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Who Represents Who

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Birketts LLPprovides first-class service and the team always makes itself available to discuss any issue’. ‘A first choice for any contentious matters’, the firm has ‘a hands-on approach and provides competent and astute advice that shows a good knowledge of the construction industry and comes at significantly better value than its peers in London’. The practice’s three construction partners also garner high praise: Andrew Rushhas real depth of experience and provides sage advice on contentious issues’; litigator Ruth Sunaway is ‘a very tenacious and committed lawyer who leaves no stone unturned to find the best solution for her clients’; and newly promoted construction and engineering partner Stefan Harris-Wright in Cambridge, who is ‘commercial and gets things done quickly’. The team also has great strength in depth at associate level, with senior associate Josh Ripman and associates Oli Worth and Hanna McNab highly recommended. The firm advised ForFarmers UK Limited on the procurement of a new office, production and warehousing facility in Suffolk. The deal has a construction cost of £3m and involved both a bespoke development agreement with developer Artisan UK and liaising with the local authority regarding the construction of a new spur road. Another highlight saw the team handle construction documentation for developer Inspired Coombe Limited in relation to the £27m conversion of an office site in Croydon into 82 flats.

Cambridge houses a strong core of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s construction team, which undertakes projects of national significance and also handles overseas projects. Dominic Lacey leads the Cambridge construction and engineering team and is ‘very personable and has a very good understanding of clients’ specific requirements’. Principal associate Tom Douglas specialises in non-contentious matters with a strong emphasis on the transport sector. He also regularly advises on projects in the education and healthcare sectors. Douglas acted alongside highly regarded senior associate Patrick Cooney and litigation associate Karen Chang for Highways England on a range of design, build, finance and operate matters for projects with a total value exceeding £100m. Lacey and Chang also played key roles in the team’s work for the Government of Bangladesh’s PPP Authority and Roads and Highways Department on a $50m project to develop the country’s infrastructure. This involved drafting PPP contracts and advising on a range of issues such as intra-governmental arrangements. Lacey and Cooney also handled significant matters for the UK’s Department for Transport, including complex negotiations between channel tunnel rail link operator HS1 and UK Power Networks to consolidate power distribution agreements on the HS1 route. The firm’s extensive list of clients also includes Transport for London and Kier Group.

Mills & Reeve LLPhas a very impressive legal team that is strong, dynamic and able to provide strategic and innovative solutions’. The firm’s Cambridge office features 12 construction lawyers who focus on major projects across East Anglia. Stuart Thompson leads the team and provides ‘sound strategic and technical advice with an approach that engenders calmness and reassurance in times of uncertainty and stress’. Thompson oversees a strong team of principal associates that includes Robert Weatherley, who is the main point of contact for the University of Cambridge and many of its colleges, and is also working on the Cambridge Mosque project; Alexandra Pike, who ‘has strong industry awareness and takes a leading role in complex construction disputes’ and who works closely with major developers such as Urban&Civic; Katherine Souter, who has taken the lead on state aid and construction procurement work since Ron Plascow retired from the partnership to take on the role of consultant; and Alison Garrett, who is regarded as an outstanding construction disputes lawyer. Consultant Peter Rout, who joined the team from Transport for Greater Manchester, has more than 25 years’ experience in major infrastructure projects. Highlights included advising the University of Cambridge on setting up its consultant and contractor framework and advising a borough council on the construction, procurement and state aid implications of an £11.8m transaction to finance and acquire a long-term property investment.

At Greenwoods Solicitors LLP, ‘the level of service is first rate, the firm demonstrates great understanding of the issues and the responses are very prompt’. Howard Crossman leads the team from London but the Peterborough office has a strong associate in Katrina Bretten, who is noted for her ‘sound legal advice and great understanding of construction law’. She provides specialist non-contentious advice to a wide range of clients, with particular emphasis on the education and housing sectors, and draws on her previous in-house experience at a national contractor. Also recommended is consultant Richard Jones, who has more than 30 years’ experience in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Bretten was part of a team that advised a specialist engineering company in East Anglia on its work as a sub-contractor on a major government procurement project. Solicitor Kirstie Sowter advised the same client on a dispute with a large food producer in relation to the relocation of a major production line.

