John Houlden > Burges Salmon LLP > Bristol, England > Lawyer Profile

Burges Salmon LLP

Living Wage

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 Ministry of Justice, 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.

Lawyer Rankings

London > Public sector > Local government

Burges Salmon LLP provides full-service advice to local governments, but is particularly known for its specialist advice on planning and environmental law, especially regarding reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through renewable energy sources. The team is also experienced  at dealing with local authority pension schemes. Practice leader Gary Soloman has advised local authorities on matters such as a new nuclear power station project, as well as major regeneration and highway proposals. John Houlden advises on significant procurement and state aid projects, while Marcus Harling advises on procurement and construction matters. Additionally, partner Tom Dunn and associate Gareth Malna advise on UK pension and regulated investment funds.

London > Public sector > Administrative and public law

Burges Salmon LLP‘s ‘very responsive and sharp’ practice is particularly well-known for advising public sector bodies on major projects, spanning numerous sectors, including the education, defence, energy and transport industries. Of particular note, the firm successfully represented First Trenitalia West Coast Rail in rail franchising litigation, which involved the defence of several procurement challenges. Gary Soloman specialises in planning applications, compulsory purchases and compensation matters, while John Houlden is singled out for his expertise in procurement law.

South West > Corporate and commercial > EU and competition

Burges Salmon LLP‘s ‘pragmatic‘ and ‘responsive‘ competition practice is centred around the firm’s sweet spots of retail and transport, although it also handles matters for a number of utilities clients. Merger clearance is a core competency for the group, which has substantial experience handling matters before the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The team is also well versed in investigations and compliance matters, where it has recent experience in a major cartel investigation. Other active areas of the practice include antitrust litigation and state aid. The department is led by Chris Worrall, an expert in antitrust matters. John Houlden is the team’s state aid expert and in 2020 advised the UK government on Covid vaccine procurement. Director Noel Beale is recommended for his work for utilities clients.

South West > Public sector > Local government

Burges Salmon LLP offers ‘high quality, pragmatic and accessible legal advice‘ to local government clients; those often instruct the team in regeneration, planning and environment matters. Other areas of expertise are local authority pension scheme work and the firm has a dedicated net-zero services team. Practice head Gary Soloman is a specialist in CPOs. John Houlden has experience in State Aid and procurement matters. Matthew Ramus is a ‘first class lawyer‘ and director Paula McGeady is strong in planning issues.

South West > Public sector > Health

Burges Salmon LLP is praised for providing ‘high quality expert advice‘ to healthcare clients. The team is well positioned in advising private sector institutions on the interface with the public sector, and combines banking and finance, M&A, dispute resolution and real estate experience. Practice head Patrick Parkin specialises in commercial contracts and regulatory matters. John Houlden has longstanding expertise in procurements. Recently promoted partner Richard Binns is acting in contentious mandates.