Gordon Menzies

Call: 1998


"Gordon is very approachable and very knowledgeable. He has an in-depth knowledge of the law and is fully au fait with technical matters which arise in health and safety prosecutions."

Chambers UK Bar Guide [2018] Health & Safety

"Tenacious, reliable and good at dealing with people. He knows the law very well."

Chambers UK Bar Guide [2018] Employment

"He has a very gentle and thoughtful advocacy style which is very effective. He relaxes people and is very disarming." "Calm and elegant," he "develops an excellent rapport with our clients."

Chambers UK Bar Guide [2017] Health & Safety

"Gordon has a calm courtroom manner and highly tuned advocacy skills."

Chambers UK Bar Guide [2017] Employment

"He succinctly picks out the issues in a case and clearly communicates them to the court."

Legal 500 [2017] Health & Safety

"He quickly gets to grips with the technical aspects of a case."

Legal 500 [2016] Health & Safety

"A tenacious advocate, who provides practical advice."

Legal 500 [2016] Employment

"He is an expert in constructive dismissal cases and procedural HR issues...He is consistently reliable, expertly informed and provides insightful advice and support...In his field he's a thoroughly good thinker - he thinks a few steps ahead."

Chambers UK Bar Guide [2015] Employment

"The police, public authorities and education establishments all seek out his services. His "enthusiastic approach, personable nature and excellent cross-examination skills" instill confidence in clients, who say that "he can be depended upon to achieve the best result."

Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide [2013] Employment


Appointed to the Attorney General's List of prosecuting advocates for Health & Safety cases.


Gordon is a barrister specialising in regulatory law but his practice also extends to acting in complex civil and commercial matters of which employment law forms a significant part.

He is recommended for his work in health and safety in the current editions of Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500. He is also recommended for employment law in Chambers and Partners and for consumer law in the Legal 500.

Regulatory Law

Health and Safety

Although he undertakes a broad spectrum of work in this area he has particular experience of criminal prosecutions arising in the context of the construction industry, workplace transport and use of work equipment. Many of these cases involve fatalities, including acting in the prosecution of a national haulage company in respect of a death arising from work at height and defending a major manufacturing company in a prosecution which followed the fatality of one of its employees whilst attempting to unload steel materials.

The work in the construction sector includes being led by Pascal Bates in a case involving a quadruple fatality during the building of a pressure test facility and defending a company following a partial amputation as a result of using unguarded machinery. His work defending individuals includes representing those acting as Principal Contractors for the purposes of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

Gordon has also done significant work in the context of the rail industry appearing in the Inquest following the Potter’s Bar rail disaster. Other cases in this area include successfully acting for a Defendant prosecuted following an under bridge inspection unit colliding with a train. He was led by David Travers QC in a prosecution arising from a fatality in the operation of a ‘stone-blower’ track maintenance machine. Other cases include R v Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Ltd (prosecution following injuries sustained when a track worker came into contact with live overhead line equipment) and R v Network Rail Ltd (failure to comply with an improvement notice requiring safety measures to be taken in respect of electrical signalling equipment).

For many years Gordon has been involved in health and safety cases in the care sector. These often involve prosecutions following injury to service users in care homes and patients in hospitals. Much of this work involves consideration of systemic failures in the implementation of appropriate health and safety standards as well as individual failings on the part of managerial staff. An example of a case in this area was the prosecution of a company after a service user gained access to the roof of his care home through an unsecured window and suffered extremely serious injuries as a result of the consequent fall. Gordon was led by Peter Harrison QC in R v Robinia Care Group which was a prosecution for failures on the part of the care company and individual managers which led to the death of a service user from choking.

A considerable amount of his work relates to the health and safety arrangements at retail premises, including supermarkets, shops and restaurants. Typical examples of these cases include injuries arising from cleaning kitchens, contact with hot cooking oil, preparation of food and the maintenance and layout of public areas in retail stores.

His experience in this area has been recognised by an appointment to the Attorney General’s list of prosecuting advocates for Health and Safety cases.


Gordon has regularly appeared before coroner’s courts since the outset of his practice. As referred to above he appeared in the Potter’s Bar Inquest when he represented individual linesmen involved in works to the track immediately before the crash.

Cases touching on deaths at work include Re Rathbone (falling through a roof) and Re Yakar (fatal crushing during unloading operation). The other work he has done in this context covers a wide variety of situations, for example a drowning at a swimming pool and a suicide allegedly linked to the deceased losing his job at a local authority school.

He has substantial experience in inquests involving deaths connected to workplace transport safety, rail safety, unloading operations and the hospitality industry.

Enforcement Notices

His regulatory work includes the appealing of enforcement notices, most recently representing a roofing company following the service of an improvement notice alleging deficiencies relating to the arrangements for protection from exposure to lead.

