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Local government in London

Bevan Brittan LLP

Serving local government clients across the country, Bevan Brittan LLP operates out of offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds. The 'pragmatic and client-focused' team has worked for every local authority in England, advising on matters including tribunals, property regeneration and housing, and responses to financial austerity. The team was directly appointed to advise all 22 Welsh Councils on a national schools project programme and is also known for its work in supporting councils on climate change emergency advice and decarbonisation agendas. Head of the local government group David Hutton works on commercial structures and procurement and is a leading PFI/PPP lawyer. Judith Barnes advises on local authority governance on commercialisation matters such as investment strategies, as well as constitutional and governance issues. In 2019, the team was boosted by the hire of planning specialist Dalee Kaur, who joined from BDB Pitmans.

Practice head(s):

David Hutton


Excellent ability to understand the client needs, but more importantly to find a solution.’

The specialist advice Bevan Brittan provided was very good, pragmatic, and client-focused.’

Key clients

London Borough of Slough

North Yorkshire County Council

BCP Council

Cardiff City Council

Leicestershire County Council

Oxfordshire County Council

Havant Borough Council

London Borough of Redbridge

Worcestershire County Council – still waiting

Buckinghamshire County Council

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP advises local government clients on a broad spectrum of high-value and high-profile matters, covering real estate, planning, governance, disputes, education, and information law. The team has particular expertise in development, regeneration, and planning. Highlights include working on LB Haringey's £2bn borough-wide partner scheme and Leeds City Council's East Leeds Extension. In 2019, the team notably developed a new model for cooperative housing ownership in LB Lambeth. Based in Leeds, practice leader Anne Bowden is 'calm, considered, and pragmatic', and is known for her work on authority-led housing and regeneration matters. Splitting his time between London and Manchester, Scot Morrison is an expert in structuring public sector joint ventures. Leader of the local government practice in the West Midlands, Didar Dhillon focuses on public sector assets and services. Nicholas Berry specialises in property and real estate.

Practice head(s):

Anne Bowden


Excellent balance between commercial and procurement advice. I find this has been refreshing and proactive to ensure that the right balance is struck. Issues of risk are addressed head-on. The team also works well with property advisors so the client gets the right advice quicker.’

Anne Bowden is very calm, considered, and pragmatic whilst giving firm clear advice. This has meant understanding the issues but also arriving at solutions as a team. The team are joined up to this principle.’

Key clients

Manchester City Council

London Borough of Wandsworth

London Borough of Lambeth

Leeds City Council

Birmingham City Council

Sunderland City Council

Oxford City Council

London Borough of Islington

Westminster City Council

London Borough of Brent

Work highlights

  • Advised Midlands Engine on the creation of the groundbreaking Development Corporation, a collaboration between local authorities for £54bn regional economic growth.
  • Advised London Borough of Southwark on the £2bn Canada Water scheme with British Land to create a new destination in London’s Docklands.
  • Advised London Borough of Wandsworth on its £1bn joint venture with Taylor Wimpey to deliver over 2000 new homes beside Clapham Junction station.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Trowers & Hamlins LLP provides governance and strategy advice to a wide range of local authorities. The firm has a track record of work on town centre and regeneration projects, with a focus on infrastructure, housing and schools and leisure centres, local authority housing development and PPP projects. With a history of interfacing between the public and private sectors, the team is known for its work establishing trade companies and providing advice on commercial portfolio investment strategies and pension funds. In 2019, practice leader Scott Dorling worked for the London Borough of Enfield on the Meridian Water Regeneration Scheme, one of the UK's largest urban regeneration schemes. Consultant Ian Doolittle focuses primarily on public sector housing law; Helen Randall specialises in state aid, PPPs, procurement, and corporate and policy issues relating to national pathfinder transactions; Paul McDermott is an 'outstanding advisor' on public investment into town centres, community regeneration, and housing delivery.

Practice head(s):

Scott Dorling


Clear and demonstrable knowledge in relation to trading, commercial, and local authority activities.’

High quality of advice provided and the ability to form trusted relationships based on clear and well-evidenced advice.’

Paul McDermott is an outstanding advisor, with deep commercial legal knowledge and the ability to translate this into the client environment. We have formed a strong and trusted relationship, and with Paul’s insight guiding and aiding our project.’

