nplaw – leaders in public law
nplaw is a public sector shared legal service. We have a wealth of experience gained through many years of advising local government, public bodies and charitable institutions, and we offer our clients tried and tested expertise in a wide range of disciplines. Our public service ethos sets us apart from many private legal practices but we are run in a rigorously commercial manner, working hard to offer excellent value for money whilst at the same time delivering a high quality, efficient legal service to our clients.
Abdus qualified as a barrister and after a brief period at the Independent Bar moved into public authority legal work. He has specialised in a number of local government practice areas including: public law, information governance, employment, education, social services and litigation. He has led a number of legal teams and helped to transform the operating models for the teams at Kent County Council and the General Medical Council to both achieve efficiency savings and raised levels of income from external sources.
Admitted as a solicitor in 1983, David has spent his career in local government and was Solicitor to Norwich City Council before joining nplaw. An expert on public law and ethics, David frequently advises on monitoring, standards and corporate governance. He is the practice’s Quality, Client Care and Ethical Governance Lead.
After a career in the IT sector in the UK and overseas, George qualified as a solicitor in 2000 and worked in private practice in London and East Anglia before joining Norfolk County Council, then nplaw. George specialises in commercial law as it relates to local government. His clients include National LGPS Procurement Frameworks for which he acts as legal advisor.
James qualified as a solicitor in 2001 and has since gained extensive experience of commercial dispute resolution as a result of working in-house, in private practice and in local government. James has particular expertise in judicial review and mediation.
Hugh specialises in commercial property law, advising his local authority clients on all aspects of their large and diverse property portfolios. He qualified as a solicitor in Scotland in 1993 and developed a career as an international property lawyer, working for leading law firms in Scotland, the Falkland Islands, Oman and England. After qualifying as an English solicitor in 2006, Hugh has specialised in local government work. He also undertakes monitoring officer work for local authority clients.
Jane qualified as a solicitor in 1981 and has since worked for a number of local authorities.
Jane is an expert in planning law, specialising in section 106 agreements, public inquiries, local plans and compulsory purchase orders. She has worked on a many large scale developments with long term infrastructure proposals and is an experienced advocate, regularly appearing before planning inquiries.
Sarah Whitworth qualified as a solicitor in 1994 and worked in private practice until 2013 when she joined nplaw. Throughout her career she has specialised in children’s and family law, including international law, injunctive relief and forced marriage.
nplaw has strong local roots (we and our stakeholder clients are all Norfolk-based) but we also receive instructions from clients across England and Wales.
Our LEXCEL accredited team of lawyers is authorised to provide legal services to public sector organisations and charities. We are currently authorised to offer our services to:
• local authorities;
• UK government;
• public bodies (including national parks); and
• local charities (including housing associations, schools and other educational institutions).
As well as acting for our clients under long-term planned arrangements, we can offer assistance at short notice, whether to help in a crisis or to cover staff absences as an alternative to employing locums.
“nplaw has given us direct access to a much wider range of in-house legal services, delivered by expert staff who understand the local government context” Richard Packham, former Chief Executive, Great Yarmouth Borough Council
“It is obvious that a strong team culture exists and that is a credit to all the staff involved” Tony Edwards, Senior Programme Manager, Improvement East
Our practice areas
With more than 80 fee earners working in five teams, nplaw has a strength and breadth of knowledge and experience that enables us to deliver high quality, efficient and cost-effective services to our clients.
Property and Regeneration
Our Property and Regeneration Team, headed by Hugh Ferguson, offers a full commercial property service. We have experience of transactions ranging from the sale of individual council houses to complex, multi-million pound commercial development agreements. We are familiar with those aspects of property law that are unique to local government and the team has particular expertise in enforced sales and the establishment of housing development companies.
Planning, the Environment and Compulsory Purchase Team
Our Planning, the Environment and Compulsory Purchase Team led by Jane Linley has acknowledged expertise in section 106 planning agreements, public inquiries, enforcement notices, and flood and water management.
The team runs one of the largest compulsory purchase order (CPO) legal practices in the UK. Our CPO consultancy service is currently working on more than 120 CPO projects for local authorities throughout England and Wales with a success rate in obtaining confirmed CPOs at over 95%.
Our competitively-priced fixed fee for dealing with a non-contested single plot empty homes compulsory purchase order is £1,800 + vat + disbursements.
The fee covers:
• Advice on the cabinet or committee report seeking authority to make the CPO
• Preparation of the order, statutory notices, statement of reasons
• Submission of the order to the Secretary of State for confirmation
• If the order is confirmed, the post confirmation procedures
• Vesting of the title in the local authority
• Registering title at HM Land Registry
If there are objections, complications in dealing with the CPO or it needs to be dealt with by a public inquiry, we charge on an hourly basis at the rate of £109 per hour + vat + disbursements in addition to the fixed fee and we can give you a costs estimate on a case by case basis, as the time and complexity of a matter will vary with each case. If, for some reason, the matter is stopped at an earlier stage than the registration of title we will charge you the full fixed fee.
Public Law and Standards
Our Public Law and Standards Team headed by George Core advises on commercial agreements, state aid, procurement, outsourcing and partnering arrangements and employment, information, adult social care and mental health law. The team was a finalist in the In-House Public Law Team of the Year category in the Lawyer Awards 2016.
Headed by James Crosskill, our Dispute Resolution Team handles a wide range of civil disputes and enforcement, licensing and regulatory matters. The team includes qualified advocates who undertake both court and mediation work.
Our large Child Protection Team headed by Sarah Whitworth works closely with Norfolk Children’s Services. The members of the team advise on all aspects of the law relating to children, including private law, international issues and policy. We can provide advice to independent reviewing officers outside Norfolk and also offer training to a range of public and private institutions.
• compulsory purchase
• corporate governance
• enforced sales
• flood and water management
• housing development companies
• planning enforcement notices
• planning inquiries
• section 106 planning agreements
• state aid
Our fee earners are supported by our practice manager, a library service administered by our chartered librarian, a professional support lawyer whose brief includes knowledge management and training, and a team of legal secretaries.
As a local authority legal service, we have a strong public sector ethos but, financially, we are run in a manner recognisable to any private practice, with time recording and case management systems. We usually prefer to charge on a fixed fee basis and can offer highly competitive rates, but we are happy to work together with our clients to agree mutually acceptable charging arrangements within the constraints of their budgets. We can offer hourly rates and capped hourly rates as well as “cost neutral” arrangements, such as deducting our fees from the proceeds of enforced sales.
For further information, please visit our website at www.nplaw.co.uk or contact:
nplaw is authorised and registered by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with registration number 65083