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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Scotland > Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: general > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Crime: general
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

'Truly deserving its high ranking', Beltrami & Co Ltd is recognised by clients and peers alike for its 'strong' criminal defence offering, acting for clients in various complex criminal issues. Gary McAteer heads the team, which includes the highly regarded Murray Macara QC; he is noted for his 'extensive expertise in criminal law'.

Practice head(s):Gary McAteer

Other key lawyers:Murray Macara

Following the dissolution of Capital Defence Lawyers in October 2018, the 'first class practitioner' John Scott QC founded the eponymous criminal defence practice John Scott QC Solicitor Advocate, which handles the full spectrum of criminal defence work including sexual violence (including historic sexual abuse cases) and murder.

Practice head(s):John Scott QC


'John Scott QC is highly recommended, he is thorough and diligent and no one is ever disappointed with his work.'

'John Scott's preparation of cases is extremely thorough; he exhibits a detailed and perspective understanding of his brief and shows excellent court craft.'

'John Scott brings three decades of experience to the table and combines brilliant advocacy with meticulous preparation.'

'Anyone who instructs John can do so in the knowledge that they will obtain the best the Scottish Criminal Bar has to offer.'

Work highlights

  • Represented the Lord Advocate on behalf of the Spanish Government in an extradition matter in which, Spain recalled the European Arrest Warrant.
  • Instructed as senior counsel in a trial, which involved allegations against a retired casualty consultant with a large amount of ammunition and firearms which he had reactivated to carry out his planned revenge attack on former colleagues in the NHS.
  • Acted at trial as senior counsel for this accused, who was accused of multiple rapes and offences of violence, including a charge of attempted murder.
  • Acted as senior counsel in trial of Edinburgh University student facing multiple rape allegations.

'Providing exceptional personal service', MTM Defence Lawyers covers the whole spectrum of criminal defence work, representing clients in all courts against allegations of domestic violence, serious sexual offences and murder. This 'great expertise' also leads to a regular stream of referrals from large law firms in Scotland and beyond. The 'extremely personable, responsive and professional' Neil Hay heads the Edinburgh office, while Murray Aitken is the main contact in Falkirk and Martin Morrow in Glasgow.

Practice head(s):Neil Hay; Murray Aitken; Martin Morrow


'Provides excellent service.'

'The firm covers all courts in Scotland and does so even in urgent cases with little or no notice.'

'Neil Hay won't be deflected from what really matters.'

'Neil Hay works hard to get the best results for his clients.'

'Extremely hard working and dedicated team.'

'Neil Hay is a cool methodical lawyer who will leave no stone unturned.'

Work highlights

  • Instructed to defend a member of a religious organisation against serious sexual historical allegations going back over decades including various cross-border elements.
  • Instructed to defend the client against the initial allegation of rape, which turned into two trials: one for assault and one for stalking; the client was acquitted from both.
  • Instructed to represent an IT consultant charged with an assault; the case was discontinued following prove, based on detailed CCTV analysis, that the complainer was the aggressor.
  • Acted in a sheriff and jury case involving 12 accused and 25 charges on the indictment. MTM’s client appeared on 12 of the charges concerning serious assaults and wilful fire-raising.
  • Defended a long-distance lorry driver against allegations of serious assault on one of his co-workers; the client was acquitted.

Specialist criminal defence practice Adams Whyte represents clients across the whole of Scotland against various criminal allegations. Key individuals include Ewen Roy and Kevin Dugan in Edinburgh and Gerry Bann in Livingstone.

Practice head(s):Ewen Roy; Kevin Dugan; Gerry Bann

The team at Livingstone Brown is led by Stuart Munro, who has notable expertise in child protection cases, but the team is also well placed to defend clients against various criminal allegations, including the most serious ones.

Practice head(s):Stuart Munro

Other key lawyers:Gerard Brown

Bridge Litigation UK handles criminal prosecutions in courts throughout Scotland including road traffic cases, breach of the peace, assault and shoplifting, among others.

Clare Bone and Vikki Watt jointly head the team at BTO Solicitors LLP, which stands out for its 'vast expertise' in representing prison officers accused of various criminal charges such as on-duty assault and sexual offences but the team including the 'excellent' Alasdair Gillies also acts for other individuals and receives regular instructions arising from dangerous driving allegations.

Practice head(s):Clare Bone; Vikki Watt

Other key lawyers:Alasdair Gillies


'The firm has strong and effective relationships with the Prosecutor Fiscal Service.'

'Communication is exceptional.'

'Team members are personable, friendly, professional and efficient.'

'Clare Bone and Vikki Watt are exceptional.'

Key Clients

Prison Officers Association Scotland (POA)

Scottish Police Federation

Work highlights

  • Acted for a prison officer accused of assaulting a prisoner.
  • Successfully represented a retiree at trial in respect of an allegation of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Central Court Lawyers is experienced in representing clients at every stage of police investigations and criminal prosecutions. Parole Board of Scotland member Ian Bryce is the main contact.

Practice head(s):Ian Bryce

Levy & McRae has particular expertise in defending police officers against allegations of on and off-duty offences alongside road traffic prosecutions but the team also acts for other individuals, including high-profile clients, in a wide range of criminal allegations, including the most serious ones. Callum Anderson and David McKie jointly head the team.

Practice head(s):Callum Anderson; David McKie

Key Clients

Scottish Police Federation

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS)

Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS)

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of Alex Salmond, the former First Minister of Scotland, in relation to a series of highly publicised serious criminal allegations.
  • Acting on behalf of a serving police officer accused of rape whilst off duty.
  • Acting on behalf of a member of the fostering network in relation to allegations of serious sexual offences when the accused was a child against other children.
  • Acting on behalf of a serving police officer accused of attempted murder of his wife who was also a serving police officer and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

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