Switalskis Solicitors > Wakefield, England > Firm Profile

Switalskis Solicitors

Private client > Family: elsewhere in Yorkshire Tier 1

Switalskis Solicitors‘ family offering is spread across the region, Clare Peckett leading the family practice in Wakefield, while Toby Netting and Jennifer Heckingbottom head the family and care teams respectively from Sheffield. The team is experienced in carrying out complex international childcare work, alongside high-value financial matters. A number of its members are collaboratively trained, displaying a dedication to constructive, less adversarial solutions. Senior solicitor Alison Kitchman is ‘highly regarded as a firm but fair family lawyer’.

Practice head(s):

Clare Peckett; Jennifer Heckingbottom; Toby Netting

Other key lawyers:

Alison Kitchman; Samantha Downes


‘Alison Kitchman is a stand-out: definitely hardworking, proactive in terms of tabling thought-out common-sense solutions to issues. Ability and skill to identify then focus on the main issues readily and appropriately, conscious of client budgets, subsequently delivering cost-effectively.’

‘Alison Kitchman is highly regarded as a firm but fair family lawyer, offering her client’s strong support and legal advice through difficult times in a logical and sensible manner.’

‘Alison Kitchman is passionate about helping and supporting her clients. Her enthusiasm for collaborative work is infectious. She clearly cares about the work she does and the clients she works for. Toby Netting is approachable, puts clients at ease, and has the ability to explain complex legal principles to clients in a way they understand.’

‘The team has a board range of experience in a number of sectors and is well known throughout the North of England and beyond. Its members are well known within the profession as being highly competent to deal with the most complex of cases, either alone or collaboratively with counsel.’

‘Switalskis do a large amount of their advocacy work in house and have a number of robust solicitor advocates who can hold their own with counsel in the court.’

‘Jennifer Heckingbottom is a heavyweight care practitioner in North Yorkshire and Sheffield and robustly case manages expert evidence on behalf of the child.’

‘Switalskis are one of the biggest firms locally. They are fantastic at client relationships and billing. I would highly recommend them as a team.’

‘Jennifer Heckingbottom is exceptional. She is a Director. She has a fantastic manner with clients. She cuts through to the important issues in a case and is incredibly hardworking. I recommend her highly to others, and she has a great future ahead of her.’

Work highlights

Crime, fraud and licensing > General crime and fraud Tier 2

Solicitor advocate Michael Devlin leads Switalskis Solicitors‘ crime team, bringing his particular expertise working with vulnerable defendants to bear; mental health and mental capacity law, and child and adult abuse claims are areas of particular strength. The team also includes barrister Jim Littlehales.

Practice head(s):

Michael Devlin

Other key lawyers:

Insurance > Clinical negligence: claimant Tier 2

Switalskis Solicitors works on the full spectrum of clinical negligence mandates, handling both complex and high-profile cases, and more routine claims, on behalf of clients. Sarah Tipton Walker and Suzanne Munroe jointly lead the practice; the former is active in relation to cases of complex brain injury, while the latter focusses on cases of cerebral palsy and birth-related injury more generally, with work often relating to chronic pain and still births. Richard Starkie works from York and brings a valuable specialism in product liability cases to the group, while Robyn Hawxby works on stroke claims and spinal injuries, and Charlotte Reeves works on cases of orthopaedic injury.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Munroe; Sarah Tipton-Walker


‘Suzanne Munroe has provided high quality leadership over many years. The team itself has unrivalled expertise in the management of complex and high-value clinical negligence cases, and this permeates throughout all levels. The reputation of the clinical negligence team is also based an ethos that puts the needs of injured clients first and foremost, and a desire to achieve the very best results for them.’

‘There is a wide range of highly competent practitioners at Switalskis but two standouts are: Suzanne Munroe and Charlotte Reeves. As the head of the team, Suzanne has developed the team over a number of years, with skill, application and excellent judgment. She exudes authority and confidence. Charlotte Reeves is a natural leader, who combines a high intelligence with excellent client care skills. She provides a reassuring presence for injured clients but also provides realistic and beneficial advice.’

‘Growing specialist practice with some superb individuals, who are tactically extremely astute and always fight hard for their clients, leaving no stone unturned.’

‘Impressive and highly capable team.’

‘Suzanne Munroe has a wealth of experience. She is sensible and practical. She is enthusiastic but level-headed also about her cases.’

‘Suzanne Munroe and Sarah Tipton-Walker have been doing this work for many years and really are specialists in the field of claimant clinical negligence. They are approachable and reasonable to deal with.’

‘The clinical negligence team at Switalskis provides an excellent service for clients. They are highly motivated and work effectively together to ensure that the client and their family are given a good service. They communicate effectively with the client, their family and the team of experts to ensure the best outcome.’

