At DAC Beachcroft LLP, Leeds-based Chris Baranowski heads the department nationally. Out of Birmingham, associate, Steven Harrison is well-regarded. It is a large team that advises many clients on the most significant manslaughter, health and safety and environmental cases that are investigated in the UK. Its industry expertise spans construction, real estate, healthcare and other areas including rail, transport and utilities. In addition, the team receives a steady flow of instructions from the majority of the top 20 insurers. It remains a trusted advisor to numerous longstanding clients in highly regulated sectors such as central government, financial services and social care.
Health and safety in West Midlands
DAC Beachcroft LLP
Other key lawyers:
Ashmere Nottinghamshire Limited
Slaters Club Limited
Unity Homes Limited
Kingsland Drinks Ltd
National Timber Systems
Forest Garden Group Ltd
- Acted for a Health and Safety Manager in the successful defence of a gross negligence manslaughter charge.
- Acted for Kingsland Drinks Limited in a sentencing hearing involving issues of what constitutes a Very Large Organisation under the Sentencing Guidelines.
- Advised Slaters Club Limited in a successful challenge of £10,000 fixed penalty notice issued under Coronavirus legislation.
Gowling WLG has a thriving and ‘active’ practice that is ably led by Andrew Litchfield. Litchfield has long-standing experience of advising on regulatory criminal offences, statutory public inquiries and inquests. He frequently advises on investigations that are conducted by the police, Health and Safety Executive, Environment Agency, local authority as well as by the Coroner. The team is immersed in key sectors such as construction, building, quarrying, aerospace and defence and is repeatedly instructed on highly complex matters. Another key member of the talented team is principal associate Michael Hafen - Hafen specialises in the defence of civil/criminal litigation arising from various regulatory breaches.
Other key lawyers:
‘I have always found them amicable, professional and have our best interest at the forefront of our meetings’.
‘During Covid when government guidance was often difficult to decipher, Andrew was always on hand for clarity. Andrew has delivered training on Health and Safety Law to our Senior Management which is clear and concise which helps on our understanding of the law’.
‘Andrew keeps me up to date on legal judgements that may be useful to our business. Andrew is very knowledgeable on practices within the construction industry’.
‘Andrew Litchfield consistently provides calm, expert and pragmatic advice to us on a number of complex matters. He has taken the trouble to really understand our business and the regulatory and operational pressures we face’.
‘I’ve always found the team at GWLG to be professional with full support provided, whatever the matter’.
‘Michael Hafen has a great attention to detail and availability. I have worked with Michael on a number of matters and value his professionalism and the quality of his work’.
Kingspan Insulation Ltd
Bakkavor Foods Ltd
Bloor Homes Ltd
The Channel Tunnel Group/Eurotunnel
Sanctuary Housing Association
The Arch Company Limited
Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK Limited
Pinsent Masons LLP
Pinsent Masons LLP is ‘blue chip and top of the tree’ say clients. At the Birmingham office, the ‘practical’ Sean Elson is ‘very good at what he does’. The group operates across all UK jurisdictions and is regularly instructed in high-profile and serious incidents. Clients are drawn from all sectors but the practice has built up considerable expertise in advising clients in high hazard industries such as construction, manufacturing, waste and energy. Another growth area for the practice is advising on fire and building safety. At associate level, Hannah Burton is another name to note.
Other key lawyers:
Sean Elson; Hannah Burton
‘Maturity within the sector. Expertise in manufacturing’.
‘Very responsive. Advice is always very clear and pragmatic. Communication with wider business is very good and non legalistic’.
‘Sean Elson is excellent, understands our business and gives clear and pragmatic advice’.
Balfour Beatty plc
John Graham Construction Limited
Willmott Dixon Construction Limited
Clarion Housing Group
- Advising a major contractor in a two-week inquest in Birmingham relating to the death of worker who fell from height at a construction project in the city.
