Health & Safety

5PB has a long pedigree in health and safety and environmental law, whether acting for the prosecution or the defence. Members of chambers have appeared in many of the leading cases that have shaped the development of this area of law.

Our expertise covers the spectrum of advisory work, criminal litigation, inquests and public enquiries across a range of industries.

We are able to provide guidance to corporate clients in respect of health and safety policy and audits. Our grounding in criminal law and reputation for excellence in jury advocacy means that members of chambers are able to demystify the most complex technical evidence and persuasively present cases before the courts.

Members of the team are also instructed by both the HSE and the CPS to prosecute cases arising out of workplace fatalities. 

Historically, members of chambers acted for P&O Ferries following the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster, represented Great Western Trains following the Southall rail crash, and Balfour Beatty in the Hatfield rail disaster case. More recently, we prosecuted the leading case of Tangerine Confectionary and Veolia, and secured the first ever acquittal of charges of corporate manslaughter in PS and JE Ward Ltd. 

Other examples of our work include:

  • The successful Prosecution of a construction company and their employee resulting from the death of a ground worker during works to expand the Docklands Light Railway. Both defendants were convicted following a contested trial.
  • The defence of a District Council following an outbreak of legionella at their public leisure centres which resulted in a member of the public becoming infected. Following mitigation, the fine imposed was less than 10% of the starting point within the guidelines.
  • The prosecution of a care home for fire safety breaches following a fire where two residents had died. The owner of the care home pleaded guilty 
  • A prosecution arising out of an incident at a medium secure mental health unit, in which a patient took a knife from the kitchen, stabbed two nurses multiple times and set fire to the ward.
  • The successful prosecution of an unincorporated joint venture following the death of a worker and injuries to two others in three separate accidents on the Crossrail construction project resulting in a fine of £1m 
  • The successful prosecution for gross-negligence manslaughter, following the collapse of a basement excavation. The case also involved the first successful prosecution of a health and safety consultant for a statutory offence resulting from his failure to properly advise and inspect the site
  • The successful prosecution of  one of the UK’s largest construction companies in respect of a fatality at the site of the redevelopment of Newbury town centre. This was the second successful prosecution of the same company conducted by a member of chambers.
  • Successfully applying to stay, as an abuse of process, the prosecution of a hopsital trust for regulatory breaches.
  • Representing the Health and Safety Executive at the inquest into the Battersea Crane Collapse which killed two people and conducting the subsequent prosecution of the crane hire company and its managing director.