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Leigh Day


Leigh Day - London
  • Priory House
  • 25 St John's Lane
  • London
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC1M 4LB
  • Senior Partner Martyn Day
  • Managing Partner Frances Swaine
  • Partners 29
  • Assistants 65
  • Number of other UK fee-earners  89
  • Total number of fee-earners 183

THE FIRM Leigh Day is a leading human rights and personal injury claimant firm based in London. Leigh Day specialises in many aspects of national and international personal injury and accident work, human rights, clinical negligence and multi-party actions. Lawyers at Leigh Day are committed to offering an exceptionally highquality service to all clients. The firm was set up by Sarah Leigh OBE and Martyn Day in June 1987 to represent individual claimants and their families. This remains the firm’s core value as it continues to grow across all departments.

Accident & Personal Injury:
The firm deals with a full range of personal injury claims, including road traffic accidents, accidents at work and transport disasters. The firm has specialist legal expertise in injuries to sportsmen, in particular cyclists and actions against the MoD, asbestos-related disease and latex allergies.
Administrative & Public Law: This department undertakes a large number of high profile judicial reviews of decisions taken by public bodies. Its clients include individuals, non-governmental groups and objectors to local authority decisions.
Clinical Negligence: The firm has a leading and excellent reputation for specialist clinical negligence work, concentrating on cases involving serious disabilities and death.
Employment: The Employment and Discrimination department is made up of recognised leading experts in employment, equal pay and discrimination law. The firm is a member of the Equality and Human Rights litigation panel and only provide specialist advice and representation to employees and individuals.
Environment: The firm is at the cutting edge of environmental law, specialising in claims as a result of exposure to pollution (radiation, chemicals, pesticides, sewage in the sea) together with industrial disease and nuisance claims.
Healthcare: Healthcare is a specialist focus within human rights. The team has an outstanding reputation for its work on medical ethical issues and ‘best interests’ cases. The firm often challenges decisions made by health service bodies, including NHS trusts and the GMC, and has been ground-breaking in its consideration of the impact of human rights on health and social care law.
Human Rights: The Human Rights Department offers expertise in areas where human rights are of growing importance, such as health and community care, medical ethics, special needs education, child abuse, nuisance, confidentiality and planning.
Multi-party Actions: Under Martyn Day, the firm has pioneered legal developments in multi-party cases on behalf of claimants in the UK and overseas. Issues include asbestos-related disease, claims against the Ministry of Defence, the disposal of toxic waste, the involvement of the British army in the Mau Mau uprising and more recently, with Iraqi interpreters.
Product Liability: Leigh Day has extensive experience in handling product liability cases, many of which are undertaken as class actions. Leigh Day is currently the lead firm on failed hip replacement components.The firm has been concerned with products such as medical devices, latex and pharmaceutical products.

  • Accident & PI Sally Moore
  • Administrative Richard Stein
  • Clinical Negligence Russell Levy
  • Education Alison Miller
  • Employment Discriminatiion Camilla Palmer
  • Environment Martyn Day
  • Healthcare Frances Swaine
  • Human Rights Sean Humber
  • Multi-party Actions Martyn Day
  • Product Liability Martyn Day, Boz Michalowska Howells


Clinical Negligence - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 10 partners 
- 15 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Handles a broad range of complex and high-value cases, including brain and spinal injury claims, delayed diagnosis, and a variety of pregnancy and childbirth-related matters. Also noted for its frequent pro bono representation of clients at inquests. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "They are exceptionally knowledgeable about clinical negligence, and they know how to run cases and who to instruct. They have the specialist knowledge to get the experts who will make sure the case is a success."

Preparation: "They are extraordinarily organised, and their evidence is well set out. Their choice of experts is faultless. They try very hard for their clients."

Work highlights Represented the family in connection with formal complaints and an inquest arising from a death at Sussex Orthopaedic Treatment Centre following routine hip surgery. The case has been referred to in the debate surrounding the provision of NHS services by privately operated companies.

Recently obtained a £3 million settlement in a mixed quadriplegic cerebral palsy claim.

