Stephen has an indisputable reputation in travel law with an unmatched wealth of experience and is, therefore, able to advise clients on law and on the most likely outcome of cases in clear, professional terms. Stephen is the top rated UK solicitor in Travel in Chambers Directory 2018.
He set up what is now Travlaw in 2003 to offer a law firm that specialises in working with the travel industry and to be recognised as leaders (and thought leaders) whilst avoiding pomposity. The company’s ethos is to have a professional but informal approach to clients.
Stephen is proud of the firm’s litigation success record and puts that down to his hatred of losing matched with his desire to get the right results for clients. “Our clients are great to work with and many of them have transcended the role of client and become friends.”
Aside from his work with Travlaw, Stephen speaks at many conferences and seminars in the UK and overseas. Away from work and family, Stephen loves international rail travel and directing plays at his local theatre.
In 2018 Chambers wrote “Stephen provides good insight into the industry. Widely admired for his academic powers. Clearly pre-eminent in the industry combines commercial solutions with excellent technical knowledge.” His practice focuses on both advisory and litigation work. Stephen is personally ranked in Band 1, being the only lawyer in the country to be awarded such a ranking in the travel sector.
“The people that work here are at the heart of it. If we weren’t such hard working professionals, who didn’t have such solid relationships both with each other as well as with clients and business partners, I don’t think we’d be the firm we are today.”
Rivka is a founding partner of Travlaw, having set up the firm in 2003 with Stephen Mason. Rivka is wholly devoted to advising the travel and leisure industry and offers a modern dynamic and forward thinking approach to legal services and client care.
Rivka has been in travel all her career, and her experience embodies the firm’s practical ethos.
During her career, Rivka has dealt with high profile personal injury claims, Court of Appeal cases, illness outbreaks, catastrophic injuries and cross border litigation. She has excellent judgment regarding which claims to fight and is not afraid to pursue difficult defences where appropriate. Rivka notably acted on Arfilli v Starwood Hotels establishing that the American corporation was responsible for failings in hotels using its brands even though the hotels were separately owned.
Rivka now takes on the role of Managing Partner, dealing with finance, business development, recruitment and managing and marketing the firm. She continues to enjoy an enviable relationship with her clients. She is 100% committed to the firm and dedicated to seeing it expand and develop without losing its individuality and “professional yet approachable ethos”.
Aside from her work with Travlaw, Rivka is a qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist!
Associate member of CILEX; ABTA Travel Industry Partner; Law Society Management Section; TATLA; ITT; PEOPIL, The Association of Women Travel Executives – former Partnerships Director. Rivka is a also a member of The National Council of Hypnotherapy.
Part of the Leadership Team at Travlaw, Matt Gatenby has over two decades of experience in the travel law industry and so likes to think he has seen it all – even though the ever dynamic industry means that just isn’t possible!
Friendly and approachable, Matt is part of the leadership team at Travlaw. His day-to-day work see Matt proud to serve a vast array of tour operators, travel agents, trade associations, insurers and their underwriters. His skill-set encompasses all levels of work, not only the complex multi-track matters which he attracts so many instructions for, but also various other civil litigation cases which clients trust in the firm to handle. His well-established defendant personal injury practice revolves around two main aspects. Firstly, single party claims for trips, slips and more complex cases such as serious and fatal injuries. Secondly he has a long history or successfully dealing with illness cases. Examples of such cases are legionnaire’s outbreaks as well illness group and class actions involving norovirus, salmonella, cryptosporidium and other types of food poisoning. Long before the infamous rise in illness claims in the ‘tweens, Matt was dealing with gastric cases! His work in this area has seen Matt ranked as a leading travel lawyer in Chambers & Partners for a number of years now.
Matt has contributed to various publications including Travel Law Quarterly and Solicitors Journal. He has blogged on various issues, featured in various newsletters and has commented on industry issues in the trade press. A popular trainer and speaker, Matt is often asked to deliver in-house seminars, appear on panel debates and has also spoken many times in the UK and abroad at conferences. These include speaking at The ABTA Legal Seminar, ABTOT, PEOPIL, ECC-NET, AGTO, AITO, UKInbound, the Clarity Travel Management conference, BTA conferences as well as at various Travlaw events.
