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Melanie originally trained as a barrister, and worked in industry for Shell and then in publishing for Sweet and Maxwell before qualifying as a solicitor in 1992.

She is listed as a leading individual in Chambers’ Guide to the Legal Profession, is detailed as “highly commended” in the Legal 500 and is listed in the International Directory of Best Lawyers.

Melanie heads a team of specialist lawyers who rank in the top tier nationally in the PFI, Education, Healthcare and Local Government and was promoted to number 1 for PFI and projects in the North by the Legal 500 and recently won HSJ Legal Services Provider of the Year 2019, the Lexis Nexus Client Care Award 2019 and amongst many other awards over recent years won Corporate/Commercial Team of the Year in the 2016 Northern Law Awards.

Melanie has particular expertise in advising on procurement, complex contracting,  PFI/PPP, outsourcing efficiencies, governance and vires as well as travel and tourism.

She was a member of the legal board of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, a Non-Executive Director of Darlington PCT, is Deputy Chair of MIND ( Darlington)  and is a trustee of two other charities one healthcare the other a youth orchestra. She is also a Board Member of the DLA.

Melanie has spoken at many local, national and international events on all of her specialist subjects.


Melanie has completed a significant number of PFI schemes/ PPP outsourcings and advised on many conventional tender exercises particularly for the public sector. She has also assisted a number of public sector clients in resolving long standing issues and disputes on their outsourced contracts.

Her knowledge/ experience have seen her involved in some of the largest, most innovative public sector development schemes in the country including:

  • ARC Arts Centre, Stockton
  • Carlisle Infirmary – refinancing and efficiency review
  • City of Sunderland College – IT outsourcing and new campus
  • Cleveland Police PFI
  • Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – 2 PFI projects including PFI rationalisation and disputes
  • Cornwall NHS – £800m strategic outsourcing over 10 years
  • County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust – 3 PFI schemes, security outsourcing, patientline agreement; energy contract
  • County Durham PCT – Stanley Health Centre PFI
  • Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – Acquisition
  • Cumbria Police PFI and PFI refinancing
  • Derwentside College – relocation and new campus
  • Derwentside District Council – Sports Village
  • Eden Borough Council – Blue collar and leisure management outsourcing
  • Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust – Acquisition and advice on oncology centre
  • Hartlepool Borough Council – BSF
  • Hartlepool Borough Council – ICT outsourcing
  • Gateshead Schools PFI
  • Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust – Covid testing contract
  • Lanchester Road Hospital, Durham – PFI
  • Life Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Luton and Dunstable – new hospital facilities, new energy centre, new entrance, new emergency department
  • Luton and Dunstable – facilities management outsourcing
  • Maltby Joint Service Centre PFI including housing and leisure facilities
  • Newcastle Airport – waste disposal contract
  • Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – Acquisition
  • Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – PFI scheme
  • Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – CHP schemes
  • Newcastle University – department for sustainable environment
  • Newcastle University – oncology
  • NHS London – whole NHS efficiency review
  • NHS Business Services Authority – ICT outsourcing, procurement and contracting
  • North East Ambulance Service – Trading Subsidiary
  • North East London Mental Health Trust – Acquisition
  • North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust – New Hospital, PFI, Combined Heat & Power Plant PFI,
  • North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust – combined heat and power plant PFI
  • North Tyneside Schools PFI (acting for Bidder)
  • North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue PFI
  • Northumbria Healthcare –residences PFI scheme; crèche facilities
  • Nottingham BSF
  • Rothbury Hospital PFI
  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust – FM outsourcing
  • Sedgefield Community Hospital PFI
  • South Tyneside Gateshead Schools BSF (acting initially for Gateshead Council and then for a bidder)
  • Stockton Riverside College – relocation and new campus and housing
  • South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – Acquisition
  • Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust – outsourcing of pharmacy services, West Park Hospital PFI, West park Hospital PFI Buy Back; Roseberry Park Hospital PFI
  • Telford & Wrekin Council – BSF
  • TWDC – various projects including the LIFE Centre
  • University of Durham ICT PFI
  • University of Northumbria – two residences PFI schemes, Coach Lane Campus
  • West Moreland Hospital
  • Workington PFI
  • York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – Acquisition

Melanie assists in managing/ running operational PFI schemes some of which are detailed above.

Guidance Melanie provides regularly relates to  dispute resolution, financing/refinancings, corporate structures, variations, insurance, benchmarking, market testing and procurement processes and challenges.

Melanie has been  involved in many  NHS pathfinder schemes, including the first  PFI buy back  and the first PFI default termination.

More recently, Melanie has been involved in successfully resolving a number of PFI disputes through mediation, adjudication, arbitration and court processes.

What people say

  • Melanie Pears is, par excellence, the doyenne of PFI and related public health legal disputes.

    Legal 500
  • It was a pleasure working with you guys... I think we ended up with a strong contract and robust procurement - evidenced by the FBC sailing through central approvals. Remarkable team effort.

    Kyle McClelland, Project Director, Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • You [Melanie Pears] and your team have played a key role in getting us to where we are now. You have fitted into the team really well and have given us good and pragmatic advice along the way. I have worked with a number of legal firms over the years. My experience is that progress is made when there is a real understanding – both ways – of the issues and context. You and your team have provided this, so very many thanks for your contribution.

    David Hartshorne, Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • My heartfelt thanks for all of your support over the years which I have appreciated and valued greatly. You've given fantastic service to the NHS and this is highly valued. I have appreciated your help and friendship too.

    Michael Smillie, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Melanie Pears is the éminence grise of PFI. There is nothing she does not know about these fiendishly complex contracts.

    Legal 500, Client quote
  • Melanie Pears is a go-to adviser on NHS-related PFI projects.

    Legal 500
  • Melanie Pears 'delivers the goods on a consistent basis'.

    Legal 500

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