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English law thrives in the Energy arena

English law thrives in the Energy arena

Oil and Gas is a truly international industry. Companies who also tend to be global, can have operations spanning multiple jurisdictions. Something that is a constant factor throughout, is the high degree to which these companies and regulating authorities prefer English law, which in turn generates business for UK law firms.

This is mirrored in the renewables sector, where the UK is currently exporting its renewable energy expertise across the globe. The growth of the renewable energy sector in the UK is a remarkable success story and currently leads the way in offshore wind and marine development — offshore wind alone has brought in more than £20 billion investment into the UK over the last decade.

There are broadly four driving factors behind this opportunity for UK law firms:

1. English law is pro-business- With so many different moving parts combined to ensure the smooth running of projects and operations, it is essential that the governing law allows for predictable outcomes whatever the situation that may arise.

2. UK law is the preferred choice- Even amongst other common law jurisdictions, English law stands out for its ubiquity in these industries. This it seems is mainly down to its age and its position as an arbiter across many competing options.

3. London as the seat of dispute resolution- The role of London in making English Law the law of choice is also largely down to the choice of the English court system. The overriding factor is the enforceability of judgements across a multitude of key international jurisdictions.

4. Developed Regulatory Frameworks- The regulatory regime developed by the UK Government for the deployment of offshore wind, using a Contract for Difference (CfD), has demonstrated the ability of the sector to deliver large scale offshore wind projects in a cost effective and efficient manner.

What gives energy-focussed UK law firms (predominantly found in London, Edinburgh and Aberdeen) an added advantage, is their long-standing sector experience. This is due to their involvement in the UK’s oil and gas fields over the last 40 years, and more latterly, involved in the significant growth of the renewable sector.

Both the Oil and Gas and renewable energy sectors are accustomed to dealing with risks. Choosing English law and industry experienced lawyers from the UK allows companies to focus on their core business in the knowledge that the legal regime and agreements are in place to effectively manage those risks.

By Brian Hemming & Peter Ward

This blog was originally published by the Ministry of Justice on 28th November 2018.

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ChrisA