Higher Education Corporate Legal Services
Our team of specialist corporate lawyers provide an extensive range of corporate services to our higher education clients. We are committed to working with our clients to provide them with practical, commercial solutions to complex and technical issues.
HE Corporate Transactions
The volume and quality of the transactions upon which we have advised in recent years is evidence of the depth and breadth of expertise within the team. Although we typically advise on corporate deals with a value between £1million and £10million, we regularly advise clients on deals falling both above and below those parameters, in recent years we have advised clients in connection with deals valued at over £300 million.
We also have a track record of advising clients on cross border corporate matters and our membership of the Association of European Lawyers enables us to quickly and seamlessly deliver advice to clients on all corporate matters with a European dimension.
Our team has provided advice to a number of university spin out companies on a variety of taxation issues including employee incentives and Enterprise Investment Schemes.
Partnering with Universities
Having acted for a large commercial provider of University student accommodation, we are familiar with the commercial and financial aspects of partnering with universities to operate and manage this type of accommodation, including risk allocation governing nomination arrangements. In particular we have advised on the following:
- Complex nominations procedures with universities. A single development may involve more than one higher education provider with the client acting as integrator of provider rights and risks. Some single provider arrangements have been based on lease-style rights with our client as landlord providing services normally devolved on a tenant.
- Drafting and negotiating IT services agreement between our clients and an IT services provider. The provider contracted to enter into individual service contracts on agreed terms with students. Student end user rights and obligations had to be controlled through the agreement to ensure that our clients did not incur liability direct to students nor breach its obligations to the University to provide the service.
- Drafting and negotiating the outsourcing of facilities management services. As the provider does not generally assume the risk of lettings and costs are an open book plus agreed management fee, the key challenge is to combine service quality controls for our clients with incentives for the FM provider to achieve efficiencies and costs savings. Equally important is the requirement to protect our clients from reputational damage in terms of student safety and welfare at the premises.
Our Corporate Legal Support
Our Finance and Taxation team comprises experienced lawyers across our core operational departments, reflecting the likely breadth of requirements for legal support to cover finance, tax, tender and service contract issues, and debt recovery.
As far as finance and taxation issues are concerned the team has the necessary experience and skill sets to support higer education institutions on:
- Finance and commercial loans, including projects, partnering or joint venture arrangements with third parties to deliver capital investment programmes where outside funding is involved. For instance student accommodation or major estate refurbishment developments.
- Taxation. We can cover the full spectrum of taxation issues likely to affect HEIs, whether in relation to day to day operational activities or strategic or capital projects. Our team can help with the planning process, and welcomes the opportunity to be involved at an early stage to assess whether tax efficient structures may be available to minimise cost.
- Tenders and contracts. Our work across the public sector as well as in Higher Education means we can guide institutions through the procurement process as well as the terms of increasingly complex and long term contracts with outside suppliers for the delivery of services.
- Debt recovery. Strong cash flow is always essential in any organisation and our debt recovery team acts for clients ranging from the largest utility providers through to small businesses to provide a cost effective debt recovery service. It also provides bespoke training to clients to help them minimise the risk of debtor problems arising in the first place.
For further information regarding our corporate legal services, please contact Rob Collier on 0117 314 5472.
VWV have a well-deserved strong reputation within HE sector. They are subject matter experts on equality and diversity and are quick to update on latest reviews and case law. But their real strength is their ability to correlate likely implications and actions needed by HEIs by their developed understanding and knowledge of Higher Education institutions.
- Jacqui Marshall - Deputy Registrar and Director of HR
- University of Exeter