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Who Represents Who

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Bevan Brittan LLP is a widely recognised ‘leading adviser to public bodies’. It acts for over 300 local authorities in England on matters including property regeneration, procurement, inquiries and various commercial mandates. Clients particularly praise its ‘excellent response times’, ‘outstanding knowledge of local government’ and ‘precise as well as practical advice’. In a typically prolific year Matthew Waters advised Brighton & Hove City Council on a £176m joint venture with Hyde Housing and assisted London Borough of Brent with the establishment of its housing investment vehicle while Richard Lane represented London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham in its £8m dispute with BT relating to the provision of finance, HR and payroll services. Sarah Lamont handles a broad range of contentious and non-contentious employment and pension issues; Bethan Evans and Judith Barnes, who have ‘excellent knowledge and client care skills’, focus on constitutional as well as governance issues, alternative service delivery vehicles and regeneration projects; Nadeem Arshad is an expert in waste, energy and district heating projects; and Emily Heard has notable experience in procurement matters, including contentious ones. Senior associate Wesley O’Brien is another name to note, particularly for commercial disputes with an international element.

Ashfords LLP’s multi-disciplinary local government team, led by Elizabeth Gibson, acts for a large number of local authorities and public sector bodies. It continues to handle major infrastructure, including broadband infrastructure, and regeneration projects, as well as state aid, employment and regulatory matters. Highlights included assisting the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea with the £30m Edenham Way regeneration project; acting for Cormac Solutions, a Cornwall Council wholly owned Teckal company, on its highways joint venture with Nottinghamshire County Council; and advising Exeter City Council on the procurement of a design team for a new leisure facility. Wandsworth Borough Council is a key client which has recently instructed the team on a broad range of matters including housing claims, employment tribunal claims as well as TUPE-related and Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) issues arising from of the outsourcing of various services. Gibson specialises in procurement law including outsourcing arrangements, project structuring, fund arrangements and state aid. Property litigator Sian Gibbon, planning specialist Graham Cridland, employment law expert Charles Pallot, as well as senior associate Lucy Woods are other names of note.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s strength in representing local government was once again on display when it acted for West Berkshire District Council on its successful High Court defence of a judicial review and procurement challenge brought against it by Faraday Development alleging the council’s failure to comply with the public procurement regime. Other noteworthy highlights include assisting a consortium of local authorities with the reopening of the railway project between Bristol and Portishead for passenger train services, representing Three Rivers District Council in the property litigation arising out of the South Oxhey regeneration in London, and advising Fareham Borough Council on planning procurement and compulsory acquisition for a new 6000 dwellings settlement. The firm is also particularly strong in advising local authorities on large scale waste and district heating projects. Within its 20-partner team, Jonathan Bower and Charles Robson have expertise in infrastructure projects; Kevin Gibbs, a dual qualified chartered town planner and solicitor, specialises in property and environmental law; Patrick Wetherall handles high value real estate disputes; and Katherine Douglas is recommended for regeneration and development transactions.

Burges Salmon LLP’s expertise ranges from handling transport, waste and infrastructure projects as well as redevelopment schemes to advising on the provision of children’s social services and pensions restructuring. Highlights included John Houlden assisting Bristol City Council with the financing and establishment of Bristol Energy; Marcus Harling advising Greater London Authority and Transport for London on a series of connected major regeneration project in east London; Matthew Ramus acting for Sunderland City Council in the children’s services transition project involving externalising the council’s embedded children’s services and outsourcing with a newly formed corporate vehicle, wholly owned and controlled by the council; and construction expert William Gard representing a local authority in major contractual disputes arising out of the operation, maintenance and improvement of roads network. In addition, Gary Soloman and Patrick Robinson continue to advise Isle of Anglesey County Council on the proposed development of a new nuclear power station and grid connection while Tom Dunn is acting for eight councils in Wales on the pooling of their respective LGPS pensions schemes.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s expertise in the area covers real estate, projects, pensions, state aid, safeguarding and governance. The team is led by ‘insightful and extremely professional’ litigator and public law specialist Rosalind Ashcroft, who advised on the establishment of a new joint venture company discharging administrative and investment functions for Lancashire County Council and the London Pension Fund Authority in their capacity as administering authorities of LGPS funds. Giles Taylor assisted Somerset County Council with its building schools for the future programme, which included handling partnership arrangements, a variation to the PFI contract, and disputes with the private sector partner. Ben Pariser and Ben Thornycroft are key contacts for real estate, development and regeneration matters.

