Legal Business Blogs

Twelve firms make it onto top tier of reduced Crown Commercial Services panel

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has unveiled its panel for general legal advice services, with 18 firms making it onto a two tier panel.

This latest roster is separate from the £50m rail panel announced in May 2016, with the firms on that panel due to be finalised in May this year.

In addition, the CCS has also renewed its panels for finance and regulation, and major or complex projects, extending the terms of those contracts until 31 January 2018.

General panel’s top tier of 12, Magic Circle firm Linklaters is joined by Bond Dickinson, Burges Salmon, DAC Beachcroft, Dentons, DLA Piper, Gowling WLG, Mills & Reeve, Pinsent Masons, Eversheds Sutherland, PwC and TLT. PwC’s bid was part of a consortium of which included Howes Percival, Holman Fenwick Willan and Sharpe Pritchard.

The roster will provide advice on a range of legal services. Among the ‘mandatory’ services the firms must provide are public law, competition law, dispute resolution, EU law, pensions law and tax law.

The panel has a second tier which also includes Bevan Brittan, Fieldfisher, Browne Jacobson, Hogan Lovells, Simmons & Simmons and Slaughter and May. This group is to be used in the event that a tier one firm cannot accept a contract.

The roster will last for two years, running from 28 February 2017 to 28 February 2019. The CCS has indicated that ‘there is no upper or lower limit on the value of contracts’ but it is estimated the general services roster will be worth £320m.

Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Burges Salmon, Mills & Reeve, Nabarro, Pinsents, Simmons, Slaughters and Squire Patton Boggs are the beneficiaries of the renewed finance and regulation panel, with Arthur Cox, Bevan Brittan, Capsticks, Hempsons and Trowers & Hamlins among those on the now-extended 24-strong major or complex projects panel.

The finance and regulation panel typically advises on banking and insurance matters, with the major or complex panel offering advice on matters such as partnerships and alliances.

In March 2016, the government announced an initiative to cut down the number of go-to-firms it uses for external counsel by almost 40%. The reduction formed part of a bid to ramp up legal service delivery across the public sector.

Among the firms missing out on the new panels are Berwin Leighton Paisner, Blake Morgan, Bristows, Foot Antsey, Herbert Smith Freehills, Shoosmiths and Weightmans.

The CCS, which provides commercial services to the public sector, has described the panel agreement as possessing ‘attractive commercial terms’ due to alternative pricing models on offer, including fixed price rates.

With the panel for rail legal advice services set to be confirmed later this year, law firms currently used by the Department of Transport, include Addleshaws, Allen & Overy, Burges Salmon, DLA, Fieldfisher, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells, Eversheds, Norton Rose Fulbright, Simmons and Winckworth Sherwood.