Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

United Kingdom > Scotland > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Other

Commercial litigation

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Brodies LLP's team has vast experience in high-profile and business-critical litigation, with its workload spanning areas such as insurance, competition, IP/IT, shipping and pensions, among many other areas. Manus Quigg and Louise Shiels together have nearly 30 years of experience of construction disputes. Practice head Joyce Cullen has a 35-year track record in the commercial disputes arena, with a particular strength in banking and financial services litigation. Reflective of the high quality of the team, it includes a team of solicitor advocates across the offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen (two of whom are standing junior counsel to the Scottish government).  Corporate restructuring and insolvency experts Rachel Grant and consultant Colin McIntosh are acting for the liquidators of RFC 2012 Plc (in liquidation); the matter recently involved a UK Supreme Court appeal on employee benefit trusts used for the benefit of football players and executives. In 2017, Alan Calvert, Odell Milne and associate Adam McKinlay successfully represented a firm of solicitors and its indemnity insurers at the UK Supreme Court in a case arising from the drafting of notices to quit in  agricultural tenancies. Laura McMillan made partner in November 2017. Kenneth MacDonald is a name to note in Aberdeen. Iain Rutherford, Stephen Goldie and Robert Buchan are also recommended. Tony Jones QC joined from BTO Solicitors LLP.

In Aberdeen, Burness Paull LLP's Neil Smith heads up the firm's highly rated offshore oil and gas dispute resolution practice. Glasgow-based Colin Hulme is the overall head of the firm's dispute resolution department, which has strong capabilities in commercial litigation involving sectors such as food and drink, sport, media and retail. Hulme and others are acting for AstraZeneca in four pieces of patent litigation at the Court of Session in relation to patents for a breast cancer treatment. Recently promoted partners Stuart Murdoch leads the financial services offering, while Joanna Fulton specialises in product liability cases. General commercial litigator Jody Crockett joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. The firm particularly stands out in cross-border disputes; Fulton (who is qualified in England and Wales, Scotland and Hong Kong) is driving the firm's China strategy. Gary Moffat, Murdoch and senior solicitor Luke Burgess-Shannon are acting for US-based client Ted Jacob Engineering Group in litigation arising from its agreement to buy a Dubai-based engineering company. In addition to acting for foreign companies in disputes heard in Scotland, the firm also represents Scottish-based clients in litigation and arbitrations in overseas jurisdictions; recent matters have had a nexus to Singapore, the UAE and Norway, among others.

CMS has a first-rate reputation in high-profile 'bet the company' cases and precedent-setting litigation. This was reflected in its work in 2017; practice head Colin Hutton , senior associate Leigh Monteforte and associate Lorraine Walkinshaw acted for the directors and shareholders of an international logistics company in a series of actions brought by a fellow shareholder; the case was the first in Scotland to involve an interplay between bribery, unfair prejudice and the law of penalty under the Companies Act 2006. Robin Hutchison, Mark McMurray and others represented Inch Cape Offshore Limited in the RSPB's judicial review challenge over the client obtaining consents for the Inch Cape Offshore Wind Farm project. The firm also acts for clients in sectors such as financial services, life sciences, IT and transport, among others. Graeme MacLeod, Gemma Lampert, Alison Gow  and Rob Wilson are among other leading figures in the team. Senior associates William Anderson, Marc Armstrong, Helen Fyfe and Rory Thomson are also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP's heavyweight team has an excellent record in high-stakes disputes in Scotland, the wider UK and further afield internationally. Its first-rate reputation sees the firm handle particularly sensitive cases for clients such as BP, Balfour Beatty Group, KCA Deutag Group and Imperial Tobacco. Legal director David Woods, senior associate Gillian Anderson and others are advising David MacBrayne Limited on a circa £9m breach of contract action against ATOS IT Services UK Limited, which relates to ATOS' provision of a new ticketing and reservation IT system for the Calmac ferry network. Jim Cormack (the lead solicitor advocate) is working with Clive Seddon, senior associate Rob Graham and others to assist Agilisys Limited in a multifaceted dispute with CGI IT, which involves several sets of court proceedings over alleged issues with an IT project. Elsewhere, members of the team are handling contested matters in areas such as banking and financial services, product liability, IP/IT, health and safety and insolvency. Bruce Craig, who leads the litigation team in Aberdeen, has experience of matters involving oil and gas, shipping and maritime risk. Joanne Gillies leads the contentious insolvency team in Scotland. Global risk advisory group head Laura Cameron, Craig Connal QC and Jacqueline Harris are other well-known names in the market.

