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Public Sector Disputes

We act for both public bodies and private clients operating in the public sector on the full range of issues affecting them. This includes public procurement, judicial review, breach of duty or misfeasance in public office and regulatory appeal processes, as well as all issues arising under complex contractual arrangements including PFI/PPP and other outsourcing arrangements.

Complex contract management

We help clients operating in the public sector navigate their way through complex contractual provisions to give them commercially focussed advice which effectively manages the risks and disputes that often happen on complex projects, particularly in long term relationships (e.g. PFI/PPP). We work as part of the client team, really getting to know them and the contract. We help resolve issues and risks as and when they come up, mindful that there is often a need to maintain and improve contract management, relationships and performance.

We regularly act for both public and private entities in contractual dispute processes; from the obligatory initial consultation through to adjudication and even beyond, challenging adjudication decisions where appropriate.  This gives us an insight into the thought processes and pressures on both contracting parties and is often invaluable in reaching resolution.

Procurement issues

We are regularly instructed to advise both authorities and contractors on procurement issues at various stages of a project. This ranges from advising on the need for a procurement process at the outset of a project or in relation to the variation of a procured contract, through to advising on procurement issues arising on termination of a contract.

Our advice includes assessing the merits and risks relating to formal procurement challenges. The deadlines for procurement challenges are extremely tight. We work with our clients to fully understand the issues so that we can give responsive and pragmatic advice, quickly assessing whether the grounds for challenge exist and providing a cost-benefit analysis in relation to any potential challenge.

Decisions by public bodies

We also regularly advise on the lawfulness of decisions by public bodies, such as departments of state, schools, waste authorities and Ofgem. We assist with the statutory appeal processes and potential judicial review applications which challenge those decisions. Again, the timescales are tight so the emphasis is on working co-operatively with our clients to provide timely and responsive advice. We focus on what can practically be achieved by raising a challenge while making sure deadlines are met.

An invaluable insight into both mindsets

Acting regularly for both public authorities and private contractors on these types of matters gives us an invaluable insight into both mindsets and the issues and considerations affecting both. This includes the pressures on contract management and performance, internal governance and political issues, all of which inevitably have an impact and need to be taken into account when advising in this area.

Relevant Experience

Partnership of local authorities

Assisting a partnership of local authorities to successfully rebut a claim concerning alleged inaccurate and misleading information in tender documents;

Engineering contractor

Advising an engineering contractor on its tender to provide maintenance services at an Energy from Waste facility and, following its appointment, the scope to vary the contract to include additional services;

Highways contractor

Acting for a highways contractor in connection with a claim against local authorities regarding defective scoring methodology and breaches of confidentiality

Drug manufacturer

Advising a drug manufacturer in relation to alleged bias in the selection criteria used by an NHS Trust

Utilities company

Acting on behalf of a utilities company in an application for a statutory review of a decision by Ofgem under the Renewable Heat Incentive Regulations

Load More


Challenging a decision by Ofgem in relation to the required format of an application for full accreditation under the Feed-In Tariffs Order 2012

County Council

Acting on behalf of a County Council in various disputes and adjudications under a long term waste PPP contract

Multi-national waste management company

Acting on behalf of an multi-national waste management company in a number of adjudications and court proceedings relating to the interpretation of a payment mechanism in a waste PFI contract

Facilities management contractor

Advising the facilities management contractor on their liability for defects under various hospital PFI contracts and acting in a related adjudication

Facilities management contractor

Advising the facilities management contractor in relation to passdown provisions in the service contract and related matters arising from the failure of a City Council to pay for works undertaken at a school

Local council

Acting on behalf of a local council in correspondence with the Home Office and its legal advisors regarding a proposal to open an asylum seeker accommodation centre including advising on the prospects of judicial review proceedings and on various related planning issues. The proposal was later abandoned.




Dispute Resolution

Lynsey's contact details

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Senior Associate

Dispute Resolution

Kathryn's contact details

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Meet the team