Railtrack has completed a review of its litigation panel, dropping Cardiff-based Hugh James Ford Simey in favour of Beachcroft Wansbroughs.
Beachcroft Wansbroughs is one of two Bristol firms chosen for the panel.
For the tri-annual review, completed at the end of March, all firms from the existing panel were invited to tender. Those that will continue to deal with Railtrack’s litigation work at regional level are Hay & Kilner in Newcastle, Kershaw Abbott in Manchester, Nabarro Nathanson in Sheffield, Greenwoods in Peterborough and Cartwrights in Bristol.
In London, Vizard Oldham and Kennedys continue to act for Railtrack, the latter is handling both the Southall and Paddington inquiries.
Hugh James property litigation partner Neil Morgan says: “We did tend for it but we are not still on it.”
Railtrack company secretary and solicitor Simon Osborne says that the panel decisions were made on the basis of “past performance and an imaginative fee structure”.
He adds: “Our approach is to build a long-term relationship with our firms which is in the interests of both the firm and the clients so that it is a win-win situation.
“But we also want the relationship to be sharp and focused and the review is just to keep them on their toes. It is not done in a hostile way but really just to make sure the professional relationship stays fresh and vibrant.”
Work will be outsourced from Railtrack’s Euston headquarters where Osborne leads an in-house legal team of 15 lawyers, two of whom are based in Scotland and a another based at the Channel Tunnel rail link. The rest are based with Osborne in London.
Panel firms are chosen on a geographical basis so legal advice can also be provided at local level to the company’s nationwide rail network.