There has been a significant increase in State aid enforcement and litigation over the last few years. Most recently, State aid enforcement has been particularly prominent in the area of international tax planning by large companies which the European Commission views as State aid by Member States such as Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium.
We advise on State aid aspects of major projects as well as on State aid investigations and litigation in EU and national courts. In recent years we have been involved in numerous "Phase II" State aid investigations before the European Commission and five State aid cases in the EU courts.
Our team routinely provides State aid advice on major projects and other transactions that avoid becoming the subject of formal proceedings. We have also successfully assisted clients whose confirmed subsidies were blocked for reasons of EU State aid law or who were requested to pay back large amounts of fiscal aid.
Public procurement law is an increasingly important field of European and domestic regulation. A series of increasingly prescriptive EU directives and UK implementing regulations regulate the way in which public authorities and utilities award valuable contracts for works, supplies and services. Procurement litigation is on the rise and the potential sanctions for non-compliance are becoming stricter.
We are recognised as having a leading public procurement practice. Our clients include government departments, public bodies, utilities and suppliers and contractors which bid for public and utility contracts.
Our broad experience means we are well-placed to advise across the full spectrum of procurement law issues. Much of our work involves advice on non-contentious matters such as the procurement of major projects and contracts. However where the tender process goes wrong, we have the expertise to work with our clients to successfully challenge the award decision or defend the procuring authority.
Advised on ongoing procurement issues related to works and upgrades on various parts of the Tube network, including the Northern Line Extension
The Bazalgette Consortium (Allianz Capital Partners, Dalmore Capital, Amber Infrastructure and DIF)
Advised on State aid, procurement and regulatory aspects of its successful bid for the Thames Tideway Tunnel project
The Belgian State
Advising in relation to a Phase II State aid investigation relating to subsidised BSE tests and in which the EU Commission demands obligatory recovery of alleged State aid from thousands of Belgian farmers
Bank of Ireland
Advising in relation to financial crisis rescue and restructuring aid
Advising on the State aid aspects of the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power project in the UK
RWE and Lynemouth Power
Advising to obtain unconditional clearance, following a Phase II State aid investigation, for support measures for the conversion of the Lynemouth coal fired power plant to biomass, and creating one of the largest biomass fired power plants in Europe