UK National Security Group

We guide companies and investors through the UK’s new investment screening regime introduced by the UK National Security and Investment Act 2021 (the “Act”). We help clients avoid surprises that can delay or derail deals impacting 17 "high risk" areas of the UK economy* that give rise to a risk to national security.

We advise on all aspects of the mandatory and voluntary notification regimes under the Act, including the application of the mandatory notification requirement and the risk of a “call-in notice” being issued by the Secretary of State (up to five years after closing). We have the knowledge and experience to proactively prepare notifications and advise on timelines and procedure, and the expertise to negotiate mitigation measures to avoid a transaction being void, blocked or unwound.

The Act has decisive impact on both UK and foreign companies and investors seeking to invest in companies or assets active in the UK, in any of the identified "high risk" areas of the economy – which include artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, data infrastructure, energy, synthetic biology, quantum technologies, and more. Transaction parties can face criminal sanctions for failure to comply with the mandatory notification regime. Where the transaction does not meet the mandatory notification criteria, parties may make a voluntary notification where they want to be certain that the Secretary of State will not call-in the transaction.

We've developed Orrick’s UK NSI Assessment Tool, a free-of-charge resource to assess whether your transaction falls within scope of the new mandatory notification regime.

We have deep insight into the developing landscape, closely monitoring the progression of the Act since the UK Government’s White Paper was published in 2018. We work closely with members of the Investment Security Unit (“ISU”) within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (“BEIS”), who are administering the Act.

Our representative experience includes preparing informal representations to the ISU prior the Act’s commencement and advising UK and foreign investors and companies on the application of the Act in a broad range of areas including artificial intelligence, computing hardware, cryptographic authentication, defence, energy, finance and synthetic biology.

*17 “High Risk” Areas of the Economy:
  • Advanced materials
  • Advanced robotics
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Civil nuclear
  • Communications
  • Computing hardware
  • Critical suppliers to government
  • Cryptographic authentication
  • Data infrastructure
  • Defence
  • Energy
  • Military/dual-use technologies
  • Quantum technologies
  • Satellite and space technologies
  • Suppliers to the emergency services
  • Synthetic biology
  • Transport