Health and safety in West Midlands
DAC Beachcroft LLP advises clients from a broad cross-section of industries, with a particular strength in construction, manufacturing and care. Recent work included representing clients in a number of fatal accident investigations and complex inquest proceedings, and also acting for various companies and individuals in criminal cases under the Health and Safety Sentencing guidelines. The skilled team also advises on all aspects of compliance work. Andrew Roach is the practice head in Birmingham.
Other key lawyers:
‘Steven Harrison has a calm demeanour and detailed knowledge which reassures clients and impresses his peers‘.
- Assisted Winchmore Brickwork with securing an acquittal, following a prosecution which involved an allegation of the client breaching s.3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
- Represented Michael W White Associates in inquest proceedings that arose from the deaths of five men at a metal recycling plant in Birmingham in July 2016.
- Represented Tonic Construction in a fatal accident investigation that arose from an accident in May 2016, which involved an overturned dumper truck on a site in Cirencester.
- Acting for M&S Water Services (Utilities) in a fatal accident investigation following a member of the public falling into an open excavation during street works in Luton.
- Represented Rapid Care in inquest proceedings that arose from the death of a service user residing at supported accommodation.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP represents large global and UK-based clients in all aspects of high profile prosecutions and investigations. In addition, its team is increasingly sought out to provide consultancy advice to clients on the development of policies, and to also assist with behavioural reviews. It also conducts general compliance appraisals. National team head Kevin Elliott acts for some of the world’s largest organisations.
Other key lawyers:
David Young; Philip Crosbie
‘David Young is immensely experienced and knows what he is talking about’.
‘David Young remains a force for all that is excellent in health and safety representation‘.
‘Kevin Elliott is technically very strong and a very good advocate‘.
Kier / Turriff Contractors
Sir Robert McAlpine
National Grid Electricity Transmission
- Successfully acted for Sir Robert McAlpine during a HSE prosecution relating to a fatal fall at Glasgow School of Art
- Advised CPM (a subsidiary of Marshalls PLC) on a fatal accident when a maintenance fitter became trapped in a conveyor.
- Acted on behalf of the world’s largest producer of food flavourings, in respect of two separate health and safety incidents.
- Acted for Turriff Contractors following a serious gas explosion.
- Acted for Interserve in a prosecution brought by the HSE.
Gowling WLG's specialist team is immersed in the key sectors of construction, building materials quarrying, aerospace and defence. It is also extremely active in areas such as food, local government, health and social care. The first-rate practice stands out in reputationally-sensitive regulatory investigations, inquests, criminal prosecutions and civil litigation. Practice head Andrew Litchfield is well-regarded.
Other key lawyers:
Michael Hafen; Natalie Barton-Howes
‘No matter how large or small my legal query, they respond promptly and in ‘layman’s’ language’, so I can understand’.
‘Has a calm and confident approach, coupled with exceptional business acumen and strategic thinking‘.
‘Andrew Litchfield‘s stunning all-round performance drives and inspires this team to the commanding heights it occupies. This team has no weaknesses and its access to the firm’s other resources makes it formidable in all respects‘.
‘Andrew Litchfield is very calm and reassuring , very experienced‘.
‘The health and safety team has a myriad of experience in regulatory matters across the board and a real depth of knowledge and experience. It is extremely client focused, personable and easy to work with, giving its corporate clients practical and commercial advice‘.
‘Andrew Litchfield is entirely dedicated to the client’s case, and goes over and above in helping, advising and generally being on call at all hours to try and assist. Clients like his affable and engaging manner, and impeccable professionalism, even under pressure’.
‘Michael Hafen works tirelessly in assisting clients to achieve the best possible outcome to the case‘.
CEMEX UK Operations
- Represented a client at an inquest and subsequent prosecution, following a fatal accident at one of its distribution depots.
- Acting for a core participant at the public inquiry in relation to the Grenfell Tower fire.
- Regularly instructed to represent a client in various healthcare inquests, police and CQC investigations, with a view to preventing coronial neglect findings, prevention of death reports, criminal prosecutions and adverse publicity.
