Natalie Barton-Howes

Natalie Barton-Howes helps clients to minimise the impact and interruption to their business in the event of criminal, regulatory and inquisitorial investigations, which can otherwise lead to increasingly substantial fines, significant costs and prison.

The events involved following an incident can be far-reaching, requiring a carefully coordinated internal investigation often alongside investigations from your regulator, an inquiry, the Police, the Coroner, and/or your insurers, which all need to be balanced against the business continuing to operate, as safely as possible.

Natalie is responsive, knowledgeable and handles matters with sensitivity. Natalie uses her experience to provide immediate pragmatic advice in the aftermath of an event or incident, such as fatalities and serious injuries, participation in inquiries, environmental breaches, healthcare investigations and product recalls. She takes a holistic approach not only to avoid potentially criminal consequences, but to consider and manage PR and HR issues, reduce the amount of management time involved, and avoid any effect on future business opportunities.

Natalie also works with companies to gain an insight into the level of risk they face and how incidents can be prevented, conducting audits of company procedures and advising on effective risk management and avoidance.

She handles the ongoing relationship with the regulator and other investigating organisations with tact, always ensuring that the best interests of the company are represented throughout, including at interviews under caution, at inquests, inquiries and any enforcement action which can follow.


Food and drink manufacturers, healthcare and social housing providers, developers, building materials and construction and engineering contractors and consultants, logistics, public sector organisations.


Representing a major food manufacturing client in a corporate manslaughter investigation, and subsequent inquest, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation and prosecution under s2 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) in respect of a fatality at a manufacturing plant. The case required careful coordination of the disclosure of information between the police, HSE, Coroner, the client's insurers, the site staff and the company board, the instruction of industry experts, persuasive negotiation with the HSE regarding levels of culpability and harm, and effective mitigation in Court which ultimately led to a reduction in the level of fine.

Acting for a Core Participant in a public inquiry, assisting with complex internal investigations, disclosure processes and liaising with the Inquiry solicitors.

Advising an Interested Person in respect of the organisation's involvement in the reopened Hillsborough Inquests, including managing the disclosure and review of half a million historic documents before the Inquests began and preparing submissions to the Coroner.

Negotiating a reduction in charges for offences under HSWA and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and negotiating a favourable basis of plea for a building materials company arising from a serious injury at work to one of its own employees.

Representing a national house-building client in criminal proceedings brought in respect of fire risk under s3 HSWA. This case involved careful consideration of multiple Defendant positions involved who had relevant CDM responsibilities, instruction of expert evidence in respect of the likelihood of harm arising and level of risk and mitigation of the clients position and finances, which resulted in significantly lower level of fine than anticipated.

Acting for a catering business in their capacity as a CDM client in respect of asbestos issues.

Assisting multiple companies in respect of the criminal consequences of environmental issues such as pollution incidents and contamination, including preparing responses under caution, Enforcement Undertakings, advising on tree preservation/conservation orders and felling issues, issues arising from neighbouring landowners, and liaising with the Environment Agency and other enforcement bodies to avoid any enforcement action.

Assisting clients from various industries (most recently: energy, food and drink, retail and leisure, public sector and education) to review policies, identify relevant industry standards, identify areas of risk of non-compliance, and provide relevant resources and effective methods of reviewing processes to ensure regulatory compliance and to manage any risk.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2017

    • Career
      July 2017
      Gowling WLG (UK), principal associate
  • 2016

    • Career
      February 2016
      Gowling WLG (UK), senior associate
  • 2015

    • Career
      Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, senior associate
  • 2014

    • Career
      Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP, associate
  • 2012

    • Career
      Wragge & Co LLP, associate
    • Career
      Wragge & Co LLP, qualified solicitor
  • 2011

    • Career
      Oxfam (secondment), trainee
  • 2010

    • Career
      Wragge & Co LLP, trainee
  • 2009

    • Education
      College of Law, Birmingham (Distinction)
  • 2004

    • Education
      University of Warwick, LLB (Hons) 2:1