Denton Hall to advise private court project

Denton Hall has been appointed to advise on what the Government hopes will be the first clutch of privately constructed and operated magistrates courts.

Dentons will advise Hereford and Worcester Magistrates Courts on the tendering procedure to select a consortium which will build and operate three magistrates courts at an estimated capital cost of £15m.

The Lord Chancellors' Department froze all new capital projects work on magistrates courts in February this year and put 49 court projects, worth a total of £250m, into the private sector under Private Finance Initiative schemes.

Local authorities, which had already spent tax payers' money on surveying and designing new courts, objected and the LCD had to seek opinion on the legality of using local authority revenue income to fund capital projects.

The LCD believes it has won the legal argument and now wants to use the Hereford scheme as a pathfinder project for other schemes.

Dentons' team is being led by banking partner Virginia Glastonbury.

“We will be advising the committee on PFI principles and on what can and can't be done as a PFI project. We will help them draw up the prequalification information memorandum that goes out to tenderers seeking their opinion on how they would carry out the project,” said Glastonbury.