Shepherd and Wedderburn's practice is characterised by its size, prominence in complex disputes and breadth of expertise across all forms of dispute resolution. Iain Drummond, a seasoned expert in construction/engineering and projects disputes, appears regularly at the Court of Session as a solicitor advocate, and also has an active adjudication and mediation practice. John MacKenzie and senior associate Kevin Clancy are also solicitor advocates. Alastair Frood leads the banking and finance litigation practice, and also undertakes matters involving professional negligence, insurance litigation and charity-related disputes (among other areas); Frood's experience includes multi-party mediations, expert determination and Sheriff Court/Court of Session proceedings. Also recommended for banking and finance litigation is team head Gillian Carty, who is also a particularly strong choice for insolvency litigation (she is a licensed insolvency practitioner and accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as an accredited specialist in insolvency law). Illustrative of the firm's work, in 2017, MacKenzie represented Ernst & Young as the liquidator of three offshore companies in a professional negligence claim over a $300m suspected fraud. Barbara Bolton and others defended Mercer Limited against four separate pension scheme claims, while Patricia Hawthorn was the lead partner acting for Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind in judicial review proceedings brought by the RSPB. Elaine Brailsford and David Anderson are recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard, whose Scotland-based team is a core part of the wider UK network, has grown its portfolio of high quality work since it merged with HBJ Gately in 2017. The firm has won key mandates across a number of areas, including energy, insolvency, banking, tax and shipping. The firm benefits from the strong capabilities of its team in all aspects of litigation, arbitration and mediation. Lynsey Walker (who is one of five solicitor advocates in the group) and Antonia Grieve recently acted for Promontoria as the pursuer at the Court of Session in Promontoria (RAM) Limited v Moore; this matter concerned the implications of a transfer of a guarantee of bank borrowings. In another matter, Simon Catto is representing Frank A Smart & Son Limited at the Supreme Court in a VAT dispute with HMRC. Alan Sinclair is a well-known name in the Glasgow insolvency market, and his other work includes shareholder disputes and matters arising from sales of businesses. Joan Devine is experienced in property litigation, and also contentious banking and insolvency matters. Anne Struckmeier is recommended for infrastructure-related construction disputes. Managing associates Edward Gratwick and Rachael Bicknell are other notable figures in the team.

Anderson Strathern, which fields eight solicitor advocates in its team, has a strong market presence thanks to its coverage of high-value, complex and significant disputes across a broad spread of disciplines. Team head Fraser Geddes is experienced in domestic and cross-border litigation, arbitration and mediation; his areas of strength span property disputes, contentious construction and general commercial litigation. Katrina Lumsdaine leads both the contentious intellectual property team and contentious insolvency teams, and is also a Legal Member of the Scottish Tax Tribunal. Fiona Stephen heads up the real estate litigation practice. Alastair Dean and Jonathan Guy are other key partners in the group, whose other areas of strength include insurance, health and safety, and professional negligence. In addition to acting for private sector clients, such as SSE Plc and INEOS Manufacturing Scotland, the firm undertakes matters for public sector organisations; names on the client roster include HMRC, the Scottish Court Service and the Scottish Government. At senior associate level, Gillian Jamieson and Dominic Scullion are among the names to note.

Dispute resolution is a major area of focus at BTO Solicitors LLP, whose high quality team fields 20 solicitor advocates. Robin Macpherson assisted Aikengall Community Wind Company Limited as the pursuer with settling a dispute with Storey Construction and AL Daines that had arisen over the construction of a 16 turbine wind farm. Jones QC and Jilly Petrie are representing AIG Insurance and the M74 Interlink Joint Venture in a high-profile land contamination claim brought by Esso. Dorothy Hatfield and others are representing Dooneen Limited t/a McGinness Associates in a potentially groundbreaking UK Supreme Court test case, which concerns the entitlement to PPI awards where there has been an intervening insolvency of the claimant. Paul Motion  acted for Trump International Golf Links Scotland in cases concerning derogatory material published on Facebook, as well as US and UK news outlets, and also worked with Laura Irvine to represent the same client in a data protection matter. David Young is particularly active in property litigation, including cases involving property damage and commercial leasing. Angus Crawford's wide-ranging expertise includes cases related to oil and gas, environment, construction and contractual disputes. Grant Hunter leads the team with Jones QC. Bill Speirs, Mark Morton and Sandra Cassells are other key figures. Tony Jones QC joined Brodies LLP.

