Home / Europe / United Kingdom / Dispute Resolution / Public Law, Procurement and Regulatory

Public Law, Procurement and Regulatory

Back to Dispute Resolution

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.
  • 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


CMS International Construction Study 2024
In recent years, construction and engineering businesses have faced a whole storm of headwinds. CMS, in partnership with YouGov, asked in-house lawyers about the biggest challenges of managing disputes in this environment - and how those challenges can be met.   Sixty-second summaryThe evolving nature of construction risk will see changes to standard contracts and negotiation positions. It may also bring more disputes, particularly where those changes lag behind project realities. Fewer than half the businesses we surveyed reported that the in-house legal or contract management team is always consulted at the start of a project to identify areas of risk and to establish appropriate risk management strategies. Most in-house lawyers believe their businesses could improve the way in which risk is managed during projects - often in a number of important ways. Despite the potential benefits, only 17% of the in-house lawyers we surveyed are using AI in disputes or contract management. Some say they will never use it. Most in-house lawyers believe their businesses have a lot of scope to improve the way that project risks are managed. AI has the potential to be a game-changer in this area by optimising processes, planning, scheduling and other elements of case management and by revolutionising the way a business handles its portfolio of contracts. 
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.