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United Kingdom > Scotland > Crime, fraud and licensing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Crime: fraud

Brodies LLP provides ‘clear and timely advice’ to well-known businesses on anti-corruption, fraud and modern-day slavery compliance matters. Practice head Paul Marshall is ‘able to cut through complicated law in a way that clients can understand’.

Burness Paull is noted for its handling of dawn raids and internal investigations, among other matters. Ray Gribben advises on Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) matters and fraud prosecutions, and practice head Rona Jamieson’s work includes bribery and sanctions issues.

At the top of the list for white-collar crime’, Livingstone Brown regularly defends in complex fraud, financial crime and bribery trials. Stuart Munro is ‘a tremendously hard worker who always thinks outside the box’.

Pinsent Masons LLP is singled out for its ‘great expertise’ in international bribery issues, and also handles anti-money laundering matters. Tom Stocker represented Brand-Rex, the first business to self-report a breach of the Bribery Act’s requirement to prevent bribery.

The team at CMS advises on bribery matters, as well as internal investigations into fraud and embezzlement. Graeme MacLeod and Colin Hutton are recommended.

Solicitor-advocate Ian Bryce leads the team at Central Court Lawyers, which stands out for its track record in POCA matters.

MTM Defence Lawyers regularly acts for defendants in High Court fraud cases. Key figures include Neil Hay, who has ‘developed a particular niche in mortgage fraud’, and Murray Aitken.

Crime: general

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Murray Macara QC and Gary McAteer are the key figures at Beltrami & Co Ltd. Both act for defendants in high-profile rape and murder trials.

Capital Defence Lawyers handles trial and extradition, and is particularly singled out for its strength in appeals. Key figures include solicitor-advocate John Scott QC, who was instructed in several high-profile murder trials; and the ‘particularly ableJohn Keenan.

At Livingstone Brown, Gerard Brown (who is rated as ‘a wonderful strategist’) and Stuart Munro successfully defended former News of the World editor Andy Coulson in his 2015 perjury trial. Other work includes complex and historical sexual offence cases.

Excellent in all respects’, MTM Defence Lawyers is regularly called on to defend its clients against drug, child pornography and sex offence allegations. Standout individuals include the ‘extremely helpful’ Neil Hay and Martin Morrow, whose ‘ability to identify key issues is very impressive’.

Bridge Litigation UK’s expertise includes appeals and extradition matters. Liam O’Donnell and JP Mowberry head the practice.

Central Court Lawyers is regularly called on to defend in rape, serious violence and motoring offences. Solicitor-advocate Ian Bryce and Neil Robertson are key names.

George More & Co’s practice is led by Richard Souter and Kathleen More. More represented footballer Derek Riordan in an assault case.

McCusker, McElroy & Gallanagh’s Charlie McCusker and Terry Gallanagh represent clients facing serious violent and sexual offence charges.

At Wilson McLeod, solicitor-advocate Stuart Carson defends in serious violent and sexual offence cases.


Brunton Miller is particularly noted for its handling of new licence and review applications, often with a controversial element. Archie MacIver leads the practice, which acts for a number of pub chains and retailers.

Lindsays provides ‘an excellent level of service’, and regularly advises on alcohol and gambling licences. Caroline Loudongives clients confidence at hearings’; she secured a licence against hundreds of objectors for Edinburgh Academical Football Club’s redevelopment of Raeburn Place, which includes several commercial units. Michael McDougall is ‘very commercially astute’. Other clients include Aldi.

Hill Brown Licensing is ‘very professional with an understanding of clients’ business models’. Key figures include the ‘thorough and knowledgeableAudrey Junner, Peter Lawson (whose ‘industry-specific knowledge is outstanding’) and Jack Cummins, who is ‘highly respected across the Scottish market’. Junner and Lawson assisted BrewDog with its first application for an off-licence in Scotland.

Clients give TLTten out of ten’ for work regarding civic licensing, controversial liquor licences and gambling. Stephen McGowan is singled out for his ‘extremely practical and commercial approach’ and represented a number of burger van operators in a challenge to North Lanarkshire Council’s 250m exclusion zone around schools. Legal director Niall Hassard joined from Lindsays.

BTO Solicitors LLP’ ‘strong team’ handles a range of licensing matters including initial applications and transfers of licences. Clients include Lloyds Banking Group, which it advises on the licensing aspects of repossessions. Nicolas McBride leads the team, which includes Graeme Kelly, who joined from DWF.

Harper Macleod LLP is particularly noted for its advice on licensing appeals as well as on initial applications for clients including Lidl and William Hill. Highlights for Andrew Hunter included advising Gett on its entry to the Scottish market.

Morton Fraser provides ‘thorough, prompt and thoughtful advice’ on liquor and taxi licensing. David Hossack’s clients include Edinburgh Beer Factory and Historic Environment Scotland.

Pinsent Masons LLP provides ‘an all-round good service’. Audrey Ferrie is ‘easy to understand and very knowledgeable’ – she is advising Byron on its entry into Scotland. Other clients include major bookmakers.

Shepherd and Wedderburn secured liquor licences for the R&A and Sainsbury’s. Associate and solicitor-advocate Kevin Clancy handles much of the advocacy; Hugh Smith leads the team, which also advises on taxi licensing.

Anderson Strathern’s Jonathan Guy and associate Lesley Johnston appear for local authorities and licensees in premises licence hearings. Clients include West Lothian Council and Scotmid.

Burness Paull’s Elaine Farquharson-Black and senior associate Theresa Hunt advise pubs and hotels on licence applications. Clients include Dominvs Group, which the firm advised on two hotels near Aberdeen Airport.

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