Key clients

West Midlands Combined Authority/WM5G Limited

Harlow, Epping Forest and East Herts District Councils

Stevenage Borough Council

London Councils – Capital Letters project

Westminster City Council

UK Central (Solihull) Limited trading as Urban Growth Company (owned by Solihull Borough Council)

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Greater London Authority

Royal Borough of Kingston

Northamptonshire County Council

Mid and East Antrim Council

West Midlands Combined Authority

Watford Borough Council

Royal Borough of Greenwich

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

London Borough of Sutton – London Cancer Hub

London Borough of Enfield

Work highlights

  • Advised West Midlands Combined Authority on the public sector’s first intervention into the telecommunications market as part of the Urban Connected Communities 5G Project, with £75m of public funding available.
  • Advised Harlow, Epping Forest and East Herts District Councils on The Harlow and Gilston New Town, which is set to deliver a total of 23,000 new homes.
  • Advised London Borough of Sutton on The London Cancer Hub which is set to deliver a life science campus of 100,000 square meters of life science park and ancillary commercial space.

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP advises local government organisations on matters covering as employment, planning, procurement, property litigation and other disputes. The team is led by Lucy Woods, who advises on areas such as corporate and outsourcing, while Elizabeth Gibson provides advice on state aid and EU law in areas such as leisure, housing regeneration, and shared services agreements. Paul Butterworth focuses primarily on regulatory frameworks, development projects, social housing, and public finance. Additionally, Andrew Rothwell deals with real estate matters such as development and regeneration projects, such as site assembly and construction. In 2019, the team was appointed to the VIVID Housing Framework.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Woods

Key clients

Council of the Isles of Scilly

HFL Group Limited

Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

London Borough of Lambeth

London Borough of Hackney

Brick by Brick Croydon Limited

Wandsworth Borough Council and Richmond Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Advised HFL Group Ltd. (wholly owned by the London Borough of Lambeth) on a broad range of legal issues and transactions.
  • Advised Brick by Brick – which is part-owned by Croydon Council – on construction, contractual matters, employment, energy, intellectual property, planning and real estate advice covering 37 sites at various stages of completion, containing a mix of different homes with a high proportion of affordable housing.
  • Reviewed a funding agreement between the Council of the Isles of Scilly and a community interest company in respect of the obligations under the ERDF grant agreement for the Go-EV-Smart project.

BDB Pitmans

Following the merger of Bircham Dyson Bell and Pitmans in December 2018, BDB Pitmans has continued its build on its reputation for advising local authorities on infrastructure planning, covering transport, emissions, and regeneration projects. The team is notable for its niche advice in relation to Clean Air Zones. Department head Mark Challis focuses primarily on planning law, while practice leader David Mundy covers administrative law, public procurement, and matters relating to state aid. Nick Evans and Angus Walker provide expertise in the energy, water, and waste management sectors, while Tom Henderson focuses on infrastructure planning and clean air zones. Senior associate Rahul Bijlani has frequently acted for Transport for London on congestion charge matters and air quality regulations. In 2019, two new hires were brought on the team: James Ross joined from DAC Beachcroft LLP and Richard Marsh joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis; David Mundy

Key clients

Luton Borough Council – London Luton Airport

London Borough of Bexley

Bath & North East Somerset

Birmingham City Council

Nottingham City Council

Greater Manchester Authorities

Leeds City Council

Stoke, Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme Councils

Rushmoor Borough Council

No 3rd Runway Coalition

Work highlights

  • Advised London Luton Airport Ltd on a proposed major expansion of the airport, to double its passenger handling capacity to up to 36-38 million passengers p.a.
  • Advised Transport for Greater Manchester, on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and all 10 Greater Manchester local authorities on the largest clean air zone currently being considered.
  • Advised Transport for London and the Greater London Authority on the proposed third runway at Heathrow, which would have significant impacts on London’s air quality and transport infrastructure.

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP , which is praised for its 'very professional and knowledgeable' team, is particularly known for advising local authorities on housing and regeneration across London and the South East. It is frequently instructed to act for central government departments such as the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Justice and has extensive experience in environmental projects and waste management. Stephen Matthew 'has incredible knowledge and expertise' advising on major procurements, joint ventures between developer partners and local authorities, and regeneration projects. Government sector team head Peter Ware specialises in local government commercial issues, while Richard Barlow focuses on judicial review cases and governance.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Mathew; Peter Ware

Other key lawyers:

Nick Hurley; Anja Beriro; Richard Barlow


We have used Browne Jacobson for a number of projects, usually for commercial property and development agreements. Their uniqueness lies in the fact that for the work they go on the journey with you so as well as their absolute expertise they become part of that project team – I have not seen that approach in other external lawyers we have used.’

