Baker McKenzie‘s multidisciplinary team has a well-established reputation in challenging transactions and projects in the infrastructure and water sector. Its wide-ranging workload covers project development, M&A, project finance and construction. In addition, dispute resolution is another cornerstone of the practice; Andy Moody is a name to note in this space. The port and cruise port sector is a particular area of strength for the group, with it acting for governments and operators on major development projects. Senior associate Rhiannon Williams is recommended for development projects, and has experience handling matters across the EMEA region. Mike Webster heads up the practice.
Water in London
Other key lawyers:
Andy Moody; Rhiannon Williams
‘They have an understanding of clients’ particular situations; they work with the client to provide workable solutions, as well as assistance with contracting strategy.’
Uniper Global Commodities
Fiera Infrastructure Inc.
CLDN Cobelfret: (Cobelfret NV)
- Acting for Uniper (as project developer) on the proposed project to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) in Wilhelmshaven, Germany (the only German deepwater port).
- Advising CLDN / Cobelfret group (international operator of shipping port and terminals) on a number of real estate and construction projects.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP draws upon strengths across a number of disciplines to handle the gamut of issues facing key stakeholders in the water industry. Jointly led by Andrew Hockley and Aidan Thomson, the cross-practice team advises on construction, planning, corporate and finance matters, among others. It particularly distinguishes itself in large-scale and complex mandates, where it acts for clients such as UK and international water companies, investors and supply chain contractors. In one notable mandate, James Good, associate director James Parker and others are advising Tideway on the £4.2bn Thames Tideway Tunnel project.
Andrew Hockley; Aidan Thomson
Other key lawyers:
Roger Cohen; Kenneth Addly; James Good; James Parker; Alan Gutteridge; Robert Gowing
‘I have been particularly impressed by the projects/planning/consenting team with their industry insight and guidance in helping clients through long and complex processes.’
’James Parker (Associate Director) is my go-to for such advice at BCLP.’
‘All the members of BCLP’s team work collaboratively together and utilise the knowledge acquired of acting for our organisation for a number of years, to provide a consistent, seamless and joined up approach to transactions.’
‘James Good is always available and knows his stuff and on top of his game. Definitely a lawyer you want in your corner rather than on the other side. Robert Gowing is thorough and practical in his advice. Robert doesn’t let anything slip past him. Alan Gutteridge is the Roger Federer of the team.’
Port of London Authority
- Advising Tideway on the £4.2bn Thames Tideway Tunnel.
- Advised Northumbrian Water on minimising impacts on its national customer services centre arising from the application for development consent (DCO) by Suffolk County Council for a new bridge over Lake Lothing in Lowestoft.
- Advised the management of the Miya Group on its sale to French private equity firm Antin Infrastructure Partners for up to €600m. The Miya Group specialises in efficiency for urban water grids and provides advanced solutions to municipal water companies worldwide.
Gowling WLG has a first-rate reputation in domestic and international water, wastewater and desalination projects. It acts for a wide variety of clients, including governments, developers, utilities and regulators. Reflective of the firm's standing in the market, it is one of only four firms on Ofwat's panel to advise the regulator on its new procurement model for major water infrastructure projects. One of the key contacts at the firm is Andrew Newbery, who heads up the water practice. Also active in high-value water projects is Jonathan Brufal, who has over 20 years of experience working in Africa and the Middle East. John Cooper, who leads the public law and regulation team, is another key contact. Gareth Baker focuses on corporate energy matters.
Andrew Newbery; Jonathan Brufal; John Cooper; Gareth Baker
‘Great knowledge of the industry and good connections (specially Middle East). Always ready to help the client, even beyond the purely legal advice.’
The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat)
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
International Finance Corporation
AIB Group Plc
Longspur Capital and GVO
- Advising Almar Water on the first private sector-financed desalination project, to be located in Mombasa County, Kenya.
- Acting for International Finance Corporation and eThkwini Municipality on the development of two new wastewater projects in the Durban area.
- Advised Ofwat, throughout the PR19 price review period, on a range of public and administrative law matters and on the interpretation and application of the statutory and regulatory framework in respect of Ofwat’s draft and final determinations on the PR19 price controls.
