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

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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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