Qualification:

  • BA (Hons) Law and Management Science, Keele University (1994)

Legal Qualifications:

  • Legal Practice Course, College of Law, York (1995)

Year Of Admission:

1998

Career History:

  • Trainee, Lupton Fawcett, 1996 to 1998
  • Solicitor, Commercial Disputes Team, Lupton Fawcett, 1998 to 1999
  • Solicitor, Commercial Disputes Team, Dickinson Dees, 1999 to 2005
  • Partner, Tilly Bailey & Irvine, 2005 to Present

Experience and Expertise:

I have specialised in Commercial Litigation since 1998.  I have acted for businesses and individuals in many areas of litigation including:

  • General contractual disputes;
  • Professional negligence (claims against architects, surveyors, solicitors and accountants)
  • Construction disputes
  • Partnership and shareholder disputes; and
  • Claims relating to education
  • Judicial review

I have successfully pursued claims in the County Court, High Court and to the Court of Appeal.  However, litigation is always a last resort and I have used Alternative Dispute Resolution such as mediation, adjudication and expert determination to reach pragmatic and commercially acceptable settlements for many clients.

Career Highlights:

 I acted for the owners of 77 houses built with defective foundations in the reported case of: Harrison & Others v Shepherd Homes Limited & Others [2011] EWHC 1811 (TCC) 11 July 2011

This was a multi party action which involved complex legal arguments and engineering evidence.  We succeeded in securing six figure damages for each of the claimants following a five week trial in the Technology and Construction Court and numerous individual mediations and successfully defended an appeal on quantum in the Court of Appeal.  The case was run on a “no win, no fee” basis for the majority of the Claimants ensuring that they had access to justice which would otherwise had been prohibitively expensive for them.

I was delighted and humbled to win the “Lawyer of the Year” Award at the Northern Law Awards 2015.  My team also won the “Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year” Award at the same event of which I am very proud.

Legal 500:

2016 - Practice head Alison Leith and Debra Burton are praised for being 'hardworking and effective; they fight hard for their clients'.

2015 – “Tilly Bailey & Irvine ‘provides an excellent service at very competitive rates’. Practice head Alison Leith is ‘thoughtful, conscientious and pragmatic’. She advised a waste and recycling company on an application for judicial review of a VAT exemption granted to local authorities.”

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Happy, successful and independent.

Why law as a career?

It was either science or law. I think I was influenced by watching LA Law as a teenager.

Describe Any Interesting Facts About You?

Many years ago, I appeared on four television quiz shows including Supermarket Sweep!   In 2013, I completed the Cape Argus cycle race which is a gruelling 70 miles around Table Mountain and the Cape in South Africa.  I had not ridden a bike in over 30 years, completed it in just over 6 hours and raised £1,400 for charity.

Hobbies and Interests

I love spending time with my husband, walking our three Labradors in the North Yorkshire countryside.  I also enjoy skiing, singing, reading, wine and travel.  I have recently started playing golf again after a six year break and am happy to have got my handicap down to 21.

What one thing could you not live without?

Oxygen