‘Suzanne Munroe is an exceptional solicitor and team leader. She clearly loves her job, and thrives off being successful. She has a lovely relationship with her clients and their families and understands the stresses that these families face. She ensures that the right support is provided as quickly as possible to make their lives easier. She is driven in delivering the best service she can for her clients.’

Work highlights

  • Representing seven families whose babies died at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
  • Represented claimants whose baby died due to gross failings at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.
  • Secured £2.8m for claimants from the Nottingham NHS Trust in a case concerning an injured baby.

Insurance > Personal injury: claimant Tier 2

Operating from Doncaster, Switalskis Solicitors continues to 'combine a personal, local and individual feel with in-depth knowledge and expertise'. Mark Hollinghurst and his dedicated team have established capabilities in brain and spinal injury, while John McQuater leverages his market-leading expertise to advise clients on amputation, fatalities, and complex appeals. Diane Parker has a stellar track record in employers' liability, occupiers' liability, and road traffic accidents. The team additionally provides exceptional representation in relation to child abuse work, with David Greenwood bringing his eminent position in this space to the firm’s prominent lobbying and claims work; he works alongside Amy Clowrey, who is also noted for her leading work in this field.

Practice head(s):

Mark Hollinghurst; Diane Parker; David Greenwood; John McQuater

Other key lawyers:


‘A middle-sized firm but with a huge knowledge of personal injury work and a massive dedication to the cause of their clients. Doggedly persistent. Achieve excellent results. Compared to the ‘giants’ of this sector, they are without doubt a better choice for most people looking for quality but with a personal touch.’

‘There is probably no better lawyer in the field of personal injury work than Mark Hollinghurst. He works tirelessly for his clients. He is calm and collected, almost unflappable, and invariably right. He achieves results. He will never give up on a cause he believes in.’

‘The serious brain injury unit led by Mark Hollinghurst is a stand-out team. As good as or better than any that you will find anywhere or at any firm. They work collaboratively as a team deploying several fee earners appropriately to a catastrophic case. The attitude to rehabilitation is exceptional and funding of litigation is never a problem. Mark is involved in every case. A terrific brain that you want on your side.’

‘Mark Hollinghurst has intellect in abundance, with good judgment and brilliant analysis and tactics. He gets results that others just could not.’

‘Switalskis Solicitors combine a personal, local and individual feel with in-depth knowledge and expertise. I cannot recommend them highly enough for high-value and complex personal injury and fatal accident litigation. Partner oversight and involvement is second to none.’

‘Mark Hollinghurst is a highly knowledgeable serious and fatal injury litigator. He combines a personable and measured approach with in-depth knowledge and huge experience. He is fantastic with clients. Mark is extremely hands-on, with a guiding hand on his fee earners’ cases above and beyond what I have seen at similar firms elsewhere.’

‘This practice is very client focused. You really gain the view that they are fighting hard for their clients and ensuring they are being very thorough. They are also very sensitive to client needs and always put these first, ensuring they feel safe and protected.’

‘Amy Clowrey and David Greenwood are standout lawyers. Just very client focused, efficient and work very well with experts. They are both respectful and appropriately challenging of cases. Ultimately I know they have their clients’ interests firmly at the forefront of their work and this makes it very easy to work with them.’

Work highlights

  • Represented over 25% of applicants to the Lambeth Children’s Home Redress Scheme, resulting in over £21m in damages for applicants to date and £3.3m in costs.
  • Successfully lobbied the Ministry of Justice to create a redress scheme for survivors of abuse in Medomsley Detention Centre.

Private client > Court of protection Tier 3

Switalskis Solicitors fields a well-established and ‘strong’ team, which is renowned for dealing with complex mental capacity and welfare cases. It also handles deprivation of liberty challenges in the court of protection, alongside community care challenges. It is frequently instructed by the Official Solicitor. Head of department, Alison Kaye, has extensive experience of dealing with complex cases revolving around issues of consent to sexual relationships and deprivation of liberty. Michael Kennedy specialises in mental health and mental capacity law.

Practice head(s):

Alison Kaye

Other key lawyers:

Michael Kennedy; Leesa Hullah


‘Switalskis are leaders in the field. The quality of their health and welfare work is extremely impressive. They attract instructions in interesting and complex matters including serious medical treatment cases’.

‘They have an excellent relationship with the Official Solicitor’s office and regularly receive instructions from the Official Solicitor’.

‘They are extremely knowledgeable, efficient and excellent at developing rapports with clients. They are dedicated and committed to upholding the human rights of people with disabilities, who lack capacity’.

‘I have worked with Michael Kennedy and Leesa Hullah on several tricky and complex and unusual cases in which they have been instructed by the Official Solicitor’.

