John is recognised as a leading procurement and projects lawyer with a track record of advising on high-profile and complex regulated procurements across a number of sectors for a wide range of public and private sector bodies. John is recognised as a leader in his field by Chambers, Legal 500 and Who's Who Legal. John heads the firm’s public sector team and is also chair of various Procurement Lawyers Association working groups. John is also responsible for the firm’s corporate responsibility strategy and activities.

John's extensive experience includes public sector, defence, education, healthcare, energy (including nuclear) and transport (including rail). He advises on commercial, projects, PFI/PPP, public procurement and state aid issues. He is experienced in advising on both contentious and non-contentious matters.

John regularly writes articles and provides training to directors and senior management on commercial and procurement strategy as well as legal and regulatory risk.

  • Advising the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on major projects including: leading the team advising on the reorganisation of Sellafield Limited; leading the team on the disposal to the private sector of the Capenhurst and Springfields nuclear businesses. advising on competitions for decommissioning of Dounreay nuclear site; and advising on the sales of Bradwell, Wylfa, Sellafield and Oldbury sites for new nuclear development.
  • Advising the Home Office on its Disclosure and Barring Service BPO/IT procurement.  The competition was run as a pilot to introduce the Cabinet Office's "Lean Procurement" initiative.  It was regarded by the Government as a 'pathfinder' project for future Whitehall procurements.
  • Procurement lead on the team advising Eurostar on its successful defence of a procurement challenge by a large train manufacturer. This related to the purchase by Eurostar of a new generation fleet of cross border very high speed trains.
  • Other clients include the Welsh Government, Department for Education, Ministry of Defence, Department for Transport, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Environment Agency, Babcock, FirstGroup and Ofcom.

What others say...

John Houlden is very pragmatic, responsive and considers issues from all angles. Also a pleasure to work with.

Legal 500 2023