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Chambers and Partners UK guide to the legal profession

Chambers and Partners 2016

Leigh Day has once more received a glowing recommendation from the Chambers and Partners UK guide to the legal profession 2016, with a top-band ranking in eight areas of practice. In addition, twenty-three Leigh Day partners have been recognised as leading individuals in their fields of expertise, four of whom, Martyn Day, Claire FazanRichard Stein and Anne Winyard, have been ranked as ‘Star Individuals’.

Administrative and public law

Within administrative and public law Leigh Day maintained its band 1 rating from last year, and the firm continues to appear in many high-profile public law cases. The team has a wide-ranging area of expertise, covering matters relating to prisoner law, access to medical care, disabilities and the right to adequate legal representation.  It offers high-quality representation and advice to individuals, charities and NGOs across the full span of public law issues and has outstanding expertise in a number of areas, including health and social care, prisoners' rights and matters connected to terrorism legislation.

Sources state that "The quality of the solicitors is superb and they provide a Rolls-Royce service to clients who cannot afford to pay". "They are excellent at representing the underdog and have a record of success in public law cases." 

Individuals: Richard Stein* (star individual); Jamie Beagent (band 2), Sean Humber (band 3); Rosa Curling (star associate)

Richard Stein is one of Leigh Day’s ‘Star Individuals’. He enjoys an outstanding reputation in public law, with great experience in bringing judicial reviews relating to education, human rights, healthcare and hospital closures. Sources describe him as "one of the best strategic thinkers for public law cases; he has an ability to analyse a case and spot the weaknesses in the other side's position." His extensive work covers educational, environmental and health issues, including sensitive ‘right to life’ and ‘right to die’ cases.

"Trail-blazing lawyer" Rosa Curling receives high praise from peers and clients alike for her public law work. Market sources say she is "engaged, clever and understands the tactical issues as well as the legal questions." She maintains a broad practice in public law, acting in domestic and international matters touching on terrorism, health, education and detention.

Sean Humber heads the human rights department at the firm, and has particular expertise in prison law, and issues arising in the environmental and discrimination spheres. He is "dedicated, effective and a real specialist in prison law," according to peers. Others say he is "an innovative thinker and creative lawyer, who is not afraid of a difficult challenge but litigates responsibly."

Jamie Beagent focuses his practice on public law challenges in the context of human rights, the environment and corporate responsibility. Sources report that he is "on top of the issues, innovative in his approach and realistic as to prospects."

Civil Liberties

Civil Liberties was also awarded a band 1 rating. The department is descrbed by sources as "dynamic, creative, drive the law forward and are always alert to new areas and potential challenges. They combine expert legal knowledge with tactical nous". "They are a very innovative firm, they tend to be involved in cutting-edge, groundbreaking cases and take the kind of claims other firms would be afraid to take."

The team is known for acting on cutting-edge civil liberties and human rights claims. Known for its expert knowledge in claims against the UK Government for its failure to apply human rights protections when acting abroad. Areas of strength are wide-ranging and include healthcare, abuse claims, inquests and actions against the police.

Individuals: Richard Stein (band 1); Jamie Beagent (band 2); Frances Swaine (band 4) Alison Millar (up and coming); Rosa Curling (star associate), Merry Varney (associate to watch); Sean Humber (band 2 prison law), Benjamin Burrows (band 3). 

Jamie Beagent handles cases ranging from War on Terror matters to corporate accountability. Sources report: "He is responsive to clients and compassionate."

Benjamin Burrows primarily acts on prison law-related cases in both the public and private law sphere. Sources say: "He has an eye for spotting novel legal points, and is realistic, personable and very good with clients."

Sean Humber represents clients in prison law claims arising from issues such as healthcare, unlawful detention, discrimination and sexual abuse. Commentators point to his "excellent strategic understanding of cases."

"Strategic thinker" Richard Stein is "the doyen of human rights law, he is vastly experienced with a formidable intellect," according to sources. He has recently been involved in a number of civil liberties claims arising from the War on Terror.

Managing partner Frances Swaine is recommended for human rights claims arising from abuse and best interests’ matters. She regularly represents clients in the Court of Protection.

The esteemed Rosa Curling is noted for her strength in civil liberties cases in the context of the War on Terror, right to die, community care and death row cases. Sources say: "She works so hard, is utterly committed to her clients and has fantastically good judgement."

Alison Millar is "hugely intelligent and experienced, the kind of person clients find easy to work with even though the subject matter is difficult," according to sources. She regularly represents vulnerable adults and abuse victims in civil liberties cases.

Marry Varney represents clients in human rights issues in health and social care, inquests, education and abuse cases. Sources appreciate her "dogged determination and commitment to her clients, and her wonderful compassion and humour."

Clinical Negligence - claimant

Claire Fazan and Anne Winyard are ‘Star Individuals’ in the Clinical Negligence department, which sustained its band 1 rating for 2016. 

The team is known for premier practice with a reputation for championing the rights of individuals. Handles an array of matters including claims for brain injury, spinal cord injury and delayed diagnosis of medical conditions.

