Our Practice

Increasingly, governments and public bodies are choosing a wide range of solutions for transferring existing public services to the private sector, including risk sharing arrangements between public and private organisations. These solutions can be highly complex, involving numerous parties with a variety of differing interests and concerns. They also vary according to the individual circumstance and require a broad range of co-ordinated legal services.

We have an established reputation in rail, roads, defence and IT. Our lawyers have also been at the forefront of the burgeoning European PPP market, and have advised on pathfinder projects in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Portugal and Greece.

Our team advises clients on all legal aspects relating to the structuring, financing, construction and operation of PFI and PPP projects. We have worked on the full range of transaction structures used in PPP projects, including privatisations, joint ventures, government-owned contractor-operated arrangements and outsourcing contracts. Our track record has given us a comprehensive understanding of the issues faced by all participants involved in PFI/PPP projects. We have over 100 lawyers working on PFI/PPP projects across our growing network of offices.


Abu Dhabi Healthcare Authority

  • acting on several matters including management contracts for hospitals and the outsourcing of a fully integrated healthcare computerised information system.

Department of Public Enterprise (Republic of Ireland)

  • advising on the policy framework for PPPs in the rail sector. The brief includes Dublin's proposed €1.8bn on-street light rail network, a €5.7bn metro system and (possibly) several heavy rail networks. The project has given us a key role in the development of PFI/PPP structures in one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing European PFI/PPP markets.

Greek roads

  • advising, in conjunction with the Athens-based law firm Kallimopoulos Loukopoulos & Chiotellis, the Greek Government and their advisor, Bank of America, on the construction programme of six motorways.

HSL and Betuwelijn

  • advising the Dutch municipality in their capacity as a joint venture partner in relation to the design, construction and development of infra-structure projects HSL and Betuwelijn.

Province of Noord Brabant

  • advising the Province of North Brabant and the Dutch Ministry of Finance on the first ever PPP road project in the Netherlands, the A59 road scheme. This project has an estimated capital cost of £80m. In advising on this project, we confirmed our position at the forefront of pathfinder projects in the global PFI/PPP arena.

South Tees Hospital

  • acting for Crown House Engineering and Carillion plc, the de-merged construction services arm of Tarmac plc, in relation to a PFI project for the South Tees Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in the United Kingdom. At the time of our appointment, this was the largest hospital re-building programme for 30 years.

UK Department of Health

  • advising on the re-negotiation of its core IT/IS facilities, including strategic advice on whether to follow PFI or PPP routes
  • we are currently advising on various PFI/ PPP issues, including the European wide tendering process and the commercial procurement of the new IT system that will cover both the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency. The contract for the consortia bidding for this work is expected to be in the region of £200m.

UK Department of Work and Pensions (formerly Department of Social Security)

  • advising the facilities manager, a member of the Compagnie Générale des Eaux Group (now Vivendi), in relation to "Project Prime", a contract for the provision of office accommodation services to the Department of Social Security (now Department for Work and Pensions) with a capital value approximately £250m.

UK Medicines Control Agency (MCA)

  • advising on the legal aspects of an IT/IS refurbishment and the implementation of an information management strategy which will take place on a PPP basis. The value of the MCA's IT programme is expected to be in the region of £200m.

UK Ministry of Defence

  • the Warship Support Modernisation Initiative (WSMI) entered into with Devonport Royal Dockyard Limited, the privatised dockyard entity located at the Royal Navy Base at Plymouth. The deal utilised a partnering agreement arrangement whereby certain ship maintenance and engineering tasks and other logistics services, which were retained by the Royal Navy post privatisation of the dockyard, will be contracted out to Devonport Royal Dockyard Limited
  • the public-private partnership for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), now divided into QinetiQ Plc and the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory, which together employ 12,000 people
  • the £9bn Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft project to replace the Royal Air Force's fleet of aircraft, providing air-to-air refuelling capability and associated air transport capability. This is the largest defence PFI procurement project to date. This project raises several highly complex legal and commercial issues, involving the application of PFI financing in an environment which is much closer to the "front line" of the military than previous projects
  • the Short Term Strategic Airlift Programme (STSA) project, involving the lease finance (as an asset backed bond) for four C-17A Globemaster Aircraft (capital value approx. US$860m) The STSA project was awarded the "Minister (DP) Smart Acquisition Award" by Baroness Symons and was also awarded the XB Team Excellence Award
  • the Strategic Sealift (RORO) project(capital value approx. £950m), for the provision of a fleet of six roll-on-roll-off ferries for military transport. This project will involve the first use of lease finance in relation to maritime defence assets
  • seven flight simulator PFI projects sponsored by the Defence Procurement Agency - MSHATF, Sentry, Lynx, Tornado, Attack, Hawk and FIASTS.

Specialist Expertise

PFI projects and PPP transactions require lawyers who understand the right balance between the concerns of the private sector stakeholders, including the shareholders of the project company and the funders, and the needs of the public sector. Specific areas of our expertise that are of particular relevance include:

  • concession agreements and related performance regimes
  • construction agreements
  • facilities management / operating agreements
  • equipment leasing / procurement arrangements
  • joint venture, consortium and other partnering arrangements
  • financing arrangements, including transactions financed on a non/limited recourse basis
  • privatisations
  • contractorisation and outsourcing
  • public tendering, including advising on and participating in the evaluation of tenders for public contracts
  • public procurement rules.