Stephen Matthew has incredible knowledge and expertise and is very professional.’

A very professional and knowledgeable team.’

Peter Ware is a very knowledgeable and pragmatic practitioner.’

Browne Jacobson has a rounded team able to advise on all aspects of local government and public law. I have been impressed with their collaborative approach to working with clients.’

Browne Jacobson is consistently very good in this field.’

Key clients

London Borough of Croydon

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Harlow Council


Nottinghamshire CC

Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO)

Colchester Council

Derbyshire County Council

Nottingham City Council

Folkestone and Hythe District

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Council of Winchester on a town centre development which will deliver 140,000 sq ft of Grade A offices along with a further 17,000 square feet of retail, café and restaurant space.
  • Continued to advise Chichester District Council on the regeneration of Southern Gateway.
  • Acted for Folkestone & Hythe District Council on Otterpool Park, a proposed Garden Town.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP focuses on highly complex real estate matters, particularly major land regeneration and housing schemes. The team, which is praised for its '"can do" attitude to problem solving' has extensive experience in the residential build-to-rent sector, and is advising Transport for London on its high-profile multi-site joint venture with Grainger. It continues to act on major Home England investment schemes, including a £10bn affordable housing and private rental guarantee scheme, and provides additional work in government funding deals on residential and infrastructure matters. Head of team Andrew Yates focuses on housing and development projects, particularly in build-to-rent; Eleanor Hunwicks works closely with Yates on financing matters; and Tessa Kimber advises on public-private regeneration projects.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Yates

Other key lawyers:

Tessa Kimber; Eleanor Hunwicks


‘Great commercial experience and a “can do” attitude to problem solving.’

‘Very good at both technical advice on all aspects of real estate and construction law as well as high level strategic advice.’

‘Andrew Yates provides a good strategic view of the residential development and PRS markets.’

Key clients

Homes England

London Legacy Development Corporation

London Borough of Bexley

London Borough Tower Hamlets & Greater London Authority

Lewisham Gateway Developments Limited

Swale Borough Council and Maidstone Borough Council

Transport for London

Work highlights

  • Advised Transport for London on structuring its cross London build to rent investment joint venture with Grainger.
  • Advised London Legacy Development Corporation on the ongoing residential-led development of the East Wick and Sweetwater quarters within the overall Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park regeneration comprising c.1500 homes valued in the region of £800m.
  • Continued to advise London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Greater London Authority on the Blackwall Reach regeneration project, involving the redevelopment of the entire Robin Hood Gardens Estate in Poplar.

Burges Salmon LLP

The team at Burges Salmon LLP has 'considerable experience' of advising some of the largest local authorities and central government departments on a wide range of matters, including planning and environmental work, as well as local authority pension schemes. Practice leader Gary Soloman specialises in infrastructure agreements, compulsory purchase and compensation, as well as advising on major planning applications. John Houlden is a procurement and projects specialist, while both Tom Dunn and Gareth Malna focus on investment funds. Marcus Harling has a track record of work for clients such as Transport for London and the Greater London Authority.

Practice head(s):

Gary Soloman


The team has considerable experience of major facility contracts, contract law and facility operational functions; they also have good understanding of the structure of local government and its political context for decision-making.

Exacting knowledge of the subject matter, forensic understanding and interpretation of contracts; ability to provide comprehensive advice; extremely personable, great communicators, thoroughly professional.’

Excellent procurement advice and understanding of the commercial and political implications of working in local government.

The team has subject matter expertise and good stakeholder and relationship management. They are responsive, engaged, available, tolerant, and knowledgeable. Marcus Walters is outstanding.’

Key clients

Isle of Anglesey County Council

Local Pensions Partnership

Stratford-on-Avon District Council

Greater London Authority

Sandwell Children’s Trust

Northamptonshire County Council Children’s Trust

Stevenage Borough Council

Border to Coast Pensions Partnership Limited

Hampshire County Council

North Somerset County Council

Work highlights

  • Advised the Council of the Isle of Anglesey on all aspects of its response to the proposed development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa and associated developments as well as other major applications in the County.
  • Provided specialist real estate and corporate tax advice to Local Pensions Partnership LLP as it pooled the property assets from each of the three public sector pension schemes that it manages.
  • Advised on all legal and commercial aspects of establishing a new company to perform children’s social care services for the Department for Education in Northamptonshire.