- Advising a global UK based manufacturer in relation to a fatal incident in a warehouse during a logistics related lifting operation. Advising in relation to the initial police investigation and now the EHO investigation and coroner’s inquest.
- Successfully advising a major contractor in relation to an Enforcement Notice served by the HSE relating to conditions on site. Based on a point of principle an appeal was lodged in the Employment Tribunal and the HSE subsequently withdrew the Improvement Notice.
The ‘first-rate’ team at Shoosmiths LLP is ‘great and active' and is 'client and solution focused’. It is headed by the ‘very experienced’ Roy Tozer who continues to lead the firm’s team that is involved in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, while also working for some other key and significant clients. Hayley Saunders is ‘excellent’ and she regularly conducts her own advocacy - her work spans both contentious and non-contentious matters across a wide range of industries. Saunders often advises on investigations and prosecutions for manslaughter in addition to health and safety offences. New addition to the team at senior associate level, Kirsty Hughes, is also well-regarded.
Other key lawyers:
Hayley Saunders; Kirsty Hughes; Stephen Johnstone
‘Very responsive team of senior associate and partners; good industry knowledge; extremely approachable’.
‘Shoosmiths H&S team provides an excellent service to all clients, existing and new, by applying all their legal knowledge and people skills to always strive to obtain the most appropriate outcome. The Team is always available, sometimes at short notice, to assist clients through the complexities of H&S law and procedure’.
‘All the members of the Shoosmiths’ H&S Team are very knowledgeable about H&S law and procedure and related technical matters. They are always ready, willing and able to explain these complex matters clearly and appropriately to clients of all levels of experience and knowledge’.
‘Hayley Saunders is exceptional. Her attention to detail, level of knowledge and client-care skills ensures that each client receives a first-class service’.
‘Shoosmiths LLP partners continue to provide first rate advice on Health and Safety maters with particular specialist knowledge working with the regulator’.
‘Hayley Saunders is very client friendly. Always explains things in a way which is easily understood. She has great knowledge and experience and nothing phases her! Kirsty Hughes is the same. She always makes time to talk to me to explain our options in a commercially sensitive way’.
‘Roy Tozer is an exceptional ‘rain maker’ and has put together a great team. A no fuss approach centred on what the clients needs is their hallmark; a real and genuine interest in the client is central to their approach’.
‘Roy Tozer- An extremely capable litigator. A no fuss communicator with clients at every level. Steven Johnstone Principal Associate: Totally reliable – will deliver in relation to even the most arduous of tasks’.
McDonald’s Restaurants Limited
- Representing the driver of the bin lorry that was involved in the inquest touching the death of RAF squadron Corrie McKeague who went missing on a night out in 2016. The inquest concluded he died as part of the waste process after he climbed into a bin that was subsequently emptied into the lorry.
- Acting for a retailer in relation to a prosecution arising out of its asbestos management procedures.
- Acting for a witness in relation to the Manchester Arena Inquiry.
Bevan Brittan LLP provides the full scope of health and safety support to both the private and public sectors. Under the leadership of Adam Kendall, its work spans non-contentious advice as well as representing clients in contentious proceedings. It frequently acts for local authorities prosecuting matters as well as advising private and public sector organisations when defending cases. Legal director, Louise Mansfield, is ‘pragmatic and sensible, while always acting in the best interests of her clients’. Mansfield advises many well-known corporate clients and public sector organisations across the full range of health and safety matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘I have worked closely with Louise Mansfield. She provides a no nonsense easy to understand approach making arguments put forward clear with advice on the merits as well as the pitfalls. The guidance and advice is measured and aimed at the non legal person’s understanding’.
‘Personal touch, impartial, practical advice. Louise Mansfield’.
Reading Borough Council
- Represented Reading Borough Council in relation to a highly complex health & safety prosecution of multiple defendants, including a major retailer, following the death of a young child in its store.
