JUVE Law Firm of the year

Environmental and Planning Law

Wind farms cause conflicts

The turnaround in energy policy is in full swing and continues to be one of the main talking points in environmental and planning law. The potential for conflict is especially high when it comes to building new plants, as many wind farm projects are clashing with air traffic control, military and weather service systems. Problems are also arising due to plant overcrowding in the cities, where commerce and industry are moving ever closer together and emission control issues are intensifying.

At the same time, cities are getting more creative when it comes to creating housing space, for instance pushing urban renewal. In Berlin in particular, social housing construction plays an important role and is increasingly posing a challenge to investors and building contractors, as well as municipalities. The foreseeable influence of the EU on major construction projects became apparent in the Ikea proceedings in Brussels, as well as in the cases relating to the Waldschlößchen bridge and the deepening of the Weser River.

Turnaround in energy policy facilitating generation change

For law firms, the turnaround in energy policy offers a broad area of activity for young lawyers to grow into. Clifford Chance and Linklaters, for example, seized the opportunity to install young lawyers in the market in grid expansion issues.

The generation change is also keeping German outfits like Dolde Mayen & Partner, Gaßner Groth Siederer & Coll. and Redeker Sellner Dahs busy. These firms have already taken the first step – appointing young lawyers to partner. When it comes to step two – establishing these partners in the market – they are not quite there yet. Often it is still their renowned predecessors who play the leading role for key clients.

Law firms making the most of sector-specific specialist knowledge

The turnaround in energy policy has plenty in store for firms in terms of work as well. Top-flight environmental practices, such as those at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Gleiss Lutz, Redeker and Dolde, are the go-to advisors for energy utilities in the disputes over the nuclear phase-out. Smaller firms like Heinemann & Partner are cleverly positioning themselves on the side of the German federal government. With specialist expertise in infrastructure projects, CBH is making inroads in the market. Similarly, Luther has established itself in work related to the Renewable Energies Act.


This chapter covers firms that are active in environmental and planning law as well as public planning and construction, which is also largely made up of environmental aspects in addition to approval issues. Interfaces arise with PPP and infrastructure, as well as ?public procurement and ?construction. Environmental law also plays a significant role in the operation of power plants and real estate, e.g. in terms of nature conservation, resource efficiency and emissions trading (interface with ?energy law) and the sale of plants (interface with ?M&A).

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