The Department for Transport (DfT) seemed to know it would be on the receiving end of a legal challenge when it awarded the West Coast Main Line contract to First Group, a deal that gifted roles to Ashurst, Burges Salmon, Eversheds and Herbert Smith.
Monckton Chambers’ Michael Bowsher QC was on standby last week awaiting instruction from the DfT, which itself was awaiting notification of any action from Virgin Trains. According to sources close to the case Virgin had wanted to secure some heavyweight silks to challenge the ruling.
Which is exactly what it has done, snapping up Blackstone Chambers’ Michael Beloff QC, a judicial review specialist, and public law barrister Nigel Giffin QC of 11KBW. To have not one but two silks on such a high-profile dispute sends a message of intent to the Government.
Not that Bowsher will be a knock over should the case make it to court. Earlier this year he secured a victory for Eurostar, which was being challenged in the courts over its decision to hand a fleet-building contract to Siemens rather than Alstom Transport.
Nice to see all that, er, training being put to good use.
Also on TheLawyer.com:
- Instructions like these are helping chambers like Monckton achieve year-on-year growth. The set saw revenues increase by 22 per cent at the latest year-end
- Yet the success of the bar is not being shared with the entire profession: today Addleshaw Goddard said it would cut 24 fee-earner positions
- This came after Pinsent Masons revealed last week that 27 jobs were to go as a result of a post-merger consultation
- And, ahead of Friday’s ruling in the Berezovsky v Abramovich trial, find out here why Russia wants its citizens to its own courts rather than opting for London