Browne Jacobson LLP continues to be busy advising many private sector organisations on various health and safety accidents and incidents (including fatal accidents). Under the joint leadership of Nottingham-based Andrew Hopkin and Birmingham-based Rachel Lyne , the group represents a significant number of public sector clients too. Also, of note, is the fact that the practice prosecutes health and safety cases for local authorities and the fire authorities. Senior associate, Luke Deal, is another known name.
Andrew Hopkin; Rachel Lyne
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is client focussed and solution focussed always aiming to achieve the best result for the client. The Team utilises its staff well always selecting the most appropriate grade of fee earner to particular matters and tasks’.
‘The partners and associates are clearly very knowledgeable in H&S matters and bring this to the fore in applying their skill in relation to contentious cases and non-contentious advisory issues’.
‘They are personable, approachable and are always readily available to meet clients’ needs and exceed client expectations. Rachel Lyne is exceptional and provides excellent support’.
‘Friendly and knowledgeable staff, able to take a proactive approach to case management and provide support through training and guidance for our staff’.
‘BJ has a very distinctive profile: it’s a provincial firm that handles high-profile complex H&S work with the competence and expertise of a City firm’.
‘The whole team are, without exception, superbly knowledgeable, helpful and communicate in a clear and sensible way. Fully invested in their clients’ interests and become part of the school team quickly’.
‘Knowledge, clear communication and reliability’.
‘This is a solid regulatory team, led in Birmingham by Rachel Lyne who is a fantastic solicitor’.
Blackwell Structural Consultants Ltd
LeGrand Electrical Services Ltd
Clyde & Co
At Clyde & Co, the ‘collaborative’ Bob Davies who ‘represents his clients really well’, leads the criminal regulatory team at the Birmingham office. Davies advises on fatal workplace accidents, claims for corporate manslaughter and gross negligence claims. He frequently defends clients in investigations and prosecutions. At coronial proceedings, Davies provides police station representation, advice during regulatory interviews and representation in the Magistrates and Coroner’s Court.
Other key lawyers:
‘The Health and Safety practice have a wealth of knowledge and experience which makes them a trusted partner’.
‘Bob Davies is a very responsive, reassuring and competent lawyer who calmly and clearly set out the points in a case. Bob is a very effective communicator, whether dealing with a Police Investigator, a driver or the instructing client’.
‘The team have a wealth of knowledge and know many people in all sectors so they can obtain specific advice when required. Bob put my concerns at ease, explained it over and over so I understand. They have been very, very understanding at a very difficult time’.
Beaufort Maintenance Ltd
The 'superbly resourced' team at DWF of 'excellent partners and senior associates', has expertise across a number of sectors from energy and retail to entertainment and manufacturing. David Egan heads the Birmingham offering, which has an impressive client base of insurers, large corporates and individuals. The group specialises in contentious health and safety work but is also skilled on the advisory side. Senior associate, Caroline Depledge, who is praised for her ' studious attention to detail', has a wealth of experience of defending companies, company directors and individuals. The practice was recently boosted by the arrival of a number of former Plexus Law lawyers, including partners Damon Burt and Anthony Bushell.
David Egan; Steffan Groch
Other key lawyers:
Caroline Depledge; Eloise Adams; Damon Burt; Anthony Bushell; Julia Messervy-Whiting
‘DWF has significant breadth of experience in dealing with health and safety matters, particularly with regard to handling live crisis situations. It also has a tangible and quite exceptional human touch when it comes to supporting clients’.
‘I have frequently worked with David Egan, invariably on highly sensitive cases that required solid, common sense legal advice coupled with compassion. The DWF team is always quick to get to the heart of any matter, grasping potential problem areas and offering well-reasoned and reassuring solutions’.
‘Caroline Depledge is the stand out individual. She is assured, knowledgeable and experienced. Her legal advice is always considered and tactically astute. Her clients are left wholly confident that Caroline is truly in their corner and fighting their case’.
