London Underground to overhaul external advisers

Transport for London (TfL) and its group company London Underground Ltd (LUL) are reviewing their panel.

The new arrangements will be in place by the summer, and will replace LUL’s existing panel arrangements which expire in July 2007.

TfL Director of legal & compliance Gareth John said: “Our priority is to help TfL deliver its investment programme and other initiatives for London. This is an opportunity to clarify our expectations, ensure that we have the right mix of expertise and resource, and to drive best value and efficiencies.”

Invitations to tender have been sent to 18 firms that have been pre-selected to take part in the process. These are likely to include TfL’s present advisers Berwin Leighton Paisner, Bird & Bird, Hammonds, Herbert Smith, Manches and K&L Gates.

However TfL’s arrangement with Eversheds for mainstream operational work will not be affected by the review.

Successful firms stand to benefit from TfL’s massive investment programme for London, the biggest such programme in the organisation’s history.

This includes the extension of the East London Line, the transfer of the North London Railway, the new Thames Gateway Bridge and the extension of the Congestion Charge zone, as well as raising finance on the capital markets and commercial property developments.

Firms will also be required to manage the legal aspects of LUL Legal’s portfolio of PFI contracts with Tube Lines and Metronet.

An LUL spokesperson said the organisation “is looking for law firms with an innovative approach” to addressing the contractual issues that arise in the run-up to the first contractual periodic review of these contracts in 2010.

LUL legal director Sarah Atkins said: “We are at defining moments in many of our key contractual relationships in situations with no obvious precedents.

“We therefore need advisers who can think laterally but who also have the pragmatism needed to support the successful delivery of construction projects.”