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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

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Beltrami & Co Ltd’s group comprises ‘some of the leading criminal defence lawyers in Scotland’. The group is led by Gary McAteer, who is supported by the ‘able’ Murray Macara. The firm is often instructed on an array of serious and high profile criminal cases, with particular experience handling murder and sexual offence trials.

The ‘well-regarded’ team at Capital Defence Lawyers is recognised for its High Court, Appeals Court and Supreme Court representations in a broad range of criminal cases. Highlights for the ‘very able’ John Scott include the defence of Harry Clarke in the high profile Glasgow Bin Lorry case, successfully arguing against an attempt to obtain a private prosecution at the High Court. Scott also successfully represented the Master of a Faroese fishing vessel charged with food safety breaches, resulting in a significantly reduced plea at the Court of Appeals. John Keenan heads the firm’s specialist appeals unit; recognised for possessing ‘a range of skills that make him ideally placed to deal with complex criminal cases’. Colm Dempsey and Cameron Tait are also recommended for instructions at the Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Glasgow boutique, Livingstone Brown is noted for its ability to ‘quickly put together an excellent team’ to defend the spectrum of criminal cases, including minor breaches of the peace, statutory offences, murders and sexual crimes. The firm has notable expertise in the technological aspects of criminal defence. It is also well placed to handle civil litigation arising from criminal matters. The ‘able and hardworking’ +Stuart Munro has considerable experience in child protection cases, and is a key figure in the practice, alongside +Gerald Brown (whose ‘genial demeanour belies a razor-sharp wit’). The firm has extensive experience in dealing with high-profile clients, recently defending an individual at trial against allegations of perjury, in a case involving media monitoring and representations to the Crown about inappropriate reporting.

The ‘excellent’ team at MTM Defence Lawyers stands out for its ability to offer ‘solid support’ to clients facing a wide variety of criminal charges, with particular expertise in cases involving serious sexual offences and domestic violence. The firm also regularly takes on appeals, often referred by other firms. ‘Outstanding, with a reassuring manner’, Neil Hay leads the practice and has extensive High Court experience; Martin Morrow specialises in high-profile violence and disorder cases and appeals; the ‘compassionate and professional’ Murray Aitken focuses on cases involving young people and people whose first language is not English. Also recommended are Associate Solicitor, Lynn Swan (who regularly deals with road traffic offences) and criminal defence solicitor Hazel McGuinness, who is experienced in jury trial defence that involves assault, drugs and sexual offences.

Adams Whyte  is a boutique criminal defence firm based across Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy and Livingstone with notable experience handling murder, drugs and serious sexual offence cases. Ewen Roy, who often acts as lead and junior counsel, successfully represented an individual charged with attempted murder of his partner, leading to a lesser charge and reduced sentence. Roy and Kevin Dugan represented a client in relation to a large scale covert police operation concerning drugs supply and serious organised crime, resulting in all charges being dropped against the client. Other highlights included a case involving an allegation of ‘shaken baby syndrome’ and a spate matter involving historic rape allegations. Gerry Bann  is another key practitioner.

BTO Solicitors LLP  has built on its substantial health and safety practice and expanded into general criminal representations, underpinned by an experienced team of criminal lawyers. The practice is led by Clare Bone , whose clients include a significant number of high profile professionals and those facing historic abuse allegations. Alasdair Gillies  continues to act for the membership of the Prison Officers Association Scotland, handling criminal cases arising in both on and off duty circumstances. Vikki Watt  is currently acting for two companies suspected of breaching the Corporate Homicide and Corporate Manslaughter Act. Associate David Cairns has a wealth of experience defending clients with charges relating to terrorism, firearms and financial crime; he successfully defended a client in extradition proceedings.

KM Law has an outstanding industry reputation for its criminal defence and prosecution work. The practice is led by co-founding partners, Paul Kavanagh and Neil McShane , whose skill and influence clients attribute to the firm’s growth. McShane successfully defended William Steele, an associate of a Glasgow Rangers footballer accused of extortion and threats of violence, at trial; in a case that ended in an acquittal on all counts. In addition to more traditional criminal defence work, the duo have a niche in defending clients in Offensive Behaviour at Football Act cases. Kavanagh represented the families of three victims of the Glasgow bin lorry tragedy in a fatal accident inquiry into the incident.

Bridge Litigation UK  is most known for handling road traffic offences, but is also equipped to deal with fatal accident inquiries, health and safety offences, extradition proceedings and criminal appeals. JP Mowberry and Liam O’Donnell are the key practitioners.

Experienced criminal solicitor-advocate Ian Bryce leads Central Court Lawyers’ team, which handles a wide range of criminal cases. The team has extensive experience in representing clients at the High Court of the Justiciary. Neil Robertson, who leads on issues at the Sheriff Court, is another key contact.

Dentons handles the gamut of criminal matters for a number of senior corporate executives and sporting professionals. Douglas Blyth  recently acted for Hibernian FC player, Martin Boyle, in connection with a road traffic prosecution. Blyth is handling a separate case involving a professional footballer facing breach of the peace charges. Eleanor Kerr’s highlights included representing the executors of an estate before the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in connection to the alleged murder of the deceased. Michael Dean is also recommended for his extensive criminal defence experience.

Wilson McLeod defends clients before the Justice of the peace Court, Sheriff Court and the High Court of the Justiciary in cases concerning assault, murder, sexual offences, robbery, housebreaking and computer crime. Stuart Carson is the key contact.

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