This year marks 100 years of working shoulder-to-shoulder with trade unions and fighting for the injured and mistreated. 

Thompsons was founded in 1921 by Harry Thompson and was built on a vision of using the law to provide justice for working people. Today, that vision lives on in our expert litigation teams who, together, form the most experienced personal injury practice in the UK.

We are proud that our specialist personal injury lawyers, industrial disease experts, accident at work claim specialists, serious injury solicitors and medical negligence lawyers are fully regulated, accredited and recognised for their skill, empathy and expertise by the likes of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, Action Against Medical Accidents, Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500.

Why choose Thompsons Solicitors

Every year, Thompsons secures hundreds of millions of pounds in damages by investing our wealth of expertise and specialist knowledge into each and every personal injury case.

We have a reputation for fighting harder to secure the highest possible compensation settlement from the party at fault than any other law firm.

Unlike other law firms, we are dedicated to claimant-only work: our teams only ever act for the injured or mistreated person. We have never, and will never, represent employers or insurance companies – those who are responsible or pay out for injuries.

To act for both sides would, in our opinion, undermine our ability to secure the best outcome for the tens of thousands of individuals who come to us each year seeking financial and legal redress from those responsible for their injuries.

We know whose side we are on and have pledged our commitment to injured people.

 


 

Find out more
Our People
Our teams combine empathy with heavy-hitting legal expertise in personal injury, industrial disease, medical negligence, employment rights and criminal law. See Our People
Find out more
Our Offices
We have a UK-wide network of offices which allows us to bring both national expertise and local knowledge to the table when running your case. See Our Offices
Find out more
Our Pledge
Our people and ethos are unique – we’re a different kind of law firm. Learn more about the Thompsons Pledge and our commitment to the injured and mistreated. See Our Pledge
Find out more
Careers
A sense of justice has been the making of Thompsons Solicitors, and it could be the making of you too. Learn more about the opportunities and benefits of a career with us. See Careers

Our 100 year history

  • 1921

    William Henry 'Harry' Thompson founds Thompsons Solicitors.

  • 1921

    The Local Authorities (Financial Provisions) Act 1921 is rushed through parliament after Thompsons acts for Labour councillors in the Poplar Rates Rebellion, a protest against the poorest boroughs of London paying the same tax as the richest.

  • 1926

    Thompsons represents Poplar Borough Council, this time in a wages dispute and, primarily, women’s pay. The case is ultimately lost and Poplar councillors have to pay penalties for increasing their minimum rate of pay to £4 a week regardless of the work done or the person doing it. This was an early precursor to the concept of equal pay for work of equal value.

  • 1926

    Thompsons works tirelessly to support miners and other workers taking part in the General Strike against longer working hours for less wages. 

  • 1929

    The UK fall-out from a politically motivated trial in India (known as the Meerut Conspiracy Case) is taken up by Thompsons, which represents three English textile workers denied bail and refused a proper jury trial. The criminal case lasts for many years and leads to the conviction of all three, before going to appeal where their sentences are dramatically reduced.

  • 1934

    Thompsons secures damages for trespass on behalf of the National Unemployed Workers Movement, after documents are seized illegally and used as the basis for a charge against the client. This case establishes the law that the seizure of documents without a warrant is illegal - which remains to this day.

  • 1934

    The National Council for Civil Liberties forms, with Harry Thompson as a founding member and member of the executive committee. The NCCL (now Liberty) starts its campaigns in the 1930s, particularly focussing on the activities of the Union of Fascists.

  • 1935

    A march in South Wales by thousands of unemployed people in response to cuts in the benefits system leads to arrests and becomes known as the Blaina Riots. Thompsons represents numerous men charged with assault and riot.

  • 1937

    Joan Beauchamp, who Harry Thompson married in August 1921, publishes Women Who Work following years of activism for women’s suffrage alongside the likes of Charlotte Despard and Sylvia Pankhurst.

  • 1937

    Thompsons acts for trade unions to fight and win the momentous Wilsons and Clyde Coal Ltd v English case. This establishes, for the first a time, that employers are liable for the safety of their workforce and becomes the cornerstone on which all workplace personal injury claims have since been based.  

  • 1947

    Harry Thompson dies after complications following an operation, leaving behind his two sons to lead what is by now Britain’s leading trade union law firm.

  • 1950

    Thompsons establishes the principle that an employer’s duty extends to the personal characteristics of the employee in a case that finds an employer has a higher duty of care towards a one-eyed WWII veteran who loses the sight in his good eye in an industrial accident.

  • 1956

    The UK's first industrial disease case, involving exposure to Silica and the development of pneumoconiosis (a common miner’s disease), is won by Thompsons. 

  • 1964

    Thompsons wins a leading case involving the intimidation of a trade unionist, in which the court upholds an award of punitive damages against an employer. This is a turning point in judicial activism in trade unions.

  • 1972

    Thompsons wins the first-ever successful asbestos-related disease case in the House of Lords.

  • 1974

    The Court of Appeal awards extra compensation to a client represented by Thompsons, after an injury at work leaves her permanently disabled and could mean a loss of future earning capacity. The landmark case results in the potential for extra compensation for all workers injured.

  • 1974

    Brian Thompson works with the then Labour government to draft the Health and Safety at Work Act, which leads to approximately eight million employees being legally protected at work for the first time and remains key legislation for the health and safety of workers today. 

  • 1976

    Thompsons represents union members in the Grunwick Dispute, which is sparked by the film processing plant’s poor working conditions and refusal to recognise trade unions.

