Raft of firms appointed to embryology panel

Beachcroft, Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW), Herbert Smith and Morgan Cole have won places on the first ever panel for the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA), the independent regulator that licences and monitors IVF, artificial insemination and human embryo research.

Panel members will advise on public law, corporate governance, judicial review, employment, contracts and procurement, medical law and training. They have been appointed for a three-year period.

The HFEA also has two in-house lawyers, senior legal adviser David Gomez and lawyer Catherine Drennan.

The FFW team advising the authority is led by public law and regulatory partner Sarah Ellson. Ellson said: “We are delighted to have been selected for the HFEA’s legal panel at a time when there are so many new developments in the field of fertility treatment and embryo research.

“This is a high profile area of the law with proposed legislation causing much debate in the Commons.”

FFW has worked with the HFEA for four years, advising on regulatory issues including a review of the work of the Authority’s Licence Committee, which regulates research and treatment.

Herbert Smith’s head of public law, partner Andrew Lidbetter, said: “The HFEA operates in a cutting edge scientific area. This raises important ethical issues for the authority in addition to having to ensure it effectively regulates clinics and others.

“Herbert Smith works with both regulators and those who are subject to regulation, and in that context it is important for us to have a client such as the HFEA that deals with cutting edge regulatory issues.”