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Thames Water invites tenders for £48m provision with new regulatory and disputes panel

Thames Water has opened to tender its legal services provision worth £48m in total, inviting pitches from up to 10 firms for a new panel providing regulatory, litigation and projects work – in addition to its external panel.

The utilities company’s current sole legal supplier, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), has been retained since 2010 under a managed legal services (MLS) arrangement.

Thames Water has invited up to five firms to tender for the MLS panel, worth £40m, which will continue to handle the bulk of the company’s normal work, a spokesperson told Legal Business. The MLS panel will cover a range of legal services including competition, data protection, disputes, employment, procurement and real estate.

The company is also opening to tender positions on a new £8m legal services panel, which will provide legal support on formal regulatory investigations, defending Thames Water from class action litigation, High Court appeals, mergers and acquisitions, major projects and other business activities, according to the company’s tender document dated 2 June.

This structural reform diversifies the company’s requirements in relation to its existing panel requirements.

Both panels offer initial five year contractual term with an optional three year extension, according to the tender document.

Thames Water embarked on a market engagement exercise at the end of last year, which the informed the way they decided to structure its external legal services provision, according to a spokesperson.

Thames Water is MLS’ main mandate.

The deadline for pitches is 6 July.

BLP did not respond to request for comment by press time.

Thames Water declined to comment.