More recently Matt has headed up Travlaw’s “Brexit” team, advising the travel & leisure industry on the various potential issues arising from everybody’s favourite referendum and also helped lead the firms advice and support to travel businesses following Covid-19.
Partner, Head of Employment
Another Travlaw team member with plenty of travel and leisure experience, Ami trained under Stephen Mason and qualified as a solicitor in 2000. Ami then focused on building an enviable employment practice serving the travel industry. She regularly worked with ABTA, AGTA and ABTOF amongst others.
Since 2004 Ami has worked at a number of top, large national and international law firms, serving a wide variety of industries, acting for some of the largest employers in the private sector including well-known household names – Royal Mail, Tesco and Honda to name just a few.
Ami returned to returned to her travel law roots in 2017 and now heads up the employment team at Travlaw. She exclusively serves the travel and leisure industry with its employment law needs.
Ami is highly experienced in all aspects of employment law, both contentious and non–contentious. She has pretty much seen all there is when it comes to issues with employees. She regularly advises clients on matters such as board and senior level appointments and exits, business reorganisations and redundancies, TUPE, cross jurisdictional disputes and disciplinary and grievance procedures. Ami is your one stop shop for all aspects of employment law.
Ami has also gained an enviable litigation record defending a wide variety of claims for clients in the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal and High Court. Ami is also an experienced advocate who adopts a “cradle to grave” approach in advising clients. She offers commercial yet pragmatic advice to clients to help them achieve their business objectives. “Ami Naru is someone you always want fighting your corner” – Legal 500.
A confident yet approachable speaker, Ami regularly presents at seminars and training events for clients, in-house and events organised by industry bodies. She also organises mock employment tribunals for clients which are always popular – feel free to reach out to Ami if you like the sound of this service, which draws on years of experience.
Memberships: Employment Lawyers Association.
Emma heads up Travlaw’s very well regarded Commercial & Corporate Governance Department and brings considerable experience and expertise to the team, and to the travel industry.
Having qualified as a Solicitor in 2000, working in a travel & leisure law capacity, Emma has since spent her career in commercial, corporate and finance law roles in London and more recently, as in-house Counsel for Communisis Plc and Deputy Group Company Secretary for the Hexadex Group (both global corporates), based in Yorkshire.
Emma takes time to really understand her clients’ drivers, motivations and risks and delivers pragmatic commercial advice and legal solutions. Emma advises international corporate groups, entrepreneurs, industry bodies, owner managed and family owned small businesses on all areas from start up, trading and operations to exit strategy. This includes advice and negotiations on/of technology platform terms and agreements, supplier contracts, supply chain management as well as standard terms, international corporate compliance and governance, intra-group arrangements and advising on the Package Travel Regulations, ATOL Regulations, GDPR, PSD2 and wider consumer legislation.
Nick joined Travlaw in 2018, having previously lead a team of litigation fee earners at a claimant-orientated firm. Since joining Travlaw, Nick has helped the travel industry navigate their way through various challenges posed by:
- The travel sickness claim epidemic;
- The fallout caused by the failure of Thomas Cook;
- Brexit; and
- The covid-19 pandemic
With over 12 years experience in civil litigation, and with considerable expertise in the travel & leisure industry, Nick regularly advises the travel industry in relation to:
- Obligations to customers under the Package Travel Regulations
- Contractual disputes (e.g. disputes between a tour operator and their suppliers)
- Travel sickness claims
- Injury claims, with an emphasis on disputes over ‘local standards’
- Aviation claims – including claims under Regulation 261/2004 and the Montreal Convention
- Equality & Discrimination claims – including claims under the Equality Act and Regulation 1107/2006
- Applicable Law & Jurisdiction & Cross Border claims
Nick’s first introduction to travel law came about many years ago whilst training as a solicitor, having handled a number of cross-border road traffic accident claims, typically British tourists involved in accidents in other EU countries but also foreign plated vehicles causing accidents in the UK. Identifying the ‘booby traps’ and ‘loopholes’ that arise when applying foreign law in the courts of England and Wales, resolving ‘conflicts of law’ and jurisdictional disputes provided Nick with an appetite for studying the technical aspects of legislation and the other challenges that come with international and travel litigation.
