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Burges Salmon LLP

Living Wage
Work 0117 939 2000
Fax 0117 902 4400
Bristol, Edinburgh, London

John Houlden

Work 0117 902 2796
Burges Salmon LLP

Work Department

Projects/procurement/state aid.


Advises on procurement, state aid, projects, competition and regulatory issues on a number of major projects. Clients include the Home Office, Department for Health and Social Care, Eurostar, FirstGroup, the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ofcom, Affinity Water, Department for Education, Environment Agency, United Kingdom Research and Innovation, Highways England, National Trust and Babcock.


Trained Burges Salmon; qualified 1999; partner 2008.




Board member of the Procurement Lawyers Association; member of UK State Aid Lawyers Association.


Educated at University of Leeds (BA Hons); College of Law (Dip Law; 8+ years PQE).


Enjoys sports and theatre.

London: Public sector

Administrative and public law

Within: Administrative and public law

Burges Salmon LLP has a number of key public sector bodies and local authorities on its client list, for which the team provides a broad range of expertise on matters involving public and administrative law. Recent instructions involved public sector projects, procurement strategy (including for the Greater London Authority’s regeneration programme and Transport for Wales’ rail service tender) and council-led development projects. The team also handles matters involving regulators' statutory powers; in a standout example, it advised Ofwat on future changes to water market regulation. The firm's broader litigation department acts on contentious issues for commercial clients, including a recent judicial review claim against the Competition and Markets Authority. The practice is jointly led by local authority specialist Gary Solomon and John Houlden, whose experience includes public sector procurement litigation.

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Education: institutions

Within: Education: institutions

Burges Salmon LLP has 'unrivalled experience' in the full range of education matters and is noted as being one of ten firms appointed to the national legal services framework agreement for the higher education sector. The team has particular expertise in the project arena, where practice head Matthew Ramus is active. The team also includes head of public sector John Houlden; Michael Hayles; head of corporate Richard Spink; Tim Roberts; and employment lawyer Luke Bowery.

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Local government

Within: Local government

The Bristol-based team at Burges Salmon LLP offers an impressive array of skills to a national client base spanning corporate, procurement and infrastructure matters and has notable expertise in local authority pensions matters and the provision of children's services. Gary Soloman has a focus on regeneration and compulsory purchase work; John Houlden's work includes procurement, state aid and European funding matters and Tom Dunn  and Gareth Malna advise on funding and investment funds. Marcus Harling is the lead advisor to Greater London Authority and Transport for London.

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South West: Public sector

Local government

Within: Local government

Housing a number of former local authority lawyers, Burges Salmon LLP provides a comprehensive range of services, which includes advice to local authorities on statutory and constitutional interpretation of powers, corporate and commercial work, public procurement, infrastructure projects, and waste and energy projects. The team also has particular expertise in planning and environmental work and pension schemes. In addition to acting for local authorities, other clients include central government departments and bodies, as well as government-owned organisations. The practice is led by planning expert Gary Soloman, who advises on local authority, regeneration and compulsory purchase matters. John Houlden specialises in in procurement, state aid and project funding. Matthew Ramus, Marcus Harling and senior associate Paula McGeady are also highly recommended.

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Legal Developments by:
Burges Salmon LLP

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

    - Burges Salmon LLP

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