- Representing a client following a fatality at one of its sites.
- Assisted a client with an HSE investigation and inquest following the death of one of its service users in circumstances where there was a risk of legionella in the water system at one of its premises.
Pinsent Masons LLP's Birmingham team, which is part of a wider UK group, acts for many leading industry players in high hazard areas, such as construction, waste, manufacturing and energy. A key feature of the practice is that the team often undertakes its own advocacy, rather than instructing external counsel. Practice head Sean Elson, who has specialised in health and safety for nearly 15 years, has a wealth of experience representing clients in coroners’ inquests and investigations by the HSE. Another cornerstone of the firm's offering involves advising clients on health and safety preventative measures, compliance-related issues and stress tests.
Other key lawyers:
‘Sean Elson is very measured, sensible to deal with and unflappable‘.
‘Sean Elson is technically excellent and brilliant at litigation. He is particularly well regarded for his work on matters in the construction/energy sectors‘.
‘Sean Elson is very experienced with a strong track record. His manner is reassuring and detailed‘.
‘Louise Mansfield is knowledgeable, sensible and commercial.‘
‘Louise Mansfield is also deeply committed to this field. Her work is detailed and analytical’.
‘The team provides very practical advice and has a very good understanding of our business‘.
‘A strong player with several high quality corporate clients‘.
ATE Truck and Trailer Sale
- Acted for ATE Truck and Trailer Sales, which was prosecuted by the HSE, following the death of a specialist self-employed contractor on one of its sites.
- Representing an engineering company in two separate HSE investigations and a prosecution relating to the management of vibration risk.
- Acting for a foundry being prosecuted by the HSE in relation to an injury received by an employee struck by a fork lift truck.
- Representing a leading construction company in a landmark HSE prosecution relating to historical allegations about the management of hand arm vibration.
- Advising on construction product issues concerning natural construction products that may contain asbestos.
Shoosmiths LLP generates a large majority of its work through direct instructions from corporate clients. Its outstanding team has vast experience of all sectors of the UK industry, with particular expertise in the petrochemical, retail, automotive, manufacturing, food and health-care industries. The construction and housing sectors are also core areas of strength. Team head Roy Tozer is experienced in representing and defending major companies against investigations and prosecutions by regulatory authorities.
Other key lawyers:
‘Roy Tozer is an exceptionally experienced, determined and strategic litigator, who enjoys excellent relationships with his clients and always ‘goes the extra mile”.
‘Roy Tozer is very experienced‘.
‘Roy Tozer has handled the weighty and high profile cases well in the past so has seen it all and is immensely experienced. He handles pressure very well‘.
‘Hayley Saunders is very personable, is completely immersed in this area of law and really knows her stuff‘.
‘Hayley Saunders adopts a sensible and pragmatic approach to problems‘.
‘Hayley Saunders is solid, reliable , knows what she is doing, is very active in the bigger cases and clients are well looked after by her‘.
‘It provides expert advice in a specialist field, offered with pragmatism and experience and with a personal touch’.
- Advising a client on the public inquiry in relation to the deaths of 72 people as a result of the fire at Grenfell Tower.
- Advising a client on a fatal accident at an explosives factory resulting in a fatality and life changing injuries to two employees.
- Advising a client at an inquest into the death of a teenager, who died from a fatal asthma attack.
- Advising a client on an investigation following a crushing accident to a rough sleeper resulting in life changing injuries.
- Advising a client on investigations by the HSE arising from “runaway” lorries at two different sites resulting in a fatality and serious life changing injuries.
Bevan Brittan LLP, which is particularly recognised for its public sector expertise, excels in advising clients on investigations by the police and other regulatory authorities (such as the Care Quality Commission and the Health and Safety Executive). It also represents clients in inquests. It receives a steady flow of work from NHS Trusts and ambulance trusts, local authorities and some of the country’s largest housing associations and charities. It is also increasingly working for private sector clients. Adam Kendall is the name to note.
