Rowe & Maw and Ashurts vie for DLR preferred adviser role

Rowe & Maw has been appointed as a preferred property adviser by Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and is acting on its first piece of work for the new client.

A public body, DLR is part of Transport for London and owns the automated light rail system which serves the Docklands area.

The appointment follows the arrival in January of property partner Charles Leach, who worked for DLR for eight years while at Ashurst Morris Crisp. Leach left Ashursts for Rowe & Maw last summer after 13 years with the firm and has taken a DLR project with him that involves a railway operation agreement, the details of which remain confidential.

The decision to appoint Rowe & Maw was prompted by a review of legal needs at DLR. Company secretary David Keep says that property work remains substantial but has diminished since DLR's initial launch and the extension last year to Lewisham. There is the prospect of more property work, however, if plans to extend th

e DLR service into London City Airport are approved. Keep has yet to appoint advisers for that work.

Keep will now use Rowe & Maw's property team in addition to Ashursts, while South East firm Thomas Eggar Church Adams continues to do conveyancing work. Allocation of future work in both property and corporate will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Keep says: “We find lawyers that suit our particular purposes. Ashursts have been our corporate lawyers for many years. They continue to work for us, particularly on franchise agreements and concession agreements for extensions to the railway. There's never been a problem with Ashursts' performance in any sense.” He adds that Leach's move to Rowe & Maw “tipped” the decision to choose the firm.

Leach says: “DLR's major spend is on projects, but a significant amount of work is on day-to-day property work. I'm very pleased to be representing DLR again.”

Ashursts real estate partner Anthony Curnow says: “We're fully engaged with DLR. We're still doing corporate, real estate and compulsory purchase order compensation work for them.”

Ashursts continues to advise DLR on its concession agreement with franchisee Serco Docklands.