Sources say “The whole team just works. Everything is checked and double-checked. Everything is watertight”. “I have always thought Leigh Day were the team to emulate.”

Individuals: Anne Winyard and Claire Fazan (star individuals); Henry Dyson and Russell Levy (band 1); Nicola Wainwright (band 2); and Olive Lewin and Suzanne White (band 3).

Claire Fazan specialises in cases of brain or spinal damage or death due to negligent care. “If I have a friend who asks me for a recommendation she is one of the people I would send them to,” remarks one source. 

Henry Dyson is described by sources as an “experienced and safe pair of hands.” He has worked on clinical negligence cases of many types, including brain injuries, spinal injuries and diagnostic errors.

Olive Lewin is a former nurse who handles various kinds of clinical negligence claims, especially those pertaining to cardiac or neurological damage. “Olive is something of a force of nature," observes one source, "she is bright, combative and absolutely adored by clients.”

Nicola Wainwright is an experienced clinical negligence practitioner who deals most frequently with cases where clients have suffered brain damage as a result of infection or injury at birth. “She was fantastic," enthuses one client, "I would recommend her without hesitation."

Russell Levy heads the clinical negligence department and focuses on prosecuting technically complex clinical negligence claims. “He is a very creative thinker," comments one interviewee, "and when he gets his teeth into a case he won't give up.”

Anne Winyard, in her capacity as consultant, continues to advise on cases for clients who have suffered through clinical negligence. “Anne is still the doyenne of the field,” says one source.

Suzanne White draws on her training as a radiographer to investigate a variety of clinical negligence claims, concerning such circumstances as brain injuries and undiagnosed infections. “She is incredibly empathetic with her clients and completely focused on getting the best results possible," notes one market observer.

Education: individuals

The education department, ranked in band 3, is well versed in education law, particularly in advising clients on challenges to the decisions of education providers and disability and religious discrimination matters. It is experienced in appearing before the SEN tribunal and associated appeals.

The team is known for being particularly active in public law challenges, including opposition to academy conversion. Also looked to for appeals work, and religious and disability discrimination cases.

Sources say: "I refer to them because they are very skilled and make a specialism of it. They know what they are doing and understand it well." 
Charlotte Skouby is the principal contact for the practice.

Employment: Employee & Trade Union

The Employment department is known for strong relations with major unions, alongside a reputation as a market leader in complex group claims, such as equal pay disputes. Members of the team bring an enviable level of experience of courts and tribunals at all levels. The employment team is ranked band 1 this year.

Individuals: Chris Benson (band 1).

Sources say: 
"They have changed the landscape for equal pay cases."
Described as "a force of nature," Chris Benson is particularly well known for his ground-breaking work on equal pay litigation. His recent work includes acting for the GMB in an investigation relating to historical blacklisting in the construction industry.


The Environment department has achieved a band 1 rating to complement the same award last year. Held in high esteem for work representing large groups of international claimants who have suffered the effects of environmental degradation. Frequently litigates against some of the world's largest corporations, especially in the energy space.

This heavyweight practice leads the way in bringing international group claims against multinationals on the grounds of serious environmental damage. Sources say: "They are an absolutely extraordinary firm that takes on risky, difficult and lengthy international cases". "Internationally they are very strong". "One of the leading claimant firms in all areas of public law."

Individuals: Martyn Day and Richard Stein (band 1), Daniel Leader and Richard Meeran (band 2).

There is a strong commercial awareness of the department; they have represented 14,000 members of the Bodo community in Nigeria in a claim against Shell, as well as 80 Colombian farmers affected by alleged environmental damage caused by an oil pipeline in a claim against BP. Other significant clients include Steve Nash, WWF and Corner House Research.

The firm's senior partner and leader of its environmental group action team, Martyn Day, is a "standout" claimant practitioner. He is commonly seen leading some of the largest cases against corporate and governmental bodies.

Richard Stein has a highly esteemed environmental, planning and public law claimant practice. Commentators laud him as "a really bright lawyer who also listens to advice, is very creative and is really good at working in a team."

Both a barrister and a partner in the firm, Daniel Leader focuses his practice on international claimant work. He regularly takes on big energy companies for African communities blighted by oil spillages. He also represents major NGOs in environmental work.

Richard Meeran leads group litigation for domestic and international clients against large industrial and natural resource extraction defendants. Clients say: "He presents the issues extremely clearly and has huge reserves of tenacity."

Personal Injury - claimant

The Personal Injury department has again been placed in the top band by Chambers in 2016 and it remains at the forefront of personal injury work. The group handles a wide variety of catastrophic claims, with particular expertise in cases arising from cycling accidents, as well as industrial disease claims. The team is renowned for spearheading multi-jurisdictional group claims involving the violation of human rights in a range of countries. It demonstrates strength in industrial disease and catastrophic injury, including complex brain, spinal and fatal accident claims. 

Sources report: "We are very impressed by the balance of experience and sympathetic concern for the family". "They are fabulously committed and extremely competent. They have the guts to go and spend weeks in difficult environments and then take the claims to the UK courts."

