Paul Hirst is Head of the Transport Sector Group at Addleshaw Goddard with over 20 years' experience. He is rated as one of the UK's top transport lawyers with an unrivalled breadth of experience in the sector including rail infrastructure schemes, development of business cases in accordance with DfT and Treasury guidance, light rail schemes, heavy rail franchising, rolling stock procurement and leasing and advising a range of public and private sector clients. Paul also has international experience where he has worked on transport schemes in Europe and the GCC in particular. 


Paul's relevant experience includes advising:

  • The Department for Transport (DfT) on the West Coast Partnership franchise competition. This is a fascinating project not least because it includes many novel elements to reflect the switch from an InterCity West Coast franchise to one that incorporates services on HS2 when Phase 1 completes. This has included a review of the procurement and contract documents for the HS2 fleet and drafting specific provisions to address the interface between the delivery of the rolling stock and the provision of passenger services. 
  • The DfT on the HS2 and East West Rail Development Agreements between the Secretary of State and the East West Rail Company and HS2 Limited. Paul leads an experienced delivery team; his role focusses on strategic issues and structuring advice based on the various delivery and phasing options of the two projects giving him insight into latest thinking and policy and the issues faced by Government in assessing and implementing these transformational schemes. 
  • Hitachi Rail on projects to supply and maintain new fleets of bi-mode Class 800/AT300 trains to First Great Western, First TransPennine Express, Hull Trains and East Coast Trains including the supply and maintenance documents and related depot arrangements.
  • Keolis UK/Amey Rail on its successful bids for the Docklands Light Railway and Manchester Metrolink O&M concessions.
  • The Agility Trains Consortium (comprising Hitachi and John Laing) in relation to the DfT's £5.4bn Intercity Express Programme and the first heavy rail rolling stock PPP in the UK. Of particular note, Paul led on the £500 million+ infrastructure package of works comprising major infrastructure upgrades and delivery of a series of new and redeveloped depots. Paul advised on all aspects of the structuring of the arrangements, regulatory approvals, liaison with planning advisors and management of stakeholders including the ORR. 
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority on its programme of rail enhancements including four new rail stations.
  • Merseytravel on the production of an SOBC and the development of an OBC in relation to the services options available under the Bus Services Act including franchising and Enhanced Partnerships.
  • West Midlands Combined Authority on its appraisal of options and business case development under the Bus Services Act.
  • Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai on all aspects of its proposals to privatise the provision of bus services in Dubai working as part of a multi-disciplinary advisory team.
  • The Olympic Delivery Authority in relation to all Olympic transport projects required as part of the Olympic Transport Plan. This included the funding arrangements and design and implementation contracts with Network Rail, Docklands Light Railway, London Underground Limited and London Continental Railways with a value of over £1bn. Paul fostered a collaborative approach with a broad range of stakeholders and developed a governance structure focused on successful integration of the works with an operational environment comprising heavy rail, Tube and DLR networks and the interface with the Westfield shopping centre. 
  • French (conversational)
Professional Memberships
  • Paul is Chair of the Transport and Connectivity Committee of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership
  • Paul is a member of Leeds City Council's Connecting Leeds Expert Advisory Council
  • Paul is a member of the Expert Advisory Panel to the Institute of Transport Studies, Leeds University

Paul has recently been presented the title of Transport Individual (based outside London) of the Year 2020 at the Legal 500 UK 2020 awards, with feedback from clients interviewed stating: 

"Paul Hirst has an impressive level of understanding and engagement with the rail industry, allowing him to operate at all levels, from matters of specific contract detail up to wider national level debate." And, “He is a hard-working and thorough legal expert; he is easy to communicate with and quickly presents reasoned arguments. A person who exhibits trustworthiness and who clients can rely upon."