Public Sector Solicitors

Key facts: Public sector law

  • Whether you’re situated directly within the public sector or you’re a commercial partner, our public sector solicitors can help you with all areas of business law you’re likely to need advice on, from banking and finance, commercial tenders and contracts, dispute resolution, real estate, intellectual property, data protection, employment law and much more.
  • We deliver commercial and practical advice to both private and public sector clients, and our public sector lawyers have experience working within both sectors as well as universities, and delivering commercially successful outcomes for all parties.
  • As a consequence of the austerity measures imposed on the sector, and the increasing need for public consultation and citizen-focused outcomes, our clients are required to develop creative and practical solutions to issues. Our public sector solicitors understand the complexity and nuance required to deliver the best advice when working in the public and university sectors.
  • Our partner-level public sector solicitors are recruited mainly from top 100 UK law firms, and come with at least ten years post-qualifying experience.
  • We can be where you are: our solicitors are based remotely across the UK but we have offices in Sheffield, Birmingham, Cambridge and London and access to meeting rooms in every major UK city. We work remotely to keep our overheads low, which enables us to offer our innovative pricing packages.

What our public sector solicitors do

We are a public sector law firm that includes individual lawyers with deep expertise as well as multi-disciplinary teams with commercial and public sector knowledge and experience dealing with high profile projects. From interpreting the latest changes to environmental regulations, to initiating or defending an action for judicial review, assisting in the preparation of tenders and advising on public sector contractual matters such as procurement and state aid, planning matters and planning appeals, and advising on projects in which public sector partners are key players such as shared services, construction projects, PFI, PPP and PF2 projects, we’re ideally placed as your organisation’s expert legal counsel.

Harper James’ public law solicitors have experience in the following areas:

  • Public and administrative law
  • Public finance, best value, prudential borrowing, shared services, value for money/added-value/efficiency in contracting and projects, budgetary constraints, funding shortfalls
  • Regulatory frameworks and restrictions, liaising with regulators such as environmental, housing, licensing and planning officers, and waste management issues
  • Commercial transactions, public procurement processes, state aid, and public/private partnerships
  • Regeneration and redevelopment, both in the construction and general economic development field
  • Negotiating the contractual and regulatory relationships of public and private sectors
  • Contractual issues, commercial litigation, service delivery of public sector schemes and contracts

Central and local government

Society is becoming increasingly complex, and working with the public sector is a challenging field in which it’s vitally important to stay abreast of the constant level of change. Policy, financial reputational and transparency concerns mean that working with the public sector is fast-paced, and our lawyers are aware that political as well as commercial concerns must be balanced in order to deliver effective solutions. Our central and local government lawyers ensure that you are supported at every step of the way, whether your concern is a corporate governance concern, an infrastructure project or property disposal, a reputational matter, a planning or environmental law query, a shared services arrangement or public sector collaboration, a social care matter, or a freedom of information concern.

Commercial law

Whatever the consequences of Brexit, the EU procurement regulations and state aid rules will continue to be in the forefront of our clients’ minds. Our public sector solicitors include experts who have worked in-house and have first-hand knowledge of the best approaches including contracting with a framework arrangement. They are able to draw upon their deep understanding of the processes involved in tendering within the sector. We can offer support in drafting and negotiating tender documents, interpreting tendering requirements and evaluation criteria, advising on evaluation and scoring as well as assisting you throughout the award procedure.

If you are already contracting with the public sector, or a challenge or issue has arisen in relation to service delivery or tendering, our public sector lawyers can support you to resolve problems, mount or defend a challenge, assist in contract management and contract interpretation, and advise on issues such a freedom of information and data protection.

PFI, PPP and PF2

Our public sector lawyers have been involved at the heart of projects in the PFI/PPP/PF2 sector, and are experts in structuring, drafting, negotiation and delivering major, complex transactions, from initial procurement stage through to contract management concerns, developments and disputes such as refinancing and contract variations and changes to specifications.

Judicial review

Whether you are a decision maker within government, or have been affected by a decision made by a public body, our expert public sector law firm regularly acts for those involved with the decision making process as well as individuals, charities and businesses. Our public sector solicitors are knowledgeable and responsive, and have dealt with challenges in the procurement, social care, housing, licensing, planning, data protection fields as well as statutory appeals processes.


