The Metropolitan Police has taken an axe to its external legal panel in a cost-cutting move that has seen nine firms exit the roster.
The Lawyer reported last summer that the Met was capping panel fees at £130 per hour, prompting claims that it was sacrificing quality for price at the height of the phone-hacking scandal (18 July 2011).
Existing panel members Capsticks, Michelmores and TLT have been kept on for another four years following a tender process open to lawyers from anywhere in England and Wales.
Met director of legal services Edward Solomons said in a statement: “In this procurement exercise, we’ve sought to drive down costs. In a democracy, the police are subject to the law.
“The police are corporate bodies, and like all large organisations buy and sell land, procure assets and enter into many transactions which require legal advice or drafting. For all this, they rely upon legal services delivered both in-house and through external lawyers, selected for their competence and relevant skills.”
The £5m-a-year panel was last reviewed four years ago (21 July 2008).
The panel – covering a range of practice areas – is also available for police forces, police authorities and police and crime commissioners in England and Wales to use. It goes live in June, a year after tendering started.
The review, known as the National Framework for the provision of Legal Services, was carried out by the Met’s directorate of legal services, supported by the National Policing Improvement Agency.