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Cornwall to set up £1.5-3m external legal panel for South West public bodies

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Cornwall Council has unveiled plans for an external legal panel for use by public sector bodies in the South West.

The framework agreement has an estimated total value between £1.5m to £3m. It would run for an initial term of two years, with an option to extend for a further one year, plus one year.

The panel will be made available to other public bodies in the South West, including local authorities, academies, schools, housing associations and housing management organisations, the police and NHS in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Dorset, Wiltshire and the Isles of Scilly.

The contract will be let in six lots: property, planning and highways; commercial (excluding PFI); criminal and civil litigation; social welfare; employment, equalities and pensions; governance, parliamentary agency and electoral law.

Participants must be able to provide a comprehensive service specific to each of the lots for which they apply.

In March 2011 Cornwall selected three law firms and nine barristers’ chambers for its first framework agreement since it became a unitary authority in April 2009.

The most successful law firm in that procurement exercise was Cobbetts (the bulk of which was acquired by DWF in February 2013). The other two firms to be chosen were Ashfords and Beachcroft (now DAC Beachcroft).