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Chubb Insurance Company
Protector Forsikring Insurance
Severn Trent Water
Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA)
The nationwide team at Gateley Legal provides a ‘one-stop’ fatal accident, major incident and crisis management service to a national client base. It deals with all aspects of crisis management - the Birmingham team is led by Ruth Armstrong. The practice has a strong reputation across a number of sectors including transport, waste management and leisure. It acts for a number of the top 20 housebuilders in the UK as well as blue-chip companies, SMEs and owner managed businesses. Kate Oliver specialises in the defence of all types of accident investigations and regularly attends the Coroners Courts.
Other key lawyers:
United Molasses Group
Drayton Manor Park Limited
Taylor Wimpey plc
Story Homes Group
Costcutter Supermarkets Group
Dr. Oetker (UK) Limited
Malmaison & Hotel du Vin Property Holdings Limited
Samworth Brothers Limited
Mamas and Papas Limited
Sport Regulation Authority
Miller Homes Limited
Croudace Homes Group
Certas Energy UK Limited
Viva Nylons Limited
Grupo Bimbo (New York Bagels)
Sunrise Poultry Farms Limited
Miller Homes Limited
- Advised a number of the top 10 and top 20 housebuilders on fire and corporate risk arising from the legislation changes in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy including their remediation provision (running to hundreds of £millions) and the Government Pledge and Self-Remediation Terms.
- Advised the employer of a carpenter killed when he fell from height during internal renovation works. Acting for the employer during the Police and HSE investigations.
- Acting for the principal contractor in the HSE investigation and Inquest after a groundworks operative was fatally injured by a 360-degree excavator on a live construction site.
Andrew Brammer at Weightmans LLP has a proven track record of successfully defending national and international organisations across multiple sectors in cases involving the HSE, Environment Agency and the local authority trading standards. Principal associate, Tom Boulton , has developed a growing reputation for successfully defending individuals and organisations on the full range of health and safety offences. Associate, James Muller , is a committed regulatory lawyer who covers inquests, corporate manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter cases. The 'excellent' team forms part of a strong national offering.
Dewi Ap-Thomas; David Lewis; Crispin Kenyon; Seonaid Busby; Andrew Brammer
Other key lawyers:
Tom Boulton; James Muller
‘The team have strong experience in regulatory law with a focus on health and safety. Having ex-HSE prosecutors working within the team gives them a real edge when it comes to defending corporate and individual clients’.
‘Tom Boulton and James Muller are so enthusiastic and always determined to achieve the best results for their clients’.
‘This practice has an in-depth knowledge of health and safety issues across a wide range of industry sectors and includes people who can bring insight from having worked for both the defence and the prosecution’.
‘Tom Boulton has always been very focussed on helping his clients get the best advice they could so that they understand the challenges facing them and can act from a position of informed choice’.
‘Weightmans are rightly regarded as a market leader in the midlands. They have a very strong health and safety team – particularly in the education sector. Their commitment to their client is superb, and their drive to achieve the best results possible formidable’.
‘Andrew Brammer is one of the most dedicated lawyers I know. He truly cares about his clients and works tirelessly to protect them. Top drawer’.
‘Andrew Brammer is excellent with clients and good at managing expectations and identifying real issues. James Muller has a thorough knowledge of health and safety cases. Tom Boulton is very knowledgeable about inquests’.
‘They are punctual and articulate’.
The regulatory department at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is particularly renowned for its work with clients in specific sectors such as social housing, health and social care, charities and education. It also has considerable strength in helping social businesses and local government. Head of department, Tim Coolican, is well-regarded for his advice on a myriad of regulatory, enforcement and compliance issues. Coolican is skilled at representing registered providers in police, CQC and HSE investigations and prosecutions as well as during inquest proceedings.
Other key lawyers:
‘ACS have provided very clear support and advice.’.
‘Team members are responsive, knowledgeable and deliver the services in a clear understandable way’.