Notable practitioners  

Claire Fazan draws numerous accolades for her expertise and client care, with one source stating: "She has an ability to see the wood for the trees, to get to the core of a case." Fazan has particular expertise in cases involving brain and spinal injuries.

Anne Winyard is a highly regarded figure in the clinical negligence sphere, acting on numerous complex cases involving serious injury or death. She has particular experience in multimillion-pound cerebral palsy matters. 

Henry Dyson is "extremely conscientious" and is noted for "investing a lot of time and effort into getting things right." He has a large and varied caseload, including cases involving nerve injuries sustained during spinal surgery, as well as delayed diagnosis of cancer.

Department head Russell Levy maintains a strong reputation in the clinical negligence market, building upon decades of experience in the field. He is regarded by sources as a "fantastic lawyer at the top of his game" who "really gets results."

Olive Lewin is noted for her compassionate approach to cases and her strong work ethic, which she applies to cases concerning brain damage, damage as a result of cardiac causes and fatalities. One impressed source states: "She is one of the most humane people in the legal profession. She is good fun to work with and terrific with experts, and she has a very generous spirit."

Sally Jean Nicholes' recent work highlights include obtaining significant interim and settlement payments on cases concerning nerve damage following surgery, and a delayed referral for ophthalmological treatment resulting in blindness.

Nicola Wainwright is noted for her expertise in brain injury claims, fatal claims, and cases involving neonatal illness, gynaecological and fertility issues.

Employment - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 8 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Undertaking ground-breaking cases on behalf of a variety of claimants. Noted for its adroit representation of clients in both discrimination and equal pay matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "If somebody comes to me with a really complex claim, I'd always recommend Leigh Day."

Market standing: "They are a leading claimant firm with a very strong record in representing individuals."

Work highlights Advised the claimants in the Abdulla & Ors v Birmingham City Council equal pay case, securing a landmark victory in the Supreme Court that claims could continue.

Acted for GMB in relation to alleged blacklisting within the construction industry.

Notable practitioners  

Chris Benson is commended for both his "ability to relate to clients" and his dexterity in handling big picture matters. He is perceived to have been the driving force behind the Abdulla litigation.

Significant clients UNISON.

Personal Injury - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 15 partners
- 30 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Handles a wide variety of catastrophic claims, with particular expertise in cases arising from cycling accidents, as well as industrial disease claims. Noted for its strong capability in cases at the intersection of personal injury and human rights.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "They're well known as a radical firm – always prepared to explore different and adventurous ways of looking at cases."

Technical ability: "They have a fantastic reputation for what they do to push the law in getting compensation, and going out there on a limb."

Work highlights Successfully represented claimants in the Kenya Colonial Torture litigation, achieving compensation and the construction of a memorial in Kenya to the victims.

Notable practitioners  

Joint head of department Martyn Day is widely recognised to be operating at the forefront of the claimant personal injury market; he was one of the lead partners in the Kenya Colonial Torture litigation. Sources describe his practice as "ground-breaking – he has an excellent reputation."

Sally Moore is known for her extensive specialist expertise across the spectrum of fatal and catastrophic claims, including amputations and complex brain, orthopaedic and spinal injuries. She is described as "one of the best in the business. She can turn around cases other solicitors have given up on; she's not fazed by anything."

Daniel Easton heads the firm's asbestos disease team, and has extensive experience in representing overseas claimants. Sources comment: "You can't get much better than Daniel Easton; he takes things seriously and does a really good, detailed job, as well as being empathetic."

Penny Knight leads the cycling and sports injury team, dealing with a variety of catastrophic and fatal claims. Sources note that "there's not much she doesn't know about cycling accidents. She explores all the options; she's technically and legally on top of it and has this amazing passion for what she does."

Sapna Malik is well known for her specialist international practice, having recently acted for a former Libyan dissident and his wife in a rendition claim against the UK government. She is described as "a law firm unto herself in the amount of cases she supervises."

