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Taking off: Luton airport appoints TFL’s Swati Paul as new general counsel

London Luton Airport has appointed TFL’s Swati Paul as its new general counsel, the first in-house appointment since Spanish airport operator Aena acquired the UK’s fifth biggest airport in 2013.

Paul replaces Timothy Clark, who received support from Shashi Chambers at Freeths, having spent the last seven years as senior commercial lawyer for Transport for London (TfL).

She will hold sole internal responsibility for delivering legal services to London Luton Airport Operations including construction contracts, and related contracts for its current £100m redevelopment, as well as commercial contracts across the board – covering issues including transport and retail. At the moment Paul is working on her own, with external legal help from a mixture of City law firms and local outfits, but isn’t ruling out a possible future formal panel arrangement as well as an expansion of the legal team.

‘It’s just me at the minute, but we will have to see how things pan out – there’s a lot of work on so there is scope for expansion. I think in the future I will review the legal arrangements, not immediately but in the future I will carry out a review into how legal services are provided to the airport,’ she told Legal Business.

Paul said that part of the role’s appeal and a key mandate is the airport’s upcoming £100m development which includes a vast expansion and remodelling of the airport’s terminal. She said: ‘An airport is an exciting place to work. The £100m development is imminent and is going to increase capacity while improving the passenger experience. The redevelopment will impact on all aspects of the airport, particularly with an increase in passenger numbers. For me that was part of what attracted me to the role – there is so much going on in terms of an expanding business in a new area with lots of commercial work and challenges.’