Budget airline Monarch delays unveiling new panel

Budget airline Monarch has delayed publishing the results of its recent panel review following a revamp which kicked off in February.

The British-based airline had originally planned to unveil its new roster last week, however firms pitching for the work have since been told to wait. According to sources Monarch is likely to announce a new-look legal roster at the end of the month.

The shake-up is the work of group lawyer Morgan Mulay, who joined from Tui Travel in November 2012. She replaced Geoffrey Atkinson, who joined Monarch in 1993 and headed its small legal function for over 15 years. 

Mulay confirmed that a panel review had taken place but would not comment further. In a previous interview (28 April 2008) Atkinson prided himself on how little the airline spent on external firms, adding that the majority of work is carried out on behalf of insurers over claims made by holidaymakers or employees. 

Firms to have previously made the cut include Clyde & Co, which has advised on personal injury claims and occasional regulatory issues, and Leeds-based travel boutique MB Law, which has previously been called on to handle holiday claims.

In 2008 the bulk of corporate, litigation, IP and IT, regulatory, employment and commercial contracts work was dealt with in-house, amounting to a routine legal spend of under £50,000 a year, excluding claims covered by insurance firms.

“Over the past 15 years I’ve deprived private practice of several million pounds,” Atkinson said at the time, soon after Monarch had axed free towels, free newspapers and free in-flight entertainment from its passenger services. “Putting private practice out of business should be the ambition of every in-house lawyer.”

However sources suggest that Mulay is looking to bring in firms for new areas of work. External firms used by rival EasyJet include DLA Piper, Herbert Smith Freehills and Norton Rose Fulbright. 

Monarch would not comment further.