Expertise

In a fast-paced and emerging sector, our depth of experience and commercially-astute advice will help our clients achieve their aims efficiently and cost-effectively.  Our Renewable Energy team has in depth experience across the entire Renewables sector, with expertise in structuring legal, regulatory and commercial arrangements or developing projects in most renewables technologies which will allow the UK to achieve this aim.

We look at problems from our clients’ perspectives. By 2020, 15% of the UK’s overall energy will come from renewable sources. We invest in the best property, planning, environmental, construction, corporate and procurement specialists. We encourage them to work together to provide a genuinely connected service which helps our clients face any legal obstacle this exciting market may present them in helping to achieve this aim.

Construction

Our Construction team understand that in times of increased economic pressure, experienced commercial construction advice, which is both reactive and responsive, can make all the difference to our clients across the sector, including developers, employers, contractors, funders and consultants. This is no less crucial in an emerging and fast-paced market such as the Renewable Energy sector.

The team includes peer-rated individuals and acts on high value and complex construction projects and disputes across a broad range of industry sectors. We cover every stage of the construction process, from tender and procurement, contract drafting and negotiation through to dispute avoidance and resolution.

The team provides a complete service, advising on both contentious and non-contentious aspects of projects. Our non-contentious experience includes tender and procurement guidance and advice so that the contractual and procurement structure is established and agreed in the early stages of a project, ensuring clarity at its outset and that establishment of the interfaces between the parties on site. The team includes multi-disciplinary solicitors with previous experience working as quantity surveyors and engineers. Such industry experience allows us to provide clients with commercially-focussed, cost-effective advice in assisting them in reaching their goals. it is crucial to seek legal advice early as to

Our client base is multi-national and the team has been involved in advising several European clients on a variety of matters, including biogas plants, negotiation of EPC contracts, escrow account details, maintenance and consultancy agreements and performance bonds.

Corporate & Commercial

The efficient navigation of a complex range of legal issues in fast-paced and emerging sector allows our Corporate and Commercial team to achieve positive results for our clients. Our corporate lawyers have helped enterprises of all sizes, and at all stages of the business lifecycle, to achieve their end result, whilst navigating a market which is very much still in its formative years.

The team undertakes a complete range of corporate and commercial transactions, including joint ventures, acquisitions, disposals and reorganisations and director and minority shareholder interests. Our clients include the providers of equity finance, as well as recipient companies in whom they invest, whether by way of equity share capital, preference shares, loan notes or the many hybrid instruments in between.

We have particular experience in floatation and other capital raising ventures, having acted for a substantial waste processing business and businesses floated on both the London Stock Exchange and the AIM market.

Employment, HR & HR Consultancy

For many businesses, its employees are its most important asset. This is especially so in a sector where knowledge and experience is essential. We never lose sight of what good employment law and HR support to a business is all about – attracting, motivating and retaining the best people. We work with our clients to achieve these objectives. We do not therefore over-engineer solutions to employment law and HR issues. On the contrary, we aim to provide simple, but effective, real world solutions. Our team brings a genuine team approach to problem solving your HR issues in the most pragmatic way.

Unlike most other law firms, our team comprises not only highly experienced employment lawyers, but also specialist HR consultants. The team’s offering is therefore genuinely holistic with the ability to handle all aspects of an organisation’s employment and HR support needs. Our HR consultants often work with an organisation’s existing HR team complimenting the in-house offering and provide support either on a case by case basis or on a project support basis.

Our team also includes specialist advocates enabling us to offer a full and cost effective Employment Tribunal support service.

Energy Law

Our specialist Energy Team has experience in depth across the entire Renewable Energy sector. The team’s expertise in structuring the legal, regulatory and commercial arrangements or developing projects in most renewal technologies. The team has previously advised on project development and funding; bidding for and structuring power projects in the UK and overseas; advising on projects backed by the Renewables  Obligation, the Feed-in tariff or the Renewables Heat Incentive, power purchase agreements and fuel supply arrangements.

Our team contains dedicated advisors in the advanced thermal conversion waste to energy market as well as having a broad experience in the energy regulatory sector. As a result of such specialist knowledge and sector-experience, the team has advised on the developments of power-projects including biomass, combined heat and power, marine generation, algae development, run-of-river schemes, waste-to-energy and early-stage large wind projects.

Environmental & Planning Law

Faced with an increasingly complex system of environmental controls and an intricate and constantly evolving planning system, our Planning and Environmental Team has a national reputation. Its work covers contentious and non-contentious planning and environmental law issues, covering pollution prevention and control, waste management, industrial, commercial, residential development (including wind farm, energy and waste developments), transportation, contaminated land, nature conservation and cultural heritage and solar photovoltaic agricultural development.

The team has acted in connection with a considerable number of planning application for industrial and waste installation (including wind farms, power plants and incinerators), major commercial and housing sites and urban regeneration projects, some of which were decided on appeal following public inquiries. In addition to this, the team has a great deal of experience in environmental law advising developers, manufacturers and waste and mineral operators. We also have specialists in agricultural and rural planning, having advised clients in connection with renewable energy projects, including solar PV, anaerobic digestion and biomass plants.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is the motivator for the acceleration of global innovation, technological growth and business support.  In the ever more prominent and advancing renewable energy marketplace, obtaining solid intellectual property legal advice is a critical component.