‘Specific expertise in the care and social housing sectors and the strength of its client relationships in those areas.’
‘Tim Coolican is excellent with clients and quick to identify the real issues in any case. Lorna Kenyon has an excellent knowledge of inquest and CQC work and is quick to identify (and react to) any risks for the client’.
‘I have recently worked with Lorna Kenyon-Pain. She has an excellent attention to detail, she is always fully on top of the case and has a very calm and reassuring manner with clients’.
‘The firm are developing an enviable reputation as one of the best regulatory firms in the midlands. They are now undoubtedly a market leader, but in a wholly professional and approachable style’.
‘Tim Coolican – partner. The platonic ideal of a solicitor in this area. Superb judgment, unflappable, charming and dedicated. The man you want want to recommend your closest family to’.
Head of department at Kennedys is Naomi North, who advises and represents companies and individuals facing health and safety investigations by the police, HSE and local authorities. North receives a steady flow of instructions from corporate clients and insurers and deals with the most serious of incidents often resulting in fatal/serious injury.
‘The team are excellent when it comes to obtaining early information from the police which is a great help when assessing the reserves on large loss PI cases’.
‘The team that I work with are extremely knowledgeable and have significant experience in the criminal motor arena. They are always quick to respond to any instructions and keep us updated throughout’.
The crime and regulatory team at Keoghs LLP is best known for its involvement in high profile cases and for its advice on serious regulatory breaches across all service sectors. It acts for corporate bodies, insurers and individual directors. The team’s core work is defending corporate manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter cases, in addition to health and safety and environmental breaches. Chris Green along with Tim Ingram (who are both based in Coventry) are recommended.
Chris Green; Tim Ingram; Chris Newton
‘The team is dynamic, proactive, reactive, covering a vast number of industries and organisations’.
‘No matter what the enforcement might be, prompt pragmatic advice and high level representation is to the fore. No stone is left unturned, and nuanced approaches are taken when necessary‘.
‘Chris Green has unrivalled experience across the field, having been involved in some of the most complex cases in the area. Attention to detail and careful utilisation of the rules of evidence and procedure for best advice and representation were key’.
- Advised an independent educational establishment in respect of investigations by Police and Health and Safety Executive. A group of students were very seriously injured when a vehicle came into contact with them while attending a summer event at the college.
- Advising on a five week twelve party Coroner’s inquests in person following the deaths of two persons during construction works at a station operated by Chris Green’s client. Client’s witness gave evidence. Client cleared of any criticism or any suggestion it needed to improve safety standards.
- Costs were awarded and prosecution was dismissed against the company owning a premises where two customers were injured by the condition of the building in high wind.
Manchester-based Rob Elvin, leads the team at Squire Patton Boggs. Elvin, who has higher rights of audience, focuses on corporate defence and regularly trains PLC boards on directors’ duties. Gary Lewis is certified as a Lead Accident Investigator and has a wealth of experience in a broad range of health and safety matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘All aspects of our experience were very positive including organisation, communication, collaboration, flexibility, billing etc.’.
‘Gary communicated with myself, our insurers, insurance broker, HSE, witnesses etc co-ordinating the entire process excellently and without hinderance’.
‘Gary was a pleasure to work with and would highly recommend‘.
Ashcourt Properties (Newland) Limited
D&C Mobile Welding Engineers Ltd
Horizon Specialist Contracting Limited
Mexichem Specialty Compounds Limited
Skyline Arcomet Limited
Pets At Home Ltd
Showsec International Limited
- Advising Showsec International Limited on the Manchester Arena Inquiry.
- Advising FC Nantes in relation to the Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Emiliano Sala.
- Representing a global humanitarian charity in the Inquest into the death of one of its British employees assigned to the Mercy Corps’ Nigeria program, who was killed whilst visiting the Kajura Castle resort outside Kaduna city in Nigeria.