DWF acts for unitary authorities, county, district, and borough councils on a wide scope of contentious matters, including inquests, defamation claims, claims brought for breach of right to privacy, and breach of data protection legislation. Additionally, the team has extensive experience defending local authorities against abuse claims as well as advising on social care debt recovery matters. Mark Whittaker focuses on personal injury, Human Rights Act claims, and policy coverage matters. Perry Hill leads a team in advising the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea on numerous claims related to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Katrina Boyd is notable for her experience in local authority law, having recently published the 7th edition of Local Authority Liability. Caroline Sanders has expertise in the recovery of social care debt.

Practice head(s):

Mark Whittaker; Perry Hill

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Sanders; Katrina Boyd


‘DWF are my number one choice to handle complex and sensitive local authority cases. The team combines comprehensive expert knowledge of the law with an understanding of the pressures beyond the law facing local authorities and critically therefore the need for responses internally and externally to be communicated through that lens.’

‘There are so many individuals that are worthy of naming in what is a large and highly skilled team.’

‘Perry Hill has expert understanding; not just for the principles of the law but also the spirit, and is so skilled in managing local authority pressures.’

‘Katrina Boyd’s recent and long overdue promotion to director underlines the skill and file-handling tenacity that you can rely on in investigation phase, ensuring the correct subsequent case strategy is developed and then skilfully deployed.’

‘Mark Whittaker – a partner whose reputation for excellence I was aware of but recently having worked on a complex and sensitive case can vouch the reputation is well deserved and earned – a skilful strategist with flair. ‘      

Key clients

Royal Borough Of Kensington & Chelsea

Westminster City Council

LB Hammersmith & Fulham

LB Tower Hamlets

LB Sutton

Surrey County Council

Brighton and Hove Council

Somerset County Council

LB Southwark

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended a high value stress at work claim for Surrey County Council. Claim brought by a teaching assistant in a pupil referral unit who claimed to have been threatened, intimidated and stalked by a pupil.
  • Provided ongoing advice to the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in respect of personal injury, human rights act, misfeasance in public office and other related claims arising out of the Grenfell tragedy.
  • Provided ongoing advice provided to Surrey County Council on recovering social care debt, representation in claims for such recoveries.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Possessing 'unrivalled knowledge, expertise and experience' in local goverment issues, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP regularly advises local authorities and central government on transformational projects. With a long history of collaboration with the private sector, the team frequently works on a wide range of matters, covering regeneration developments, procurement, investigations, and public sector pensions. In 2019, the team began advising the Cabinet Office on redrafting and updating the pension provisions in the Model Contract used in all government outsourcing contracts. Head of the public inquiries and investigations team Sarah Jones is 'very impressive' and works on high-profile public inquiries and non-statutory investigations. She is currently representing key participants in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Based in Cardiff, Huw Jones, Bridgette Wilcox, and Paul Pugh are also recommended.


Eversheds Sutherland possesses unrivalled knowledge, expertise, and experience when it comes to advising on local government issues. They get to grips with the issues so quickly and effectively, and always provide helpful and practical solutions.’

Sarah Jones is able to cut through the issues and identify the relevant legal solutions – very impressive. Always available to support at short notice even with the most complex cases.’

‘Isabelle Mitchell has excellent attention to detail and client care skills. Always helpful, and an exceptional lawyer.’

Key clients

Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc

Telford & Wrekin Council

The Haemophilia Society

The Welsh Language Commissioner

Transport for Greater Manchester

Ymlaen consortium (made up of BBGI, Aberdeen Standard, Acciona and Jones Bros entities)

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)

Government Legal Department

West Midlands Pension Fund

Cabinet Office

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of Ecclesiastical Insurance Office, a core participant in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the public inquiry investigating whether public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales.
  • Appointed as the Commissioning Body to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Telford, which has been established by Telford & Wrekin Council.
  • Acting on behalf of The Haemophilia Society, a core participant in the Infected Blood Inquiry, a statutory inquiry which has been established to examine why men, women and children in the UK were given infected blood/blood products since the 1970s.

