Bird & Bird advises Jack Morton on London’s New Year’s Eve event

17 January 2005

International law firm, Bird & Bird has been advising the international public events specialists, Jack Morton Worldwide, on London’s spectacular New Year’s Eve event. “The Marking of Midnight”, a major media production, the climax of which was an Olympic themed fireworks display to see in the new year in London, followed hard on the heels of Jack Morton’s production of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Athens Olympic Games. Bird & Bird also advised Jack Morton on staging these equally spectacular events earlier this year.

The “Marking of Midnight”, which Jack Morton produced for the Greater London Authority and which was televised in full by the BBC, took several months of preparation. Inspired by the Olympics, the event climaxed at midnight when fireworks were set off from barges on the Thames and from the London Eye itself providing a spectacular wheel-of-fire effect. Shell’s Centre on the South Bank provided a backdrop for an Olympic-themed projection. Events such as this involve many interesting details of which the public is unaware – for example, the bells of Big Ben had to be specially amplified so that the midnight chimes would be heard clearly by all along the Embankment above the noise of the 150,000 people who gathered along the South Bank.

Bird & Bird partner Hubert Best has been advising Jack Morton on all the legal aspects of the event, including their agreements and arrangements with the GLA, the many other organisations involved, such as the London Eye, the Metropolitan Police, the BBC, the Port of London Authority, city and local councils. As well as this, their arrangements with the many sub-contractors involved in putting on the event, ranging from the pyrotechnicians and laser specialists to lighting, sound and crowd management, also had to be taken into account. Particularly important considerations included televising the event, thorough risk assessments in light of the pyrotechnics and the nearby crowd, and even the potential for terrorist attacks.

Commenting on the work, Hubert Best said:


“This has been another very exciting project to have worked on with Jack Morton Worldwide, and it is great that the outcome was such a brilliant success. The event was watched by millions of people on TV and, in much the same way as with the Olympic Ceremonies, involved ensuring that Jack Morton was protected at every level and free to concentrate on the practicalities of delivering another first class media event to a big, and very appreciative audience, both live and on TV.”


For more information, please contact Hubert Best on +46 (0) 734 24 20 46 or Larry Cattle on +44 (0) 20 7415 6156.