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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance
Expertise & Experience

Expertise & Experience

In this section

The political, regulatory and legal environment is creating more business challenges than ever. We can help you to navigate the EU institutions and legislative process to ensure that the needs of your business are understood and supported.

Our public policy practice is unique in having a network of lawyers and consultants in London, Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt and Washington D.C. with an in-depth understanding of the political process and of how government institutions work, think and act. It works closely with our regulatory and trade groups in particular to give comprehensive advice to help you to develop appropriate commercial strategies, informed by the practical implementation insights of our global corporate and finance practices.

We play an active role in shaping public policy debates that affect our clients. Our experts are regularly asked to advise policy makers, and we are partners of the World Economic Forum as well as active members of industry associations such as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the American Chamber of Commerce. More broadly, we provide intellectual, financial and legal support for policy-influencing think tanks such as Bruegel, Chatham House, the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and Policy Exchange to name a few.

Legislative process & drafting

The public policy practice regularly advises on the process of EU and UK legislation, including the choice of procedure, the timing of legislation and the Parliamentary stages as well as on the institutions and how they operate. Understanding it is crucial to influencing emerging legislation.

Procedural and vires issues are particularly relevant when considering subordinate legislation, which is vulnerable to judicial review.

Our public policy lawyers have drafted UK Private Members' Bills, as well as amendments to be tabled to government Bills along with Speaking Notes and Explanatory Notes and amendments to proposed EU legislation.

European Union internal market issues

The Internal Market of the EU is the largest global free market encompassing over 500 million people generating around £11 trillion worth of economic activity. It provides for the free movement of goods, services, people and capital.

If you are based in the EU you should in theory be able to market your products anywhere else in the EU. It is often however not that simple - barriers and restrictions still persist and the public policy team can advise on how to most effectively take advantage of the Internal Market.

European Union infringement proceedings

The public policy practice advises on infringement proceedings against EU Member States. 

The European Commission monitors the compliance of the 28 EU Member States with EU law. If it considers that a country has not fulfilled its obligations, for example because of incorrect, incomplete or late transposition of EU legislation, it can take action against that country. Ultimately, these proceedings can culminate in the Commission bringing the matter before the Court of Justice.

Anyone may lodge a complaint with the Commission against a Member State about any EU measure (law, regulation or administrative action) or practice which is considered incompatible with EU law. We advise clients on the process for submitting a complaint, as well as on what action to take with respect to complaints that have been submitted by others.

Political intelligence and monitoring

Having the right information at the right time goes to the heart of any effective political advocacy campaign, assists in the development of business strategy and risk assessment.

Being in the best possible position to shape policy-making demands an awareness of regulatory developments at the earliest stage, before irreversible decisions have been taken.

We provide electronic monitoring services tailored to your needs. Our regular client briefings on EU institutional developments ensure you are kept up-to-date with the very latest information and analysis.

Through our engagement with key think tanks and the policy events that are organised and hosted by the firm we provide opportunities for more informal intelligence gathering and dialogue.

Public consultations and policy papers

Public consultations and policy papers lie at the heart of public policy work and provide vital opportunities for organisations to provide input into the policy process. The public policy practice assists clients in preparing responses to consultations and in alerting clients to the implications of government proposals.

The combination of legal and policy expertise ensures that the responses are targeted, informed and effective. Public policy lawyers have recently drafted a UK government consultation exercise (at the request of officials) along with a draft Bill. The public policy practice can also advise on the legal aspects of consultations, including possible legal challenges and statutory requirements.

The public policy practice plays a key role in coordinating submissions made by Clifford Chance on a range of issues of relevance to the firm as a significant global business in its own right.

Clifford Chance also regularly submits comments to UK and European Commission consultations in a variety of areas, including financial services, competition law, contract law and others.

The firm is also actively engaged in raising the profile of legal services in multilateral trade negotiations, and in identifying the difficulties faced by large international firms in practising in a number of jurisdictions.