Sharpe Pritchard LLP

The 'extremely collaborative' team at Sharpe Pritchard LLP provides 'great bespoke advice' to local authorities on matters related to construction, education, planning, infrastructure, procurement, and electoral law, and was one of two firms recently reappointed to the London Boroughs Legal Alliance panel. Practice leader Alastair Lewis focuses on both promoting and opposing private and hybrid legislation, transport orders, and is heavily involved in infrastructure projects. Julia Rudin advises on highly complex public procurement, IT and technology contracts, while head of projects Roseanne Serrelli advises on complex environmental infrastructure and procurement issues. In 2019 the team was boosted by the arrival of specialist construction disputes lawyer David Owens from Clyde & Co LLP.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Julia Rudin; Roseanne Serrelli


Extremely collaborative team willing to deal with the simplest issue to the vastly complex. A very holistic approach to big projects and always on hand for help and advice. Great at reaching strategic aims for the council by understanding our values and visions. Great bespoke advice.’

Key clients

London Borough of Lambeth

London Borough of Merton

London Borough of Redbridge

Nottinghamshire County Council

London Borough of Wandsworth

Hertfordshire County Council

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Cambridgeshire County Council

City of London Corporation

Swindon Borough Council

Weightmans LLP

With a geographic reach spanning the whole country, Weightmans LLP handles a broad scope of matters for local authorities, such as property transactions, equal pay disputes, civil litigation, prosecutions, governance issues and public procurement. It also has experience working on public service regeneration projects and major restructurings. Practice leader Simon Goacher is based in Liverpool, and specialises in governance and legal powers, with a focus on vires issues and investigations on behalf of local authorities into the behaviour of elected members. Senior partner Clive Bleasdale advises on all areas of real estate law, while John Riddell is experienced in human rights law, judicial reviews, and litigation regarding police law. The team has recently been joined by a series of new partners, with lawyers joining from Norton Rose FulbrightBird & Bird LLPBrabners LLP and Addleshaw Goddard.

Practice head(s):

Simon Goacher

Other key lawyers:

John Riddell; Clive Bleasdale


‘Responsive with excellent public sector knowledge. They take the time to understand our business.’

‘There is flexibility in their approach. Often our issues are outside of the norm – there is a clear desire to innovate to find solutions. Also very committed to providing a high level of support.’

Key clients

Surrey County Council

Rochdale Borough Council

York City Council

Lawyers in Local Government

Rutland County Council

Staffordshire Moorlands County Council

EM Lawshare

Shelby District Council

North West Legal Consortium

Work highlights

  • Provided a defence service for local authority monitoring officers who are members of Lawyers in Local Government.
  • Appointed as legal advisor to the national Scheme Advisory Board of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme.
  • Acted on behalf of Surrey County Council in relation to judicial review proceedings brought against West Hampshire CCG.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard acts for local authorities on a wide range of matters such as outsourcing, financing and refinancing, transport, and regeneration and redevelopment work. Manchester head Mike O’Connor focuses on real estate, financing, and construction for government departments, NHS trusts, and local authorities. Partner Andrew Pettinger advises on PPPs, PFI projects, and on major urban regeneration projects, especially in education, health, street lighting, and social housing. Leader of the infrastructure, projects, and energy group Richard Goodfellow focuses primarily on project financing and renewables, while Rob Thompson advises on waste management and disposal and energy matters.

Other key lawyers:

Richard Goodfellow; Rob Thompson

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP 'goes the extra mile' advising local authorities in England and Wales on a broad range of issues, including PPPs, company setups, and construction and real estate matters. Its services include advising on governance, employment law, licensing, and dispute resolution, as well as pure local government law. Additionally, the team has recently opened a new Manchester office for clients in the North and North West. Practice leader Olwen Brown focuses on governance and investigations, while Mark Cook advises on PPPs. Senior associate Stuart Evans advises on planning. In April 2019, Sandy Munroe joined the team from Bevan Brittan LLP; she now leads the local government property team.

Practice head(s):

Olwen Brown

Other key lawyers:

Mark Cook; Stuart Evans


The team understands what the needs of the client are in local government circles (in particular political) and this is demonstrated by other members of the team from differing backgrounds. The practice has particular specialists in key local government areas and is not always driven by money and can work with an authority to have a productive relationship.

Really good responsive service, excellent senior partner leadership but also when needed very capable associate support. They often go the extra mile and you feel as though you are building a constructive relationship with various team members.’

Key clients

Harborough District Council

Blackpool Council

PSP Gateshead LLP

Stratford-on-Avon District Council

Redditch Borough Council and Bromsgrove District Council

Ashford Borough Council

Acivico Limited

Coventry City Council

Tamworth Borough Council (as subcontractors to Rand Associates Consultancy Services Ltd

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Stratford-upon-Avon District Council on several high profile investigations arising from allegations that the council had a sexist culture.
  • Advised Coventry City Council on the refinancing of its PFI contract for streetlighting.
  • Advised Harborough District Council on its acquisition, through a wholly owned company, of a significant mixed use site in the heart of Market Harborough.

