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The Legal 500

The Legal 500 2018

The Legal 500 2018 has awarded Leigh Day top rankings in six main areas of its practice, with an impressive forty-two solicitors recommended, and twelve (senior partner Martyn Day along with Claire Fazan, Chris Benson, Sean Humber, Bozena MichalowskaStephen Jones, Brendan HopeSally Moore, Jill PatersonFrances Swaine, Clare Campbell and Andrew Bradley) marked out as 'leading individuals’. Tom Jervis, Jamie Beagent, Rosa Curling, Mike Cain, Sarah Moore and Tessa Gregory were identified as 'next-generation lawyers'.

Administrative and public law

Sean Humber heads a group of specialists at Leigh Day that assist claimants, NGOs and charities in impressively diverse areas ranging from healthcare, prisoner rights, immigration and refugee law through to challenges related to planning and environmental law. It also handles international public and criminal law matters. Jamie Beagent represented the Friends of Evenlode Valley and West Oxfordshire Cotswolds in a successful judicial review of the grant of planning permission for a substantial development in an area of outstanding natural beauty. He is also handling cases concerning inquests and a trafficking/sexual exploitation matter. Rosa Curling's broad practice includes acting for the Campaign against the Arms Trade in a  challenge to the licensing and sale of arms from UK companies to Saudi Arabia. Tessa Gregory has a focus on human rights and is representing refugee families who have been denied entry to the UK.  In other work it is acting for an NGO in a judicial review against the Cabinet Office challenging the failure to designate a private company as a “high risk” strategic supplier for government contracts relating to the operation of number of immigration removal centres, prisons and young offender institutes.

Civil Liberties

Leigh Day's areas of expertise include matters involving immigration, international human rights, prison law, welfare reform, actions against the police, and data protection law. The 15-lawyer team is ‘knowledgeable on the law and closely engaged in the issues’. 'Determined' partner Sean Humber successfully acted for over 30 patients of an HIV clinic whose names were mistakenly disclosed to 780 other patients, and is acting for three Muslim prisoners in religious discrimination claims.  Yvonne Kestler ‘fights exceptionally hard’ for her clients. The 'outstanding' Rosa Curling has led many groundbreaking human rights cases before the UK’s High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court as well as the European Court of Human Rights and the African Regional Courts of Human Rights. Other names to note include Jamie Beagent and Benjamin Burrows.

Clinical negligence - claimant

Leigh Day is praised for having 'a large pool of shared knowledge and expertise' in complex claims involving life-changing injuries or difficult question of law and ethics. Claire Fazan’s experience is 'second to none'; she combines 'sensitivity with superb judgement'. Birth injury claims specialist Suzanne White is known for her 'enthusiasm and advocacy of her clients’ rights'. Sally-Jean Nicholes is a 'shrewd lawyer with great judgement' and is 'committed to get the best result for her clients without losing sight of what is achievable'.

Leigh Day's team has extensive experience in acting in high-value and complex cases in areas such as cerebral palsy, brain injury, spinal injury and amputations. Stephen Jones can ‘achieve results in difficult cases that are quite beyond ordinary litigators’. Jones is known for representing families at inquests and in fatal claims, and acts for HM Coroner for Manchester as solicitor to the inquest in various cases. The ‘very experienced, efficient and client friendly’ Brendan Hope is praised for his ‘indefatigable attention to detail, to the pursuit of all evidential angles and for his real commitment to understanding the medical issues involved in each case’.

Employment: employee/union firms

'Unquestionably a leader in the field', Leigh Day 'combines robustness and empathy in a way most firms could only dream of'. Key areas of expertise include equal pay issues, working time rights, trade union rights, discrimination claims and National Minimum Wage work. The group has also been highly active in the employment status space; recent highlights include representing 68 Uber drivers in a tribunal claim relating to gig economy issues, acting for three drivers in a self-employment challenge against Addison Lee, and representing 50 Deliveroo riders in an employment status claim. Other mandates included representing 230 judges in direct age discrimination claims relating to judicial pensions and acting for multiple Asda shop workers in an equal pay claim. The 'outstanding' Chris Benson leads the group, which includes Kiran Daurka, Michael Newman, newly promoted partner Nigel Mackay and the 'unbelievably knowledgeable' Emma Satyamurti. Elizabeth George joined Pattinson & Brewer.

Leigh Day’s work ‘is absolutely first-class especially for equal claims. Few firms compete with this firm for class action claimant work’. Chris Benson who divides his time between London and Manchester heads the team. The ‘tenacious and very committed’ Mike Cain is ‘not only knowledgeable but also very friendly and compassionate’. Linda Wong is ‘dedicated and inspirational’ and Lauren Lougheed has an ‘extraordinary grasp of detail without ever losing sight of the big picture’. The team’s expertise ranges from large group claims for employees to advice on policy. It routinely represents unions (such as the GMB Union), senior executives and individuals. In a case that is attracting a lot of media interest and is a very large equal pay claim in the private sector, the group is advising in excess of 20,000 individuals (mostly female supermarket workers) on their equal pay claims for sex discrimination against ASDA.

