Network Rail kicks off £70m panel review

Network Rail has begun a review of its £70m legal panel, with the new line-up set to run from April 2019.

The panel, which will run for five years from next April, will cover all of Network Rail’s external legal work including construction, dispute resolution and property.

The roster was last reviewed in 2013 when Eversheds, Addleshaw Goddard, Dentons, Bond Dickinson and Maclay Murray & Spens were all appointed.

That review saw the organisation cut its panel down from 12 firms and add in an option to extend the panel term by two years, extending its run until next year.

Network rail group general counsel Stuart Kelly said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the legal market to demonstrate to us they share our vision of delivering a great service to our customers – that they are forward thinking in terms of their offering and, perhaps most importantly, they want to be our partners in supporting the business to effectively deliver a growing, reliable, safe and affordable railway.”

The latest review is being led by general counsel for route businesses Dan Kayne, on behalf of Kelly.

Network Rail’s former group general counsel Suzanne Wise left last year to join Japan Tobacco International (JTI) as senior vice-president for corporate development, with Kelly, who was previously deputy general counsel, replacing her.

Legal Week reported late last year that Eversheds Sutherland is advising Network Rail on the sale of its UK commercial property portfolio as it looked to raise funds to invest in its railways.

The sale of the portfolio, which includes more than 5,000 properties primarily based in London, is expected to raise more than £1bn. The sale officially began on 17 November.

Eversheds has been working on the sale, dubbed ‘Project Condor’, for more than 12 months, alongside Network Rail’s business and legal teams.

Network Rail has about 40 in-house lawyers.