Adam Kendall; Stuart Marchant; Hannah Taylor
Other key lawyers:
Melissa Stanford; Samantha Minchin
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
Newcastle City Council
Your Homes Newcastle
- Represented Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust in the first ever CQC prosecution of an NHS Trust under the HSCA 2008 (Reg Activities) Regs 2014.
- Represented Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust as the defendant in the Health and Safety Executive prosecution arising from the death of Connor Sparrowhawk.
- Represented Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust as the defendant in the Health and Safety Executive prosecution arising from the death of Teresa Colvin.
- Represented a defendant trust during criminal proceedings that were brought by the HSE in relation to the death of a service user from Legionnaires’ Disease.
BLM is best known for its work in complex fatal accident investigations and high-profile inquests. It is strong in HSE and regulatory cases with a criminal background. The team has particular expertise in the manufacturing, construction, public and care sectors and offers a cross-sector regulatory service to private and public sector clients. It routinely acts in the most serious cases involving corporate manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter. Robert Davies in Birmingham is well-regarded.
Robert Davies; Helen Devery (national head based in Manchester)
‘Robert Davies is immensely experienced and knows what he is talking about‘.
- Acted for Great Bear Distribution from day one of a fatal workplace accident at its Desborough warehouse, when an employee fell to his death from a height in excess of nine metres, as a consequence of a collision between two very narrow aisle trucks.
- Acting for the operating company in the Four Seasons Health Care group of companies since the outset of a health and safety investigation undertaken by Ashfield District Council.
- Advised N.C.B. Motors Ltd on the management of the defence of an HSE investigation following a fatal workplace accident involving a long standing employee and in dealing with the coronial investigation and the inquest.
- Advised M V Kelly Limited since the early stages on an HSE investigation arising out of an accident on a haul road on a construction site at which it was principal contractor, as a consequence of which an employee sustained a life changing injury.
- Advised B & W Waste Management Services since a few days after an explosion and fire at its hazardous waste storage and processing building, which resulted in two employees being badly burned, with one ending up in an induced coma and life support for 10 days.
Browne Jacobson LLP advises many private sector organisations and their employees on all aspects of health and safety accidents and incidents, including fatal accidents. As a general regulatory practice, the team also advises on health and safety issues arising from food safety, environmental, the care sector and road traffic work. It also represents a significant number of public sector clients under the leadership of Nottingham-based practice head Andrew Hopkin .
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is exceptional in terms of legal knowledge, hard work, clarity of thought and expression, and soundness of judgement and is also incredibly well supported by the paralegals and personal assistants‘.
‘There are two things which make this practice unique – 1. The superlative leadership, drive and strategic thinking of Andrew Hopkin and 2. The diversity and excellent quality of his fellow partners and associates‘.
‘Rachel Lyne is just fantastic‘.
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue
- Representing a key contractor involved in the refurbishment of the Grenfell Tower prior to the fire which resulted in the loss of 71 lives in June 2017.
- Representing a major car parts manufacturer following a large scale legionnaires outbreak at their facility in the North East in May 2015.
Gateley Plc offers a one-stop fatal accident and major incident service nationally to its clients. Its track record in the health and safety arena ensure that it generates work from clients in various sectors. Led by practice head Ruth Armstrong, the team acts for 19 of the top 20 housebuilders in the UK. It also has sector expertise in manufacturing, waste management and retail, among others. The group has significant experience of handling trading standards investigations, product and safety issues as well as environmental, anti-bribery and corruption matters.
Other key lawyers:
Kate Oliver; Chris Grainger
‘A very commercially astute team covering a large and varied practice area‘.
‘The team really gets to knows its clients to ensure that it understands exactly what the client needs, often without the client having to say anything‘
‘Ruth Armstrong is a leader in her field. Always accessible, extremely astute commercially with huge experience and a broad range of technical strengths. Very good and easy to deal with. Works well and with fine judgement in critical situations‘.
‘Ruth Armstrong is pragmatic, friendly, hardworking and highly intelligent‘.
‘Kate Oliver has a real understanding of the criminal process and what will be best for her clients‘.