In 2016, Hewitsons advised on construction contracts for more than 25 projects with an estimated combined value of £200m. It handles a broad spectrum of advisory and contentious work, and is well regarded for its specialist advice on construction projects across the UK. The firm’s Cambridge office is home to two of the team’s senior lawyers in managing partner Colin Jones and senior associate Lorna Carter, who is praised for her ‘practical and logical approach, her helpful and professional manner, and her ability to provide advice in a way that is not too legalistic’. Jones is adviser to the Association of Consultant Architects (ACA) and the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), while Carter is counsel to the Federation of Master Builders National Standards and Conduct Committee. The firm’s recent highlights include advising Howard Lewisham Limited on construction documentation for an industrial estate in New Bermondsey, London. The team also acted for Culford School on the construction of a hockey pitch and tennis courts, and assisted AMD Environmental with a dispute with Cumberland Construction concerning the final account under a construction contract for works carried out at the London Hilton. The ensuing adjudication resulted in a favourable decision for the client.

Buckles Solicitors LLP has a strong and integrated team that handles work on a national basis. James Coppinger leads the cross-office team from Nottingham but spends a significant amount of time at the firm’s headquarters in Peterborough, where litigators James Maxey and senior associate Nick Porter play key roles. The team advises private and public sector clients including developers, housing associations, building contractors, funders, specialist sub-contractors, education establishments and commercial occupiers. Its key areas of focus include social housing, student accommodation, engineering and renewable energy, in which it handles procurement and contentious matters. Coppinger, property partner Michael Rabbett and planning solicitor Brendon Lee provided advice to a housing association on procurement, construction contracts, development agreements and other matters regarding two housing development schemes. Coppinger and Maxey acted for an engineering contractor in the automotive industry on high-value contracts for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of plant and machinery.

Leathes Prior has a strong contentious construction practice in Norwich that includes a construction specialist in David Richards. He is a member of the Norfolk Forum for the Construction Industry, the Society for Construction Law and the Strategic Planning and Transport committee for the Norwich Society. Head of litigation Mike Barlow and head of commercial property Robert Sibley are closely involved with contentious matters. The firm’s highlights included acting for a well-known housebuilder in a complex matter concerning the demolition of a multimillion-pound site, which involved disputes with several subcontractors. The firm also acted for a residential development company in disputes with residents who had purchased high-value properties.

Prettys is ‘an excellent firm with good, solid experience’. Litigator Peter Blake leads the team and focuses on both domestic and international disputes as well as commercial matters such as contract drafting. The firm regularly acts for national and regional contractors, as well as consultants, developers and housebuilders. Clients recommend associate Rebecca Palmer for her ‘good industry knowledge; she is solid on details and well known by local industry and professional bodies’. Associate Ian Seeley is recommended for construction disputes and regulatory and procurement matters. Part-time consultant Chris Harrall assists with the team’s larger and more complex disputes; his previous experience as commercial direct at ISG Construction gives him unique insight from the surveyor’s perspective.

Rogers and Norton is noted for its ‘professional, timely and knowledgeable’ service. The firm focuses on contentious construction matters, in which the ‘practical, knowledgeable and responsive’ Peter Hastings ‘has proven over time to give first-class advice based on experience and comprehensive knowledge of his area of expertise’. Hastings’s highlights included assisting the main contractor with issues arising from the construction of a multimillion-pound care home; advising on Joint Contracts Tribunal contracts for a large residential development project with a complex payment structure; acting in several adjudications regarding sums in excess of £100,000; and settling an £80,000 claim concerning irrigation works.


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Legal Developments in East Anglia for Construction

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 


    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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