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Commercial litigation

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

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Brodies LLP fields nine solicitor advocates, including Christine O’Neill, who defended Transport Scotland at the Inner House of the Court of Session in a case concerning an alleged breach of public procurement rules. Other recommended individuals are Joyce Cullen and Iain Rutherford. Matthew Farrell and Charles Livingstone made partner in 2015, and Derek Stillie was appointed as a specialist sports law litigator.

Burness Paull’s team ‘gets results’ and has represented clients such as Royal Bank of Scotland, Wood Group and Stewart Milne Group. Gary Moffat is representing Vodafone in litigation that has UK-wide ramifications for all telecoms operators working under the Telecommunications Code. The ‘knowledgeable and charming’ Philip Rodney is recommended along with Joanna Fulton, Neil Smith and Colin Hulme.

CMSColin Hutton was lead adviser to the directors and shareholders of Braid Group in a groundbreaking case involving an interplay of bribery/corruption and future unfair prejudice remedies. In 2015, Pieter Bekker, Shona Frame and Robin Hutchison joined from Steptoe & Johnson LLP, MacRoberts LLP and Pinsent Masons LLP, respectively. Gemma Lampert relocated to Edinburgh from London. Lorna Sibbald left the firm. Hutton and Rob Wilson head the practice.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s expertise spans a wide range of areas, including corporate, health and safety, and product liability litigation. Craig Connal QC is defending Diageo Scotland Limited in a high-value group claim involving over 1,000 home owners across Central Scotland. Laura Cameron, Jim Cormack and Jacqueline Harris are other first-rate practitioners. Bruce Craig, who joined from Mackinnons, leads the Aberdeen litigation team.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s John MacKenzie is representing Ernst & Young in a $300m fraud investigation involving three offshore companies. ‘Very focused and determined lawyerElaine Brailsford and accredited commercial litigation specialist Barbara Bolton are also recommended.

Anderson Strathern’s diverse client base includes banks, football clubs and government departments. A group led by Katrina Lumsdaine recently acted for Rangers International Football Club (and its subsidiary) in a number of high-profile actions, including a claim brought by former chairman Charles Green. Fraser Geddes leads the team, which in 2015 handled three cases in the Supreme Court.

HBJ Gateley has seen an uptick in professional negligence, warranty claims and shareholder disputes. Elsewhere, the firm’s contentious banking work is on the increase. Practice head Simon Catto is one of four solicitor-advocates in the team, which houses other key names Stuart Clubb*, Gordon Steele and Alan Sinclair. Lynsey Walker is also recommended. *Since publication, Stuart Clubb has joined Shoosmiths.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s clients include SMEs, individuals, insurance companies and banks. Tim Edward recently successfully represented the trustees of Rex Procter & Partners Retirement Benefits Scheme in a professional negligence case against Scottish Widows. Edward’s team includes the ‘level-headedDouglas Blyth and Rona Hutchison. Frank Johnstone joined from McClure Naismith LLP in 2015.

Morton Fraser acts for public sector clients (including the Scottish government), listed companies, banks and high-net-worth individuals. Kenneth Carruthers has vast experience in commercial disputes, including public procurement matters. Solicitor advocate Richard McMeeken regularly appears before the Sheriff Courts and Court of Session. Maggie Moodie leads the team.

BTO Solicitors LLP’s workload spans areas such as banking and finance, renewable energy and construction. Grant Hunter, Tony Jones and Ross Campbell are representing HWEnergy in a dispute with Highland Council over a biomass heating contract. Robin Macpherson joined from Brodies LLP in 2015.

At Balfour+Manson LLP, Elaine Motion’s team includes dual-qualified partner Gordon Deane, who has a particular specialism in claims against banks over mis-sold interest rate hedging products. David Flint handles contract and partnership disputes, professional negligence, among other matters. David Short is also recommended.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP has recently represented Chinese corporates in a number of high-value matters. Hazel Moffat is defending Sinopec at the Court of Session in a £150m action brought by a Norwegian former manager of an oil rig located in the North Sea. Moffat co-heads the practice with arbitration law expert Alistair Drummond.

In 2015, Harper Macleod LLP expanded significantly in Edinburgh; E-Ming Fong, John McHugh and Suzanne McGarrigle joined from McClure Naismith LLP. In addition, Jennifer Jack arrived from DWF. The firm also serves clients from its Glasgow and Inverness offices. Rod McKenzie’s team acts for clients such as Santander and Optical Express, and also has a strong public sector following. David Kerr is ‘a rising star’ and Sandy Hastie is ‘as good as it gets for commercial litigation’.

Julie Hamilton’s group at MacRoberts LLP is experienced in conducting matters before the Sheriff Courts and Court of Session. Gillian Craig’s caseload includes matters involving directors’ disqualifications, high-value contractual disputes, banking litigation and professional negligence. Leon Breakey is also recommended.

Clyde & Co LLP launched in Scotland following its merger with Simpson & Marwick in October 2015, and bolstered its offering in commercial and insurance litigation. Peter Anderson’s team includes Charles McGregor, who is experienced in shareholder disputes and professional negligence (including professional discipline) cases. Gavin Henderson and Andrew Constable are other names to note.

DWF handles contentious matters in areas such as food and drink, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and energy. Euan McSherry and others are defending Pfizer in a product liability case originally involving 80 litigants. Brent Haywood and Jennifer Jack departed for Lindsays and Harper Macleod LLP, respectively.

