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Sue Dowling

Sue Dowling

Partner, Employment Law and Licensing Law
+44 (0)118 951 6822

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
  • College of Law (Guildford), LPC
  • University of Coventry, LLB (Hons) Business Law
  • Member, Employment Lawyers Association
  • Member, Immigration Law Practitioners Association
  • Corporate partner, UK Venue Managers Association

Examples of recent Employment work

  • Advising an individual in a substantial exit negotiation with a global company valued in excess of £4 million.
  • Advising an individual on his employment situation in Asia, including regarding final salary pension entitlements.
  • Advising on a claim of disability discrimination (depression) involving a major IT company, with complications involving PHI cover.
  • Advising a company on a TUPE matter involving 23 claimants and multiple claims (unfair dismissal; breach of TUPE; and enhanced redundancy claims).

Examples of recent Licensing work

  • FA Group legal services panel member in relation to licensing advice to Wembley National Stadium (and more recently regarding The National Football Centre (St Georges’ Park).
  • Acting for AEG on the licensing of The O2 Arena and other O2 Campus venues.
  • Acting for the RFU in relation to its licensing requirements for Twickenham Rugby Stadium.
  • Recent strategic licensing advice given to LOCOG / The Olympic Delivery Authority in relation to the 12 Olympic Park venues for The London 2012 Games.
  • Advising Ascot Racecourse in relation to licensing matters (including music concerts on open land).
  • Employment Law

    Sue Dowling heads the firm's employment team and focuses on employment-related litigation. Clients say: "Sue's ability to judge when to play hardball and when to give a bit of ground is tactically brilliant." Chambers UK Guide

    "She is very experienced, understands the client's needs, and she's very thorough in what she does." Chambers UK Guide

    "Blandy & Blandy did an excellent job on delivering a training session to our line managers, the training was enjoyable and informative. They understood our requirements and we felt that the objectives of this training were definitely met. The training had a positive impact on our line managers as it made them think about how they manage their staff." Harmeet K Bumrah, Unatrac Ltd

    "Thanks so much for all your help, it’s been really easy thanks to you." 

    "Thank you. Your firm has been both efficient and supportive."

    "I feel Sue went over and above my expectations and was very clear. She has helped me feel a lot more comfortable about things going forward and if I need any advice going forward I will be in touch." 

    “Sue, as ever with Blandy’s, I really respect and am grateful for how much you care for your clients.” 

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

    “It's been good dealing with you.  Thanks for all your very clear advice and support.”

    “Thanks for your help as always.”

    "Thank you very much for your valuable assistance."

    Venue Licensing

    Clients say that Sue Dowling is "incredibly focused and knowledgeable" and that she "delivers solutions." She is regularly instructed by high-profile sports associations. Chambers UK Guide

    “Sue Dowling is ‘excellent – driven and always with her clients’ interests at the forefront’.” The Legal 500

    Sue Dowling is regarded as "brilliant" by clients, who note that she "really understands what makes the clients tick." She is also praised for being "good at managing people's expectations."  Chambers UK Guide

    “Sue Dowling and her team specialise in providing alcohol, regulated entertainment and safety related licences and certificates for major projects including sporting venues, stadia, music events and festivals. They have supported me over the last twelve years, providing expert strategic advice and guidance in connection with licensing Ascot Racecourse, the London 2012 Olympic Park and most recently Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Applying for a licence is a relatively straightforward thing but an understanding of the system, politics and priorities of a wide range of stakeholders are vital to success in such high profile cases. Sue has an excellent understanding of these and provides a first class intelligent service with an absolute focus on success. I can’t recommend the work of the team enough.”
    David Demolder, Mace Group

    "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."

    "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."

    "A very professional firm, it was a pleasure working with Sue Dowling." 

    "Thanks for the great cooperation."

    “Thank you so much for all your advice and support on the Aegon Championships with our many different requests! Another great event completed.”

"Sue's ability to judge when to play hardball and when to give a bit of ground is tactically brilliant." Chambers UK Guide

Sue Dowling is a partner and head of our Employment law team, which spans our Reading, Henley-on-Thames and London offices. She is 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 both The Legal 500 and Chambers UK Guide for her expertise. 

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.  She 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.

Sue is a regular advocate (in Tribunals and before Committees); speaker at seminars (arranged by the team and by external training providers) and enjoys appearing on BBC Radio Berkshire as an employment law expert.

Licensing law

Through her advocacy training, Sue has developed expertise in the field of venue licensing (originally before the Magistrates Court and now before Licensing Committees).  In particular, she advises major sports, 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 is recognised by her clients and peers in Chambers UK Guide and The Legal 500 as a leading expert in venue licensing law. In relation to the latter, she is often instructed by/works in conjunction with City lawyers when their clients have particular venue licensing requirements. Clients describe Sue as "incredibly focused and knowledgeable" and comment thsat she "really understand requirements", "knows how to approach local authorities" and "delivers solutions". 

Sue is an experienced advocate, appearing regularly in Committees and Employment Tribunals, in London and across the country.

Outside of work, Sue enjoys spending time with her ex-professional footballer husband and her four children (who fortunately all take after her husband on the sporting front!). Sue enjoys watching professional sport, especially tennis and football, and (watching and doing) ballet. She also loves to travel around the USA and Europe and has a passion for interior design and vintage fashion.

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