Bates Wells

The 'exceptional' team at Bates Wells is primarily known for its work on public services and mutuals, as well as local government audits. It has additional expertise in finance and specialises in public procurement and state aid for music services. In 2019, the head of public services and mutuals practice Abbie Rumbold helped develop The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport's strategy on public services mutuals; she has also worked on Achieving for Children, a £115m joint venture between Richmond and Kingston Councils. Head of public and regulatory Melanie Carter is a 'well-informed expert' in local government finance. She recently worked on the Northampton deficit budget and the Tower Hamlets electoral ruling. Additionally, Emma Dowden-Teale specialises in education and healthcare, particularly in safeguarding, the Care Act, and inquests; Augustus Della-Porta focuses on both charity and social enterprise matters.

Practice head(s):

Abbie Rumbold; Melanie Carter


Bates Wells has the best understanding of local government of any law firm I have encountered in my 20-plus years in the sector. The depth of the teams’ specific industry knowledge is exceptional.’

The team brought to the table an amazing amount of experience and breadth of knowledge. The team was friendly, patient, and efficient and always had someone to ask if they were unsure of a particular point.’

Each individual team member had their own specialist area and brought that experience to the table, having the experience of actually transforming a council team into a public service mutual gave us confidence. Individuals knew the pitfalls to look out for and were able to guide us through this complex process.’

They have unparalleled knowledge of the local government legal environment and insight on Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and the application of the related regulations.’

Melanie Carter provided an excellent service and was readily accessible for discussing issues and help with scoping to minimise the call on the public purse.’

Melanie Carter is very well-informed and steeped in the sector.’

The team are the sector experts in local government and the go-to firm for all our queries. Their work is something that you can rely upon! I would highly recommend them.’

Melanie Carter is an expert in her field. She is extremely approachable, her work is easy to understand and her advice is always robust and insightful. Her team is dependable, accessible and knowledgeable.’

Key clients

Hertfordshire County Council and Libraries for Life

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Brighton and Hove County Council / Royal Pavilion and Museums Foundation

Worthing Borough Council

Bath and North East Somerset Council / Youth Connect South West

Wandsworth Borough Council

London Borough of Waltham Forest

The Marlowe Trust

National Audit Office

Wales Audit Office

Public Audit Appointments Ltd



Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments Ltd


Work highlights

  • Retained to advise on National Audit Office’s statutory functions in relation to the external audit of local government, including training to auditors on local government law (including local authority financial duties), and advice on the new Code of Audit Practice for local government external auditors.
  • Advised KPMG, external auditors to Spelthorne District Council (SDC), on compliance with local government finance law, particularly regarding the legality of SDC’s campaign of large-scale property investments valued at over £900m.
  • Advised Brighton and Hove County Council on transfer of several high profile and much-loved heritage assets including Brighton Pavilion to a charitable trust, with a view to ensuring the Pavilion and other museums’ long-term sustainability.

Davitt Jones Bould

Davitt Jones Bould is known for its 'strong attention to detail' on real estate matters, acting for central and local government authorities on property investments, including acquisitions, developments, and regenerations. The experienced team has particular expertise in mid to large-size development projects, such as a £1bn project in Slough and a £500m project for Woking Borough Council. Madeleine Davitt leads the practice; she works with former Nabarro real estate head Geoffrey Lander, who acts as non-executive chairman. Lead client director Sue McCormick is another key contact, while Philippa Hipwell also comes highly recommended. Other key team members include John Qualtrough and Kevin Fry. In 2019, the team made a number of hires, including consultant Teresa Kamppari Baker, who joined from John Lewis and Partners, where she had been serving as interim head of real estate and planning.

Practice head(s):

Madeleine Davitt


Attention to detail, quick responses and exceptional client care.’

The lawyers we deal with really care about their work and how it affects us.’

Communication is constant and timelines have never been an issue. The firm knows the way I respond to certain matters and answers are drafted and confirmed by me in one call (at my convenience) to avoid delay.