Linklaters LLP's reputation as a market-leader in the water sector is underpinned by its strengths across a number of key areas, notably finance, M&A, competition and regulation. Its involvement in the industry dates back to the 1990s, which was when it was at the forefront of water privatisations taking place during that period. Julian Davies and Natura Gracia co-head the team, whose recent work included advising Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water as the issuer on the issuance of two bonds under the client's multi-currency programme. Mark Nuttall, Reza Taylor and managing associate James McGivern are other key names to note.
Julian Davies; Natura Gracia
Other key lawyers:
Mark Nuttall; James McGivern; Reza Taylor;
‘Excellent knowledge of the sector, company / capital structure but most importantly able to give support in making clear and constructive commercial decisions.’
’Both Mark Nuttall (Partner) and James McGivern (Managing Associate) provide excellent support, making sure a regular flow of projects are appropriately resourced. Having worked with a wide range of large law firms, their ability to support commercial decisions make them vital support for us.’
‘Very strong sector specific experience, built on a long track record of advising a number of regulated utilities, which has proven valuable in addressing potential risks during the past year. A strong team at all levels that consistently delivers.’
‘All of the Linklaters’ team operate at the highest level and this is especially embodied in Mark Nuttall as our lead partner. Mark’s advice has been considered and rounded as we worked through the potential ramifications of Brexit and Covid, as well as regulatory matters.’
South East Water
Sutton and East Surrey Water
South Staffs Water
National Westminster Bank Plc
- Advising Anglian Water and Northumbrian Water on the successful CMA PR19 re-determination.
- Advising Southern Water on its Multicurrency Bond Programme and Sustainability Bond issuances.
- Advising Southern Water on a multi-creditor consent solicitation to amend covenants in light of downside scenario planning for Covid-19.
Addleshaw Goddard's recent work has related to Ofwat's increased focus on alternative funding models for financing new water infrastructure. Its team has notable expertise in Direct Procurement of Customers (DPC), which is a new project finance model. Elsewhere, the group is sought after for assistance with a myriad of complex environmental, procurement and corporate issues. Joanne Holbrook advises on environmental compliance, major infrastructure projects and regulatory investigations. David Shaw is the national head of the group, which includes competition and regulatory expert Rona Bar-Isaac, as well as managing associate Mark Crane. Andrew Walker leads the group in Scotland.
David Shaw; Rona Bar-Isaac; Andrew Walker
Other key lawyers:
‘The team provided new approaches to the project which we have not used before. The ideas they generated were excellent. Working with the team was a pleasure which led to a very successful project.’
‘Jo Holbrook is enthusiastic and pragmatic. She teases out the key issues and challenges in a very constructive way.’
‘The willingness to be flexible to accommodate the client’s requirements for flexibility, both as to costs and team make-up, especially with an innovative, first of its kind project that required constant redefining even as the project progressed.’
’A couple of standout senior solicitors in the project team willing and able to roll up their sleeves and bring historical knowledge and expertise to play.’
South East Water
Water Resources South East
- Advising United Utilities on its £1 billion Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Project (HARP), comprising c100km of tunnelling spanning Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester, and delivering the resilient infrastructure needed to deliver drinking water to 2.5 million people. This one of only two live DPC projects in the marketplace, being procured via Ofwat’s new funding model Direct Procurement for Customers.
- Advising Southern Water on the funding of the new reservoir at Havant Thicket.
- Advising Water Resources South East Group (a collaboration of Southern Water, South East Water, Portsmouth Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water PLC, Affinity and the Environment Agency) in their collaboration, development and legal assurance of a regional water resource management plan for 2024.
Burges Salmon LLP is prominent in water and waste management projects of national significance, and it attracts key instructions from clients such as Severn Trent Water and Welsh Water Plc. The group is led by Michael Barlow, who is highlighted for his expertise in environmental compliance, water supply and waste issues. Noel Beale (who was formerly the director of legal services at Ofwat) is the name to note for competition and regulatory advice, and also for representation in investigations and arbitration proceedings. The team provides a full service offering across construction, employment and dispute resolution.
Other key lawyers:
Noel Beale; Joanne Attwood
‘The team has a real understanding of the industry and the key issues and objectives of the company. They are helpful, able to pitch their advice at the right level and work collaboratively with clients.’
‘Mike Barlow – has a calming presence in a crisis and offers really practical commercial advice whilst applying the legislation.’
