Health and safety in Wales

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP‘s Wales health, safety and environmental team includes Claire Rawle, who heads up the defence team; she works with senior associate barrister Tom Walker and experienced consultant Robin Havard, who head up the separate prosecution team.

Practice head(s):

Claire Rawle; Robin Havard; Tom Walker

DAC Beachcroft LLP

Led out of Newport by the 'knowledgeable and experiencedSally Roff  and also able to draw from substantial specialist resources across the firm's broader network of UK-wide offices, DAC Beachcroft LLP is well-positioned to defend corporates under investigation for corporate manslaughter, health and safety and environmental offences. The team has a particularly strong reputation for defendants in the construction, real estate, manufacturing, healthcare, retail/leisure and rail/transport sectors, which it represents in litigation, inquests and investigations, as a result of ties with many leading insurers. In addition, the practice is regularly instructed directly by corporates to provide risk management expertise through bespoke training packages. 'Insightful and knowledgeable' associate Stefan Desbordes regularly advises public and private sector clients from a health and safety compliance and risk perspective, as well as in the context of litigation prosecuted by the HSE and local authorities.

Practice head(s):

Sally Roff

Other key lawyers:

Stefan Desbordes

Testimonials

The knowledge and expertise they brought was excellent and it felt that there was a team working for us and not just the one solicitor we interacted with.’

‘The team is well regarded for its high level of expertise; common-sense approach and approachability.

‘Real depth of knowledge both technical but also tactical.’

No matter is too much for the team, which covers many aspects of health, safety, environmental, as well as associated coronial work.’

Sally Roff is so well known throughout the country for her work in the field of health and safety. She has always been up to date, a leader who sees what’s coming, and delivers meaningful advice and defence in facing enforcement.’

‘Sally Roff is knowledgeable and experienced.’

‘Stefan Desbordes was friendly, insightful and very knowledgeable.’

Stefan Desbordes is well regarded, has an excellent client manner; his advice is always first rate and on point.’

Key clients

Zurich Insurance Plc

NFU Mutual

AXA Insurance

Allianz

RSA

Aviva

Tokio Marine HCC

Chubb Insurance

Work highlights

  • Represented a client in relation to an inquest and subsequent HSE prosecution following fatal incident on a construction site. The client faced a potential custodial sentence of up to two years but received a 21 week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months.
  • Represented a large food production company, following a workplace incident, in which an employee suffered severe and life threatening crush injuries after being trapped by machinery, and subsequent investigation by the HSE.
  • Represented the managing director of a holiday property letting company in relation to a prosecution by the local fire authority for offences relating to numerous fire safety breaches in one of its privately rented holiday homes. With the potential for a sentence of up to one year custodial sentence, the client was sentenced to pay a low level fine.

BLM

Insurance risk and commercial law firm BLM has a core focus on defence work for manufacturing, construction, public and care sector clients in high-stakes investigations, inquests and litigation, including as it pertains to corporate manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter claims. Although the majority of the work is handled by offices outside of Wales, the team in Cardiff includes the market leading expertise of senior partner Matthew Harrington, who splits his time between Cardiff and London. A separate niche also relates to defence work for healthcare professionals, an area that the 'responsive and proactive' Jane Lang excels. She oversees the firm's national healthcare advisory group, which is well-equipped to provide a comprehensive service to healthcare individuals across disciplinary, regulatory and criminal proceedings. In September 2021 the firm announced that it would not be renewing the lease on its Cardiff office, and that the firm's lawyers in the region would now work remotely on a permanent basis.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Harrington

Other key lawyers:

Jane Lang

Testimonials

‘The team always deals with matters swiftly and responds quickly to all communications.’

‘They communicate complex legal matters in an easy to digest and understand way, cutting straight to what does and what does not matter with clear advice.’