Key clients

Surrey County Council

Woking Borough Council

Brighton & Hove City Council

Bournemouth Christchurch Poole Council

Runnymede Borough Council

Southampton City Council

Slough Borough Council

Adur & Worthing Councils

East Hampshire District Council

Chichester City Council

Chelmsford City Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Woking Borough Council on the £700m+ regeneration of Sheerwater.
  • Advised numerous local authorities on their investment acquisitions, totalling over £1bn in value.
  • Advised the City and County of Swansea Council on the regeneration of the Hafod Copperworks.


The team at Dentons has 'a good understanding of client requirements' and is experienced in all matter of large-scale regeneration projects, including planning, outsourcing, development, construction, and procurement. It also has a record of work on major housing schemes and complex litigation. Stephen Ashworth focuses on housing developments, including new towns and garden settlements. Since 2015, he has advised North Essex Authorities on key matters relating to promoting new town development corporations. Roland Gray advises local authorities on large portfolios regarding development regeneration work, while Miriam Best specialises in real estate and development transactions. In February 2020, Jennifer Robinson joined as counsel from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Other key lawyers:

Bryan Johnston


The team is professional and very knowledgeable in their given sectors of expertise. The partners have a good understanding of client requirements. I would recommend Dentons without hesitation.’

We have worked with other firms; however, none have met the standards of Dentons.’

We spent some time reviewing our legal panel and Dentons were successful in their bid. In recent years, we have had many dealings with them and have always been impressed by their responsiveness and attempt to find a practical solution in order to match our priorities.’

‘Bryan Johnston is focused and very client-dedicated. He has very sound legal and practical judgement, a high level of attention to detail and is able to combine property, commercial and local government expertise. He is easy to work with and a team player.’


Key clients

North Essex Authorities (Essex County Council, Braintree District Council, Colchester Borough Council and Tendring District Council)

Northamptonshire County Council

Greater London Authority

Southampton City Council

Huntingdonshire District Council

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

South Cambridgeshire District Council

Royal Borough of Greenwich

Transport for London

London Borough of Southwark

Braintree District Council

Southend-on Sea Borough Council

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

London Borough of Hounslow

Uttlesford District Council

Mid Sussex District Council

Work highlights

  • Initially advised the Greater London Authority on the purchase of part of the site of St Ann’s Hospital in Haringey from Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust; the firm is now advising on the next phase of the project.
  • Continued to advise Transport for London on its ‘Small Sites Programme’. The team has previously advised on the first 10 sites including Beechwood, Brentmead and Aylesbury Street last year which have exchanged contracts, and is now advising on the next 10 sites.
  • Continued to act on the North Essex Authority proposals for three new towns in Colchester, Tendring and Braintree.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP's national platform enables the firm to handle a broad scope of local government work, covering transactional matters, construction, property litigation and planning. The firm also has capabilities in state aid and EU procurement, as well as environmental law. Practice leader Nathan Holden advises on matters such as joint venture arrangements and compulsory purchase orders, while the new head of the commercial team Jennifer Roe is considered an 'excellent up-and-coming planner'. Stephen Pearson acts on major outsourcing projects, Ian Rowson advises on complex regulation schemes and distressed assets, Clive Pearce focuses on property investment acquisitions, and Robert Bruce provides planning expertise. The team has recently been boosted by a number of significant new additions, with partners joining from DLA PiperIrwin Mitchell, Shoosmiths LLP, Ward Hadawayand Squire Patton Boggs.

Practice head(s):

Nathan Holden


A tightly knit group with a focus on providing an excellent service for their clients. They are not just good at what they do, they really enjoy it as well.’

Jennifer Roe an excellent up-and-coming planner. She knows what she is talking about.’

‘Rob Bruce – experienced, calm and good judgement.’

Robert Bruce. Diligent; reliable, pragmatic and extremely supportive. Robert cuts out the jargon and explains things using plain English in a way that sets him apart from some others. He always returns calls quickly; his advice is clear; And he always offers a solution.’

Very efficient and knowledgeable. Rob Bruce is very pragmatic and seeks solutions constantly that will work well in a given set of circumstances. Very approachable and provides detailed and comprehensive advice. He understands the added political dimension of local authority legal work and works well within that structure.’

