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Red Lion Chambers Fire Law Team advises and represents corporations, company directors, UK fire and rescue authorities, as well as public and investigatory bodies.

We are known for our strategic, business-focussed, robust advice and advocacy.

The Red Lion Chambers Fire Law Team offers expert advice and Court representation in fire cases. We have many years’ experience in this specialist area of law. Individuals in the team are highly rated within the industry for their clear, timely, business-focused and robust advice. Red Lion Chambers is renowned for the outstanding advocacy of its members. We represent corporations, their directors and managers. Members of the team also prosecute for fire services across England and Wales in some of the most high-profile cases.

Members of the Fire Law Team have commented widely on the Grenfell Inquiry and been interviewed by national and international media.

The Red Lion Chambers Fire Law Team has produced a series of training Webinars for fire services. These have been amongst the most widely-attended legal Webinars on fire law. Members of the team have been invited to lecture here and abroad on aspects of fire law and regulatory law. The team provides bespoke training for key members of organisations.

Our Services

  • Court representation in the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts
  • A “one stop” service from the earliest stage of a case, to the Court of Appeal
  • Advice before charge
  • Assistance with interviews
  • Negotiating with the Fire Services
  • Appeals against Notices
  • Training

Recent Cases

  • Triple-fatality in a hospice – was appealed to the Court of Appeal
  • Fatal fire in an “out house” in defendant’s garden
  • Adequacy of risk assessments – these are “cutting-edge” cases in which members of the team currently prosecute and defend
  • Advising corporation in relation to Enforcement Notice
  • Advising directors on possible conflict of interest with their company and possible defences
  • Appeal of Enforcement Notice
  • Prosecution of night club allowing three times more guests than permitted

Fire Law Team

Sailesh Mehta

Sailesh Mehta prosecutes and defends in some of the most complex cases in the Crown Courts and Appellate Court. He sits as a Recorder (part-time Crown Court Judge). He has been described in legal directories as a “heavyweight” and “charismatic” advocate who commands the respect of Judges and opponents. He is known for providing strategic and robust advice which is often decisive of a case.

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Although Sailesh specialises in regulatory law, his recent high-profile cases include: terrorism (British soldier charged with disseminating State secrets to enemies); murder (county lines drugs feud); people-trafficking (part of a drugs conspiracy); stalking (involving a well-known political figure); malicious communications (a senior navy officer who allegedly made a bomb hoax call to a nuclear submarine site).

Sailesh Mehta has prosecuted for, and advised fire services for 25 years. He also represents and advises corporations and their directors. The cases below are examples of some of the wide ranging work in which he has been instructed:

  • Triple-fatality in a hospice: this was a high-profile and hard-fought case in which the defence challenged almost every important part of the Prosecution case. The Court of Appeal rejected the hospice’s case. It required sensitive handling and robust management.
  • Fatality after fire in attic in “outhouse” of the defendant’s home: this was a “cutting edge” case in that it was arguable that no offence contrary to the Fire Safety Order had been committed as the fire was in a converted shed in the garden of the defendant’s family home.
  • Double fatality after fire in hotel in which the Prosecution had lost vital exhibits including a fire alarm that had failed to alert residents
  • Inadequate fire risk assessment by company specialising in risk assessments – this is currently in the Crown Court and is seen within the industry to be of great importance
  • Prosecution of night-club, an entertainment company and the manager, which packed in students during a live performance to twice the capacity
  • Prosecution of a major landlord of HMOs whose premises were uniformly unsafe – fire on two properties
  • Advice on a test purchase exercise as part of a national campaign to stop sale of petrol to children

He is often invited to lecture lawyers who specialise in fire law and has been the main speaker at their annual events:

  • A series of Webinars on aspects of fire law exclusively for fire service personnel. The first of this series was attended by over 500 fire service officers. The aim is to help achieve a uniformity of knowledge and practice and to ensure offences are fully investigated and prosecuted;
  • Speaker at the 100th Annual Conference of the IFE. Addressed the subject of expert evidence in fire cases, including pitfalls for the expert;
  • Numerous articles on aspects of fire law and regulatory law in the legal press: Sailesh has written a series of articles on expert evidence for fire officers.

Sailesh has been a regular commentator in the media about aspect of the Grenfell Inquiry – he has recently appeared in the BBC podcasts on Grenfell, and was in a Channel 4 Grenfell Anniversary documentary.

Lauren Sales

Lauren regularly advises and acts for Fire and Rescue Services, corporations, and individuals in respect of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Lauren has defended and conducted prosecutions in the Crown Court involving serious breaches of the Order by hoteliers, landlords and restauranteurs. She provides representation and advice at all stages of proceedings from charging advice to trial.

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Lauren understands Fire Law is not simply “Health and Safety Law”; she is familiar with the complexities of the Order and advises in relation to the Responsible Person under Article 3, as well as those who may be liable as Fire Safety Professionals, such as Fire Risk Assessors, under Article 5. Lauren has worked closely with fire experts at both the investigation and court stage of proceedings.

Lauren is a key member of the Fire Law Team at Red Lion Chambers delivering Webinars as part of the RLC Webinar series. Lauren is also specially qualified to represent those facing interviews and provides discrete representation to companies and individuals as required.

David Claxton

David has 10 years’ experience in relation to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 of providing advice and representation to prosecuting agencies, defendants, and individuals and businesses under investigation.

In 2020, David was appointed to the B Panel of the Attorney-General’s Regulatory List, which is maintained to provide a group of specialist advocates who prosecute health and safety, and other regulatory wrongdoing.

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He has appeared in cases involving fatal accidents and fire safety offences involving high-rise residential premises, hotels, other commercial premises, and cases giving rise to complex legal issues such as the identification of the ‘responsible person’.

Nicholas Hall

Nick is a junior member of the Fire Law Team. He is regularly instructed to prosecute and defend in criminal and regulatory cases and has played a key role in the Fire Law Webinars. In the Crown Court, Nicholas has a busy practice in cases involving violence, sexual offences, drugs, dishonesty and confiscation proceedings. Nick leads Chambers’ junior “J6” group and webinar series.

Laura Jane Miller

Laura is a junior member of the Fire Law Team. She has extensive experience of the criminal justice system as both a prosecution and defence advocate. Laura is regularly instructed in relation to serious, general and regulatory offences. Laura played a key role in the Fire Law Webinars and is also involved in Chambers’ J6 webinar series.

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