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Portrait of Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Head of the CMS Energy, Projects and Construction Group

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English

Paul Smith is Head of the CMS Energy, Projects and Construction (EPC) Group and Co-head of the firm’s Infrastructure & Projects Group. He leads an international team of over 200 lawyers.

He has extensive experience advising sponsors, funders and contractors in relation to infrastructure projects that are typically funded on a project finance basis (including those that adopt models such as PFI, PPP and NPD) in a variety of sectors and jurisdictions including defence, custodial, education, housing, health, roads and utility infrastructure. 

More recently, he has been advising in relation to projects where parties are in dispute or the projects are in distress. 

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"[Paul] Smith is credited with being “extremely down to earth and easy to do a deal with, so you can be confident that you’ll have a straightforward transaction.” "

Chambers, 2009

"[Paul Smith] is credited with being “an exceptional lawyer” "

Legal 500, 2015

Relevant experience

  • Funders and/or sponsors in relation to the Dumfries & Galloway, Papworth, Alder Hey, The Royal Liverpool, CHUM (Montreal), Walsgrave, North Staffs, Forth Valley and Pembury NHS PFI / NPD or Canadian P3 projects.
  • Sponsors in relation to health and custodial projects in the Czech Republic.
  • A sponsor in relation to the Thames Tideway project.
  • Aspire Defence in relation to the Allenby & Connaught MoD PFI project.
  • Sponsors in relation to the Building Schools for the Future projects in Bristol, Kent, South Tyneside, Derbyshire and Cambridgeshire.
  • Laing O’Rourke in relation to the Priority Schools Building Programme projects.
  • Carillion / Clinicenta in relation to the Independent Sector Treatment Centres in London and Hertfordshire.
  • Funders and/or contractors in relation to social housing projects in Leeds, Manchester and Barking.
  • Laing O’Rourke in relation to the award winning social housing projects in Barking.
  • Sponsors and/or funders in relation to DBFO road projects in the UK and Ireland.
  • FCC in relation to waste projects in the UK.
  • The Contingency Planning Team in relation to the preparation of the Monitor procured review of the Peterborough and Stamford Foundation Trust.
  • Sponsors in relation to custodial projects in West Yorkshire, Exeter and London.
  • Sponsors, funders and contractors on a variety of projects that are in the construction or operational phase, including variations, market testing, disputes, refinancings or secondary market disposals.  More recently, this has involved advising in relation to more material disputes; principally in the health sector.
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Memberships & Roles