Real estate specialist firm Davitt Jones Bould acts for over 50 local authorities on large regeneration and acquisition mandates. It is singled out for its ‘in-depth knowledge’, ‘quick responses’, and ‘detailed, but easy-to-follow advice’. The team advised Chelmsford City Council on the sale to Aberdeen Investments of property assets, including a well-known local landmark, owned by Britvic and acted for Borough of Poole Council on the property aspects of several academy transfers. Woking Borough Council, Slough Borough Council and The Department for Communities and Local Government are new client wins. Malcolm Iley splits his time between London and Taunton, and is recommended alongside Sean Bulman, Sophie Philippon-Thomas, Philippa Hipwell and Robin de Wreede, all of whom have ‘a client-friendly approach and are conscientious in dealing with matters in often tight timescales’.

Foot Anstey recent highlights include acting for Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council and Somerset County Council on the procurement of new highway maintenance providers, successfully defending Honiton Town Council in judicial review proceedings brought by a councillor following a breach of the council’s code of conduct, and assisting The London Borough of Tower Hamlets with the planning and compulsory purchase aspects of the £300m regeneration of Blackwall Reach through a partnership with Swan Housing Group and the Greater London Authority. The team is ‘willing to go the extra mile to ensure deadlines are adhered to and client needs met’. ‘Diligent as well as personable’ practice head James Falle is singled out for his ‘in-depth, practical knowledge of procurement law’; employment specialist Karen Bates has experience in handling collective employment issues, defending employment tribunal proceedings and providing pension law advice on matters relating to LGPS schemes and TUPE transfers; while Chris Pritchett and Becca Doman are ‘very knowledgeable of the renewable energy and community energy sector’. Richard Bagwell and Duncan Tringham are also key contacts, handling, respectively, contentious and non-contentious property work.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s impressive experience includes advising Cornwall Council in a high-profile High Court case relating to the Council’s entitlement to terminate a major service contract with BT Cornwall following an alleged material breach. Lynne Rathbone is the key name to note; she advises on a broad range of outsourcing, partnerships and joint ventures. Mark Barnett defends local government in clinical negligence claims.

Deighton Pierce Glynn represents claimants in High Court litigation against local and national authorities on issues regarding access to social support, healthcare and human rights. Adam Hundt, Daniel Carey and Clare Richardson are the main contacts.

Michelmores LLP advises on a wide range of joint ventures between the public and private sectors, and its caseload spans redevelopment as well as regeneration projects, state aid and compulsory purchase orders; it is assisting a local council on a proposed investment into a research centre development project which will be publicly and privately funded. Brian Hitchcock is acting for Plymouth City Council on several regeneration projects while Sally Rice assisted Swindon Borough Council with its regeneration project involving the restoration of grade 2 listed buildings and their transformation into mixed-use properties. PPP and infrastructure projects expert Carol McCormack heads the team. Mark Howard, Ben Hogan, Andrew Tobey and Tom Torkar are also recommended.

TLT’s recent work covers project finance, data protection, renewable energy transactions and reorganising council-owned Teckal subsidiaries. Bill Hull has a wealth of experience in acting for local authorities on public procurement, while David Isaacson specialises in commercial property investment. Clients include the City of London, North West Legal Consortium, Somerset County Council and London Borough of Lambeth.

Led by employment specialist Allison Cook, VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) acts for local authorities on a range of issues including public procurement and property matters. The team attracts plaudits for its client-friendly approach and responsiveness. In 2016, Cook represented a local council in a high value employment tribunal claim brought by a former employee; David Bird assisted Oxford City Council on the redevelopment of the NHS sites at Littlemore Road and Churchill Hospital; and Clive Read acted for Coventry City Council on the proposed sale and redevelopment of redundant brownfield parcels of land to registered provider Whitefriars Housing Group.

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Legal Developments in South West for Local government

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    I have been asked to cover the topic of Employment law within my half an hour speaking slot today. I have narrowed my subject down to Transfer of Undertakings and Discrimination, with the focus on providing an update on the recent spate of cases on service provision change and on the important developments in the law of age discrimination. Needless to say, in my presentation I shall not be able to cover the level of detail which is contained in my written paper, which I will leave you to read.
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