Freshfields, Pinsents make the grade for NDA roster

The nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has appointed a streamlined panel, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Pinsent Masons usurping Herbert Smith and Norton Rose for places on the roster, which has an annual legal spend of between £3m and £4m.

Robert Higgins
Robert Higgins

Scottish and local ­Cumbrian firms also lost out as new head of legal Robert Higgins, who joined the Cumbria-based body last September, decided to appoint advisers along ­practice rather than ­geographical lines (The Lawyer, 22 February).

“Everybody had to be put through the assessment ­criteria and firms scored ­better if they were able to ­provide [full-service] advice. We’ve gone for a panel that’s not specifically London- and not specifically Cumbrian-based,” he commented.

Three firms were retained – Burges Salmon, DLA Piper and Field Fisher ­Waterhouse. Scottish firms Brodies and Burness lost out, as did local firms ­Cartmell Shepherd and HFT Gough.

Mini-competitions will be held for all future work, which is likely to focus on projects, procurement and public law advice.

Higgins said: “It’s our desire that nobody on the panel should [end up without] work.”

The NDA was recently engaged in the sell-off of land adjacent to the ­Sellafield nuclear plant site. It was advised by Burges Salmon, with Pinsents ­acting for the ­vendor (, 30 ­October 2009). No major land sales are anticipated in the near future.

Firms will be appointed for a minimum of two years. Thereafter there is the possibility for 12-month extensions up to a ­maximum of four years.