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Public Law, Procurement and Regulatory

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Faced with increasingly complex and frequently changing regulatory and legal frameworks, businesses turn to CMS to bring unparalleled experience in public law, regulatory and procurement challenges to achieve their strategic objectives.

CMS has supported businesses in more reported public law disputes over the last three years than any other UK law firm. Across the board, we have unique depth of experience in our key sector areas and further afield. 

Whether considering a challenge to a regulator’s decision, pushing-back on a U-turn in approach, contesting regulatory enforcement action, challenging a procurement process, or disputing the jurisdiction of the regulator, we see public law and regulatory engagements as multi-faceted, often incorporating commercial, political and media engagement, requiring a holistic approach. 

As the complex ramifications of the new legal order in the UK following Brexit continue to unfold, we work with businesses to creatively marry our legal and practical expertise with their core commercial objectives. 

We principally act for businesses against regulators, public bodies and on both sides of procurement challenges protecting their commercial interests. We do also act for public authorities and our experience of advising on both sides enables us to give real insight into the opposing party’s approach.

Our disputes team works hand-in-hand with specialists in other areas across the firm, including our market leading energy and climate change and public procurement teams. This is why businesses turn to us to achieve results in bet-the-business challenges.

Our experience includes advising:

  • AEG Presents Limited in a procurement claim and parallel judicial review claim brought by its global rival, Live Nation (Music) UK Ltd, against the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and The Royal Parks relating to the tender process for the 2020-2025 contract for British Summer Time Hyde Park music festival.
  • CityFibre in its judicial review claim against the Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) with strategic importance to full-fibre roll-out in the UK, with wider 5G infrastructure implications.
  • Biffa Waste Services in two successful judicial review claims against Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) relating to repayment of overpaid landfill tax.
  • A number of businesses at various stages of ongoing CMA consumer investigations - both at investigation and enforcement stage (including by way of claims filed against the CMA and defending enforcement action brought by the CMA in the High Court).
  • A fortune 500 global power company, in a high profile dispute with the Utilities Regulator in relation to the closure of units. CMS successfully resolved the dispute without having to commence formal proceedings.
  • An online secondary ticketing operator in respect of a range of regulatory issues, including in relation to its continuing engagement with the CMA following the agreement of an Enforcement Order.
  • Several gambling operators in relation to enforcement investigations and licence reviews by the Gambling Commission.  

"They're the law firm I like working with most; I've never had anything but excellent service from them."

Chambers, 2021

"A team that draws effectively on its scale, in terms of resources and experience."

Legal 500, 2021

"A modern, user-friendly, extremely knowledgeable and able practice with particularly impressive aptitude for seamless cross-departmental working in demanding public law cases involving a cross-over with different areas of law."

Legal 500, 2021


Pro­tec­tion from protests
Protest on the streets, protest on­line, even lit­ig­a­tion used as a vehicle for protest.Protest­ors tar­get­ing a busi­ness may be stand­ing in a crowd, hold­ing a plac­ard or shout­ing slo­gans. But they may also be be­hind a com­puter screen or pur­su­ing a claim against the busi­ness through the courts. They may even be work­ing in­side the busi­ness, pre­par­ing to com­prom­ise its sys­tems or leak con­fid­en­tial in­form­a­tion.Wheth­er they are act­iv­ists, em­ploy­ees or cus­tom­ers, all these protest­ors may present a sub­stan­tial chal­lenge and a real threat to busi­nesses, in areas in­clud­ing its se­cur­ity, repu­ta­tion and bot­tom line. 
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