Drayton Manor Park
- Represented Drayton Manor Park in the high profile police and HSE investigations following a fatal accident to a member of the public (a child on a school trip).
- Represented Camtrex Limited following a fatal accident at its premises.
- Represented Nylacast in the inquest and subsequent prosecution following a fatal accident at its premises involving an employee.
- Representing a private members golf club when a member of staff was injured in a fire at the grounds.
- Acting for a specialist groundworks contractor following two live cable strikes in quick succession on a construction site.
Kennedys' team advises defendants facing HSE and local authority prosecutions, and it is also known for conducting its own advocacy at inquests. It receives a steady flow of instructions in the aftermath of serious accidents (including those involving fatalities), under the leadership of practice head James Shrimpton. Another area of strength involves advising clients and their insurers on any associated civil claims for damages in the aftermath of accidents.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team in Birmingham is part of the Kennedys national power house health and safety team and attracts major clients and cases ‘.
‘James Shrimpton is a mini magnet for the best cases‘.
‘James Shrimpton is a very good strategist, manages cases well and is good at moving the case in the right direction‘.
- The team advised an insurance company when a professional driver struck and killed a 7-year-old girl crossing the road in front of his skip lorry during the course of his employment.
Weightmans LLP advises a broad range of clients active in the public, commercial, charity, sports and insurance sectors. Andrew Brammer joined from Cartwright King, succeeding the outgoing Chris Green as practice head (Green moved to Keoghs LLP). The team represents businesses and key personnel in investigations and prosecutions that are brought by the HSE and other bodies, including the Environment Agency and the Trading Standards.
David Lewis (Leeds); Dewi Ap Thomas(Liverpool); Crispin Kenyon (London); Andrew Brammer
‘Has an excellent team‘.
- Advised a national organisation following an accident involving an electricity discharge.
- Provided discreet advice to a client in relation to the impact of several prosecutions in the English courts of the UK arm of its international parent business.
- Advising a company that specialises in providing transitional supported care and welfare services for young and vulnerable adults often with substance misuse and psychiatric and psychological issues.
- Assisted a company that was involved in the supply chain of some of the cladding used on Grenfell Tower before the fire.
- Advised the site manager of a building site following a fatal wall collapse in June 2015 on a development of new builds built into a steep hillside.
DWF generates a steady flow of work from insurers and large corporates in relation to prosecutions involving corporate manslaughter and safety offences. The team has a notable specialism in contentious health and safety work, but it also provides non-contentious advice to clients, which includes assisting with the restructuring of internal compliance systems following an incident. David Egan heads up the team in Birmingham.
Other key lawyers:
Caroline Depledge; Simon Naylor
MAC Skip Hire
- The team acted for ChristalClearProperties Limited and its sole director following a serious incident at a building site on which they worked.
- Acted for MAC Skip Hire following a fatality of one of their workers at a newly purchased site.
- Advising a food company during a HSE investigation following a serious safety incident at one of its sites.
Harrison Clark Rickerbys
Harrison Clark Rickerbys has a broad practice, which is equally strong on contentious regulatory matters and regulatory transactional support. It advises clients from a wide range of industries, including construction, manufacturing, waste, food, retail and education. Heath Thomas heads up the team, which was bolstered by the arrival of Kamal Chauhan from Finch Consilting Limited. Chauhan advises on all aspects of breaches to health and safety legislation.
Other key lawyers:
Kamal Chauhan; Aled Owen; Laura Shirley
The team at Mills & Reeve LLP, which is led by Cambridge-based Duncan Astill and Jamie Wheatley, acts for a wide range of institutional and corporate clients. It has particular expertise in the firm’s two largest sectors, namely health and education; in relation to the latter area, the group has been particularly active in advising university estates on asbestos-related incidents. The group overall is adept at advising on corporate manslaughter and health and safety prosecutions. It also advises on other matters, such as Care Quality Commission enforcements and inquests.
