(L-R) Gowling WLG partner Gus Wood, director Ravi Randhawa and partner John Cooper with awards judge Caroline Hill, editor-in-chief of Legal IT Insider

Finalists: Addleshaw Goddard; Ashurst; Bircham Dyson Bell; Burges Salmon (highly commended); CMS; Herbert Smith Freehills (highly commended); Hogan Lovells.

Gowling WLG secured the energy and infrastructure of the year award in recognition of its work helping the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) develop the regulations underpinning the government’s £11bn smart metering programme (which aims to install smart gas and electricity meters in about 30 million domestic and small business premises across Great Britain by the end of 2020).

Drawing on the firm’s knowledge of how existing regulation works in the energy sector (based on a complex set of statutes, licences and regulated multi-party agreements), as well as its expertise in consumer protection (vital for regulating suppliers’ interactions with energy consumers) and economic regulations, Gowling worked closely with BEIS lawyers and policymakers to draft a new regulatory framework.

That resulted in the Smart Energy Code, which establishes most of the rules and governance arrangements for smart metering.

Developing the framework over a six-year period involved multiple drafts and extensive consultations with the energy industry and the wider public, before being subject to parliamentary scrutiny – all of which proceeded without legal challenge.

“A project with a big national scope that will make a big impact and they needed a lot of expertise in different areas,” noted a judge.