Employment: senior executives

Leigh Day 'combines both legal knowledge and practical advice' with highly regarded experience in equal pay, race and sex discrimination claims; it recently acted for over 230 judges in direct age discrimination, indirect race and sex discrimination and equal pay claims relating to the judicial pension scheme; and represented an individual in litigation relating to whether a dismissal can be fair following an act of disability discrimination. Group leader Chris Benson is 'excellent', 'committed fighter' Kiran Daurka focuses on contractual issues and discrimination claims, newly promoted partner Nigel Mackay is 'very impressive' and Emma Satyamurti is 'an absolutely fantastic discrimination lawyer'.


The environmental practice at Leigh Day acts for claimants on the full gamut of domestic environmental legal challenges, as well as international matters in the African Court of Human Rights, including the right to access water. Richard Meeran and Sean Humber lead the litigation practice, which recently acted for the Ogale community of the Niger Delta in civil claims against Royal Dutch Shell over alleged oil spills that have caused serious, chronic land and water contamination.

Personal injury - claimant

The team at Leigh Day is considered to be 'a class act'; it focuses on severe injuries and asbestos disease work and is made up of specialists including Grant Incles, Sally Moore, who heads the personal injury department, and Andrew Bradley, who specialises in cycling-related injuries. Clients include the members of the British Cycling Federation, Asbestos Victims’ Support Groups Forum and the Spinal Injuries Association. Martyn Day acts for individuals in injury claims which often have a cross-border aspect and associate Bethany Sanders takes on catastrophic injury claims. The 'highly regarded' Laura Murphy focuses on brain injury, amputee and fatal accident claims.

Andrew Bradley is one of the primary contacts at Leigh Day. The team is becoming ‘one of the leading firms for industrial disease litigation’. The ‘exceptionally bright and thorough’ Kevin Johnson is ‘very knowledgeable and experienced’ and Helen Ashton is ‘absolutely first-rate and is particularly good with clients’. Associate solicitor Rachel Botterill is ‘very thorough, friendly and compassionate. When negotiating claims and interim payments she is very tenacious’. Senior paralegal Ben Hacking is ‘extremely professional and knowledgeable about cycling claims. He seems to really understand the specific worries and needs of cyclists who have been injured’. The team handles a broad range of claims including acting on behalf of cyclists and other sports people as well as acting for those who have been involved in a road traffic or a workplace accident. It also acts for people who have been injured abroad. Clare Campbell specialises in acting for claimants who have been involved in accidents abroad and is adept at handling complex jurisdiction and applicable law issues. Campbell’s other areas of expertise include advising on Package Travel Regulations, maritime and aviation cases as well as large group illness litigation. The team is also well-regarded for its work for those who have suffered industrial disease (in particular exposure to asbestos).

Private client - Court of Protection

Sean Humber leads a ‘strong team’ at Leigh Day that is ‘dedicated, well organised and gets results for its clients’. Anna Moore is an ‘exceptionally committed lawyer with excellent judgement’. Kate Egerton ‘takes time to really understand a case and is always on top of the detail’. Frances Swaine is frequently instructed by the Official Solicitor in best interest applications. The team is acting in Court of Protection proceedings about the care and residence of a woman with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Product Liability - claimant

Leigh Day is ‘unquestionably one of the leading firms in the area of product liability’, with an excellent track record in group litigation. Bozena Michalowska Howells specialises in group actions relating to pharmaceutical and medical device claims with specific expertise in defective orthopaedic product claims. She is the lead solicitor in the ongoing Volkswagen Emissions group litigation. Jill Paterson is the lead partner representing 40 residents of Shepherd’s Court, an 18-storey tower block in West London, who were affected by a serious residential fire in 2016. It is alleged that the fire was caused by a tumble dryer manufactured by Indesit, a Whirlpool brand. Clinical trials and product safety expert Gene Matthews is representing a claimant who took part in a clinical trial for the drug MK-3475, a type of antibody used as an immunotherapy, and who subsequently developed a severe life-threatening neurological illness. The case settled in 2017. Additional areas of expertise include claims relating to food poisoning, cosmetic products and faulty white goods. Consumer rights expert Michelle Victor is representing numerous claimants in high-profile medical device and food product cases. Associate Sarah Moore has successfully represented clients seeking compensation for historic thalidomide injuries and has played a key role in the DePuy Pinnacle Metal on Metal Hip Group Litigation. Assistant solicitor Thomas Jervis has played a key role in the Biomet and Conserve metal-on-metal hip group actions; he is also highly experienced in representing families in high-profile inquests.

Travel - Personal Injury

Leigh Day’s travel personal injury team acts for claimants on a range of cases; it is representing the family of a minor who drowned on a package holiday at an all-inclusive resort in Egypt and is representing a claimant who sustained serious injuries as a result of an accident as part of an organised ice climbing activity on the Mer de Glace. It also acts for members of British Cycling and British Triathlon involved in accidents abroad. Department head Clare Campbell is ‘excellent’ and solicitors Colin Murphy and Joseph Dawson are also key members of the team. Christine Tallon has left the firm.

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