Jamie Wheatley (Cambridge); Duncan Astill (Cambridge)
- Represented Adamson Construction when it was prosecuted by the HSE in respect of an accident during building works on a domestic premises.
- Representing Elysium Healthcare (Farndon) in an HSE investigation into the death of a secure mental patient after she jumped from a moving vehicle
Plexus Law has extensive expertise in advising organisations and individuals on all aspects of health and safety legislation. Its team is particularly experienced in defending clients against HSE/local authority prosecutions, as well as handling inquests and serious case reviews. Its client base includes insurance companies, corporates, self-insured and local authorities. Damon Burt and Anthony Bushell are well regarded.
Damon Burt; Anthony Bushell
‘It has an outstanding health and safety team that provides excellent customer service and achieves exceptional outcomes for its clients‘.
‘Anthony Bushell is outstanding. He combines an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law, with a robust common sense approach and exceptional judgment‘.
A D Bly
Worcester County Council
- Advising on a HSE prosecution and a potentially fatal injury that was sustained on a construction site by a reversing telehandler (JCB type Fork Lift Truck) when it collided with a groundworker.
- Advised when the insured was prosecuted for a breach of section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work 1974.
- Advised on the HSE Prosecution of an insured for contravention of section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Shakespeare Martineau LLP regularly represents businesses and individuals in investigations and prosecutions that are brought by the HSE and other regulatory bodies. It has a wide-ranging practice; the scope of the work includes advice to companies on directors’ responsibilities and corporate manslaughter, and representing clients at inquests. Team head Julia Messervy-Whiting divides her time between Stratford-upon-Avon and Birmingham.
Other key lawyers:
Craig Wallace; David Ollivere
‘Julia Messervy-Whiting undertakes an extremely thorough job and is meticulous in her detail‘.
‘I have been impressed with Julia-Messervy-Whiting’s attention to detail, her determination to get the best possible outcome for us, whilst at the same time managing our expectations clearly regarding possible outcomes‘.
‘Julia Messervy-Whiting’s attention to detail is second to none – she leaves no stone unturned. Nothing is too much trouble and she is always available‘.
‘The team takes the time to listen and to understand the issues raised so that it can give the correct advice‘.
Nottingham Trent University
University of Warwick
The NEC Group
Morrison Utility Services
The Church of England
XPO Transport UK
- Represented a manufacturing business in the defence of a second HSE prosecution within two years and a HSE investigation on unrelated breaches.
- Assisted client with pursuing leave to appeal at Court of Appeal in respect of a £730,000 sentence for breach of Workplace Regulations.
- Represented a lay client at an inquest into multiple deaths arising from a farm fire.
- Provided advice to an university in relation to risks consequent upon student travel.
- Represented a client in relation to alleged breaches of Housing Act 2004 Management Regulations.
Squire Patton Boggs, whose practice has a national reach, is best known for defending large corporate organisations and directors in particularly serious health and safety matters, such as those under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, among others. It has particular expertise in the entertainment, food and drink, retail, construction, chemicals, waste and manufacturing sectors. Other areas of expertise include the energy, charity and sports sectors. David Gordon in Birmingham combines private practice experience with knowledge about chemicals regulatory and health issues. Manchester-based Rob Elvin is the overall head of the team.
Other key lawyers:
David Gordon; Rob Biddlecombe; Gary Lewis
‘The team has a comprehensive range of knowledge and experience, but the real selling point is its customer focus, attention to detail, and its collaborative and accessible approach. The team is equally at home in an operational engineering workshop as in the boardroom seamlessly adapting its approach to meet the needs of the audience and deliver excellent support ‘.
Suez Plc (and subsidiary)
Bayer Crop Science
Mamas & Papas
International Tennis Federation
- Advised an energy company in relation to a prosecution following work at height accident.
- Advised Mamas and Papas on its prosecution by the HSE for breaches of health and safety regulation involving one of its products.
- Represented Homebase in its appeal against a prohibition notice imposed as a result of work practices.
- Represented a client in an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive following a fatal accident involving an employee.
- Represented a client in a prosecution following several accidents involving employees at one of its sites.