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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Wales > Public sector > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Public sector
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Headed by Eve Piffaretti, Blake Morgan LLP 's eight-partner multi-disciplinary team has a real 'depth of expertise' on behalf of public sector entities across local/central government, health, social housing and education. As well as handling practice specific work affecting those entities (including as they relate to corporate, real estate and commercial work), the team is also recognised for its prowess in relation to pure public law matters, including Welsh constitutional law issues, an area that Emyr Lewis is particularly well regarded. Simon McCann has 'vast knowledge of the public procurement regulations', and is consequently regularly instructed to advise public sector bodies tendering for services on major projects. On the contentious front, legal director Kevin Manship  regularly advises public sector clients facing judicial review challenges, and 'pragmatic' senior associate Joanne Thompson heads up the firm's procurement litigation offering.

Practice head(s):Eve Piffaretti

Other key lawyers:Emyr Lewis; Simon McCann; Penri Desscan; Graham Miles; Kevin Manship; Karl Foster; Joanne Thompson; Sarah Whittle; Jon Belcher


The very pragmatic team provides an extremely responsive service

The superb team at Blake Morgan provides a one-stop-shop for all commercial, procurement, contracts and dispute legal advice.

The firm knows how to litigate a procurement case

Emyr Lewis is experienced, wise calm and courteous.

Simon McCann has superb business acumen and is able to explain complex matters in plain English

Simon McCann has always delivered and is a true gentleman of the legal world.

Joanne Thompson is a diligent, capable and experienced procurement litigator

Key Clients

Welsh Government

NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership and all 3 NHS Trusts in Wales

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

NHS England

Transport for Wales

Welsh Language Commissioner

Greater Manchester Combined Authority – Greater Manchester Police

Teaching and Regulation Agency

Social Care Wales

Education Workforce Council

Work highlights

  • Representing the Welsh Ministers in an appeal to the Supreme Court relating to the extension of the Upper Tribunal's jurisdiction under section 72 of the Mental Health Act 1983 to revise conditions imposed by the patient’s responsible clinician under a Community Treatment Order and/or to adjourn proceedings for such conditions to be revised and/or to take into account Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Acting for NHS England in successfully defending a challenge brought by AbbVie Limited relating to the procurement of Hepatitis C treatments and elimination initiatives.
  • Procurement of Fisheries Enforcement Vessels.
  • The firm represented the Welsh Minsters in relation to a judicial review challenge brought by Melanie Woolcock, an individual imprisoned for failure to pay council tax.
  • Provided extensive advice to TfW and the Welsh Government on the procurement and award of the new Wales and Borders rail franchise under the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016.

Able to call upon the expertise of corporate, real estate, employment and litigation lawyers, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP 's multi-disciplinary team handles a range of work for Welsh and English public sector clients, including on transformational projects, outsourcing, governance and regeneration developments. Spearheaded by the 'superb' Peter Jones, the Cardiff office is, however, best-known in the public sector arena as a result of  its market-leading public inquiries team which regularly has key roles in inquiries of national significance.

Practice head(s):Bridgette Wilcox (Public Sector Group Leader); Huw Jones (Head of Local Government); Peter Jones (Head of Inquiries & Investigations)

Other key lawyers:Luisa Gibbons; Angharad Shurmer

Key Clients

Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Plc

LGPS Central Limited

Independent Schools Inspectorate

Welsh Language Commissioner

Teaching Regulation Agency

Education Workforce Council

The University of Manchester

Construction Industry Training Board

Transport for Greater Manchester

Serious Fraud Office

Work highlights

  • Acting for EIO as a core participant in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
  • Appointed to the Panel to advise the Welsh Language Commissioner in respect of the application of The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011.
  • Providing Legal Adviser Services to Panels hearing allegations of misconduct against teachers.    

Led by Huw Williams, Geldards LLP's six-partner team provides 'practical and reliable advice' to local authorities, central government and regulatory authorities. Benefiting from core public law expertise, in addition to being able to draw from practitioners from across the employment, litigation, commercial, planning and real estate teams who have significant public sector experience, the firm is particularly strong at handling major projects which often involve politically sensitive ramifications. Chris Williams  regularly advises public sector clients on complex contracts including outsourcing, collaborations, partnerships, trading agreements, and supply and distribution arrangements. The 'extremely responsive and professional' Bethan Lloyd  has specialist public law, procurement and state aid expertise which she incorporates to good effect on larger projects involving special delivery vehicles or collaborations between multiple parties.