  • Member, The Royal Institution of Quantity Surveyors
  • Member, The Law Society of England and Wales
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  • Paul has contributed a chapter on health PPPs in Europe included in a book on PPPs published in October 2006.
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  • 2000 - LPC, College of Law
  • 1997 - LLB, John Moores University, Liverpool
  • 1995 – Associate of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
  • 1992 - BSc Quantity Surveying, Salford University, Salford
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CMS picks up two coveted awards at the Part­ner­ships Awards 2022
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has been named “Leg­al Ad­visor of the Year” and win­ner of the “Cul­ture and Di­versity” Award at the Part­ner­ships Awards 2022, held on Thursday, 19 May at The Park Lane...
CMS In­fra­struc­ture & Pro­jects Glob­al Bro­chure
To meet do­mest­ic and glob­al growth ex­pect­a­tions a huge amount of in­fra­struc­ture will need to be built, re­built, re­fur­bished or ret­ro­fit­ted. The scale and in­vest­ment re­quired to plug this in­fra­struc­ture...
Our glob­al in­fra­struc­ture and en­ergy prac­tice
We are de­lighted to present a se­lec­tion of our in­fra­struc­ture and en­ergy cre­den­tials from across the globe.We have drawn on the ex­pert­ise of our in­fra­struc­ture and en­ergy teams to demon­strate our abil­ity...
New fund­ing mod­els
From so­cial in­fra­struc­ture in Peru through to sus­tain­able en­ergy in Africa, the use of pub­lic private part­ner­ships (PPPs) to fund and de­liv­er cap­it­al pro­jects is spread­ing around the world. Their ubi­quity is re­flec­ted in the In­ter­na­tion­al Fed­er­a­tion of Con­sult­ing En­gin­eers’ (FID­IC) plan to re­lease a stand­ard form con­tract for PPP pro­jects in 2023.However, in the United King­dom (where the private fin­ance ini­ti­at­ive (PFI) PPP mod­el was first ad­op­ted in the early 1990s), the use of private fin­ance for pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture un­der a PFI / PF2 mod­el has dra­mat­ic­ally de­creased. Giv­en the im­mense cap­it­al and tech­no­lo­gic­al re­quire­ments of cli­mate-smart in­fra­struc­ture, PPPs can of­fer a help­ful frame­work with­in which pub­lic and private sec­tors can pool and co­ordin­ate their re­sources. Gov­ern­ments have unique powers to in­flu­ence the sus­tain­ab­il­ity of in­fra­struc­ture when craft­ing PPP con­tracts. More re­cently, PPPs have been mod­i­fied to ac­count for so­cial and en­vir­on­ment­al im­pacts as op­posed to a spe­cif­ic class of PPPs.In low-in­come coun­tries, where ac­cess to in­fra­struc­ture re­mains a key con­cern, a min­im­um per­form­ance cri­terion can be in­cluded to in­centiv­ise in­vest­ments in poorer com­munit­ies. PPPs can also help to en­cour­age private sec­tor in­vest­ments in oth­er­wise un­der­fun­ded re­gions when led by na­tion­al and in­ter­na­tion­al de­vel­op­ment banks. Bal­an­cing na­tion­al budgets The UK’s Na­tion­al In­fra­struc­ture Strategy and its fo­cus on in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment has re­in­forced its shift away from PPP-based in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing. In­stead, with low gilts bor­row­ing rates and the need for ur­gent and sub­stan­tial pan­dem­ic eco­nom­ic stim­u­lus, the UK gov­ern­ment ap­pears will­ing to bor­row-and-build, with plans to in­vest GBP 100bn in in­fra­struc­ture in 2021-22. But is this ap­proach a fisc­ally sus­tain­able po­s­i­tion in­to the long-term – for the UK or any­where else?In­creased pub­lic ex­pendit­ure com­bined with eco­nom­ic con­trac­tion has forced debt-to-GDP ra­tios to his­tor­ic highs in many coun­tries around the world. OECD gov­ern­ments alone bor­rowed a re­cord-break­ing USD 18trn in 2020, up USD 6.8trn on the pre­vi­ous year and are ex­pec­ted to bor­row a fur­ther USD 19trn this year. Gov­ern­ment debt in Sub-Saha­ran Africa rose an av­er­age of 8 per­cent­age points to 70% of GDP last year, and is