About Us

VWV is a full service commercial law firm acting for public, private and third sector clients nationally.  We operate from offices in London, Watford, Birmingham and Bristol.

As national leaders in the HE sector, our dedicated HE team has direct and specialist knowledge and advises over 60 HE sector clients throughout England and Wales.  Our HE expertise is complemented by our experience of advising clients in the wider education sector, including schools, academies and FE colleges, and in other sectors, including public sector and charities.

We are recommended in both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners directories, with the Legal 500 commenting "VWV are highly responsive and flexible.  Their deep understanding of the HE sector sets them apart from their competitors.  Advice is always delivered in an accessible manner and a timely fashion".

Our recent reappointment to the National Legal Services Framework's one stop shop lot reaffirms our position as one of the leading firms advising the HE sector.

We advise higher education clients on all aspects of their operations including international projects, procurement and subsidy control, funding arrangements, employment, capital projects, real estate, student issues, governance, charity law, commercial issues and intellectual property matters.

Our higher education team is well-known for finding pragmatic and commercial solutions, with a focus on helping clients understand and manage risk. Our understanding of the higher education sector is enhanced by secondments to university clients, engagement with sector organisations and  governance roles undertaken by partners, all of which enables us to advise from a broader perspective.

Some of the issues we have recently advised on which may be of interest to BUFDG members include:

  • Advising on capital projects, property developments and investments, ensuring funding and deals are structured to optimise the tax position and manage commercial risks.
  • Advising on registration with the Office for Students, including student protection plans, consumer law compliance and tuition fee refund and compensation policies.
  • Advising on primary and non-primary purpose trading activities.
  • Advice on procurement and state aid/subsidy control issues including structuring major projects, advising on setting up and call offs from framework agreements, designing procurement processes and advising on challenges.
  • Advising universities on their corporate structures and on relationships with their subsidiaries, including intra-group arrangements, loss-making operations and tax issues.
  • Advising on bids for funding, fundraising and sponsorship.
  • Advising on the consolidation of endowment funds and the use of statutory powers under the Charities Act 2011 to change charitable purposes and spend permanent endowment.
  • Advising on IT contracts ranging from major software implementation to ongoing support for infrastructure and network replacement projects.
  • Advising on franchises, collaborations, partnerships and joint ventures both within the UK and overseas.
  • Advising on projects relating to universities' enterprise activities, including joint venture and subsidiary company arrangements.
  • Advising on universities' investment management arrangements, including the procurement of discretionary investment managers and developing policies in relation to ethical investment and total return.
  • Advising on investment and cash management agreements to ensure the university is  acting intra vires.


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