Individuals: Martyn Day (star individual); and Sally Moore (band 1); Sapna Malik (band 2); Daniel Easton (band 2), Penny Knight and Harminder Bains (band 3).

Martyn Day is praised for having "fabulous tactical knowledge." A widely respected practitioner, he has made his name bringing actions against the UK government and large multinational companies. He recently acted in the case of AAA & Others v British Airways & Another following the alleged sexual abuse of children in Kenya and Uganda by a former BA pilot.

Sally Moore, sources report, "provides an excellent service for her clients, often going the extra mile," and is regarded as "one of the leaders in her field." Her catastrophic injury work includes brain and spinal injury cases.

Sapna Malik recently acted in Rahmatullah v Ministry of Defence & Another, in which it was alleged that the claimant, captured by the British Army in Iraq, was subjected to mistreatment before being rendered to Afghanistan by US forces who detained him for ten years without trial. Her practice is notable for its combination of heavyweight human rights cases and international personal injury cases.

Peers have described Daniel Easton as "a deeply impressive character" who is "excellent at running difficult cases." He specialises in industrial disease cases and has a particular focus on asbestos-related matters. His broad practice sees him acting in other areas including accidents at work.

Penny Knight has experience acting exclusively for clients on personal injury cases. She has developed a practice acting for cyclists who sustain severe injuries in road traffic accidents.

Harminder Bains specialises in industrial disease claims, regularly acting in mesothelioma and asbestosis actions. She recently advised the Asbestos Victims' Support Groups Forum UK on its challenge to the inclusion of mesothelioma claims in the LASPO.

Personal Injury - industrial disease

The department, rated in band 1 again this year. The team has stellar reputation for handling diseases linked to asbestos exposure. Features prominently in headline disease cases and retains strong links to support groups and non-profits catering for those with mesothelioma.

Individuals: Daniel Easton and Harminder Bains (band 1)

Sources say: "They have an enviable reputation in the field they operate in". "They are bold in taking on difficult cases and achieve good outcomes for their clients. They are very sympathetic and helpful to their clients; they are one of the best firms in the field". "One of the best, if not the best, industrial disease teams."

"I have never met a person more tenacious, dedicated and committed to her clients and the judicial process," says one of Harminder Bains's clients. Further described as "dynamic" and "a brilliant negotiator," she regularly deals with claims resulting from asbestos exposure.

Daniel Easton is "very conscientious and hard-working" when acting for clients suffering from mesothelioma. He frequently advises Australian domiciled clients bringing claims against British companies.

Product Liability - claimant

This product liability team, maintaining its band 1 rating from last year, offers formidable strength in depth on the claimant side. It is one of the largest product liability teams in the country, known for its capacity to cover a diverse range of claims. It has taken a leading role in a series of marquee cases in contention of late on behalf of claimants. A broad spread of product liability work including clinical trials, consumer products and cosmetics-related issues, with expertise in matters on both a domestic and international footing. Frequently involved in the most significant and high-profile group litigation.

Sources say: "They have an enormous amount of experience and an incredible understanding of product liability litigation. They have a real appreciation of the risks and the best tactics for a case and getting the best outcome for their client". "Their department is excellent. What they bring, above any other firm, is a willingness to understand the expert areas and the science involved."

Individuals: Martyn Day and Bozena Michalowska Howells (band 1); Jill Paterson and Michelle Victor (band 2), Chris Haan (associate to watch).

The "brilliant" Bozena Michalowska Howells is "completely committed to her cases and incredibly thorough," according to commentators. She has expertise in handling orthopaedic product matters and is heavily involved in the metal-on-metal hip litigation. A source notes: "She's easy to work with and I would have no hesitation in recommending her."

Senior partner Martyn Day is lauded as "the doyen of product liability claimant work." He is renowned for his experience in group litigation and is described as "an innovative lawyer who is a champion for good." According to commentators, "he is an absolutely phenomenal negotiator who has got results which are just unbelievable."

Jill Paterson is an experienced practitioner who impresses with her experience in sophisticated, large-scale cases. Market commentators say she is "very well regarded, phenomenally bright, with a wealth of experience. She's seen and done it all."

Michelle Victor has experience in representing claimants in complex group product liability litigation. She has been involved in cases relating to medical and cosmetic products, and is "someone who is well known and does a good job for her clients."

Rising star Chris Haan draws high levels of praise from a variety of sources. He is particularly well regarded for his deep subject matter expertise, with interviewees highlighting his "incredibly high level of technical understanding. He really gets a grasp of it and assesses expert evidence in a comprehensive way."

Travel - claimant

The travel has good reputation for claimant travel personal injury work that has been boosted by recent lateral hires. Handles severe and fatal accidents arising out of RTAs, cycling accidents, accidents on holiday and injuries sustained while employed abroad.

Sources say: "On the claimant side I would rate them very highly"."They proactively keep clients informed." 

Clare Campbell is known among peers for her "promptness and client attention" and for being "good at finding new angles" in cases. A recent addition to the team, she brings with her significant experience in applicable law cases and group illness cases.


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