ex­pec­ted to rise fur­ther in 2021, lead­ing to ma­jor con­cerns about debt sus­tain­ab­il­ity in the re­gion. With gov­ern­ment bal­ance sheets strained, there is an in­creas­ingly im­port­ant role for the private sec­tor to help fund ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects.In­fra­struc­ture stim­u­lus pack­ages are par­tic­u­larly be­ne­fi­cial dur­ing re­ces­sions. Ac­cord­ing to BCG, these pro­grammes of­fer op­por­tun­it­ies for highly geared im­pact on mac­roe­co­nom­ic activ­ity, with a mul­ti­pli­er ef­fect of between 0.4 and 2.2 times an­nu­al GDP. Every USD 1bn in­ves­ted has the po­ten­tial to sup­port 10,000 total jobs with­in the eco­nomy. We have already seen many of the COV­ID stim­u­lus pro­grammes in­tro­duced to date in­clude in­fra­struc­ture as a key ele­ment, such as Pres­id­ent Biden’s USD 2trn plan in the United States. Seek­ing new fund­ing mod­els Gov­ern­ments are seek­ing a range of new fund­ing mod­els to en­able them to achieve their in­fra­struc­ture am­bi­tions and help stim­u­late their eco­nom­ies post-pan­dem­ic.First of all, there are vari­et­ies of the PPP mod­el that re­main in fa­vour - many of which are built on the prin­ciples of PFI (for ex­ample PPPs across the rest of Europe and the Middle East and the Mu­tu­al In­vest­ment Mod­el In Wales).However, where a gov­ern­ment looks for a struc­ture that is closer to eco­nom­ic in­fra­struc­ture (where the pro­ject is paid for either dir­ectly or in­dir­ectly by cus­tom­ers), there are dif­fer­ent ap­proaches that could as­sist in de­vel­op­ing new fund­ing mod­els. Reg­u­lated As­set Base (RAB) mod­els First, meas­ures can be taken to gain more rev­en­ues from char­ging (fu­ture) users. Where there are ex­ist­ing pay­ing cus­tom­ers of a reg­u­lated in­fra­struc­ture pro­vider, RAB mod­els can im­prove pro­ject fin­ances by mak­ing users pay more soon­er. Pre­vi­ously used in Ger­many and Aus­tralia, this can work well for long-dur­a­tion mega pro­jects. Util­ity com­pan­ies are per­mit­ted to start char­ging end-users as the in­vest­ment costs are in­curred rather than wait­ing for the pro­ject to be com­pleted. Wind­fall gains Second, there may be the op­tion to cap­ture ‘wind­fall gains’ that ac­crue to non-users of in­fra­struc­ture. This would in­volve gath­er­ing rev­en­ues from the ad­di­tion­al value cre­ated by these in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects them­selves. For ex­ample, new in­fra­struc­ture - such as im­proved trans­port net­works - can raise land val­ues, thus ac­cru­ing ad­di­tion­al tax rev­en­ue. This ex­tra rev­en­ue can be used to fund the trans­port net­work it­self.In the United States, tax in­cre­ment fin­an­cing (TIF), which al­lows au­thor­it­ies to fin­ance cur­rent pro­jects via bonds that are re­paid us­ing the fu­ture gains in tax rev­en­ue res­ult­ing from the pro­ject, has long been pop­u­lar and is be­com­ing more com­mon. The UK’s first TIF helped fund Ed­in­burgh City Coun­cil’s GBP 84m wa­ter­front re­devel­op­ment pro­ject in 2011.
CMS In­fra­struc­ture: The Road to Re­cov­ery Pod­cast
Wel­come to the CMS In­fra­struc­ture: The Road to Re­cov­ery pod­cast and video series. A series of short ‘in con­ver­sa­tion with’ in­ter­views with CMS part­ners, law­yers and their cli­ents on the fu­ture of...
CMS In­fra­struc­ture In­dex re­veals pos­it­ive trends in in­fra­struc­ture sec­tor
In­fra­struc­ture In­dex re­veals pos­it­ive trends in in­fra­struc­ture sec­tor CMS pub­lishes its bi­en­ni­al glob­al In­fra­struc­ture In­dex which ranks 50 coun­tries in or­der of in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment at­tract­ive­ness­Ger­many...
Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment For­um in Am­s­ter­dam
We are pleased to in­vite you to the sixth CMS Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment For­um that will be held at the Eye Mu­seum in Am­s­ter­dam on 7 Novem­ber 2019.The for­um will dis­cuss pub­lic private part­ner­ships (PPP) in in­fra­struc­ture...