‘Jane Lang is responsive, proactive, engaging and supportive.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for one of the defendant contractors in relation to a gross negligence manslaughter claim following the death of a scaffolding contractor.
  • Acting for farming business in a work related accident involving two employees at a third party contractor’s site.

Dolmans

Dolmans is best-known for representing public sector clients, including local authorities, as defendants, in often high-profile health and safety incidents, including those involving fatalities. 'Knowledgeable and practical' team head Peter Bennett 's reputation extends beyond the Welsh borders, with local and UK-wide clients appreciative of his ability to effectively guide them through often very complex and high-stakes matters, including those involving multi-agency investigations and subsequent inquests.

Practice head(s):

Peter Bennett

Other key lawyers:

Claire Thomas

Testimonials

‘Very easy to work with and very collaborative in their approach.’

‘The team covers the full range of issues in this area and with an exceptional eye to detail and superb client handling skills.’

‘Peter Bennett is the standout performer – he gets to grips with the issues, works out how to deal with them, keeps the client on board at every stage and time and time again, produces results which greatly exceed the highest of expectations.’

Our customers are always impressed by Peter Bennett’s knowledge, practical approach and that he goes the extra mile to make them feel that they are reassured and receiving the best service.

Key clients

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Dauson Group (Atlantic Recycling Limited)

Tokio Marine HCC Insurance

Cardiff Council

Travelers Insurance

Birribi UK

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Europe Limited

AXA XL Insurance Limited

BMW UK Limited

Caerphilly County Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Representing 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 near Milford Haven on September 2019.
  • Representing Atlantic Recycling Limited (part of the Dauson Group of Companies) in regard to the fatal accident which they had on site involving one of their employees and the ongoing inquest process, together with the HSE investigation of the incident.

Hugh James

Hugh James has become best-known for its health and safety prosecution work in recent years, to a large extent because of senior associate Justin Davies' 'detailed knowledge of fire safety law and enforcement'. This degree of specialism continues to be recognised by several fire and rescue authorities, including the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service, which continues to instruct Davies on all prosecutions brought by it under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Martin Jones heads up the firm's overarching regulatory offering, which houses this capability, and he regularly provides health and safety compliance training to corporates and RSLs.

Practice head(s):

Martin Jones

Other key lawyers:

Justin Davies

Testimonials

‘Hugh James is recognised in Wales for its prosecution practice. It is well-known nationally for the enforcement work it carries out for central and local governments, and for the wider public sector.’

‘The work carried out by Justin Davies has been to the highest standard, from early-stage advice during investigations, through to providing representation in hearings in the Magistrates’ Court and Crown Courts. A real attraction is that Justin has Higher Rights of Audience in criminal proceedings, meaning that he is able to provide continuity of representation throughout the case.’

‘Justin Davies has an enviable track record in fire safety cases. He has a detailed knowledge of fire safety law and enforcement, is calm under pressure, and provides advice that is timely and pragmatic. He is a robust advocate, who is thorough and meticulous in his preparation, and who very quickly gets to the heart of the issues in the case.’

Key clients

South Wales Fire & Rescue Service

Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency

Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service

Pearson Engineering Limited

PF Concept

Keolis Amey

Welsh Government

Work highlights

  • Continuing to represent the South Wales Fire & Rescue service in all the prosecutions it has brought 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 represent the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency prosecuting transport-related offences on the Agency’s behalf and also being the sole provider of training to the Agency’s new-recruit Traffic Examiners, Vehicle Examiners and Counter-Fraud Investigators.
  • Represented the Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service in an appeal brought against a Prohibition Notice issued by it in connection with commercial premises.

Morgan LaRoche

Although it perhaps lacks the breadth and size of some of its peer firms, this is to some extent counterbalanced by Morgan LaRoche's national reputation on behalf of independent early years and social care providers. This reputation has been nurtured as a result of team head Andrew Manners' deep and longstanding reputation within the sector and his aptitude at effectively defending clients in any health and safety-related investigations/civil and criminal enforcement actions.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Manners