Regulatory expert Chris Bolt to join BLP

Law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has appointed the former Chairman of the Office of Rail Regulation, Chris Bolt, as a consultant.  Chris, who has spent the last twenty years managing and shaping regulatory issues in the transport and utility sectors starts working with BLP’s Competition, EU and Trade Group this month. 

An economist by training, Chris began his career with the civil service in 1975.  In the late 1980s, he was a member of Department of the Environment team responsible for privatising the UK water industry and establishing its initial regulatory regime.  In 1989 he joined the Office of Water Services, the independent regulator for Britain’s water industry, as head of economic regulation. He moved to the Office of the Rail Regulator as Chief Economist in 1994, and for an interim period in 1998 and 1999 served as Rail Regulator.  In 1999 he joined Transco, which operates much of the UK’s gas transportation system, as Director of Regulation and Corporate Affairs, and in 2001 was appointed by Transco’s parent company Lattice Group as Group Director, Regulation and Public Policy.  Following the merger of Lattice Group with National Grid in 2002, Chris became PPP Arbiter for the London Underground, a position he will hold until June 2011.  From 2004 to 2010 Chris was Chairman of the Office of Rail Regulation. He is also a member of the Advisory Council of Infrastructure UK and was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2010 New Year Honours.

At BLP, Chris will provide strategic advice across a range of regulated sectors, in the UK and internationally, working closing with the firm’s Competition, EU and Trade team and with lawyers engaged in regulatory work around the firm.  BLP has a leading practice in the field of regulated utilities, and Chris’s expertise will contribute strongly to this.

This appointment is the latest in a series of hires by BLP’s Competition, EU and Trade Group, which earlier this year appointed international trade expert Vasiliki Avgoustidi as an Associate Director in BLP’s Brussels office. Vasiliki was previously at Gide Loyrette Nouel.

These appointments further strengthen BLP’s strongly growing Competition, EU and Trade team. The team is headed by David Harrison, includes partners Adrian Magnus and Dave Anderson and recently recruited partner Andrew Hockley, who was EC Competition Counsel at BP Plc before joining BLP in June 2010. The group has approximately 25 full time specialist lawyers in London and Brussels, as well as several competition lawyers in Moscow.

The team works with an international and domestic client list spanning a wide range of sectors, including automotive, aviation, betting and gaming, construction, defence, electronics, financial services, healthcare, media, oil and gas, retail, regulated utilities and technology. Since its formation as a standalone group in 2005, the team has worked on a number of high profile matters, including most recently several cartel investigations at EU and national level, a major complaint to the European Commission in respect of abuse of dominance, one of the single largest Chinese investments outside China, the first notification to the European Commission of a merger of two Chinese companies, a major follow-on damages claim arising from a European Commission cartel case, a number of matters for UK regulated utilities, and a wide range of other State aid, public procurement, EU regulatory and international trade work.

Commenting on the appointment David Harrison said: “As someone who has shaped some of the major utility and transport policy decisions of the last twenty years, Chris has a preeminent reputation.  His expertise will provide valuable insights into the regulatory and policy environment for clients operating at the interface between the private and public sectors.  Our team and the wider firm will also benefit from Chris’s detailed knowledge of the transport and utility sectors, where BLP already has a strong reputation.”

Chris said: “Regulation is moving up the boardroom agenda and becoming increasingly complex. I am delighted to be working with BLP, which will give me the opportunity to apply my experience across a number of different sectors and geographic areas.”

If you would like any further information, please contact our press office at press@blplaw.com.

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