Our team of public sector solicitors include specialists in dealing with the most common matters affecting further education and higher education institutions, such as employment law advice, including discipline and grievance procedures, redundancy and reorganisation and TUPE, business immigration concerns, commercial issues, IP rights and R&D, property and procurement.

What our clients say

We pride ourselves on delivering an excellent service for clients, but don’t just take our word for it.

Legal advice for the public sector and businesses dealing with the public sector

Whatever your role within a public sector body or university, or the nature of your dealings with the sector, we have individual lawyers and multi-disciplinary teams to assist you. As well as providing specialist legal advice in the public sector field, our public sector lawyers have experience in the most pressing issues that arise in connection with public sector matters such as:

  • protection of your IP, IP disputes, developing an IP strategy for your business and protecting your interests when contracting with the public sector, or protection of any public sector-developed IPR. We also have experience advising on freedom of information, GDPR and data protection issues such as subject access requests.
  • managing the practical and financial aspects of construction and economic development projects, such as energy projects, infrastructure projects, commercial property development, housebuilding, care homes and sheltered housing. Our Banking and finance team along with our Construction finance experts co-operate to support contracting with the public sector in PFI, PPP and PF2 matters.
  • structuring collaborations and shared services arrangements such as joint ventures, joint committee arrangements, collaborations and legal arrangements between public sector partners such as regional bodies and local economic partnerships.
  • service transfer and TUPE, and can support during commercial transactions where employment rights and transfers are a concern, as well as in shared service arrangements and public/private collaborations.

We can provide expert legal advice to commercial partners of public sector bodies, including:

  • central and local government bodies, cross-departmental bodies, non-departmental public bodies, executive agencies, regional authorities and the civil service
  • construction companies and landowners
  • educational bodies such as universities and colleges
  • utility firms
  • environmental and waste technology companies
  • entrepreneurs
  • IT, telecom and technology companies
  • contractors and suppliers to the public sector
  • economic development bodies such as local economic partnerships
  • private/public sector collaborations and municipal collaborations.

Public sector solicitors with sector expertise

Our public sector solicitors have extensive experience advising in this complex and fast-changing area of the law. Our solicitors are all recruited from top 100 UK law firms and each has more than 10 years post-qualifying experience.

Our solicitors are vastly experienced in the public sector. Some of their previous experience includes:

  • Advising the NHS in respect of contractual and contract management issues (including dispute avoidance and resolution) arising out of the UK’s National IT Programme (one of the world’s largest IT procurements).
  • Judicial review in relation to a challenge to HMRC relating to the assessment of VAT input and output tax.
  • Successful defence of a number of multiple discrimination, unfair dismissal, breach of contract, breach of human rights, whistleblowing and unlawful deduction of wages claims for a large national public sector employer.
  • Procurement issues relating to contract awards for waste management and supply of wheeled bins.
  • Claims against a hospital authority for a company challenging a procurement decision to award a contract for the provision of wheelchairs.
  • Acting for a local council on various property matters including assets of community value.
  • Acting for large university purchasing consortiums in successful restructuring exercise involving TUPE, redundancy and changes to terms and conditions.
  • Dealing with all types of property transactions where local government is the landlord  or seller.
  • Dealing with escheat land or reclaiming property vested in central government.

Pricing plans

Our three transparent pricing packages are designed to give you the widest possible access to high-quality legal advice, whatever the size and nature of your business:


Straightforward access to senior solicitors at a competitive rate.

An affordable solution for businesses needing one-off legal support. Receive ‘City’ partner-level expertise at a fraction of ‘City’ prices.


Have legal peace of mind for £189 per month with additional support from £125 per hour.

A monthly subscription legal support package specifically designed for start-ups and smaller businesses.


Providing you with priority access to a dedicated panel of highly experienced solicitors.

Fully account managed quarterly subscription service for businesses with more complex legal needs.

What next?

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A national law firm

We mainly work remotely, so we can work with you wherever you are. But we can arrange face-to-face meeting at our offices or a location of your choosing.

Our commercial lawyers are based in or close to major cities across the UK, providing expert legal advice to clients both locally and nationally.

Floor 2, Cavendish House, 39-41 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP
Stirling House, Cambridge Innovation Park, Denny End Road, Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9QE
10 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 5HP
13th Floor, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, M1 4BT
Harwell Innovation Centre, 173 Curie Avenue, Harwell, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QG
2-5 Velocity Tower, 1 St Mary’s Square, Sheffield, S1 4LP