‘The ability of this team to understand the technical issues within the legal and regulatory framework is outstanding. This allows them to develop and negotiate legal solutions that are both practical and pragmatic in terms of implementation.’
’Michael Barlow has a comprehensive and deep understanding of the law and regulation surrounding the use and disposal of water in England & Wales, as well as flood risk and drainage. His straightforward, clear and no nonsense approach makes him easy to work with and understand.’
Canal & River Trust
Water Services Regulation Authority (OFWAT)
Environment Agency and Canal & River Trust
Severn Trent Water
South West Water
- Representing Canal & River Trust (CRT) in arbitration proceedings with Bristol Water connected with Bristol Water’s largest supply of water.
- Advising Ofwat on PR19, including advice on aspects of the regulator’s interactions with companies notably in relation to process and company performance.
- Advising the German purchaser of a UK mineral water business on mineral water regulations, allowable mineral content, risks of enforcement if levels were exceeded, mitigation of risk.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has an enviable reputation in the water sector, as is reflected by its wide-ranging portfolio of work and strong relationships with clients such as Thames Water, Southern Water and Northumbrian Water. In addition to acting for UK-based entities, the firm also generates mandates from international public and private sector clients. Jointly led by Malcolm Lombers and Tim Briggs, the team provides full service support on corporate and finance transactions, as well as commercial, regulatory and other water-related issues. Patrick Mitchell, Veronica Roberts, Kristen Roberts and Ben Ward are among the key individuals in the group. Also of note is Tom Marshall, who has expertise in project development, commercial contracts and secondary market transactions; his client base includes sponsors, institutional investors and public bodies.
Tim Briggs; Malcolm Lombers
Other key lawyers:
Patrick Mitchell; Tom Marshall; Veronica Roberts
‘Strong credentials in the sector.’
‘Malcolm Lombers is familiar with acting for investors in the industry and very personable.’
‘Great team. Good knowledge. Good experience within the sector.‘
‘Tim Briggs has always been very responsive and provides good, practical advice.‘
‘Strength and depth and experience.’
Pennon / South West Water
- Ongoing advice to Bazalgette/Tideway on the development of the Thames Tideway Tunnel (TTT), which is currently one of the largest and most complex infrastructure investments in the UK. In 2020, the work for Tideway encompassed advice on complex construction, regulatory and financing issues.
- Acting for Severn Trent Water Limited and Severn Trent Property Solutions Limited (two of the defendants) in a group litigation brought by around 140 personal search companies in the Business and Property Courts, against all of the major water and sewerage companies in England and Wales.
- Advised Anglian Water, as a new client, on the update of its two medium term note programmes: the Anglian Water Services Financing Plc Global Secured Medium Term Note programme and the Anglian Water (Osprey) Financing Plc Guaranteed Secured Medium Term Note.
Hogan Lovells International LLP’s water and utilities practice group in London leads and works with other offices across the network on global projects. It combines sector expertise with strengths in disciplines such as finance, corporate, litigation and regulation. The group handles utility regulation matters, procurement work and competition investigations for large national water companies. Counsel Charles Ford, who leads the team, advises on corporate and finance transactions, as well as regulatory issues. Mark Jones and Julian Craughan focus on competition matters and capital markets transactions respectively. Philip Robb is another key individual.
Other key lawyers:
Mark Jones; Julian Craughan; Philip Robb
- Advised Affinity Water (the largest water only utility in England) on the substitution of the issuer under its c.£1.1 billion whole business securitisation structure that Affinity use to finance its regulated activities.
Pinsent Masons LLP
Pinsent Masons LLP is heavily embedded in the water sector, with key members of its team having been active in the industry for over 20 years. Its work covers a wide range of international projects, including those concerning desalination, wastewater, irrigation and hydro projects. One of the key individuals at the firm is Robbie Owen, who has experience of advising on planning and consenting issues associated with water infrastructure projects. The head of the firm's environmental team is Claire Gregory, who undertakes a mix of contentious and non-contentious UK, EU and international environmental law and policy work. Michael Pocock is also a core member of the group. Gordon McCreath, who divides time between the Glasgow and London offices, heads up the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Robbie Owen; Claire Gregory; Michael Pocock
‘The team is extremely capable, experienced and well resourced – leading to great client confidence.’