Practice head(s):Huw Williams

Other key lawyers:Chris Williams; Jonathan Griffiths; Kim Howell; Jonathan Griffiths; Bethan Lloyd; Bethan Walsh


The team provides friendly, efficient and effective advice

Provided very prompt and useful procurement advice

Chris Williams is pragmatic, unflappable and a pleasure to deal with

Bethan Lloyd provides excellent State Aid advice

Bethan Lloyd is really on top of her game

Key Clients

Arts Council of Wales

Bristol City Council

Careers Choices Dewis Gyrfa

Carmarthenshire County Council

National Library of Wales

National Museum of Wales

Natural Resources Wales

Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales

Regional Investment Fund for Wales

Swansea University

The Welsh Ministers (Welsh Government)

Wrexham County Borough Council

Work highlights

  • The firm was appointed to undertake a complex investigation to establish and review the adequacy of governance arrangements relating to historic secondment arrangements between Bristol City Council and its subsidiary companies, which are the subject of litigation.
  • The firm continues to act for the Welsh Ministers in relation to the proposed M4 relief road.
  • The firm advised S4C throughout 2017 in their negotiations relating to the construction and lease of their new multimillion-pound headquarters in Carmarthenshire, negotiations culminated in an exchange of conditional agreements for lease in September 2017.
  • The firm defended the Council in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) on a claim for compensation brought by Clays Farm Golf Centre, following the compulsory acquisition of land from the golf club for the construction of the Wrexham Industrial Estate access road.
  • The firm advised on the procurement of an external auditor for the Wales Audit Office.

Benefiting from the expertise of numerous lawyers with former local government/authority expertise, Acuity Law has an excellent perspective on public sector matters and continues to pick up a significant number top-quality projects from local authorities, both domestically and outside of Wales. Herself a former chartered accountant, Deryn Rees excels at handling innovative funding structures on PFI / PPP schemes, including the implementation of various "hybrid" structures involving both prudential funding and bank finance. Associate Laura Mitchell has an excellent reputation for handing high-value and complex public procurement matters.

Practice head(s):Deryn Rees

Other key lawyers:Craig Griffiths; Laura Mitchell

Key Clients

West Sussex Count Council

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

City of Wolverhampton Council

Silent Valley Waste Services

Careers Wales

Office for National Statistics

Ceredigion County Council

Work highlights

  • Advised West Sussex County Council on the procurement of its highways maintenance contract, one of the largest and highest profile of its kind.
  • Procurement and state aid advice to the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in its role as a key partner within the Swansea Bay city region and its major projects
  • Advising City of Wolverhampton Council on the allocation of grant aid to applicant organisations in relation to various regional, national and EU funds and in its role as Accountable Body for inter-authority and combined authority projects distributing national and EU funding.  
  • The firm provided advice to the client on requests for information received from the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act
  • The firm advised the council as to its contractual rights and obligations under a contract for waste treatment and management services.

Jointly headed by Jon Ely and Nicola Mead-Batten, Capital Law Limited 's four-partner team has an 'excellent appreciation of the Welsh public sector', and continues to pick up an increased flow of work in the area by dint of its appointment on to the National Procurement Services Solicitors framework. The team is also active in public sector-related work outside of Wales and this was recently underscored by the firm's appointment to the Crown Commercial Services panel, enabling it to handle work throughout the UK. Mead-Batten has 'broad experience across a wide range of public sector and regulatory matters' and is particularly noted for her administrative and judicial review expertise. Senior associate Rhiannon Holtham has a strong reputation for handling procurement and state aid matters. The arrival in September 2018 of senior associate Trish D’Souza  from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP  strengthens the firm's offering in the education space, in particular. Jeremy Williams departed in March 2018 to set up his own legal consultancy practice.

Practice head(s):Jon Ely and Nicola Mead-Batten

Other key lawyers:Rhiannon Holtham; Trish D'Souza


The firm provides a pragmatic approach to finding solutions and legal risk

Capital Law are full service proposition with a developing public sector client base

Nicola Mead-Batten combines a formidable depth of knowledge of regulatory practice and procedure with a delightful sense of humour

Key Clients

The Royal Mint

Welsh Government

Welsh Language Commissioner

Future Generations Commissioner

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Caerphilly County Borough Council

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

Bridgend County Borough Council

Solicitors Regulation Authority

Gambling Commission

UK Anti-Doping

Work highlights

  • Assisted Hawarden High School in defending a judicial review challenge against its decision to teach a pupil in isolation.
  • Advised Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council on its waste procurement projects.
  • The firm advises the Welsh Language Commissioner on statutory interpretation of Welsh Language Measures and the connected regulations, often in the medium of Welsh.
  • Advised the Welsh Government on the proposed M4 relief road project, the largest infrastructure project in Wales in recent years.
  • Advised The Royal Mint on a new, sustainable energy project to construct a single wind turbine.