For many renewable energy and cleantech businesses, intellectual property is a key asset.  It is crucial that such businesses are able to ensure the protection of that asset, maximise its value and prevent others from exploiting it without their consent.  Clarke Willmott acts for all types of businesses from new-start ups to household names such as GHD, easyJet, Organix, ACCA, Mazuma-Mobile and Fred Perry in relation to the protection, enforcement and exploitation of their intellectual property rights.

The team provides advice in relation to both domestic and international matters through out network of associate law firms which are all chosen purely for their intellectual property expertise.

The team has significant experience of managing trade mark and design portfolios for clients and regularly instructs overseas agents to file trade marks and designs on behalf of clients.

Litigation (commercial, property and construction)

In the complex and challenging environment of the renewable energy marketplace, disputes can inevitably arise.  The high-value and high-risk nature of a renewable energy project, combined with fast-evolving new technology and often multiple jurisdictions has left companies exposed to higher levels of risk and a multitude of issues.

Disputes can be expensive and time consuming, and if not dealt with correctly can cause irreparable damage to key business relationships.  To minimise disputes, it is crucial to seek legal advice early as to the contractual and procurement structure to ensure clarity at the outset of the project and that the interfaces between the parties on site are established.

However, in the event that disputes delays or defects arise on a renewable project, the team at Clarke Willmott can provide commercial, cost-effective solutions to the issues.

The team supports clients from start to finish, providing a strategic approach with the aim of achieving a commercial resolution to the dispute, via the courts, adjudication, arbitration or alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation, early neutral evaluation, expert determination and conciliation.

The team comprises a number of specialist teams drawing on a wide range of expertise across the firm, in all Clarke Willmott offices.  The team advises on disputes relating to real estate, commercial, construction and agricultural issues, professional negligence, defamation and fraud and we have a group of specialists dedicated to the financial services sector.

The team undertakes cross-border litigation and international arbitration.

Procurement

At the outset of any project, it is crucial to seek legal advice early as to the contractual and procurement structure to ensure clarity at the outset of the project and that the interfaces between the parties on site are established.

In a situation where public bodies are involved in a renewable energy project, the regulatory regime governing the public procurement process needs to be implemented and complied with in order to avoid breaches of legislation.  First-class legal advice is often the key to finding a way through the complex regulations applying in the UK.

Our public procurement team contains a noted leading expert in the field of public procurement law, both in respect of European based legislation and UK legislation and common law.  The team has substantial experience in advising on the legal powers of public bodies, particularly in relation to the formation of joint ventures with private sector organisation.

The team’s depth of experience includes advising major energy supply companies on the innovative use of PFI type structures for the provision of energy to local authority housing developments. Such experience also includes practical experience in the implementation of local authority procurement policy and strategy and overview of all procurement activities, involving contracts with a total value of £700million a year.

Project Finance

The UK is at the forefront of renewable energy solutions and financing them can cause issues.  The cost of financing renewable energy projects often entails satisfying the funder’s requirements on energy availability and revenue output for the project.  Renewable energy projects are often regarded as high risk for funders and finance houses, requiring up front cash or investment.

The team at Clarke Willmott has experience in guiding clients through the project finance options, including proposing and discussing the corporate structures available (such as joint ventures or SPV’s and VCT’s) to achieve a successful and cost-effective outcome.

The team advises business enterprises of all stages of the business lifecycle from inception.  We regularly advise on a variety of funding options and work closely with other professionals to develop commercial pragmatic solutions.  The team undertakes a broad range of transactions including joint ventures, M&A, floatation’s, disposals and reorganisations as well as shareholder issues.  The team also advises equity financiers on investment instruments including equity share capital, preference shares, loan notes and many hybrid devices in between.

Our project finance team combines knowledge from across the firm to provide quality and cost-effective advice to developers, contractors, funders to establish economic and ownership arrangements which are bespoke for each project.

Real Estate (Commercial and Agricultural)

Renewable energy solutions provide an attractive alternative for real estate investors, developers and owners alike.  Working closely with the core renewable energy team, Clarke Willmott can take a project from inception to full grid connection stage.

The real estate, construction and planning and environmental teams have unparalleled experience to deal with all property and funding aspects of wind farm and other renewable energy projects.

We understand the processes of commercial property development, investment and management from site assembly through to funding, investment, sale and leasing.

The team acts for large-scale national developers and land-owners in the structuring of transactions relating to wind-farms, biomass plants and solar installations.  The team advises on all property aspects of commercial developments, including wind and solar projects, covering all element of the project from option agreements, exclusivity agreements, lease including collaboration and profit share agreements, refinancing and disposal.  The team also has experience of financing a large portfolio of landfill gas sites and has been involved in acquisitions of companies in the renewables sector.

The team works together to provide the most appropriate and cost-effective advice to clients, and to respond swiftly to development opportunities which may arise.  We regularly liaise with other property based professionals such as quantity surveyors, chartered surveyors, accountants and specialist VAT consultants.