Gilson Gray’s Iain Clark specialises in high-value international arbitration, particularly in areas such as construction, renewables, and oil and gas. Steven Jansch undertakes insolvency-related litigation, while Alex Garioch is recommended for contentious construction matters. Garioch, Rosie Walker and five other fee-earners joined from Morisons LLP in 2015.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP’s Aberdeen office handles oil and gas related disputes, as well as contentious construction and insolvency matters. The firm’s Edinburgh office mainly deals with insurance and commercial contract disputes. Graeme Edward’s team includes Sarah Stuart, John Chalmers and Timothy Thomas.

Douglas Millar leads Lindsays’ team, which handles disputes across a wide range of sectors, including real estate, healthcare and education. Paul Harper handled a dispute with HMRC over levy payments. Brent Haywood joined from DWF.

MBM Commercial has ‘a strong reputation for taking on cases for the little guy’, bringing and defending actions against major banks and financial institutions. In 2015, Cat Maclean successfully represented the defendant in the landmark Supreme Court case of Royal Bank of Scotland v Carlyle, in which the bank was held to be in breach of a contractual promise to lend. Iain McDougall has ‘a sharp mind’.

At Stronachs LLP, Aberdeen-based practice head Robert McDonald is experienced in domestic and international arbitration, and various other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Robert McDiarmid handles commercial disputes within the construction and energy sectors. Colin Sandilands is a key name in Inverness.

Debt recovery

Who Represents Who

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Rob Aberdein heads Aberdein Considine’s team, which represents financial services clients including Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and Nationwide. The firm, which has ‘advanced cash collection techniques’, also increasingly handles public sector mandates, including work for NHS Grampian. Leonie Donald is another key name in the group, which advises on compliance, regulation and conduct risk, in addition to undertaking recoveries work.

Brodies LLP handles matters ranging from standard undefended cases to high-value and sensitive matters for clients such as insolvency practitioners, banks and debt purchasers. It covers every step of the recovery process, from pre-legal collection to post-judgment enforcement. Stephen Goldie’s team includes Iain Rutherford and Ricky Cannon. David Whyte has retired.

In addition to acting for public sector clients, such as the Department for Work and Pensions, Harper Macleod LLP attracts work from housing sector entities, and acts for more than 45 registered social landlords. Practice head Dawn McKenzie has more than 25 years’ experience in the debt recovery arena.

Morton Fraser undertakes traditional secured and unsecured recoveries matters for financial institutions, and also has a niche specialism in motor finance. Other pillars of the firm’s practice are its work for public sector clients, and recoveries work in England. Maggie Moodie leads the team.

At Shoosmiths, practice head Rod Macphail reaps praise from clients; ‘there is little in the area of debt recovery that he does not know’. Macphail’s group acts for a wide base of clients, including public sector bodies, financial institutions and large corporates. Solicitor advocate Andrew Foyle is recommended. Rhona Cuthbert joined from HBJ Gateley.

Ascent Legal Scotland, Irwin Mitchell Scotland’s debt recovery arm, deals with all aspects of pre-legal collections, mediation, litigation, post-judgment enforcement and mortgage lender services. Myra Scott is the main contact at the firm.

Led by Grant Hunter, BTO Solicitors LLP’s team undertakes secured and unsecured recoveries work for clients such as American Express, Woolwich plc and Coface UK. Dorothy Hatfield is recommended, along with solicitor advocate Tony Jones. Robin Macpherson joined from Brodies LLP in 2015.

TLT’s Tom McEntegart is vastly experienced in undertaking litigation and recoveries work for banking and corporate clients. John Paul Sheridan is another name to note in the group, which acts for clients such as Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays Bank. The firm also acts for public sector entities such as housing associations and local authorities.

Anderson Strathern focuses on acting for banks and other financial institutions, and also advises public sector bodies and SMEs. Elizabeth Smartt assists Northern Lighthouse Board with recovering light dues under the Merchant Shipping Act from vessel owners and shipping agents. Senior associate Claire Martin is experienced in high-value and defended banking litigation cases. Joan Devine joined HBJ Gateley.

HBJ Gateley acts for clients such as SMEs, local authorities and banks. It also undertakes a significant amount of work in the social housing sector. The team has three solicitor advocates: Stuart Clubb, Simon Catto and Alan Sinclair. Joan Devine joined from Anderson Strathern, while Rhona Cuthbert recently joined Shoosmiths.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP deals with commercial and consumer debt recovery, motor finance law and Financial Conduct Authority compliance issues, among other matters. In 2015, Frank Johnstone and ten other practitioners joined from McClure Naismith LLP.

MacRoberts LLP handles mandates across a wide range of industries, but has a particular focus on construction, food and drink, and property. In 2015, Leon Breakey acted for construction consultancy Waterman Infrastructure & Environment in a high-value matter. Other clients include The Belhaven Group, Cloburn Quarry Company and SealEco.

Elaine Brailsford heads Shepherd and Wedderburn’s practice, which primarily focuses on debt recovery matters in the financial services and real estate sectors. Clients include Prontoport, Paragon Mortgages and Campbell Dallas.

Telfer Blacklock is the main contact at Blacklocks, which has a particular focus on debt recovery.

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