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Led by Christopher Williams, Blake Morgan LLP’s cross-disciplinary team has wide-ranging expertise spanning employment law, property, litigation and finance, and a client base of public and quasi-public sector entities including the Welsh government, Cardiff University, NHS England and Care Council for Wales. Williams handles an array of public sector matters, including constitutional governance and state aid. He is also increasingly active advising higher and further education bodies and sixth form colleges on Area Based Reviews. Emyr Lewis has unrivalled expertise of Welsh constitutional law issues; he provides advice to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and public bodies on the drafting and passage of legislation in the National Assembly and Parliament. Lewis also acts for private sector clients on devolution-related matters. Eve Piffaretti heads the firm’s health and care practice and represents UK-based healthcare organisations on judicial reviews, freedom of information matters, and human rights and equality issues. Senior associate Kevin Manship is building up a strong reputation handling judicial review work.

Able to call upon the resources of a number of ‘seasoned practitioners’ across numerous practice groups, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has significant cross-disciplinary expertise in the public sector and regularly handles work for central government, local authorities, third sector, and non-departmental government bodies. Bridgette Wilcox heads the public sector team and has a particular focus on state aid and procurement matters; she recently advised Lincolnshire County Council on the state aid implications of numerous projects. Corporate partner Paul Pugh regularly handles high-profile matters within the public sector; his recent work includes advising on the establishment of Flood Re – a not-for-profit flood reinsurance scheme – and representing the Welsh government in its negotiations with Tata Steel to secure a rescue deal and protect thousands of jobs at stake in Port Talbot. Peter Watkin Jones has a market-leading reputation for public inquiries work and is leading the team’s involvement in the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry. Huw Rolant Jones specialises in employment-related public sector matters and Helen Mortlock is also recommended for her higher education expertise. Clients include Forest Heath District Council, Aberystwyth University and Northamptonshire PCC.

Geldards LLP is held in high regard by the public sector, as underscored by its appointment to numerous lots, including employment and civil litigation, on the National Procurement Services (NPS) All-Wales Solicitors’ Panel. Co-head Huw Williams ‘really knows his stuff when it comes to public and administrative law’ and has particular specialisms in planning, compulsory purchase, devolution, local government and state aid matters. He is advising the Welsh government on the M4 corridor around Newport scheme, as well as advising on joint committee constitutions for the Swansea Bay City deal and the National Adoption Service in Wales. Co-head Kim Howell is also recommended and has significant expertise advising on change processes, high-level investigations, statutory and alternative models. Bethan Lloyd is also noted for her state aid law expertise.

Acuity Legal Limited’s ‘excellent’ public sector team advises Welsh and English public and private sector clients on a wide spectrum of local government and administrative law, including procurement and state aid advice, and complex and innovative commercial arrangements to facilitate public service delivery. Deryn Rees has an extensive track record advising on complex funding structures to facilitate PFI/PPP schemes and other commercial arrangements. The team has numerous lawyers with former in-house public sector experience including the ‘astute and commercialCraig Griffiths, who previously acted as a local government lawyer, and associate Laura Mitchell, who was recently on secondment with West Sussex County Council. Recent highlights include advising Wrexham County Borough Council on the disposal of land and delivery of the £10.5m Maes y Dderwen housing scheme, which will provide housing for older people as well as associated community facilities. The team has also advised West Sussex County Council on a number of procurement processes, including fleet vehicle maintenance and breakdown contracts and the letting of a framework for the provision and maintenance of highways works and signage.

Under the guidance of the ‘assiduousJeremy Williams, Capital Law LLP has successfully developed a ‘strong public sector’ practice, which draws on the expertise of lawyers from the construction, employment, commercial litigation and real estate departments. Williams is representing the Welsh government on the M4 relief road project which has included advising on the drafting and negotiation of agreements with various statutory undertakers and private sector companies where the proposed relief road impacts on their interests. ‘Highly knowledgeable and determined’ commercial litigator Stephen Meade has significant public law expertise, particularly within the health sector, where he has been involved in three judicial reviews brought against health sector bodies on behalf of the British Medical Association (BMA). ‘Excellent’ associate Nicola Mead-Batten ‘brings a cerebral approach to all she does’, and has been involved in the aforementioned BMA judicial review work alongside Meade. Iestyn Morris leads the education team and recently led the firm’s advice to Cardiff and Vale Further Education College on its acquisition of leading skills training provider, ACT. The team was bolstered in May 2016 by the arrival of procurements and projects associate Rhiannon Holtham from Clarkslegal LLP. Clients include Finance Wales, The Royal Mint and Welsh Language Commissioner.

Hugh James has a longstanding presence in the public sector and provides a range of contentious and non-contentious advice to central government, local authorities and government sponsored bodies. Led by Ioan Prydderch on the construction front and for real estate matters by Caroline O’Flaherty, the firm ‘is particularly strong in property-related matters’. O’Flaherty is advising Cardiff University on the new Centre for Student Life in the Park Place conservation area. The firm is also a leading presence for non-police prosecution work in Wales, where the ‘knowledgeable and thoroughMartin Jones has ‘an in-depth knowledge of regulatory law’. As well as continuing to handle work for the Care Council of Wales, Jones also recently represented the Welsh Ministers in a regulatory prosecution of egg producers, which was the first to be brought under the Ministers’ powers to enforce the Eggs and Chicks (Wales) Regulations 2010. Other clients include Welsh Walter, Sport Council for Wales and Dyfed Powys Police.

Belying its size, Watkins & Gunn Solicitors’ public sector group has built up a strong reputation for handling administrative law challenges concerning the decisions of local authorities. Team head Michael Imperato provides ‘high-quality and responsive advice’, is noted for his ‘strong dedication to the work he does’, and ‘always strives for a satisfactory solution for his clients’.

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