle cases not only in their area but are frequently called in by reputation to cover incidents and investigations throughout the country. We see them as the number one firm in the region

This is an excellent team of health and safety practitioners. They respond immediately to instructions and, as a result secure distinct advantages for the client. Detailed instructions and submissions significantly improve the prospects for the Clint in the longer term

The team is the epitome of organised, focused and client-centred. They juggle the potentially conflicting obligations to Insured and insurer with care, ensure that both clients are kept informed and understand the issues

I would recommend them for their strength in depth, expertise, knowledge of similar cases, very good understanding of my sector, diligence, organisation and responsiveness

Richard Ottley commands respect amongst health and safety lawyers. He is robust in his advice and when dealing with enforcement agencies. He works extremely hard and secures excellent results. His response time is exceptional

Richard Ottley lives and breathes Health and Safety. There is not a situation or problem that he has not seen and resolved in his practice

The exceptionally gifted associate Ian Manners has an increasingly national reputation which makes him a lawyer to watch. He is remarkably unflappable and manages to calm even the most excitable client

Neil Scott knows the law inside out and has substantial big trial experience, he is the ‘go to’ solicitor for a number of big construction firms when the regulator comes calling

I would thoroughly recommend Ian Manners for his calm and authoritative approach. He leads by example and it is clear that his team are imbued with his ethos and management style

I would unreservedly recommend Ian Manners to any client facing a health and safety charge

Over the last 3 years Ian has provided very clear and timely advice, both verbally and in writing. He has been very flexible in terms of attending meetings.  I also appreciated Ian’s support for me on a personal level at what was at times a very challenging process. It also helps that Ian is a thoroughly decent human being. All in all, Ian is a credit to Beachcroft

Key clients

Aster Group

Royal Mail


Saint Gobain

Unite Students

University Hospitals Bristol

Spire Healthcare

Shield Environmental Limited

Lorne Stewart Plc

Work highlights

  • Defended Aster Group in criminal proceedings brought following the death of a child in a home lift.
  • Successfully assisted a client with securing an acquittal of a health and safety charge following the death of a spectator at a cycling event.
  • Representing a small construction company following the death of an employee at a construction site at a large local shopping centre.
  • Advising a healthcare company following the death of a service user at their premises.
  • Representing a large engineering company following significant injury on site

Lester Aldridge LLP

Lester Aldridge LLP predominantly focuses on regulatory and business crime, and undertakes prosecution work principally for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), but also acts for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and local authorities. Practice head Michael Veal is a well-known name in the health and safety sphere, and handles prosecutions for the HSE throughout the South West of England and South Wales. In addition, the firm also defends commercial clients and public bodies in investigations and health and safety trials.

Practice head(s):

Michael Veal

Other key lawyers:

Guy Gosheron


The team Lester Aldridge is responsive and friendly with a real depth of expertise

My dealings with the team have always been simple and straightforward. The H&S department clearly knows what it is doing

This is a totally professional and hard-working team who know what they are talking about and are respected by everyone for that

I work a lot with Michael Veal. He is a fantastic lawyer with a great depth of knowledge of his subject. He thinks deeply about his work and provides sensible, commercially-sound advice to his clients. He is tactically astute and works extremely hard

Michael Veal is very well regarded. He provides significant input into the decision-making processes, the securing of relevant evidence and strategy

Michael Veal is widely recognised to be one of the pre-eminent Health and Safety Lawyers. His knowledge of the law is hugely impressive, but he also has sound judgment and a pragamatic approach. Unlike many solicitors in this field, he is not distracted by the technical aspects of the evidence but quickly identifies what is important to the successful resolution of the case

Michael Veal is a powerhouse of knowledge – both in practice and procedure as well as the law. He is always fully seized of all the case facts and knows how to get the best results. Other lawyers and judges know they can trust him and know that he will work tirelessly to achieve aims. He gives realistic advice on outcomes where necessary

Key clients

Health & Safety Executive

Maritime & Coastguard Agency

Torbay Council

Work highlights

  • Acted for the HSE in the prosecution of Synergy Housing Limited, Aster Property Limited and Orona Limited following the death of a child in a home lift.
  • Acted for the HSE in the prosecution of a major manufacturer, Whirlpool UK Appliances Limited, following a fatality at a factory in Bristol.
  • Acted for the HSE in the prosecution of Tata Steel UK Limited and Rowecord Total Access Limited following an incident at steelworks in Port Talbot.
  • Acted for the HSE in the prosecution of a company specialising in cliff stabilisation and its director following reports of diagnoses of hand arm vibration syndrome in workers.
  • Acted for the HSE in the prosecution of Capstone Buildings Limited and Stephen Ayles following a fatal incident on a construction site in Dorset.