‘The quality of their instructions are extremely impressive. They are extremely proactive and communicative in their cases. They really go the extra mile and fight for their clients’.

‘The teams that I work with from Switalskis are thorough, reliable, punctual, friendly, knowledgeable and helpful’.  

‘Michael Kennedy, Leesa Hullah and Alison Kaye are excellent. What shines through is their dedication to putting the wishes and feelings of P first and striving to achieve the best outcome for P’.

Work highlights

  • Assisted in a case regarding a young woman with learning disabilities who was removed from the home she shared with her partner after he carried out a violent attack on her. The court decided it was not in her best interests to have unsupervised contact with her partner.
  • Assisted in a case regarding a residential care patient with schizophrenia who has been subjected to a host of allegations by her mother. Injunctions are now in place against the mother. The matter is now listed in the High Court.

Switalskis Solicitors provides expert legal advice and representation to individuals and businesses across the Yorkshire region and beyond. Switalskis prides itself on its ability to offer a comprehensive, highly personal service to clients both locally and nationally.

The firm: Established in 1993, the firm’s long-standing ethos is that all members of society should be able to access high-quality advice and representation, especially the vulnerable and those who lack a voice in the justice system.   Switalskis Solicitors brings together some of the region’s most experienced lawyers, who combine their local knowledge with nationally renowned legal expertise in order to deliver a first-class service to their clients.

Switalskis’ teams offer a wide range of legal services, including family law and divorce, advice on wills and estates, criminal law, child care law and conveyancing.

The firm also offers specialist claims advice, alongside other relevant services, to clients who have suffered serious injuries or abuse, including advice on child abuse claims, clinical negligence claims, brain injury and serious injury claims. In addition, the firm has an established Court of Protection team. This combination of services allows the clinical negligence and brain injury and serious injury teams to utilise a dovetailed approach when dealing with cases which require a professional deputy or trustee.

Many of Switalskis’ directors and solicitors are nationally recognised experts within their field, leading growing teams of highly capable and ambitious lawyers. Geographic expansion has also been fundamental to the current and ongoing commercial success of the firm, as the directors have overseen a number of strategic acquisitions in recent years.

Types of work undertaken: Headed up by recognised experts in their field, Switalskis’ specialist clinical negligence, brain injury and serious injury, Court of Protection, child abuse claims and child care law departments have built up reputations reaching far beyond Yorkshire for the quality and scope of the work they carry out.

The clinical negligence team has particular experience and expertise in the area of complex birth injury claims, including cerebral palsy claims. The notably large team also deals with a wide range of claims relating to injuries suffered as a result of medical negligence, including complex neurological claims, orthopaedic claims, oncology claims, psychiatric claims and fatal claims, as well as providing expert representation at inquests.

The recently acquired brain injury and serious injury team specialises in complex brain injury claims, including acting on behalf of clients who are in a minimally conscious state (MCS). The team works closely with clients, their families and those involved in their care with the aim of providing the maximum rehabilitation and support.

Switalskis’ Court of Protection team is renowned for dealing with complex mental capacity and welfare cases and deprivation of liberty challenges in the Court of Protection, alongside community care challenges. The department has particular expertise in assisting people who are affected by learning disabilities, autism, Alzheimer’s, dementia, mental health issues, acquired brain injuries, behavioural needs and communication difficulties.

As a testament to the important and far-reaching nature of the work of Switalskis’ child abuse claims department, the team is regularly instructed to act on behalf of survivors in high-profile cases, including representing victims of the widely reported Rotherham CSE scandal. The team deals with compensation claims relating to child sexual exploitation and abuse against a wide range of organisations and individuals, including local authorities, private care homes and the church.

Other offices: Bradford,  Doncaster,  Honley, Huddersfield, Leeds, London, Knaresborough,  Pontefract, Sheffield and York.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing director John Durkan
Family and child care Clare Peckett
Family and child care Razia Jogi
Family and child care Lorrette Law
Family and child care Louise Noblet
Clinical negligence Suzanne Munroe
Clinical negligence Sarah Tipton Walker
Conveyancing Sarah Cookson
Child abuse compensation David Greenwood
Mental health law and COP Michael Kennedy
Brain injury and serious injury Mark Hollinghurst
Photo Name Position Profile
David Greenwood photo Mr David Greenwood Director & Solicitor
Photo Name Position Profile
Amy Clowrey photo Ms Amy Clowrey Director & Solicitor
Clare Peckett photo Ms Clare Peckett Director & Solicitor
Number of UK partners : 22
Number of other UK fee-earners : 126

CLIENT: Clinical Negligence client


“I will always remember the kindness. You always listened and did the very best for us to lessen the grief we were facing. Your hard work, dedication and compassion was evident and that gave me the hope and strength to continue with the case despite difficult times”.

