Burges Salmon transport head quits for Department for Transport GC role

The Department for Transport (DfT) has named former Burges Salmon transport head Nick Olley as general counsel.

Olley, a one-time commercial head, led the firm’s heavy-hitting transport team. He will join the DfT in November, but Burges Salmon is not planning to find a successor for his role.

At the DfT he succeeds Christopher Muttukumaru in the £130,000 role. Muttukumaru is planning to retire. Olley has already worked for the DfT in an advisory role and on a number of government rail contracts for the department since the mid 1990s before joining the partnership in 1996.

Burges Salmon is well-regarded for its transport expertise and, amongst other things, Olley has advised the government department on boosting capacity on the East Anglia and East Midlands National Express lines as well as procuring new rolling stock fleets.

The firm said there were no plans to replace him.

The DfT’s General Counsel office is home to 80 lawyers, who will all report to Olley. The group is split across ten divisions including three rail teams working on rail and London, commercial rail contracts and procurement and rail projects and international co-ordination. They work on a range of high-profile contentious issues like the roll out of high-speed rail and protecting UK ships from piracy.

The DfT is currently on the lookout for several vacancies across the department and is recruiting for a number of new legal officers and advisors across its divisions.

The legal service sits within the General Counsel Office – a multi-disciplinary team of lawyers, economists and policy experts which is set to become part of the Treasury Solictors Department next year.

The merge is part of a government plan to share services across departments but the General Counsel Office will continue to be co-located within the Department for Transport.