  • 1983

    Thompsons pursues and wins a test case on industrial deafness and subsequently leads in negotiations that result in the ground-breaking National Deafness Scheme, ensuring hundreds of thousands of workers whose hearing has been impaired at work are compensated.  

  • 1984

    Thompsons supports the NUM during a national miners’ strike in sequestration proceedings against the union and criminal charges against hundreds of individuals. Thompsons’ employees stand with miners on the picket lines.  

  • 1986

    Thompsons physically supports and legally represents thousands of trade unionists during the Wapping Dispute, following News International’s purchase of the Time Newspaper Group. Thompsons lawyers attend the picket lines and accompany those arrested to defend them in court.  

  • 1986

    The principle of latent damage is passed into the law as a result of Thompsons’ work over the past two decades to secure compensation for victims of industrial disease whose claims would have previously been considered out of time.  

  • 1987

    Firefighters attending fires started negligently are able to claim for damages as a result of Thompsons’ win in Ogwo v Taylor.

  • 1988

    Thompsons represents cook Julie Hayward in the UK’s first equal pay for equal value court judgment.

  • 1988

    Thompsons establishes that the losing party in a personal injury case can’t unreasonably delay paying costs from the date of judgment.

  • 1990

    Thompsons wins the first test cases for welders' lung on behalf of former shipyard workers suffering a variety of respiratory injuries as a result of exposure to welding fumes.

  • 1993

    Thompsons represents a number of speech therapists in a series of cases fighting for equal pay, which reaches the European Court of Justice. The Court finds that an employer cannot use a collective agreement to justify unequal pay, leading to the historic Agenda for Change – a national pay structure for the NHS.

  • 1994

    Thompsons wins the first successful case for a stress-induced illness caused as a result of work, influencing the thinking and behaviour of personnel departments all over the country to consider emotional as well as physical well-being.

  • 1994

    Thompsons wins a landmark TUPE case on behalf of UNISON members at Orsett Hospital, meaning that if a new company takes over an existing employee’s contract the employee’s rights subsist.

  • 1997

    Thompsons brings, and wins, test cases for a group of Durham miners suffering from Vibration White Finger. This leads to the development of a national scheme compensating miners suffering from VWF.

  • 1998

    Thompsons supports a number of miners suffering from chronic bronchitis and emphysema in a series of successful test cases, which lead to a national compensation scheme known as the Respiratory Diseases Scheme.

  • 2002

    During a case heard in the House of Lords, Thompsons establishes that material contribution to asbestos exposure by one employer makes that employer liable for compensating the worker, regardless of any other exposure.

  • 2002

    The European Court of Justice rules in favour of a challenge brought by Thompsons on behalf of a UNISON member who had been excluded from pension benefits following the transfer of employment.  

  • 2002

    Thompsons represents a journalist in the first-ever successful case on behalf of a union or union member heard in the European Court of Human Rights. The Court rules in favour of Thompsons’ client Mr Wilson, whose employers had sought to treat him less favourably because of his union membership.

  • 2002

    Thompsons represents a nurse in a successful claim following her developing a latex allergy from the repeated use of latex gloves. The case clarifies the extent of an employer’s duty to provide safe work equipment under the COSHH Regulations.

  • 2006

    Thompsons successfully represents FBU retained firefighters after the House of Lords finds those working part-time cannot be discriminated against over sickness benefits and pension rights.

  • 2007

    Thompsons wins back a UNISON member’s job in the UK’s first age discrimination case to go before an employment tribunal.

  • 2007

    The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act becomes law after 10 years of campaigning by victims’ families and trade unions, with Thompsons’ support.

  • 2008

    Thompsons wins a victory on behalf of a female train driver who suffered tenosynovitis following inadequate training. The case helps define the modern principles of risk assessment.

  • 2009

    The European Court of Justice rules in Thompsons’ favour in Stringer v HMRC, leading to an amendment of the Working Time Regulations which ensures entitlement to annual leave pay while absent from work for long periods of time.

  • 2011

    Thompsons wins a seminal judgment in the Court of Appeal, overturning the High Court’s decision to grant injunctions preventing strike action. 

  • 2011

    Thompsons secures a landmark ruling on the false arrests of teachers, strengthening NASUWT’s calls for police guidance to be rewritten.

  • 2011

    The High Court rules employers should provide employees working in damp conditions with protective clothing in a major Unite the Union and Thompsons victory.

  • 2012

    In British Airways v Williams, Thompsons ensures the right to proper holiday pay for all money earned, including any supplemental pay. 

  • 2016

    Thompsons successfully represents a catering manager at HMP Swansea, establishing that prisons are vicariously liable for prisoners if they carry out prison work negligently and injure staff as a result.  

  • 2016

    Thompsons secures a victory against UK construction companies in a blacklisting case, recovering millions of pounds for hundreds of workers.

  • 2016

    In a landmark case for breastfeeding, working women, Thompsons secures damages for two easyJet employees on the grounds of indirect sex discrimination.

  • 2017

    Thompsons wins an appeal in the Supreme Court on behalf of NASUWT members, minimising salary deductions for strike action.

  • 2017

    After breaking a national story regarding disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson, Thompsons secures a multi-million-pound settlement for hundreds of women who received negligent treatment.

  • 2018

    Thompsons wins a landmark case which protects those suffering from pre-cancer from being unfairly dismissed by their employer.

  • 2020

    Thompsons secures victory for BBC presenter Samira Ahmed in a breakthrough pay equity and transparency case.

  • 2020

    Thompsons safeguards wages for redundant Carluccio’s staff during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, providing a blueprint for how all employees of companies in administration during the pandemic should be treated.