‘Gordon McCreath cuts through the issues to get to the heart of the matter with ease.’
United Utilities Water Limited
Thames Water Utilities Limited
Affinity Water Limited
Yorkshire Water Services Ltd
Southern Water Services Limited
Miller Homes Ltd
Anglian Water Group
- Advising Thames Water Utilities Limited/Affinity Water Limited on consenting strategy on the South East Strategic Reservoir Option or Abingdon Reservoir and the associated Thames to Affinity Water Resource Transfer Scheme.
- Advising Yorkshire Water on interpretation and application of the industrial emissions directive and its interface with the urban waste water treatment directive following a change in the Environment Agency’s position on the same.
- Securing confirmation for United Utilities Water Limited of one of the UK’s first Compulsory Purchase Order pursuant to the Water Industry Act 1991.
Shepherd and Wedderburn
Shepherd and Wedderburn has a strong profile in the water sector across the UK and it is equally highly regarded by regulators and regulated entities. Gordon Downie leads the team, whose recent work included advising Anglian Water (Business) National on the potential impact of Covid-19 on the solvency of other retailers, as well as possible implications for the client as a supplier of last resort. Liz McRobb and John Grady are other notable individuals in the group, which also advises clients on litigation, including construction-related disputes.
Other key lawyers:
Liz McRobb; John Grady
‘Excellent availability and good response times.’
‘Shepherd and Wedderburn offers an unmatched quality of legal and strategic advice across a team with vast experience in several sectors and regulated industries.’
‘Vast experience of advising regulators on policy implementation and drafting legal requirements and deep knowledge of the overall legal framework of water and energy retail markets. Can work very flexibly and adapt to the specific needs of a client.’
Caledonian Environmental Services
Northumbrian Water Group
Water Industry Commission for Scotland
Water Plus Ltd (Severn Trent and United Utilities JV)
Ayr Environmental Services
Anglian Water Business (National) Ltd trading as Wave
- Advised the Water Industry Commission for Scotland on a wide-ranging Market Review exercise for the non-household retail market in Scotland.
- Advised Water Plus on a multimillion pound portfolio of litigations in relation to disputed water charges in the English retail market.
- Advised the Water Industry Commission for Scotland on a rapid-response programme of work on the retail market framework to protect customers and maintain market integrity in the face of the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jointly led by Stephen Tupper and Lisa Navarro, Tuppers Law's group advises clients on water law, price control, regulatory and competition issues. Notwithstanding its size, the firm is able to attract work from five of the 17 water companies in the market. Stephen Robson has expertise in commercial and regulatory issues, and he also represents clients in litigation.
Lisa Navarro; Stephen Tupper
Other key lawyers:
Stephen Robson; Adam Rooney
‘The practice has a powerful combination of experienced top tier partners that specialise in energy and natural resources, combined with partners with company general counsel experience. The concentration of knowledge and experience of the company side of things combined with extensive legal practice experience makes them unique.’
‘Stephen Tupper – he is tremendously insightful. His comprehensive knowledge of the legislation combined with an innovative approach have lead him to bring and win cases other other firms could not.’
‘Lisa Navarro has a great combination of detailed knowledge of the relevant legislation combined with an unerring instinct for the arguments that will persuade regulators.’
’Very collaborative, friendly and always go the extra mile to deliver a great service. Lisa Navarro is an excellent competition lawyer who also has great water industry understanding and is a joy to work. I can’t recommend her too highly.’
’Focussed specialist competition and regulated industries specifically water advice.’
‘Lisa Navarro has experience of two water industry regulated appeals to CMA, which is rare. Lisa Navarro is the only individual I have dealt with. She is very customer friendly but firm and clear in advice. Good bedside manner. I feel comfortable relying on her judgment.’
’Lisa Navarro is amazing to work with – good fun, extremely supportive and writes like dream!
NATs (En Route) Limited
Electricity North West Limited
- Advising Northumbrian Water on its PR19 price control redetermination by the Competition and Markets Authority, a 12 month process which has resulted in a significantly improved package.
- Advising Southern Water on a range of regulatory and competition law issues arising from its position as the monopoly provider of water and sewerage services in its region.
- Provided an ongoing monitoring role on Bristol Water’s compliance with its commitments under the Competition Act 1998 in its development services activities.