Osborne Clarke

Osborne Clarke's health and safety practice has a first-rate reputation in contentious and non-contentious matters, where it acts for UK and multinational blue-chip clients; a significant portion of its work comes from clients in the transport, energy and utility, retail and financial services industries. The scope of the practice covers crisis management, internal investigations, inquests, advice on fire safety risks and mental health risks. Mary Lawrence has a particular specialism in crisis management and contentious health and safety cases, and is sought out in UK and international health and safety investigations. Associate director Matthew Kyle is a recent hire from Burges Salmon LLP.

Practice head(s):

Mary Lawrence


Osborne Clarke are very good, we tend to see them and their cases are often on the news

We rate Mary highly, she’s leading a strong practice

Key clients

RWE Generation

Western Power Distribution

Wales and West Utilities

Leonardo Helicopters

Vue Entertainment Limited

Eversholt Rail

Barratt Developments

Marks and Spencer

St Modwen Properties

Bureau Veritas

Work highlights

  • The team is representing RWE in relation to the high-profile Didcot power station collapse, which occurred in February 2016.
  • Acting for Vue Entertainment Limited following the death of a cinemagoer who became stuck under an electric reclining seat.
  • Advising a client following the death of an employee after a fatal electrocution at work.
  • Representation of RWE Generation UK at inquest relating to the death of a London Ambulance Service engineer from a fungal disease.


The health and safety team at TLT provides strategic advice to a number of regional and national clients. It advises on policy reviews, safety issues and provides support at inquiries. Key clients come from a range of industries, including construction, waste management, media and retail. Kerry Gwyther, who heads up the commercial regulatory practice, has experience of handling multi-party litigation, regulatory compliance, investigations and prosecutions.

Practice head(s):

Kerry Gwyther

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Reed


‘Duncan Reed is the standout individual in the team, with substantial experience in the area. His easy, confident manner underlies his iron determination to get the best result for the client. He is known by both other solicitors and counsel who operate in the area as the man for the big case.’

Key clients


Punch Taverns

Managers/Employees of of Rydon Group Limited

Greene King plc

Aurium Capital Markets


Pennon Group

Biffa Waste

The Co-Operative Group

Work highlights

  • Continuing to advise WHSmith Plc on legal issues arising from the recall of a number of travel adapters internationally.
  • Ongoing advice to Punch Taverns, including recently advising in connection with an incident in which a child was seriously injured on a bouncy castle.
  • Advising a number of individuals who have been asked to give evidence to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
  • Providing legal support to Greene King in connection with decontamination work carried out at their leasehold premises in Salisbury.
  • Assisted Aurium Capital Markets with an assessment of health and safety risks associated with its acquisition of an anaerobic digestion plant in Scotland.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP acts for major commercial clients in Health and Safety Executive (HSE) cases, as well as advising the HSE itself in investigations. The firm has a strong track record in crisis management in the context of particularly high-profile health and safety incidents. The team also plays a key role in strategic board-level decisions, advising key clients on project planning and the identification of risks, international operations and supply chain management risks. Practice head Jon Cooper's experience encompasses the full range of health and safety work, and he offers strategic and governance advice, in addition to representing clients in the prosecution and defence of high-profile claims.

Practice head(s):

Jon Cooper

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Covell; Stephen Panton


Womble Bond Dickinson have vast experience and knowledge, and are incredibly responsive, practical, and understand corporate sensitivities. They are capable of engaging at any level of company with any discipline, approachable and friendly. We would not hesitate to recommend them

Womble Bond Dickinson provide excellent advice in health and safety matters. They have very good strength in depth and provide thorough, detailed and thoughtful advice. Their lawyers are able to distill complicated and voluminous material in a way that is helpful and practical. They are a first-rate firm who are instructed in serious and complex cases

In addition to being a highly competent advocates in matters relating to health, safety and environmental law, the team are also excellent partners in crisis management. The team can be trusted to deal respectfully with my internal clients, which makes my job much easier, while making me look good. They are also able to simplify complex legal issues and put clients at ease, which is uncommon in our profession

Jon Cooper simply gets it. He knows and can anticipate your specific requirements and provide the exacting advice without any fuss or fanfare

Jon Cooper is arguably the best in the business; he knows not just the law but predicts the application of it accurately

Steve Panton is a completely safe pair of hands, very knowledgeable, responsive, practical

Jon Cooper is an expert in his field and great to work with. He is an excellent tactician, who is able to look at a case from all angles, and very knowledgeable. His ability to communicate complex and technical matters in a clear, concise and practical way is a real skill and makes him popular with clients

Ashley Borthwick has a keen eye for detail, is thoughtful, and provides prompt and thorough advice. He is very responsive, diligent and collaborative in his approach

The depth of expertise that Jon Cooper brings to his health and safety practice is invaluable. Most importantly, Jon uses his expertise to provide clients with thoughtful, efficient and practical advice

Jon’s ability to provide bespoke advice on urgent matters in a timely way sets him apart from his peers

Key clients

Babcock International Group (including Babcock Networks, Babcock Rail and Babcock Marine (DRDL))

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited

B&Q Plc

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

Post Office Limited

RWE Innogy

Northern Powergrid

Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited

General Motors

Calderys UK Limited

Carlsberg UK

Senvion UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Continue to represent the HSE in the ongoing investigation and prosecution arising from the explosions at Pembroke Oil Refinery in June 2011, which resulted in multiple deaths.
  • Advising Carlsberg on an ongoing Police and Health and Safety Executive investigation into an ammonia gas leak incident at a brewery in Northampton, which resulted in a fatality and numerous injuries.
  • Represented Calderys UK Limited in an investigation and prosecution by the HSE relating to alleged breaches of health and safety legislation concerning its refractory lining operations.
  • Represent a client in an investigation and prosecution brought by a district council arising from an incident at one of the client’s stores.

