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Freedom Of Information Enquiry About Legal Representation

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Dear Highways England Company Limited,

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...
23rd April 2017 I asked you What law companies do you use? How much have you spent on each in the last year? How do the lawyers get chosen by Highways England Company Limited? It took months to get a reply and you gave me 8 names

Pinsent Masons LLP
DLA Piper UK LLP
Eversheds LLP
Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
Davitt Jones Bould Ltd
Bircham Dyson Bell LLP
Burges Salmon LLP
Veale Wasbrough Vizards

You have published FOI 757 846

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ENQUIRY REQUESTING DETAILS ABOUT CONTRACTS
RELATING TO DEBT COLLECTION, ENFORCEMENT AND RECOVERY Following a detailed search of the Highways England’s procurement system and enquiries with the relevant procurement officers, I have obtained details of two contracts relating to your query. A copy of the information is included below

Capita/Equita, Marston/Rossendales and JBW/Hillesden Securities ta DLC
Clarke Willmott LLP
Why was I not told about these companies and what information do you have about them and other lawyers that seem to be working for you such as Plexus Law, Corclaims, and Shakespeare Martineau solicitors and the Governments Law Department and Treasury Solicitors department? How much have you spent on each in the last year?

Yours faithfully,

Richard Jones

Highways England, Highways England Company Limited

This is an automated response:

 

Thank you for your email to Highways England.

 

If you’re reporting a real time issue which requires immediate attention
please call the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000. 

 

A map of the roads for which we are responsible can be found here
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the road you’re interested in isn’t on this map it will fall under the
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[5]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[6][Highways England request email]

 

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6. mailto:[Highways England request email]

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

FYI … Corclaim is a trading name of Shakespeare Martineau (SHMA) which is a business name of Shakespeare Martineau LLP OC319029, SRA 442480, 1 Colmore Square, Birmingham B46AA. They provide a form of authority regarding settlement of cheques from Kier Ltd that states they act on behalf of Kier Group PLC and its associated companies in connection with motor claims.

However, when matters were presented to Courts in the name of Kier Highways, when proceedings were issued with Kier Highways as the claimant, they were struck out. Corclaim then issued in the name of Highways England Company Ltd. It appears they represent England Highways.

If you require documentary evidence of the above and dates of hearings, please pm

GLD is the latest name for the Treasury Department and will (apparently) raise a charge for their services to Highways England.

Plexus we see associated with Balfour Beatty and their JV’s such as M25 Connect, as opposed to Highways england – but possibly they too must issue in the name of Highway England?

As for proceedings being instigated in the name of the Public Authority, we have received contradictory information from Highways England about this!

Regards

www.englandhighways.co.uk

FOI Advice, Highways England Company Limited

Dear Mr Jones

 

Our Ref: 758,520

 

Your request dated 12 January has been handled under the terms of the
Freedom of Information Act and relate to costs between  April - Dec 2017.

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|BERWIN LEIGHTON PAISNER LLP |£453,605.78 |
|----------------------------------------------+-------------------------|
|BIRCHAM DYSON BELL LLP |£423,461.64 |
|----------------------------------------------+-------------------------|
|BURGES SALMON |£269,803.37 |
|----------------------------------------------+-------------------------|
|DAVITT JONES BOULD LTD |£967,171.43 |
|----------------------------------------------+-------------------------|
|DAVITT JONES BOULD LTD (TR140) |£3,538,874.11 |
|----------------------------------------------+-------------------------|
|DLA PIPER UK LLP |£2,152,721.06 |
|----------------------------------------------+-------------------------|
|EVERSHEDS LLP   |£142,210.67 |
|----------------------------------------------+-------------------------|
|PINSENT MASONS LLP     |£40,666.42 |
|----------------------------------------------+-------------------------|
|VEALE WASBROUGH VIZARDS LLP |£1,406,147.56 |
|----------------------------------------------+-------------------------|
|VEALE WASBROUGH VIZARDS LLP (TR140) |£8,373,492.22 |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

           

You have asked why you were not told about two companies in the response
to your request dated 23 April 2017. That request asked what law companies
do Highways England use, and we interpreted this as relating to companies
providing legal advice to Highways England. The contract with
Capita/Equita, Marston/Rossendales and JBW/Hillesden Securities ta DLC is
for enforcement agents (bailiffs’ services) and was not included in the
response as they do not provide legal advice. The contract with Clarke
Willmott LLP is a new contract which Highways England entered into after
the response to your request was sent.

 

Costs for the following law firms:

 

Plexus Law – £0

Corclaims - £0

Shakespeare Martineau - £0

Governments Law Department/Treasury Solicitors department - £0

 

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request you may ask
for an internal review within 2 months of the date of this response for
Freedom of Information requests and within 40 days for Environmental
Information Regulations requests.      

