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Paul Burnley

Paul Burnley


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"Paul Burnley of Freeths LLP is well regarded for his broad practice, which covers the full gamut of health and safety law. He defends clients against prosecution and criminal investigations, as well as representing them in inquests."
(Chambers & Partners, 2018)

Paul is a corporate defence lawyer handling numerous high profile criminal investigations and defending clients in areas such as Corporate/Individual manslaughter, Health & Safety Prosecutions and Bribery allegations. He also has much experience of representing clients in Coroner’s Inquests, which attract their own publicity nowadays.

Paul also creates successful training sessions for Clients in areas such as handling a criminal investigation, individual manager liability, interviews under caution and corporate manslaughter issues.

Because of his reputation, Paul continues to be a guest speaker in high profile venues. He is introduced by the likes of Lexis Nexis and Butterworths as a “National Expert” and regarded as such by the audience. Paul is based in Leeds and leads our Compliance & Regulatory team.

Paul is recognised as a Leading Individual in Chambers & Partners (2024 edition).

Legal Services

Coroner's Inquests

Paul has dealt with literally hundreds of Inquests dealing with a variety of sectors.

Recent Work

  • Jimmy Mubenga Inquest where Paul acted on behalf of British Airways Plc in circumstances where G4S escorted a deportee on board one of their client’s aircraft resulting in the deportee’s death.
  • St George’s Tower Helicopter Crash – Paul acted on behalf of the National Air Traffic Service whose air traffic controller was the last person to speak with the Pilot before he hit a crane on top of St George’s Tower.
  • A Care Home Company whose Care Manager was being investigated by the Police for manslaughter arising out of the death of a resident.

Compliance & Regulatory

Paul has been involved in a number of high profile major disasters and resultant criminal investigations over the past decade.

These include: The Kings Cross Fire, The Legionella Outbreak in Cardiff killing 3 people, Potters Bar Tragedy, Jimmy Mubenga Inquest, Ladbrook Grove Disaster, and The Grenfell Disaster.

Paul has also advised on and represented Clients in every sector relating to safety risks relating to products.

Recent Work

Health & Safety
  • Representing individual Directors /Senior Managers where they are being investigated as well as the Company.
  • Investigations ranging from Asbestos Contamination to the death of employees, contractors or members of the public.
  • Representing a gas supplier in relation to an explosion and subsequent fire at domestic premises following a transfer of gas and then successfully dealing with the subsequent HSE investigation
  • Advising and representing a Client in an incident relating to their transport of nuclear material and dealing with the subsequent criminal investigation
Product Recall
  • Representing a major retailer whose own brand toy posed a significant danger to children under 3.
  • A major food recall involving salmonella found in chocolate bars.
  • A major construction company involved in using products which, unbeknown to them, failed fire safety standards.
  • Representing a Global Pharmaceutical Company whose medical products posed an extreme danger to those facing renal failure.
  • In liaison with the Client, leading a successful recall in relation to faulty Italian gas boilers installed by them in domestic and trade premises

Bribery & Corruption

Paul writes bribery policies and gives advice on methods to avoid bribery. Paul has acted for major Clients in a number of varied investigations by the SFO or the Police where bribes have been given or received.

Recent Work

  • A Global Pharmaceutical company where allegations included bribing a Public Official and making facilitation payments.
  • A Company whose shipments were being held in China and would only be released on the payment of bribes.
  • Representing Directors who have taken over a Company whose previous MD had committed bribery over a decade.
  • Negotiating with the SFO in relation to bribes being given by a subsidiary company to foreign officials in return for contracts.




Paul has dealt with investigations by Environmental Health Officers relating to food hygiene, food safety and food poisoning outbreaks.


  • A food poisoning outbreak where 70 guests were hospitalised and the University prosecuted at Crown Court.
  • A major prosecution arising out of a rodent and cockroach infestation for a leading hotel group in one of their hotels.
  • A major product recall involving the recovery and destruction of over 600,000 items of food and then successfully defending the resulting prosecution.
  • Advising the client in a Local and Central Government investigation following a serious salmonella outbreak nationally causing 3 deaths and hospitalising dozens of others.



Related News & Articles [ 34 ]

To contact Paul or for more information…

Call: 0345 017 8381
Mobile: 0788 745 5598
Fax: 0345 077 9571
Or email: Send an email


Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

Our values


Talk to us

Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

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