A failure by the UK government to properly implement the EU’s ‘5th Motor Directive’, causing financial loss to victims of accidents caused by uninsured drivers, spurred Nick to initiate a campaign for legal reform. Having brought a number of ‘Francovich claims’ against the Department of Transport this project successfully forced the Department of Transport to take measures to finally implement the 5th Directive, as they should have done many months earlier!
Since the landmark case of Huzar v Jet2.com, the floodgates well and truly opened to passengers claiming compensation for delayed or cancelled flights under Regulation 261. In a very niche area of law, Nick was at the forefront of a number of important ‘test cases’ and ‘appeal cases’ as the courts of England and Wales struggled to clarify and develop the ‘grey areas’ of the law in this area. This was against fierce opposition from the airline industry and ongoing uncertainty created by decisions of the EU Courts. Although each claim was nominal in value, these cases raised complex issues of law and often had great importance to the public at large due to the large volumes of claims affected by the legal principles to be established. Examples include disputes over contractual limitation, exclusive jurisdiction clauses and, most notably, a successful Court of Appeal decision in Thea Gahan & Others v Emirates to which permission to appeal sought by Emirates was subsequently refused by the Supreme Court.
Bringing with him that experience of travel-centric litigation Nick joined the well regarded Travlaw Litigation Team in 2018, helping our clients continue to achieve great results on a number of fronts. Nick is also a key member of Travlaw’s “Brexit” advice team – if you have any queries on how the travel & leisure industry is being affected, don’t be afraid to reach out!
Senior Associate Solicitor
Originally from County Down, Northern Ireland, Krystene attended Northumbria University where she achieved a 2.1 L.L.B. Law (Exempting) degree, before completing her LPC in 2011 and moving to Leeds in 2013.
Having worked for firms in both Northern Ireland and England, Krystene has gained valuable experience in the areas of civil litigation, debt recovery and personal injury. Since joining Travlaw in October 2014, Krystene has become a key member of our litigation team, handling various claims in civil, commercial and criminal areas of law. Subsequently, her caseload could not be more varied and whilst one day she might be defending holiday illness claims, the next she could be battling an industry regulator over issues regarding advertising standards!
As an up and coming member of the travel industry, Krystene is always keen to get out and about, meeting new clients and faces whenever she can. You will often see Krystene speaking at industry events up and down the country, specifically those focused on personal injury, customer complaints and the Package Travel Regulations.
With almost 10 years of Debt Recovery experience, Krystene is Travlaw’s first point of contact for all things recovery based. Whether individual or business debt, UK based or abroad, Krystene has the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure a positive outcome for clients and has recovered outstanding balances ranging from £500.00 – £365,000.00, even taking cases as far as the Royal Courts of Justice so as to ensure a successful recovery. Krystene also specialises in enforcement, including the processes of bankruptcy, winding up petitions, charging order and freezing of assets.
Amanda joined Travlaw in February 2018. Since qualifying as a solicitor in September 2014, she has spent time at a regional firm and later a national firm, advising businesses from small owner-managed companies to publicly listed companies on commercial matters, company law and corporate governance. As such, Amanda brings great experience and knowledge to our clients.
Amanda works in our commercial team alongside Luke. She regularly advises clients on commercial and regulatory issues including compliance with the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 and the ATOL Regulations. Amanda has also spent a great deal of time working with clients on ensuring compliance with GDPR, the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.
Amanda has valuable experience in preparing various travel specific documents for her clients including booking conditions, agency agreements, supplier agreements and corporate travel general agreements, GDPR compliant privacy policies, cookie policies and data subject request responses.
Monica worked in the Human Rights team of a Leeds-based law firm before qualifying into the Corporate and Commercial department.
