Ranked in both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500, Rod is highly rated as a lawyer who "stands out as offering commercial, sensible and accomplished advice." Rod is retained as partner of choice by a significant number of FTSE 100 and global businesses (particularly in the waste, energy, construction, manufacturing, infrastructure and rail sectors) in relation to their most high profile and sensitive matters which are often reported in the national press. Clients effuse about Rod's ability to "make a complex subject easy to understand" and that he is "masterful on the tactical nuances of the case and very astute in terms of keeping options open for the client". In his dealings with regulators, Rod is renowned for his measured yet robust approach, and is a tactically savvy lawyer who knows how to win cases. "Hugely impressive. He sees problems coming before most other people do, he knows the industry very, very well and always looks for the commercial realities of any situation. First class." (Legal 500).
As a partner in Clyde & Co’s nationally recognised Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) Regulatory team, Rod's areas of expertise include:
- Health and safety
- Corporate and gross negligence manslaughter
- Fire safety
- Trading law
- Food safety
- Coroner’s inquests
With over twenty years' experience in this area, Rod regularly represents individuals and businesses from all industry sectors under investigation – including at police interviews under caution – and prosecution by regulators such as the Health and Safety Executive, the Police, the Environment Agency, Trading Standards, local authorities, the Fire Service and water utility companies. Rod also provides "upstream" compliance advice working closely with clients' SHE and Legal Departments.
Rod is an accomplished trainer and speaker in his areas of expertise to industry as well as to his own clients.
- Representing a company and its Directors during a nationally reported manslaughter investigation by the Police. No action was taken against any of our clients albeit other parties were prosecuted and convicted in the criminal courts.
- Advised a large utility company with a turnover in excess of £500m following a nationally reported gas explosion resulting in a fatality. We were able to evidence through an expert's report that there were no issues on our client's network that had contributed to the incident. No formal enforcement action was taken against our client.
- Advised a large utility company with a turnover in excess of £1b in relation to an HSE notification of contravention involving hand arm vibration syndrome. We challenged the notification of contravention, using expert evidence, and ultimately issued Judicial Review proceedings before a resolution was reached with the HSE that was acceptable to our client. No further enforcement action was taken against our client.
- Ongoing representation of senior individuals from one of Europe's largest energy companies following the partial collapse of a boiler house at a power station during a demolition project which resulted in four fatalities. We have advised our clients in relation to the provision of statements to the Police and HSE as part of their enquiries in to this high profile, nationally reported incident.
- Successful representation of a £1.6 billion turnover corporate following a workplace fatality investigated by an aggressive local authority. During the investigation, we made a successful and novel application to the High Court regarding the regulator's inappropriate treatment of privileged material which resulted in the investigators being removed from the case, all privileged material returned to our client.
- Retained as solicitors of choice by one of the big six utility companies to advise in relation to incidents involving gas escapes, gas ignitions and explosions.
- Advising a £250 million corporate following the pollution of a nearby watercourse with its trade effluent due to a defective connection in a water utility company's pipework in the road outside of our client's site. We successfully ran a technical application to dismiss argument in the Crown Court against the Environment Agency on the basis our client did not, and could not, have had the relevant level of control over the defective pipework to have legally "caused" the pollution incident.
- Representing a blue chip corporate client in the composting sector in relation to various challenges by the EA regarding whether the company's operations meet the best available technique standard. Our challenges to the EA (including expert evidence) have meant that, to date, no statutory notices or formal enforcement action has been taken against our client.
- Representing a large corporate client with a turnover in excess of £2bn with over 20,000 employees in relation to a threat by the Environment Agency ("EA") that it proposed serving a revocation notice in relation to the client's permit because of odour issues from its composting operations. Following representations we submitted on our client's behalf, the EA responded confirming it no longer intended to revoke our client's permit.
- Instructed by the FTSE listed owner of a power station in relation to an EA investigation. We persuaded the EA to issue one of the lowest forms of enforcement action relating to the deposit and release of asbestos which, if prosecuted, could have resulted in a significant fine in the Crown Court and extremely damaging adverse publicity.
- Representing a world leading manufacturer following an explosion and subsequent fire at its site after an uncontrolled increase in temperature in a piece of its manufacturing equipment. Our advised approach to the case avoided an HSE investigation, and any enforcement action by the HSE and/or Fire and Rescue Service.
- Representing an international corporate regarding an appeal against a Prohibition Notice served following a contractor fatality after a fall from height during maintenance work at its site.
- Representing a global telecommunications corporate regarding the appeal of a Statutory Notice served by the Local Authority regarding drilling operations for the laying of pipework both onshore and offshore in the UK. We successfully persuaded the local authority to withdraw the Notice without the need for a full Appeal Hearing in the Magistrates' Court.
- Representing a FTSE 100 listed corporate following a nationally reported fatality at one of its sites, which attracted significant adverse PR. We persuaded the Police that no offences had been committed by our client, and were also able to persuade the Coroner there was no need for an Inquest which avoided the additional associated adverse PR.