Con­nec­ted Fu­tures - the im­plic­a­tions of tech­no­lo­gic­al trends on Scot­land’s...
In our Glob­al In­fra­struc­ture Re­port “Con­nec­ted Fu­ture” we high­lighted the tech­no­logy – driv­en trans­form­a­tion of the in­fra­struc­ture sec­tor. The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has re­cently pub­lished “The Im­plic­a­tions...
Health in­fra­struc­ture mov­ing for­ward
This item first ap­peared in Health­care­Markets, Au­gust 2019.Paul Smith writes an art­icle on "Health in­fra­struc­ture mov­ing for­ward"
An­nu­al Re­view 2018 – 2019
Cross­ing bor­ders is both the theme of this year’s CMS An­nu­al Re­view and a guid­ing idea that we had when we es­tab­lished CMS 20 years ago. At that time, we de­cided to cre­ate a high-qual­ity, ex­pert and mul­tijur­is­dic­tion­al law firm. This Re­view shows what we’ve achieved over the last year in pur­suit of this goal.Since 1999, work­ing across bor­ders has be­come a daily task for all our law­yers. We are one of the most in­ter­na­tion­al law firms, with more than 70 of­fices in over 40 coun­tries. Our 4,800 leg­al ex­perts world­wide work as one team across jur­is­dic­tions, prac­tice areas and sec­tors to en­sure that you get clear, ac­tion­able and busi­ness-fo­cused ad­vice. You can read about our mul­tijur­is­dic­tion­al sup­port for cli­ents in the stor­ies through­out this An­nu­al Re­view. For ex­ample: an in­ter­na­tion­al CMS team ad­vised Ad­vance / Ne­w­house Part­ner­ship on its pur­chase of Stage En­ter­tain­ment, one of the world’s largest theatre pro­du­cers and own­ers. Our law­yers spe­cial­ising in cor­por­ate, me­dia, real es­tate, tax, em­ploy­ment, IP, com­pet­i­tion and bank­ing all worked on the trans­ac­tion.Glob­al­isa­tion con­tin­ues to im­pact the busi­ness en­vir­on­ment pro­foundly, as do the key is­sues on the glob­al agenda such as the US trade talks with China, Brexit and the con­sequences of cli­mate change. With our glob­al firm struc­ture and mind­set, we help you an­ti­cip­ate the prob­lems you face in your daily op­er­a­tions. On page 28, you can read what some of our part­ners around the world have told us about the chal­lenges their cli­ents are cur­rently fa­cing.An­oth­er ma­jor factor shap­ing our daily work is the im­pact of tech­no­logy on all busi­nesses. This year, our an­nu­al event in Da­v­os on the oc­ca­sion of the World Eco­nom­ic For­um (see page 18) fo­cused on how in­creased di­git­al­isa­tion is af­fect­ing con­ven­tion­al busi­ness mod­els.Today, in­tro­du­cing more ad­vanced tech­no­lo­gic­al tools in­to leg­al prac­tice is a must in or­der to meet cli­ents’ qual­ity and ef­fi­ciency ex­pect­a­tions. For CMS, it is about more than just us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence soft­ware or di­git­al tools. To us, in­nov­a­tion means de­vel­op­ing tech­no­logy to of­fer our cli­ents new high-qual­ity ser­vices and to provide new ways of de­liv­er­ing all our leg­al of­fer­ings. Our scale and pres­ence across many jur­is­dic­tions, coupled with our deep un­der­stand­ing of cli­ent needs in their loc­a­tions, means that we are very well qual­i­fied to de­vise such solu­tions. On page 16, some of our key in­nov­at­ors de­scribe the ways in which our tech­no­logy is be­ne­fit­ting cli­ents.I hope you find some in­ter­est­ing and thought-pro­vok­ing stor­ies in this year’s An­nu­al Re­view and wish you an en­joy­able read. My col­leagues in the CMS ex­ec­ut­ive team and I are al­ways happy to hear from you if you have any com­ments or ques­tions.Cor­neli­us Brandi, Ex­ec­ut­ive Chair­man
In­fra­struc­ture Fin­ance Re­view
On 13 March 2019, HM Treas­ury and the In­fra­struc­ture and Pro­jects Au­thor­ity, pub­lished a con­sulta­tion to kick-start the “In­fra­struc­ture Fin­ance Re­view” (the “Con­sulta­tion”) to as­sess the fu­ture...
CMS PFI Dis­putes Con­fer­ence Bro­chure
Risks come in many forms, wheth­er be­fore a PFI pro­ject has reached Fin­an­cial Close, dur­ing the con­struc­tion peri­od or once the pro­ject is op­er­a­tion­al. You need in­teg­rated sup­port from a firm that has...