Benefiting from numerous practitioners with significant core public law expertise and also able to leverage the resources of practitioners from across the firm's full-service offering, Hugh James handles a range of work for local authorities, government bodies, education authorities and housing associations. As well as handling a significant amount of domestic work, partially by virtue of its appointment to the National Procurement Service, the firm is increasingly visible in public sector work across England following its recent appointment to the Crown Commercial Services panel.

Practice head(s):Ioan Prydderch and Martin Jones

Other key lawyers:Caroline O'Flaherty; Emily Powell

Key Clients

Welsh Government

Natural Resources Wales

City Of Cardiff Council

The Crown Estate

Social Care Wales

Cardiff University

Monmouthshire Council

Natural England

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Torfaen County Borough Council

City and County of Swansea

Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Advising the Welsh Ministers on the determination of ordinary residence of a vulnerable adult.
  • Acting for a Local Authority on a range of Child Protection matters, including complex cases involving Equality duties arising from gypsy and traveller families.
  • The firm is the sole provider of legal advisers to the Fitness to Practise Committees of Social Care Wales, the regulator of the social care workforce in Wales.
  • Advising Coleg Gwent on the £60m Newport Knowledge Quarter Campus development, funded by the successor to PFI in Wales: Mutual Investment Model.
  • Advising Cardiff University on the transfer of over 300 staff and 3,000 separate training courses from the University to a newly created body, Health Education and Improvement Wales.

'One of only a few firms based in Wales with an expertise in public law', Harding Evans LLP has a strong and growing reputation for pursuing complex public law actions, particularly those linked to civil liberties and human rights. 'Knowledgeable and approachable' senior associate Craig Court  has higher rights of audience and excels at representing vulnerable clients in judicial review challenges, including in matters that have been devolved to Wales particularly those relating to health, social care and housing.

Practice head(s):Ben Jenkins and Craig Court


Always well-prepared, the team really knows its stuff

The outstanding Craig Court is on top of an impressive workload, available when you need him to be, knows his stuff and likes to win.

Craig Court has a very good grasp of public law

Work highlights

  • Representing the client in a challenge to the UK Government’s introduction of the Loans for Mortgage Interest Regulations 2017.
  • Representing the client in a challenge of a Welsh local authority’s decision to award a school transport contract to a new provider without consideration to her needs or requirements.
  • Representing the client in a challenge of the Welsh local authority’s decision to cut his care significantly based on financial constraints within the authority with no further review or reassessment being made to justify this.
  • Representing the client in a challenge of the Welsh local authority’s decision to cut a care package significantly based on financial constraints within the authority and in doing so failing to consider the clients rights as a carer.

Watkins & Gunn Solicitors has an excellent reputation in the market acting for claimants in judicial review challenges of the decisions of public bodies, including a number of cases arising from devolved law in Wales. 'Very dedicated' team head Michael Imperato is noted in particular for his expertise at handling cases in the healthcare and education sectors.

Practice head(s):Michael Imperato

Other key lawyers:Lucy O'Brien


The firm has a good reputation for claimant public law matters

Key Clients

Haemophilia Wales

Haemophilia Northern Ireland

Coleg Elediyr

Future Generations Commissioner for Wales

Work highlights

  • Acted to save 20 libraries in Northamptonshire from closure. The team was successful in a landmark judicial review challenge in the summer of 2018; this is is now a leading legal authority on a number of issues relating to library closure cases.
  • Acting for a community in the Afan Valley, north of Port Talbot, to attempt to save the local comprehensive school. Notably, this is the first judicial review in Wales to invoke the welsh legislation, the Well Being and Future Generations Act.
  • Acting for a young disabled man in a challenge against the Welsh government's refusal to fund a further course for him.  
  • Acting for a number of groups to save local hospitals and health services including ‘Save Withybush’, the main hospital in Pembrokeshire
  • Acted in high-profile case to attempt to save Darlington’s main library

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Legal Developments in Wales for Public sector

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