Food Safety

Gordon both prosecutes and defends cases relating to breaches of the Food Safety Act 1990 and linked food hygiene regulations. He has been involved in cases involving national and international restaurant chains and small food businesses. Currently he is being led by Richard Barraclough QC in what is believed to be the first prosecution for manslaughter arising from the sale of toxic slimming pills containing the substance DNP .
Cases involving individual restaurants include representing them in connection with allegations relating to non-compliance with HACCP principles and resisting connected applications for Hygiene Protection Orders.
His work for food suppliers extends to dealing with the licensing regime and standards that are applied in the context of abattoirs, farms and food production facilities.

Planning and Environmental

He is regularly involved in cases alleging breaches of planning enforcement notices. His experience in the environmental sector includes being led by Stephen Hockman QC in a contaminated land dispute arising from the operation of the Courtaulds textile factory in Wolverhampton and the subsequent demolition of its site in the 1970s.

His planning work also extends to appearing at detailed assessment hearings challenging costs orders made in this context.

Consumer Protection

The breadth of this area of practice stretches from defending a health food company in relation to allegations of misdescription of its principal product, prosecuting individuals for breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, to cases involving substantial frauds. These type of cases include rogue traders, illegal money lenders and a prosecution of those who ran an ‘heir hunting business’ (R v Beneficiaries Ltd and Alexander Pilley). He also successfully prosecuted those involved with a family run auction business known as Cameo Auctions which systematically defrauded its clients over a considerable period of time. Recently he was involved in the prosecution of a letting business that sought to let out properties to tenants without authorisation.

Intellectual Property Infringement

Gordon is involved in both the civil and criminal aspects of intellectual property infringement.

He has experience in trade mark tribunal work relating to objections to registration of trade marks and also civil claims arising out of passing off and other forms of IP infringement.

The criminal work covers large scale manufacture, importation and distribution of counterfeit goods including jewellery, toys and clothing. Examples of such cases includes R v Yu and Lin where the individuals involved were prosecuted in respect of running a business selling high value replica watches imported from China and R v Memon and others where the individuals had been importing and selling large amounts of counterfeit ‘As seen on TV’ goods. The most significant case he has done in this area is R v Michelino which involving a Congolese operation to import substantial sums of counterfeit goods worth millions of pounds from China into the UK with a view to exporting them on to the continent.


Civil and Commercial

His civil and commercial practice ranges from large value personal injury claims, including a claim by a notable actress for substantial loss of earnings following an injury to her hand, to contentious probate matters and product liability claims. This area of work also includes partnership disputes, property rights, professional negligence, misrepresentation and defamation.

The High Court work includes product liability claims such as Albatross (UK) Ltd v Gatwick Hose Ltd (allegedly defective hoses on train air conditioning systems), fraudulent insurance claims (Savash v Co Operative Insurance Co Ltd) and pharmaceutical licensing agreements High Crane Ltd v Cambridge Laboratories Ltd and Biovail Laboratories Ltd (Barbados) Srl (led by Stephen Hockman QC).

Employment Law

He acts for both Claimants and Respondents and is used to dealing with complex and sensitive cases. He has done a considerable amount of work in employment disputes in the education, social services, medical care and law enforcement sectors but his practice extends to all areas of industry.

These include a head of a school department being dismissed following a breakdown in the relationship with the rest of the teaching staff due to personality differences, a case of a social worker dismissed following allegations of abuse of a service user in a care home and a sexual harassment claim involving issues of territorial jurisdiction.

His experience of discrimination claims includes transgender discrimination, notably the case of McGrath v Chief Constable of Kent Police which involved a claim brought by a transgender police officer against her employer. The age discrimination work he has done includes challenging pay policies based on length of service as indirect age discrimination.

He has almost 20 years experience of appearing in the Employment Appeal Tribunal since acting for the successful appellant in the case of Edwards v Surrey Police [1999] IRLR 445 (time limits applicable in constructive dismissal cases). Other more recent appeal cases include Piper v Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (status of employee pending internal appeal) and Lynch v Sussex Downs College (standards to be applied in the conduct of disciplinary proceedings).
His employment work includes county court claims for matters such as the non-payment of bonus payments and stress at work. He also has substantial experience of dealing with applications for interim injunctions to enforce restrictive covenants in employment contracts. The work he has done in this area has touched on the approach of the courts when dealing with issues that arise in relation to information technology and social networking as in the case of Whitmar v Earth Island Publishing [2013] EWHC 1881 (Ch). His employment work also involves cases which concern individuals infringing policies relating to data confidentiality and information management (Henneker v Chief Constable of Kent).


Gordon undertakes work relating to alcohol and gaming licensing including high street retail shops and individual independent outlets, bars and clubs. He is able to draw on experience from his work as a criminal practitioner when addressing concerns based on prevention on crime whilst also using his long standing regulatory experience to assist in resolving the general concerns often raised by licensing authorities.

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