Peel has outsourced its maritime legal work to Brabners Chaffe Street as part of an ongoing reorganisation of its port operations.
Brabners, based in Liverpool and Manchester, beat seven other firms in a competitive pitch to become sole legal advisor to Peel Ports, the UK's second largest ports group.
The three-year contract includes all employment, commercial litigation, property and planning, corporate, commercial and marine issues across Peel Ports' entire English portfolio including the Mersey Docks & Harbour Company, the Manchester Ship Canal, Port Salford and Medway Ports, and assistance on legal matters relating to the company's businesses in other legal jurisdictions.
As part of the agreement Peel's existing three-strong legal team will move to Brabners Chaffe Street.
"This is an important development for the firm, as it marks a step change in the procurement of full-service legal support for major North West corporates," said Mark Rathbone, partner at Brabners Chaffe Street. "Our appointment preserves the years of specialist legal knowledge of the team that were employed within Peel Ports, but supports this with a wider range of expertise from our existing practice teams."
Alan Barr, finance director of Peel Ports, said: "We've relied upon Brabners Chaffe Street's strong support and guidance for the past fifteen years.
"As we look to grow our business, we need to be able to rely on trusted advisers with a culture that fits ours. Brabners' highly skilled practice teams will provide us with the broad spectrum of services we require, at an extremely high level of professionalism, but with personality."
Peel acquired Mersey Docks & Habour Company, the largest part of the group, in 2005. In 2006, Peel sold a 49% stake in Peel Ports to RREEF, the real estate division of Deutsche Bank for a reported £775m.