Harminder Bains is highly experienced in catastrophic injury claims, especially those arising from RTAs, as well as having considerable expertise in industrial disease litigation.

Administrative & Public Law - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 6 other lawyers 

What the team is known for Continues to provide expert advice and representation to NGOs and charities in a variety of areas. Particularly proficient at handling innovative cases relating to healthcare, social care, unlawful detention, international law, right to life and right to die. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "They have been on top of their game for years. They have a formidable team who will fight for their clients and will get results." 

Bench strength: "They are pretty fearless. They know what they are doing, they are very creative and they take a lot of novel cases - and nobody could ever fault they way they handle them." 

Work highlights Successfully challenged the Foreign & Commonwealth Offices's refusal to fund the cost of a lawyer for Gareth Cashmore, a prisoner on death row in Indonesia.

Successfully represented a blind individual who challenged Newham Council's refusal to adopt national guidelines calling for the provision of tactile paving.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Stein specialises in cases concerning education, community care, healthcare and hospital closures. Market sources regard him as an exceptional practitioner who "is very jovial at a personal level and provides excellent leadership." He recently challenged Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust's decision to outsource its health and community provisions to a social enterprise company.

Sean Humber has established a public law practice with a focus on healthcare provisions for prisoners. He recently brought a judicial review challenge against the Prison Service and Primary Care Trust, which failed to provide the required treatment to a prisoner with mental health difficulties and autism. 

Frances Swaine is managing partner of the firm and specialises in public law challenges relating to discrimination, access to healthcare, disability and medical negligence. She recently acted against Cambridge University NHS Foundation Trust in a case concerning do-not-resuscitate orders.

Rosa Curling specialises in cases relating to healthcare, right to die, housing and terrorism. Market sources describe her as an enthusiastic and committed practitioner who "can tease out issues and develop them into a powerful case," and who "will be a big star."

Jamie Beagent is regarded as a "very skilled and committed" practitioner who is "intelligent and on the ball." He specialises in challenges concerning unlawful detention, immigration and medical justice, and recently challenged the Home Secretary for non-compliance with policies prohibiting the detention of victims of torture.  

Significant clients Reprieve, Article 19, UK Uncut, British Humanist Association, Dignity in Dying.

Civil Liberties & Human Rights - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 6 other lawyers

What the team is known for Maintains a market-leading practice covering a vast range of domestic and international issues relating to civil liberties and human rights. Noted for its expertise in right-to-die cases, healthcare, unlawful detention, prison law and immigration. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "Everybody there is rigorous and methodical, and very diligent. They take on the difficult cases challenging the government where others might lack the guts." 

Client service: "They have always treated us with the utmost respect and kindness, and were highly professional in all aspects of our case. I would recommend them to anybody. They are without doubt at the top of their profession."

Technical ability: "They are outstanding. They are innovative, exciting to work with and imaginative, and give a fantastic service to their clients."

Work highlights Instructed by the Kenya Human Rights Commission to represent Kenyans who were tortured by the British colonial government during the repression of the 'Mau Mau rebellion' in the 1950s and 60s.

Represented the family of a woman diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state. The case concerned an application to cease to administer the artificial hydration and nutrition that were keeping her alive.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Stein specialises in international law, healthcare, right to die, freedom of information and education. Clients describe him as a "passionate and inspired" practitioner who "uses the law creatively and looks at it from an entirely new perspective."

Jamie Beagent focuses on cases concerning immigration detention, corporate responsibility and freedom of information. Clients describe him as an excellent practitioner who "has absolute commitment and real intellectual stamina." 

Frances Swaine heads the firm's human rights department. Her areas of expertise include inquests, social care, education and healthcare.

Rosa Curling specialises in cases concerning the right to die, access to information, healthcare, education and international law. "She is incredibly passionate, very hard-working and tenacious, and has absolute integrity," states a client, adding: "She doesn't stop when the day ends."

Merry Varney is particularly well regarded for her expertise in cases concerning equality and discrimination. "She has a very sharp eye for the detail of a case and very good knowledge of human rights law," state market sources.

