The nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has appointed a streamlined panel, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Pinsent Masons usurping Herbert Smith and Norton Rose for places on the roster, which has an annual legal spend of between £3m and £4m.
Scottish and local Cumbrian firms also lost out as new head of legal Robert Higgins, who joined the Cumbria-based body last September, decided to appoint advisers along practice rather than geographical lines (The Lawyer, 22 February).
“Everybody had to be put through the assessment criteria and firms scored better if they were able to provide [full-service] advice. We’ve gone for a panel that’s not specifically London- and not specifically Cumbrian-based,” he commented.
Three firms were retained - Burges Salmon, DLA Piper and Field Fisher Waterhouse. Scottish firms Brodies and Burness lost out, as did local firms Cartmell Shepherd and HFT Gough.
Mini-competitions will be held for all future work, which is likely to focus on projects, procurement and public law advice.
Higgins said: “It’s our desire that nobody on the panel should [end up without] work.”
The NDA was recently engaged in the sell-off of land adjacent to the Sellafield nuclear plant site. It was advised by Burges Salmon, with Pinsents acting for the vendor (TheLawyer.com, 30 October 2009). No major land sales are anticipated in the near future.
Firms will be appointed for a minimum of two years. Thereafter there is the possibility for 12-month extensions up to a maximum of four years.