Blandy & Blandy LLP Solicitors
Sue Dowling

Sue Dowling

Partner, Employment Law & Venue Licensing

Location: Reading & London
Qualified as a solicitor: 1988

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Partner Sue Dowling is head of our Employment law team and also a nationally recognised expert in venue licensing.

Employment law 

An advocate by training, Sue deals primarily with complex employment litigation involving unlawful discrimination, with particular emphasis on mental impairment disability discrimination matters. She advises employers and senior employees and is recommended in the UK's leading guides to law firms, The Legal 500 and Chambers UK. 

Sue provides strategic employment law/HR advice to CEOs, MD's, finance directors and HR directors, assisting them in their business decisions and with a view to minimising the risk of employment litigation.

She frequently assists company clients in handling the restructuring of management tiers/teams and, where necessary, the departure of high-level executives – adopting a business, no-nonsense, pragmatic approach. Sue is an expert in the tax aspects of exiting arrangements (through settlement agreements or otherwise). She also advises clients regarding business immigration matters, including intra-company tier 2 transfers and ‘business visitors’ criteria.

She actively participates in the firm's annual programme of events, including an Employment law seminar and mock employment tribunal. She has appeared on BBC Radio as a legal expert. 

Venue licensing

Through her advocacy training, Sue developed expertise in the field of venue licensing (originally before the Magistrates Court and now before licensing committees).  In particular, she advises major sports grounds, entertainment venues and hotels on alcohol and regulated entertainment licensing. She also provides advice in relation to general safety and special safety certification of sports grounds; gambling (including track betting licences); PPL; PRS and wedding licences. 

Sue's expertise is recognised by her clients and peers in The Legal 500 and Chambers UK, with the latter naming her a 'leading individual' in the field. 

She is often instructed by/works in conjunction with City lawyers when their clients have particular venue licensing requirements. 

Sue is an experienced advocate, appearing regularly in committees and employment tribunals, in London and across the country.

Examples of recent work

Employment law 
  • Advising a UK subsidiary company on implementing an inter-company transfer (tier 2, immigration rules) to enable a particular employee from its USA parent company to work in the UK.
  • Advising a bar/club company, upon the expiry of its lease, on its employment law obligations relating to the possible transfer of its staff under Transfer of Undertakings Regulations (TUPE).
  • Acting for an employee in a multi-strand disability discrimination claim in the employment tribunal, concerning depressive illness amounting to a 'mental impairment', against a global IT organisation.
  • Advising a longstanding employee and her partner in a claim of sexual orientation discrimination against a major educational establishment.
  • Acting for a director and shareholder of a private limited company on his forced exit from the organisation – in relation to his employment and shareholding rights.
  • Regularly advising headteachers, bursars and business managers of independent schools and colleges on a wide variety of education employment related issues.
  • Advising a senior executive on his exit from an international organisation, conducting negotiations leading to a settlement valued at several million pounds.
 
Venue licensing
  • Acting for a Premiership football club regarding obtaining a new premises licence for its newly constructed 11 level stadium,  drafting the application and supporting documentation and securing the licence without the need for a committee hearing.
  • Acting for the RFU in obtaining a new premises licence for Twickenham Rugby Stadium to tie in with the completion of the newly expanded and refurbished East Stand.
  • Making 16 applications for new premises kicences for the bar/restaurant/hospitality units under the “tent” at The O2, in relation to the newly built ICON At The O2, designer outlet, all successfully obtained.
  • Advising a London cricket ground on its licensing requirements on the planned alteration of part of the ground.
  • Acting for a major Arena in London in relation to its licensing requirements (to enable internal reconfiguration of bars/hospitality areas to be undertaken).
  • Acting for a major commerical catering company in relation to the development of a new university campus and the restaurant/bar facilities to be provided (to students, visitors and to the general public) including licensing a hotel within the site.    

Areas of Expertise

Employment law

  • Unfair and wrongful dismissal employment disputes
  • Unlawful discrimination cases (including mental impairment/depression disability matters)
  • Strategic advice for managing under performance; for managing the restructure of teams and for the exiting of senior executives.
  • Business immigration issues including business visitor criteria and intra company transfers (tier 2 sponsorship)
  • Employment advice relating to pension auto-enrolment

 

 

Venue licensing

  • Licensing projects relating to new sports, entertainment and hospitality venues
  • Alcohol and regulated entertainment premises licensing for restaurants; hotels; sports grounds; arenas and outdoor festivals.
  • General safety certification (at sports grounds).
  • PRS for music; PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd) licences
  • Wedding licences
  • Gambling and gaming (including track betting licences).
  • Advice relating to review and/or revocation of licences

Professional Memberships:
Member, Employment Lawyers Association
Member, Immigration Law Practitioners Association
Member, UK Venue Managers Association
Member, The Law Society

Education:
College of Law (Guildford), LPC
University of Coventry, LLB (Hons) Business Law

Accreditations & Awards:
Recommended, Chambers UK
Recommended, The Legal 500

What our clients say...

“Sue's ability to judge when to play hardball and when to give a bit of ground is tactically brilliant.”

Chambers UK

“Sue Dowling stands out for her responsive approach and thorough knowledge of this area of law.”

The Legal 500

“Sue’s advice and support was instrumental in the Club obtaining the Premises Licence. Her knowledge of the licensing landscape and relationships with key stakeholders at Westminster City Council gave MCC great confidence that it was in great hands, and no doubt contributed to the success of the project.”

Holly Roper-Curzon Assistant Secretary (Legal), Lord’s Marylebone Cricket Club

“Advice while I was acting director for the London Olympic Stadium was invaluable. We have been working together on such matters for nearly 30 years.”

David Thomson, Thomson Consultancy

“Blandy & Blandy did an excellent job of delivering training to our line managers.”

Harmeet Kaur Bumrah, HR Manager, Unatrac Limited

“I found Blandy & Blandy’s advice invaluable when I was at Wembley Stadium.”

Peter Swordy, Operations Director, Crystal Palace FC

“When we've got an issue we know it will be sorted - she'll always respond straight away, even when she's not in the office.”

Client

“Sue is recommended for her defence of employers in all kinds of disputes, and is particularly authoritative with respect to allegations of mental impairment disability discrimination.”

Client

“I was very impressed with the support provided and would 100% recommend you to others.”

Client

“Sue is very clear and robust when representing us.”

Client

“Sue Dowling has provided a top class legal service, clearly understanding the subject matters and provided great legal guidance to produce excellent results. Highly recommended."”

Client

News & Insights

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Partner, Employment Law & Venue Licensing

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