Key clients

Allerdale Borough Council

Anston Parish Council Recreational Ground

Arc Property Services Partnership Ltd

Ashfield District Council

Barrow Upon Soar Parish Council

Bassetlaw District Council

Bedford Borough Council

Birmingham City Council

Blaby District Council

Bmor Consulting (Nottingham) Ltd

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

Borough Council

Boston Borough Council

Broughton Astley Parish Council

Broxtowe Borough Council

Buckinghamshire County Council

Cambridge City Council

Castle Point Borough Council

Charnwood Borough Council

Cherwell District Council

Cheshire East Council

Chesterfield Borough Council

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Corby Borough Council

Cumbria County Council

Darlington Borough Council

Daventry District Council

Derby City Council

Derby Homes Ltd

Derbyshire Building Control Partnership Limited

Derbyshire Dales District Council

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Authority

Doncaster Children’s Trust

Dronfield Town Co

Work highlights

  • Represented the London Borough of Havering on the acquisition of a Marks & Spencer’s unit in the centre of Romford.
  • Represented the London Borough of Havering in relation to the forward purchase/forward funding of an important residential development in Romford for £28m.
  • Advised Buckinghamshire County Council on all aspects of protecting and promoting its wide range of statutory functions and interests in the Heathrow Third Runway.

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG advises local government clients on a wide range of matters, including regeneration projects, NHS-related matters, housing, defence, and waste treatment and disposal. The team is co-led by Sarah Sasse, who focuses on IT outsourcing, while co-leader Michael Luckman has particular credentials for advising the UK government on IP aspects of electricity privatisation, and recently advised a joint bidder on decommissioning nuclear sites in the UK. Based in London, Richard Beckingsale focuses on real estate and joint venture projects, while head of rail Giles Clifford advises on PPPs in transportation and urban regeneration.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Sasse; Michael Luckman

Other key lawyers:

Richard Beckingsale; Giles Clifford

Winckworth Sherwood LLP

Winckworth Sherwood LLP provides advice to local authorities throughout the UK on matters such as procurement, planning, outsourcing, regeneration and development, housing, employment, contracts, and finance. The team has a particular niche speciality advising on funding regarding leisure services in arts and culture, such as local parks, museums, and theatres. In recent years, it has developed its expertise in setting up local authority trading companies. Key highlights include advising on the creation of local authority trading companies for the London Borough of Hounslow and Lancaster City Council. Practice leader Joanna Bussell specialises in public sector outsourcing projects with particular expertise relating to leisure and culture, while Simon Randall CBE focuses on housing, charitable trusts, joint ventures, and public procurement.

Practice head(s):

Joanna Bussell

Other key lawyers:

Simon Randall CBE


‘Joanna Bussell is pragmatic, collaborative and reasonable where appropriate but firmly protects her clients’ interests when required.’

Key clients

Braintree District Council

East Sussex County Council

Epping Forest District

Chelmsford City Council

East Staffordshire District Council

Canterbury City Council

Lancaster City Council

Lichfield District Council

Slough Borough Council

East Staffordshire Borough Council

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

East Suffolk Council

Suffolk Coastal Council

London Borough of Wandsworth

Waveney District Council

Worthing Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Appointed by the London Borough of Hounslow to provide advice on the creation of a new trading company to optimise business opportunities.
  • Appointed by Lancaster City Council to explore options to improve service delivery at Salt Ayre Leisure Centre.
  • Advised the successful bidder appointed to manage and operate East Sussex County Council’s music services.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is known for its work on significant regeneration and redevelopment projects, including matters such as leisure and education schemes and house construction, as well as procurement. Splitting his time between London and Newcastle, practice leader Iain Greenshields focuses on PPPs, joint ventures, and outsourcing. Jointly based in Bristol and London, Jonathan Bower works on energy, regeneration, and major infrastructure projects; Will Fraser is located in London, and works on regeneration projects in England and Wales; and Leeds/London-based Mark Owen specialises in development work, especially matters related to land assembly. Martin Stacey focuses on large-scale mixed-use schemes.

Practice head(s):

Iain Greenshields


‘Senior team members are approachable and accessible. Advice is clear and precise. They have a “getting the deal done” mentality.’

‘A very high level service resulting in successful real estate projects.’

Key clients

Hampshire County Council

City of York Council

West Lancashire Borough Council

Cardiff Council

Havant Borough Council

Newcastle City Council

North Somerset Council

Northumberland County Council

Sheffield City Council

Breckland Council & South Holland District Council

Telford & Wrekin Borough Council

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

The Borough of Broxbourne

Durham County Council

South Gloucestershire Council

Bath & North East Somerset Council

Tees Valley Combined Authority

West Berkshire Council

Fareham Borough Council

Leeds City Council

Doncaster Borough Council

Portsmouth City Council

London Borough of Sutton

Kirklees MBC

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Allerdale Borough Council

Cumbria County Council

Bristol City Council