CLIENT: Clinical Negligence client


“Thank you for being open minded and compassionate, for accepting my case, believing in me in the most difficult time of my life, and helping me through your patience and professionalism in getting justice for my baby and my family. Once again thanks for all your dedication, it has been a very enriching experience your representation as our solicitor.”

CLIENT: Clinical Negligence client


“The care, compassion and professional way you worked on my case was superb. There was no stone left unturned to get to the truth. At times I felt really down but you have a certain way of picking people back up and getting them focused again. I truly am very grateful for all the work you have put into my case. Once again I thank you from the bottom of my heart”.

CLIENT: Family Law client


“I am so happy with your representation during probably the most difficult and stressful time of my life. You definitely went above and beyond to help me. Your professional knowledge and legal advice was without doubt the reason my case was successful. I will be forever grateful.”

CLIENT: Family Law client


“At the most traumatic time in your life you need the best legal advice available. At Switalskis I got this and much more. Allan Layfield managed my case with professionalism and skill. He walked alongside me for over 5 years. He was my support, he listened (a lot!), and he was patient and very kind. To find a Solicitor with this skill set and compassion could be suggested a rarity.”

CLIENT: Family Law client


“It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I have this opportunity to pass on my gratitude to Alison.

Alison has given her all when it has come to my dilemma, giving professional guidance with great integrity. Alison along with her fabulous team have committed themselves to seeing the job in hand resolved right through to the very end. Alison has the ability to keep you on track with the matter in hand whilst being kind, caring and considerate when dealing with sensitive and often emotional issues.”

CLIENT: Court of Protection


“There are named members of staff that we can ring for advice. Any 21a referrals we pass to them we know they will be dealt with in a professional manner and we will be kept updated with relevant information. Alison Kaye has over a number of years provided awareness training over changes in legislation and is available to answer our queries and questions. We have also relied on Michael Kennedy for support and guidance”.

CLIENT: Court of Protection


“Switalskis solicitors practice is an exceptional practice that is proactive from start to finish of a case and always updates me every step of the way which is important for me and the client. It is no trouble for them to explain what is going on in the case. For me what makes the individuals stand out is the fact they do not keep you waiting, they get back to you straight away they do not keep you waiting. They always update you about the case and when the case is over they let you know”.

We are committed to creating a fair and inclusive environment for all employees, clients and visitors. Respect, equality and inclusion is central to the ethos of the Switalskis group and forms the heart of our firm’s values.

We commissioned a review of our working practices to address any areas that we feel were working well and to identify how as a business we could implement better practice.

The paper identified the need to name a new ED&I Lead, who would assume responsibility for strategy relating to policy, standards being met and monitoring as necessary. With our new Head of People (HR), we are rolling out an ED&I Steering Group to drive activity and visibility across the group. Such involvement will be available to all employees and will be driven by our new interactive SwitsHub (intranet).

We have updated our policy so that it shows our commitment to include a specific Trans and non-binary inclusion policy. We encourage individuality and choice.

As demonstrated in our gender pay report, we pride ourselves in equality throughout our business.

We are actively reviewing our recruitment policy to ensure it is progressive and remains in line with our ethos. We recognise contextualised recruitment may assist in uncovering external factors that may have contributed to a candidate’s grades and experience to assist in identifying self-motivated, driven, outperformers. The fact that an individual has overcome many barriers to achieve a certain outcome demonstrates they might well have performed even better if those barriers were removed. We are a business who welcome applications from minority sectors that otherwise may not feel they are afforded the same opportunities.

We are keen and proud to continue supporting our community. Examples of the support include:

  • In sponsored partnership with Paces Sheffield – a specialist Yorkshire-based charity, centre, and school for individuals with cerebral palsy and motor disorders
  • Bradford City Football Club women – player sponsorship
  • We are actively involved with the Leeds Powerchair Football Club and the Yorkshire Powerchair Football League including sponsorship of the team’s kit
  • We support Aspirations Day at Mount Pleasant Primary School in Huddersfield
  • We offer regular voluntary work for the UK-wide brain injury charity Headway in Barnsley
  • Our colleague, Christine Griffiths is a trustee for Disability Sheffield
  • Our colleague, Toby Netting hosts an annual guest lecture to Family Law undergraduates at Sheffield Hallam University
  • Our colleague, Ruth Coneron supports events at Huddersfield University, inspiring and helping the next generation of family and care lawyers by speaking to students in particular to support the BAME community
  • We offer Pro bono work to service users at Huddersfield University Family Law clinic, whilst allowing students to shadow the team in particular to support the BAME community.

Our people are our greatest asset to a successful business and we recognise that in order to achieve equality, diversity and inclusion for all we must strive for progression and thus create fairness for all