by Geoff Caesar | 14 November 2016
Alinea Law Ltd., in addition to creating bespoke legal solutions for SMEs, undertakes large and complex consultancy projects across a number of sectors including healthcare, defence, education, engineering, construction, and oil and gas.
Over the last two years, director Geoff Caesar has led in securing a valuable Ministry of Defence contract for a key client. The client is Affinity, an organisation that supplies aircraft for military in-flight training and, along with its client, Ascent, delivers technical training for the MoD's aeronautical elite.
Negotiating various complexities and creating the solid legislative foundations that underpin this Private Finance Initiative bid have presented Geoff and his expert team with a series of interesting challenges, all of which they have successfully overcome.
It is a landmark contract win for both Alinea Law Ltd. and for Affinity.
Over the past two years Alinea Law Ltd. has worked for Affinity, which is a joint venture run by American defence contractor KBR and Israeli defence contractor Elbit. Affinity was creating a bid to supply the UK’s MoD with training aircraft and to provide ongoing support to those same aircraft over the coming 18 years.
Affinity would deliver this service via existing MoD Private Finance Initiative suppliers, Ascent. In essence, this was a PFI deal within another PFI deal, adding an extra layer of legal complexity for Alinea Law Ltd. to work through and, like every PFI contract, it had to be carefully underscored with watertight documentation and legal controls. To account for the spending of public money and to protect the MoD from the vulnerabilities of working with a privately run supply chain, Alinea Law Ltd. interfaced with a large number of high-profile external law firms, including Clifford Chance. This leading law firm was instrumental in creating the umbrella Project Agreement between Affinity, Ascent and the MoD.
Meanwhile, Geoff turned his team’s legal expertise to the task of fine-tuning the detail of terms and conditions the aircraft suppliers will have to adhere to over the next 18 years. These three international manufacturers were unaccustomed to working within the UK’s PFI requirements, a fact that added an extra element of challenge for the Alinea Law Ltd. team as it drafted contracts to reflect the MoD’s very exacting requirements.
Frequently changing contract documents, extremely detailed client specifications and a myriad of legal representatives were all dealt with professionally and efficiently by the Alinea Law Ltd. team as the firm proved its capacity to operate in this arena for the first time.
After two years of hard work and absolute diligence, the project was officially awarded to Affinity on 1st February 2016. Over the 18-year period it will run for, it will be worth a total of £500m.
Negotiating and securing this valuable PFI contract on behalf of Affinity has represented a very successful move into new territory for Alinea Law Ltd. Geoff intends to nurture this legal consultancy business strand in tandem with the outstanding bespoke and fixed price services Alinea Law Ltd. provides to SME employers. These cover areas such as advising on employment law, and drawing up confidentiality agreements and employment contracts.
The MoD and Affinity project is an important coup for Alinea Law Ltd. as it showcases the firm's proficiency in dealing with large scale PFI projects that require months or years of work, as well as further reiterating its gravitas for smaller clients who require fast solutions from an established law firm that they can trust.