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BRITISH Coal has appointed Nabarro Nathanson and McClure Naismith Anderson & Gardiner to assist with the massive disposal of the corporation's property portfolio.
Nabarros will take on the work in England, while McClure Naismith will act north of the border in selling off thousands of acres of land.
Alan Simpson, one of the partners in McClures' Edinburgh office, says: "There is this misconception that with the sale of the coal mines and open cast sites - the core business - there is not much left. In fact, there is a tremendous amount of work still to be done. It is a major legal exercise."
British Coal is selling off 150,000 acres and 7,000 properties in the UK. In Scotland, the bulk of the sale will comprise 20,000 acres of farmland.
The disposal, which begins next month, is expected to take about a year to complete.
Philip Hutchinson, British Coal's head of legal, says: "It will be an enormous effort for both Nabarros and McClure Naismith."
He adds that the choice of lawyers for the work maintains links which go back to 1989 when the bulk of the in-house legal team switched to private practice.