Vikki is a passionate and vocal regulatory lawyer specialising in health and safety law (including manslaughter), transport work (focus mainly on HGV, bus and coach operators), care regulation and safeguarding. Vikki is very experienced in crisis management and dealing with highly emotive, national press interest cases.
Vikki leads the north west regulatory team at DWF who are well known for their expertise in crisis management and dealing with large scale disaster cases such as the Grenfell Tower fire, the Bosley Mill explosion and the Didcot Power Station collapse. The team are renowned for their expertise in handling complex manslaughter investigations and dealing with all aspects of the crisis including reputation management and trauma support. They are regularly sought out by the UK's biggest businesses and insurers to act on the most serious safety cases across the UK and beyond.
The team in Manchester has won Regulatory Team of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards in 2020, 2021 and 2022 and Vikki won Manchester Partner of the Year for 2022 at the same Awards. Vikki was also awarded Transport Lawyer of the Year 2023 at the recent Legal 500 Northern Powerhouse Awards.
Vikki and her team like to get "under the skin" of clients' businesses to understand their needs and help them to achieve best practice levels of regulatory compliance.
Vikki's transport expertise covers operator licensing, transport compliance issues, Public Inquiries, auditing, clandestine entrants/vehicle seizures/smuggling, due diligence, training and advocacy (Magistrates' Court and Public Inquiries). Vikki and her team act for some of the UK largest retailers, logistics businesses and utilities and communications companies advising on transport compliance matters. The team also specialise in helping international businesses locate their logistics in the UK.
She also represents companies and individuals facing CPS/HSE prosecutions following serious incidents, she has acted on a huge number of fatal incident investigations and has deep experience of gross negligence & corporate manslaughter cases. She was part of the team that secured the first-ever acquittal in a corporate manslaughter prosecution (R v PS & JE Ward). On behalf of her clients, Vikki also deals with accident investigations, PACE and employee interviews, and acts as advocate at Coroner's Inquests and within the Magistrates' Court. Vikki is a key partner at DWF running the Crisis and Incident Management Service for the benefit of our clients.
Recent cases for Vikki have included the successful defence of a defendant involved in the Bosley Mill Explosion trial (a disaster which prompted the largest post-war urban recovery in the UK), a coroner's inquest for a rail company following the death of a rail worker struck by a train in south-east England (no prosecution followed) the successful defence of a director charged with gross negligence manslaughter (R v Spiller) following a four week trial at Brighton Crown Court and the successful defence of a director charged with gross negligence manslaughter (R v Willis) following a three week trial at Teesside Crown Court.
Vikki also has experience in care regulation and care quality matters, including safeguarding; dealing with a full spectrum of care providers and education businesses. Vikki has particular experience representing schools and nurseries across a range of regulatory and criminal issues.
She is a recommended expert for health and safety and transport in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500.
- Health & Safety Lawyers Association
Legal 500 2022 places Vikki's team in tier 1, and notes her as a "Leading Individual" for health and safety with testimonials saying: "Vikki Woodfine: Tenacity could be her middle name! Won’t take no for an answer, always on the side of the client", "The Partner and team leader Vikki Woodfine leads by example. She feels at home in both the boardroom and police station and fights like a tiger for her clients. She has instilled a very positive ethos within her team of high standards and client care"
Vikki is also recommended in Chambers & Partners 2022 for her health and safety practice placing her Team collectively as Tier 1 in the UK and Vikki individually as tier 2 across the UK, where commentators praise her "She works incredibly hard for clients and she really cares about what she does." "She is really impressive as a team leader. Her clients adore her as they get such a good service."
Vikki heads the firm's national Road Transport practice and her team is noted in Chambers & Partners 2022 as being "quick and thorough" and "always willing to help". Legal 500 2022 places the transport team again in tier 1 stating the "The team’s strengths certainly lie in their knowledge of the sector and the commercial yet approachable outlook they have when dealing with clients" that Vikki is "always prepared to go that extra mile when it is needed".
The Manchester team headed by Vikki has won Regulatory Team of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards in 2020, 2021 and 2022 and Vikki won Manchester Partner of the Year for 2022 at the same Awards.