Legal advice for the public sector
Our team has wide experience and capability in assisting governments, local authorities, state corporations and international organisations, NGO's and private sector entities in their dealings.
What we do
We advise clients on a wide range of aspects of public law, such as public procurement, administrative law, international trade including WTO, the law of the sea, state immunity, treaty law, bilateral investment treaties, sanctions laws and export controls, state responsibility, pollution liabilities of international organisations, privatisations, concession agreements and piracy. Members of the firm have also been consulted by governments and international organisations on policy matters and legislation and have provided evidence as experts.
HFW, in consortium with PwC, Sharpe Pritchard LLP and Howes Percival LLP, has been selected to the Crown Commercial Services General Legal Services Panel for Central Government as a Tier 1 Provider. Click here to view the prospectus.
Our team's experience
- Representing a UK Government body on complaints before the Advertising Standards Authority.
- Representing a UK Government Department in a judicial review proceeding regarding proposed development of a harbor.
- Advising a UK sectoral regulator on aspects of the privatisation of electricity in the UK.
- Advising the Panama Canal Authority on a concession for a new port within the canal including advice on international shipping legislation.
- Advising the Government of Nigeria on the privatisation of the port sector in Nigeria (including a complete review of the existing legislation and operation of the then existing port structure in Nigeria, recommendations on the consultation process and the road map for privatisation and drafting the new legislation and scheme to be introduced to implement the agreed changes).
- Advising the Government of Bailiwick of Jersey in relation to the proposed incorporation of the public port entity including a review of draft legislation and providing detailed advice on international port models and concession agreements in particular.
- Advising the Czech Ministry of Privatisation on various aspects of the corporatisation, privatisation and after-market arrangements for several thousand companies.
- Negotiating various equity joint ventures for container terminals projects in China including Qingdao, Dalian, Xiamen, Tianjin, Dachan, Shanghai (Wai Gaogiao and Yangshan) and Nansha including negotiation of the acquisition agreements, joint venture agreements with the Chinese state port authority and other joint venture partners.
- Advising HRADF (Greek Government) on the privatisations of (i) the natural gas transmission company (DESFA) via the €400 million sale of a 66% stake to SOCAR of Azerbaijan (ii) the natural gas distribution company (DEPA) and (iii) Athens International Airport.
- Advising a European government on a BOT tender for the construction and operation of a LNG and petroleum products import terminal.
- Representing the British Council (KSA) in relation to the restructuring of its business and the creation of a vehicle to bid for government projects.
- Acted for the Government of India in the landmark WTO European Communities – Anti-Dumping Duties on Imports of Cotton-Type Bed Linen from India case.
- Advising Czech Republic and Slovakian ministries on the development of companies law, and drafting insolvency legislation.
- Advising the Western Australian government on amendments to the Electricity Corporations Act and regulations under that Act.
- Advising the Hellenic Republic in relation to the European Commission state aid investigation of Hellenic Shipyards.
- Advising governments in Bulgaria and Uzbekistan on mass privatisation (UK/EU-sponsored projects), foreign investors and governments on other central and Eastern European privatisations (e.g. Bulgaria telecoms), and the EBRD on post-privatisation funds in CEE.
- Advising the Government of Latvia in the conduct of a safeguard investigation into imports of swine meat.
- Acting for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development regarding a loan to a Belarusian subsidiary of a multinational beer producer to finance a new beer production facility in Belarus.
- Advising the Government of Saudi Arabia on a number of regulatory issues.
- Advising a Middle Eastern state entity in relation to the licensing of a fully private port development, the first of its kind in the country.
- Advising the European Commission regarding application of EU competition rules to the tramp sector within the context of the Commission's "maritime review”.
- Advising a company specialising in digital security, in the negotiation of a public service delegation for the setting-up and operation of a service aimed at delivering identity card to Burkinabe citizens.
- Assisting a petroleum consortium in their negotiation/dispute with the Government of Chad with respect to increase taxation of their operations in the country, despite the stabilisation provisions incorporated into the long-term agreements.
- Assisting a consortium in the negotiation with the Government of Cameroon of €90 million prefinancing and operating agreements for pipeline modifications to be made in relation to establishment of a dam financed by the State on the existing pipeline.
- Advising a leading traded international oil and gas company in relation to the negotiation of a PSA (Production Sharing Agreement) in Gabon with the Government, in the context of new petroleum legislation, including taxation issues.
- Acting on behalf of the Republic of Niger on a sovereign debt restructuring deal involving the state-owned uranium mining company SOPAMIN. The Government of Niger was able to secure more favourable and achievable payment terms from its foreign lender in exchange for reduced interest and a write-down of capital.
- Representing the Republic of Cyprus in high profile and highly important CJEU proceedings concerning the potential Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Singapore and the EU. The EU – Singapore FTA was concluded in December 2012 following two years of negotiations, and was initially expected to be ratified by the end of 2015. It is particularly notable as the first FTA between the EU and an ASEAN country. However, it was delayed following the European Commission’s decision to request a CJEU decision on whether the EU had exclusive competence to ratify the agreement or whether member state approval was also needed. Cyprus, along with a number of other countries, is intervening in this case seeking the right to submit observations in relation to the maritime and investment sectors. The issue of FTAs is of enormous relevance in the run-up to Brexit, and as a result the CJEU’s judgement will be watched with great interest. The preliminary opinion of the Advocate General published on 21 December 2016 was favourable to the client.