Bevan Brittan LLP

Bevan Brittan LLP predominantly acts for public sector clients, including NHS trusts, ambulance trusts, local authorities and housing associations. Simon Lindsay is the key name in the Bristol office.

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP advises both public and private sector clients on all health and safety aspects of fatal and non-fatal accidents. Its team's public sector experience includes prosecuting cases for local authorities and fire authorities, as well as appearing in inquests and investigations. The group also provides regulatory advice to clients on food safety, the environment and the care sector. Exeter-based Dale Collins, who had more than ten years of experience serving as a prosecutor advocate for the HSE, is a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Andy Hopkin

Other key lawyers:

Dale Collins


The key features with this practice are that it combines a genuine national reach with a truly intimate knowledge of business, government and regulation across the south-west. It brings an unusual combination of astute muscularity to its client’s needs – identifying what needs to be done – and getting it done! There is no other firm in the region that comes close to what Browne Jacobson has to offer

The partners heading up this operation, Nigel Lyons and Dale Collins, bring their enormous and diverse skills to bear on solving and sorting the client’s needs. They have a unique combination of commonsense and excellent legal judgement, which marks them out from every competitor. Clients who have them on their side feel confident and they are right

Key clients

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue

Work highlights

  • Representing a south-western construction company in an HSE investigation  after a sub-contractor suffered a serious injury.
  • Representing a farm owner facing charges under the Health and Safety Act following an incident on his farm.
  • Representing the owner of a care home which has been accused by a relative of a resident of failing in its duty in respect of an elderly resident who died in its care.

Foot Anstey

The health and safety team at Foot Anstey has extensive expertise in handling prosecutions for the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities. The team also provides strategic and operational advice, as well as corporate due diligence. Practice head Nathan Peacey specialises in regulatory work, and advises clients on risk management, compliance and the defence of regulatory crime.

Practice head(s):

Nathan Peacey

Key clients

Royal Shakespeare Company

Eden Project Ltd

Livewell Southwest

British Solar Renewables

Brend Hotels

Football Safety Officers’ Association

Farms for City Children

Ashton Gate Limited

Cornwall Care


Princess Yachts

Work highlights

  • Advised a client on health and safety terms for supplier contracts to bring them up to date with legislation and ensure compliance.
  • Advised a client on regulatory compliance relating to solar and battery storage build and operational models.
  • Advising a client on prosecution following a incidents of employees and guests being exposed to asbestos during refurbishment works.

Michelmores LLP

Exeter-based Michelmores LLP has a focus on workplace serious injury and fatality cases, including those involving corporate manslaughter issues. Its team advises clients on crisis management following serious incidents, and strategies to minimise the risk of prosecution. Team head Andrew Oldland QC, who has experience of prosecuting Health and Safety Executive cases, now defends corporate clients in investigations and prosecutions. In addition, on the non-contentious side, the group advises clients on reviews of policies and procedures, and regulatory compliance.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Oldland QC

Other key lawyers:

Katharine Everett Nunns

Key clients

Clinton Devon Estates

Cavanna Homes (South West) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented Clinton Devon Estates in a corporate manslaughter trial.
  • Represented Cavanna Homes (South West) Ltd in a trail arising from a workplace fatality.
  • Acting for the administrators of a UK chemical firm, advising on health & safety issues arising from manufacturing processes involving toxic chemicals.


VWV advises clients on health and safety compliance and critical incident management, as well as the impact of breaches on governance, reporting obligations and liabilities. In addition to providing standalone health and safety advice, its team also plays a key corporate support role. In the contentious space, the team advises clients on investigations and enforcement actions by the Health and Safety Executive. Key areas of sector expertise include education, healthcare and charities. Tabitha Cave is the head of the regulatory compliance team.

Practice head(s):

Tabitha Cave

Work highlights

  • Advice to various clients on the investigation and management of abuse allegations and involvement in the Independent Inquiry into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).
  • Provide specialist advice to independent schools and academies on first aid and wider medical care obligations and a school’s equality duties.
  • Advised an academy client on regulatory action by the HSE following an accident involving a student during a sports session.
  • The firm advised an internationally renowned, botanical research and education institution on health and safety and liability issues surrounding a significant project, involving a circular treetop walkway.
  • Advised a client on health and safety considerations associated with the provision of teleradiology services, from its prospective UK-based health and wellness centre.