Data Centres


A resilient economy is dependent on reliable digital infrastructure and as the world becomes increasingly reliant on overwhelming volumes of data, the need for storage and data centres surges.

Whether you are a developer, investor, operator, supplier or end-user, you’ll benefit from our unmatched experience of advising a broad range of clients on data centre and smart infrastructure developments over the last two decades.

We’ll bring a combination of our construction, real estate, finance and projects expertise and our reputation in the Technology & Communications sector to the lifecycle of your data centre projects.

Given the international nature of the data centre industry, our team works across borders and draws on the knowledge and experience of more than 70 international lawyers across key practices.

Our credentials are available on request.

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We support our clients through various stages of a data centre project

Site acquisitions and planning

During the planning stage attention must be given to the real estate acquisition as well as the power, carrier and network infrastructure and necessary supply chain resilience. Outline planning is crucial alongside developmental finance, tax, incentives and environmental considerations such as land, acquisition and clean up.

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In the developmental stage attention should be given to design construction, equipment procurement, asset financing, power and carrier infrastructure, tax incentives and developing M&E systems as well as carrying out regulatory risk assessments (this could be equally important to the planning phase).

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Power Strategy

Energy risk and sustainability have become critical issues for data centre owners for various reasons, such as supply costs, increasing concerns about security of supply and closer scrutiny of energy use as a major source of carbon emissions. We assist clients in taking a holistic approach to energy demand management. ESG scrutiny, regulatory and policy pressures coupled with commercial imperatives have led to new technology and business processes.

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During the operational stage the following aspects must be taken into consideration: wholesale leases, service level agreements, power supply and metering, hard/soft supply arrangements, connectivity and peering, cybersecurity and regulatory requirements, facilities management, public procurement, data protection, insolvency and dispute resolution.

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Our team has the capability to advise on all regulatory aspects of the data centre life cycle, including: cybersecurity, sustainability, risk assessment, taxonomy, telecoms/connectivity to support edge cloud and computing, energy, planning – as well as with facilitating and coordinating risk assessments and developing self-regulatory frameworks. Regulatory compliance plays a role in the entire process, from strategic development to the delivery of services.

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Data centres are unlike traditional real estate assets because the income derived from operational services makes up a high proportion of overall income. At this stage consideration must be given to carbon reduction, bulk energy purchase, location choice, intellectual property, cash flow, financial flexibility and regulatory compliance in terms of electronic communications and network information systems regulation.

We can advise on the real estate and corporate disposal of a data centre, as well as manage data protection issues.


The revenue stream generated by operating a data centre can be suitable for project finance. This is typically described as the long-term financing with a non-recourse or limited recourse financing structure. The key characteristic is that the project debt is exclusively repaid by the cash flow generated by the project. Compared to project finance in other sectors, the financing of a data centre also includes elements of real estate finance.

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Tax and tax risk management

The construction or ownership of data centre should be analysed for tax purposes to prevent and remove possible tax risks. Data centres could indeed attract the attention of local tax authorities which may be willing to assess higher tax for the functions performed in a certain territory or assess the presence of a permanent establishment of a foreign entity. In certain countries, the impact of VAT credits shall have to be investigated to prevent cash traps.

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2024 Tech & Comms

Challenges, opportunities and predictions for 2024

Technology and Communications predictions

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Technology and Communications predictions

Sustainability and the EU Taxonomy

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Latest insights

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high vis

Early contractor involvement (ECI) to de-risk the construction of data centres

Jun 12 2024

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coloured paper

Utilising collaborative contracts to increase a successful delivery of data centres

Jun 12 2024

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Colocation – lease or licence?

Jun 12 2024

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Bird & Bird LLP is particularly experienced in advising on IT infrastructure and data centre projects

Legal 500 UK, Real Estate - Construction: Non-Contentious 2023

The firm has a large team of corporate, commercial and telecoms regulatory lawyers who serve a diverse client list that includes managed network and data centre service providers.

Chambers UK- wide, Telecommunications 2023

Bird & Bird boasts a pre-eminent TMT practice across Europe with a strong reputation in the IT and telecommunications spaces. The law firm advises a wide range of global clients on regulatory and commercial mandates, with experience acting on technology- and IP-related disputes.

Chambers Europe-wide, TMT 2023

Bird & Bird understand our needs and interests, and they understand how the nuances of the law need to be translated into business realities.

Chambers Europe-wide, Technology, Media and Telecoms 2022

Possesses a large team of corporate, commercial and telecoms regulatory lawyers who serve a diverse client list that includes managed network and data centre service providers.

Chambers UK-wide, Telecommunications 2022

"Development of international cross-sector and legal practices to become the go-to firm for data centres."

Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards