Comprised of 'hungry lawyers with strong interpersonal skills and razor sharp brains', Blake Morgan LLP is undoubtedly one of the go-to health and sefety outfits in Wales, with expertise on both the prosecution and defence side. The firm's historical and continued representation of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) on its large cases in Wales and South of England, enables the firm to effectively transplant this knowledge and experience to effectively defend the most serious health and safety offences (including corporate and gross negligence manslaughter cases) brought against corporates and company offices. Benefiting from 'an encyclopaedic knowledge of H&S case law and sound judgement to boot', team head Claire Rawle takes the lead on the defence side and is particularly accomplished at handling matters in a health social care setting. Himself a practising barrister, senior associate Tom Walker 'has great litigation instincts and sound judgement', which he deploys to good effect in a prosecution setting for the HSE. Consultant Robin Havard has vast experience in the field and continues to be retained by the HSE to assist in work-related fatalities.
Health and safety in Wales
Blake Morgan LLP
Other key lawyers:
‘They are, in my opinion, the “go to” H&S team in Wales. The team is full of hungry lawyers with strong interpersonal skills and razor sharp brains.’
‘They collaborate well with counsel and are not afraid of brining in counsel at an early stage to ensure that the correct strategy is being taken and the client has the best prospects of securing an acquittal.’
‘Claire Rawle has an encyclopaedic knowledge of H&S case law and sound judgement to boot. She is considered but has a warmth and affable quality which reassures clients from the outset. She is well respected by judges, barristers, fellow solicitors and HSE Inspectors alike.’
‘Claire Rawle – excellent hands on approach to client care as a partner. Forges excellent relationships with those she works for and with.’
‘The unassuming and hardworking Tom Walker has great litigation instincts and sound judgment.’
Health and Safety Executive
DAC Beachcroft LLP
Combining ‘meticulous attention to detail with realistic commercial advice’, DAC Beachcroft LLP ‘fearlessly seeks out all defences for its clients’ , which include the majority of leading insurers, seeking to minimise their exposure to health and safety incidents involving insureds under their policies. Exhibiting ‘outstanding technical ability combined with bags of common sense’, team head Sally Roff has a ‘real feel for the realities of the situation’ and as well as her involvement for clients following health and safety incidents (including workplace fatalities), is also regularly instructed directly by corporates to provide risk management expertise through bespoke training packages. Associate Stefan Desbordes is also well regarded, regularly representing clients (particularly those from the manufacturing and construction sectors) in inquests and court hearings, undertaking the advocacy where appropriate.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is capable in respect of all matters, from first contact through to conclusion, achieving the best outcome in some trying cases.’
‘Nothing is ever too much for this team, and the detailed though understandable manner in which it provides a first-class service is second to none.’
‘Pragmatism is in abundance, as is the personal touch, embracing all means of communication. Inclusiveness as well, makes this team stand out from the rest.’
Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance
- Representing a lift engineer in relation to a gross negligence manslaughter Police and HSE investigation and inquest arising from a fatal incident involving his apprentice who was crushed by a descending lift whilst working in a lift shaft..
- Representing a nursery school in relation to an inquest into the death of a child who tragically choked on food served as lunch.
- Advised an NHS Trust in relation to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive following the death of a healthcare assistant who had contracted COVID-19 and was deemed to be a ‘vulnerable person’ in accordance with Public Health England guidance.
Led by the 'exceptional' Peter Bennett, Dolmans provides 'pragmatic and cost-effective advice' to local authorities, fire and rescue services and private sector clients (through their insurers) across a wide-range of health and safety incidents, including those involving fatalities. Benefiting from the 'ability to get to grips with complex legal issues and present them in ways that clients understand', Bennett is a very popular choice for public sector clients, in particular, where his longstanding experience in numerous high-profile matters ensures that he is also well-versed in effectively mitigating any potential adverse media attention.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team responds in a timely manner on every matter, and are proactive at all times, regularly communicating all developments and take the time to obtain informed instructions.’
‘Whilst providing pragmatic and cost-effective advice, when deployed on an adversarial matter, the Dolmans team are great advocates. They fight hard on each and every point, striving to achieve the agreed objective.’
‘The team covers the full range of issues in this area, with an exceptional eye to detail, superb client handling skills and first-class case building abilities.’
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service
Dauson Group (Atlantic Recycling Limited)
Tokio Marine HCC Insurance
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Europe Limited
AXA XL Insurance Limited
BMW UK Limited
Caerphilly County Borough Council
- Representing Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service on a recent and ongoing HSE prosecution of this emergency service following life changing spinal injuries occasioned by a firefighter during rope rescue training as a consequence of a rock fall at Harpur Hill Quarry in Derbyshire (the training venue).
- Continuing to represent Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service in connection with the inquest touching upon the death of a serving firefighter who tragically died during a training exercise on the River Cleddau near Milford Haven. This is a complex matter involving multi-agency investigations by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, Dyfed-Powys Police and the Health and Safety Executive.
- Successfully defended Treefinesse Limited (via its Insurers – Tokio Marine HCC Insurance) in a long running fatal accident investigation arising from a fatal tree fall incident, ensuring that no criminal action was sanctioned against the client.
Led by Martin Jones , Hugh James' 'very knowledgeable' regulatory team has a particularly strong reputation on the prosecution front. In this regard, although the firm also handles a considerable amount of work for Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, it is perhaps best-known for its niche expertise in relation to fire safety law - an area that Justin Davies has a market-leading reputation. On the defendant side, Jones handles a considerable amount of training for clients from a risk management perspective and also has expertise defending clients subject to workplace fatalities.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is very knowledgeable in the area of health and safety law. They provide a first-class service to their customers.’
‘Justin Davies is an excellent solicitor and higher court advocate. He has a very good knowledge of regulatory law. Gets on well with clients and opponents and has an effective advocacy style in court. An all round class performer.’
South Wales Fire & Rescue Service
Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency
Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service
Pearson Engineering Limited
DRW NX UK Ltd
Natural Resources Wales
- Continuing to advise the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service in all prosecutions brought by the Service under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, as well as in appeals brought against Enforcement Notice and Prohibition Notices issued by the Service.
- Continuing to prosecute transport-related offences for the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency and also being the sole provider of training to the Agency’s new-recruit Traffic Examiners, Vehicle Examiners and Counter-Fraud Investigators.
- Successfully represented the Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service in an appeal brought against a Prohibition Notice issued by it in connection with commercial premises.
Although it lacks the bandwidth of some of its competitors in the rankings, this is offset by Morgan LaRoche‘s national reputation for independent (early years) education and adult social care providers. This reputation has been cultivated by dint of Andrew Manners‘ longstanding reputation within the sector and his skill at defending clients in any health and safety-related investigations/civil and criminal enforcement actions.