Our internal review process is available at:
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
 

 

If you require a print copy, please phone the Information Line on 0300 123
5000; or e-mail [2][Highways England request email]. You should contact me if
you wish to complain.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

 

            Information Commissioner’s Office

            Wycliffe House

            Water Lane

            Wilmslow

            Cheshire

            SK9 5AF

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Layla Beckett, Freedom of Information Officer

Highways England  | Piccadilly Gate | Store Street | Manchester | M1 2WD

Web: [3]http://www.highways.gov.uk

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

I note:
Shakespeare Martineau - £0
just what do they do for nothing? see:
http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/authori...

Dear Highways England Company Limited,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Highways England Company Limited's handling of my FOI request 'Freedom Of Information Enquiry About Legal Representation'.

The response is wrong

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Yours faithfully,

Richard Jones

Highways England, Highways England Company Limited

This is an automated response:

 

Thank you for your email to Highways England.

 

If you’re reporting a real time issue which requires immediate attention
please call the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000. 

 

A map of the roads for which we are responsible can be found here
[1]http://www.highways.gov.uk/publications/... If
the road you’re interested in isn’t on this map it will fall under the
jurisdiction of the local authority.  You can find details of local
authorities using the search facility on the gov.uk website
at: [2]https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council

 

If your email does relate to an issue on Highways England's network it
will be passed to the relevant team within Highways England and they will
respond to you within a maximum of 15 working days.

 

If you’ve made a request under the Freedom of Information Act we will
respond to you within a maximum of 20 working days. Your request will be
dealt with in line with government guidelines:
[3]https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...

 

Please be advised that emails may be monitored for training and quality
assurance purposes.

 

To help us improve our service please click [4]here to complete a short
survey.

 

Kind regards

 

Highways England Customer Contact Centre.

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
only for use of the recipient/s named above. If you are not an intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any copying, distribution,
disclosure, reliance upon or other use of the contents of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and destroy it.

 

Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[5]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[6][Highways England request email]

 

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ 

 

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
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References

Visible links
1. http://www.highways.gov.uk/publications/...
http://www.highways.gov.uk/publications/...
2. https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
3. https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
4. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HECCC
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
6. mailto:[Highways England request email]

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

I am updating the above link - http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/authori...
You may wish to consider the response you have received in relation to
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

It appears Shakespeare Martineau have been instructed by Highways England since early 2016. On 12/02/2018, Highways England’s head of Green Claims informed us that Shakespeare Martineau / Corclaim do not act for Highways England, we were advised the lawyers act for Kier.
But the head of department appears not to understand the arrangement. A fortnight later (28/02/2018), Highways England then said they were wrong; they had legal ‘check it out’ and Shakespeare Martineau do act for them.
However, the situation appears a little unusual as Highways England have apparently advised their lawyers that all claims involving us (CMA – www.cmaclaims.co.uk) were to be placed on hold, proceedings were not to be issued. But the lawyers continue to issue proceedings, contrary to their client’s instructions.
When we explained this to Highways England, saying ‘they’re not doing as they’re told’, Highways England’s replied they were ‘fully aware of that’.
More usually, Government Legal Department act for Highways England in respect of such matters.
Possibly you can ascertain the basis upon which the law firm, Shakespeare Martineau act for Highways England free of charge and Highways England appear to have no control over them.
Good luck getting to the bottom of this.

Jones, Sian, Highways England Company Limited

Dear Mr Jones

Our Ref: 760,646

Thank you for your email of 18 March requesting an internal review of our response to your FOI request 'Freedom Of Information Enquiry About Legal Representation'.

Your original request asked how much Highways England had spent on legal services provided by a number of organisations, including Shakespeare Martineau LLP. In light of your request for an internal review we have reviewed our financial records and can confirm that no payments were made to Shakespeare Martineau LLP, either during the calendar year 2017 or the financial year 2018/17.

Some of the cost recovery action for damage to the network is undertaken on our behalf by service providers. These may, in turn subcontract recovery action to legal firms. Where this happens the firms will have authority to act on our behalf, however they are paid by the service provider rather than Highways England directly. This would seem to be the case regarding Shakespeare Martineau LLP in this instance.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely
Sian Jones | Lead Information Rights Officer | Information & Technology
Highways England | Piccadilly Gate | Store Street | Manchester | M1 2WD
Web: http://www.highways.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

Sir,
Please see:
http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/authori...
the ‘authority to act’ document, from Highways England’s General Counsel, clearly states Shakespeare Martineau account to Highways England on a regular basis. Account what? They are not paid by Highways England and the response you have received suggests the service provider or contractor (likely Kier Highways) instructs the lawyers and are paid for by the provider.
In such circumstances, it appears any payments resulting from the action are paid to the provider i.e. that Highways England receive nothing. What is there to account and why does this occur on a regular basis?
Corclaim a.k.a. Shakespeare Martineau act for contractor Kier Highways Ltd. from the outset, before Highways England are approached to provide an authority to issue proceedings. Why would the law firm account to Highways England as opposed to Kier Highways?
There is another aspect to this you may wish to consider:
If Highways England give firms such as Shakespeare Martineau an authority to act on their behalf, why can they not rescind this? Highways England state they have tried to do so by Shakespeare Martineau appear to have ignored the instruction, see:
http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/have-hi...
Are you being misled or bamboozled?

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