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Thursday, 27th October 2011

Birmingham law firm Martineau has opened in Brussels as part of a strategic collaboration with German firm Becker Büttner Held.

Both firms boast specialist energy practices with a pan European client base, and Martineau has joined BBH in taking a new Brussels office at a time when EU law and policy developments
are affecting national energy markets like never before.

The so-called third Package of European Energy legislation came into force earlier this year, and aims to offer European consumers more choice, investment and security of supply.
It will have a growing impact on Martineau’s UK energy clients, as well those of its industrial clients who are heavy energy users – typically manufacturers who still make up a large proportion of the firm’s traditional Midlands client base.

The Brussels office – based in the citycentre and close to the EU institutions - will be staffed by a team of energy and competition law specialists from Martineau, led by the firm’s senior partner and renowned industry expert, Andrew Whitehead with support from Martineau partners Peter Manford and James Dilley.

The team will work alongside their German colleagues from BBH on key issues affecting clients operating across the European energy markets. The BBH team in Brussels is led by Dr Dörte Fouquet – an industry-leading German energy lawyer with a strong reputation across the EU and vast experience in both energy and environmental law.

Mr Whitehead said: “The European energy market is evolving rapidly across Europe, with developments underway which will see greater interconnection between Great Britain and mainland Europe, both in physical terms as new interconnectors get built but also as trading platforms integrate and consolidate. “The pace of change is increasing, and we need to be at the centre of things to engage with the policy makers and help our clients understand what changes are planned . “The ability to work with Dr Fouquet and her colleagues to offer a truly pan- European perspective is also going to be a key benefit of opening a Brussels office.

To strengthen the ties between Martineau and BBH, we have even exchanged lawyers. We are currently hosting a German lawyer in our energy team in Birmingham, with one of our energy lawyers working at BBH in Berlin.”

Martineau’s UK energy practice consists of 10 lawyers.As well as advising National Grid, the Great Britain electricity and gas system operator, Martineau’s energy clients include energy suppliers such as Npower and EdF, as well as European power exchange operator APX, and a variety of key players in the renewables field. Last month, Martineau announced the completion of one of the largest private equity investment programmes in the UK solar sector, acting for established city-based fund manager Octopus Investments.