Sean Humber handles a range of cases in the field of prison law. He recently acted in a case concerning prisoners' access to appropriate healthcare.

Alison Millar specialises in inquests, social care, healthcare and disability discrimination. "The immense personal support we experienced from her was surpassed only by her professional effort beyond the call of duty," states one client.

Court of Protection - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: London

What the team is known for Part of the firm's wider human rights department. Cases range from right to die and withdrawal of treatment to residence, contact and care.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: “A reputable team well known for its medical expertise, which comes in very handy.”

Client service: “The team handles cases with sensitivity and care." 

Notable practitioners

Sarah Westoby is the key contact for this area.

Education - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Close links to NGOs and an administrative and public law background underpin this education law practice. Practitioners focus on special educational needs, often handling sensitive and high-profile matters. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Service: "Their services were absolutely top-rate." 

Work highlights Handled a discrimination claim between the family of a Muslim girl and the governing body of her school in relation to access to prayer facilities. 

The firm represented a young man with multiple learning difficulties in an appeal that achieved a residential specialist school placement for him.

Notable practitioners

Clients appreciate Alison Millar for being "tremendously supportive throughout the whole process." She focuses her practice on special educational needs and discrimination matters, and has a wealth of experience in handling cases in the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal.

Significant clients British Humanist Association, Anti-Academies Alliance, Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign. 

Environment - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office location: London

What the team is known for Leads the way in bringing international group claims against multinationals on the grounds of serious environmental damage. Additional focus on providing access to justice for claimants in environmental matters under the Aarhus Convention. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They are brilliant to work with, very assiduous in client care, and their choice of barristers is always absolutely spot on for the task at hand."

Problem solving: "They are a plaintiff's law firm through and through; creative, imaginative and extremely tough. Whichever way you look at them they are formidable."

Work highlights Represented 14,000 members of the Bodo community in Nigeria in a claim against Shell, relating to two oil spills in the Niger Delta.

Represented 80 Colombian farmers affected by alleged environmental damage caused by an oil pipeline in a claim against BP.

Notable practitioners

Martyn Day heads the firm's environmental class action group and is well respected by his peers, one of whom said: "He is a fearless, charming tactician and he will progress a litigation with great care." Another source said: "He follows a very careful line between promoting his clients' interest and making sure the litigation is sensible and reasonable."

Richard Stein is a notable campaigning lawyer who focuses on judicial reviews and human rights issues. His environmental work has included advising the Coalition for Access to Justice in Environmental Cases on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention. Sources say: "He has a lot of political nous and knows how to make a case work for campaigning advantage." Another source described him as "one of the real intellectual forces behind this area."

Sean Humber's environmental practice focuses on representing clients affected by water pollution. Sources say: "He is extremely dedicated, very intelligent and very good at explaining complex legal matters simply to non-lawyers." 

Significant clients Steve Nash, WWF, Corner House Research, Platform.

Personal Injury - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Highly experienced across a wide range of industrial disease litigation, with strong experience in international matters. Particular expertise in claims arising from asbestos-related diseases, and notable experience in representing miners in silicosis and pneumoconiosis cases. 

Notable practitioners 

Daniel Easton heads the disease team and is a key contact.

Product Liability - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Offers formidable strength in depth on the claimant side. One of the largest product liability teams in the country, known for its capacity to cover a diverse range of claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Strategic planning: "In terms of preparation, they're outstanding and the level of work output is unsurpassed. It's fairly unusual, that sophisticated level of technical knowledge."

Industry knowledge: "The quality of the instructions they send you is always good. Extensive, very well researched - you'll know they've done the background reading and you can trust they've got a good understanding themselves. It makes life a lot easier."

Notable practitioners  

Sources describe head of department Martyn Day as a "very effective lawyer and good at what he does." He is hugely experienced in product liability and personal injury matters on both a domestic and international basis.

Bozena Michalowska Howells is praised for her outstanding attitude and preparation. Sources indicate that "she is deeply committed – she will definitely go the extra mile. The time and energy she puts in is quite extraordinary."