Monica has dealt with a wide range of corporate and commercial matters for SMEs and owner managed businesses including acquisitions and disposals, and the drafting of commercial contracts and advising on corporate governance, drafting company articles, Shareholders’ Agreements and a wide range of commercial and corporate documents.
Recent work has included drafting the supply agreement for a client supplying a well known sports entity, and bespoke agreements for clients, as well as drafting documents for share and asset transactions, and advice relating to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Katie joined Travlaw in May 2014 after having extensive experience working within the travel industry since graduating from the University of Huddersfield in 2001 with a 2:1 BA Hons in Hospitality & Tourism Management. Her previous role before joining Travlaw involved handling high value legal recoveries for a large well known tour operator. As such, she has experience in the areas of debt recovery and cross-border litigation. As her interest in travel law developed, Katie decided to go back to university and has since completed the Graduate Diploma in Law in 2014 and obtained a distinction in her LPC, graduating top of her class in 2016 ahead of qualifying as a Solicitor at Travlaw where she is now focused on assisting our clients with their various needs!
Given the implementation of the new Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangement Regulations 2018 and GDPR, the bulk of her current work involves drafting and updating of booking conditions, supplier agreements and privacy policies to name a few. She also has experience within our litigation team here at Travlaw and has been involved in high volume PI litigation and the defence of a variety of holiday claims. This ranges from overseas recoveries, personal injury claims at a variety of levels, quality complaints and many other areas of holiday-related civil litigation.
Outside of work, Katie is a busy mum to three young boys and, of course, loves to travel!
Director of Finance
Rachel has nearly 30 years’ experience working not only with Stephen Mason but with the travel industry in both a legal and accounting capacity.
She first joined Stephen Mason as a legal secretary, quickly moving through her ILEX exams and taking on a fee earning role. A number of years later, and with the arrival of her first son, Rachel decided to move into the less stressful and more office-based role of Practice Manager!
Fast forward a few more years to when Stephen first established Travlaw, she soon followed and joined him and Rivka to form what we now call Travlaw . Rachel took on the accounts role as well as studying and passing her legal cashiers qualifications (ILFM) and bringing up two boys (arguably the hardest part!).
Today sees Rachel as the Director of Finance providing all Travlaw’s financial functions. Not only is she efficient, thorough, approachable, reliable and practical but this all comes with a cheerful, fun loving and bright persona….there’s never a dull moment in the office when she is in! Rachel prides herself on her financial management skills and her attention to detail; both crucial assets to her role.
On the serious side, the Accounts Rules of the Solicitors Regulatory Authority impose stringent standards on how solicitors handle clients’ money. These are constantly evolving and Rachel ensures that we are complying with changes and implementing them correctly within the firm.
As you would expect Rachel is also our Compliance Officer for Financial Affairs (COFA). A very important role, nominated by the partners at Travlaw and then appointed and approved by the SRA. This role carries an even greater responsibility to monitor, review, record and report risks concerning compliance directly to the SRA.
Although Rachel has lived most of her life here, she was born in Melbourne where some of her family, including her twin brother, remain. She is a seasoned traveller having visited five out of seven continents. One day she is planning to return to Melbourne to enjoy a well-earned retirement in the sun!
Sophie graduated from Northumbria University in Newcastle in July 2018 with a 1st class degree in Law, but also with integrated set of modules at Masters level.
After undertaking some pro-bono work as part of her final year, Sophie also assisted in starting up a new business and has been excited to put her academic knowledge into practice working with Travlaw, whilst expanding both her commercial and travel industry knowledge. Having honed her skills as a Paralegal, Sophie commenced a Solicitor Training Contract in September 2020.
In her spare time Sophie enjoys keeping fit at her local gym, and in particular climbing as much as she can at the various climbing walls Leeds has to offer!
Phoebe joined Travlaw in January 2021. Originally from Southport, she moved to Leeds to study law at Leeds Trinity University, where she is also captain for the women’s hockey team as well as a member of the Law Society. She enjoys keeping fit by working out at home and going on long dog walks, as well as having a passion for cooking.
Dave is a recent addition to the team here at Travlaw, and comes to us after many years working as Deputy Operations Manager at Harrogate Theatre.