Dentons entered the Scottish market by merging with Maclay Murray & Spens LLP in October 2017. In addition to having a sizeable reach in Scotland, the Scottish group operates as part of a wider UK team of dispute resolution specialists. Tim Edward , Douglas Blyth and Malcolm Gunnyeon jointly head up the practice out of the Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen offices respectively. Edward is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in professional negligence matters, while Gunnyeon assists clients with oil and gas litigation, contentious health and safety and insolvency-related cases. Blyth, who has a particularly first-rate reputation in insolvency litigation, and recently promoted director Craig Kennedy acted for Hooley Limited in the landmark Court of Session case of Hooley Limited v The Victoria Jute Company Limited, which confirmed that the principle of modified universalism should be recognised by Scottish law. Edward is representing Highlands and Islands Enterprise as the defender in Court of Session proceedings brought by LC Services over an alleged breach of state aid rules. Gareth Hale focuses on property litigation, while legal director Susan Snedden heads up the contentious IP and TMT practice. The firm is also active in cases involving media law, corporate crime and public law. Ewan Easton has retired from private practice.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP excels in strategically important, high-value commercial litigation, which is reflected by the fact that its work for well-known names such as Emirates Airlines, Ineos and the FA Premier League. Alistair Drummond and senior associate Jennifer Talbot are acting for Consort Healthcare (Fife) Limited as the pursuer in a £20m Court of Session action against the contractors and independent tester over the construction of new facilities at the Victoria Hospital, Fife. Drummond and Talbot are also assisting The Coal Authority with litigation connected with subsidence damage caused by mine workings at Kirkcaldy in Fife. Another strong suit of the practice is public law litigation, which includes representing applicants and respondents in judicial review proceedings, and also in procurement litigation; Hazel Moffat, and legal directors Joanna Clark and James McGachie, are all active in this space. Moffat and McGachie are part of a cross-office team which is acting as external advisers to the Magnox Inquiry relating to the failed £7bn contract to decommission 12 nuclear power sites. The team is also increasingly sought-after to advise clients on privacy law and potential data breaches, as well as the enforcement/claims implications of such breaches.

DWF's team is 'a pleasure to work with'; 'it shows a conscientious approach to dealing with its clients, an understanding of their needs, good communication and an ability to work out a clear strategy'. Led by solicitor advocate and RICS accredited mediator Euan McSherry, the group handles a varied workload for Scottish, UK and international clients. Its expertise in contentious matters spans areas such as IP, procurement and insolvency, as well as general commercial and contractual disputes. The recent arrival of Ricky Cannon from Brodies LLP expanded the firm's finance litigation offering. McSherry, and senior associates Kenneth Campbell and Emma Forrester, were part of a multidisciplinary team which acted for Serco in its Court of Session procurement challenge of Glasgow City Council's award of a £400m contract to CGI UK under the Public Contracts legislation. In another notable matter, McSherry and Forrester are currently defending Pfizer in two test cases at the Inner House of the Court of Session relating to one of its heart drugs, which claimants allege cause heart attacks and strokes; the matter involves circa 80 litigants and claims currently stand at £30m in value. The group has also recently handled high-stakes matters for clients such as Braid Group (Holdings) Limited (and a subsidiary company), C&C Group Plc and Continental Quattro Stagioni. 

Harper Macleod LLP, whose team is noted for its strength in depth, acts for public and private sector clients throughout Scotland in their most complex disputes. Edinburgh-based Sandy Hastie leads the group, which is particularly active in areas such as construction and real estate, banking and finance, healthcare and energy. In the area of sports law, which is another area of strength, the firm generates mandates from clients such as sportscotland, PGA European Tour and Glasgow 2018 European Championships. Hastie defended Ryder Cup Europe against a claim brought by NVT Group arising from the provision of IT infrastructure for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. John McHugh and associate Lewis Kemp acted for quarry operator John Gunn & Sons as the defender in an HMRC state aid claim. Jennifer Jack has vast experience of handling UK Supreme Court litigation for public sector clients, and she also undertakes judicial reviews and appeals against the decisions of public sector entities, such as regulators, courts and public authorities. Glasgow-based partners E-Ming Fong and David Kerr are representing Marine & Offshore Scotland as the pursuer in a £500,000 damages action against a member of the client's senior management team over his alleged participation in a conspiracy to defraud the company, among other issues. Also based in Glasgow is Carolyn Morgan, who specialises in contentious executry cases and real estate litigation. Ross Thomson leads the north of Scotland dispute resolution practice out of the Inverness office. Rod McKenzie has left to become legal counsel at the Scottish Professional Football League.

MacRoberts LLP is recognised for its 'long and distinguished track record' in commercial litigation. With solicitor advocate Julie Hamilton ('outstanding, extremely able, hardworking and conscientious') at the helm as practice head, the firm garners praise for 'the quality of its work and ability of its lawyers'. A hallmark of the practice is its 'coverage of the full spectrum of commercial subject matters'. Hamilton's wide-ranging litigation experience includes cases involving contentious IP and IT, company law, shareholder and partnership disputes, as well as professional negligence matters. Hamilton was also the lead partner in the advice to an executive agency of the Scottish government on a £6m Court of Session claim against a global IT contractor; this matter represented the first time the Scottish government has sued a commercial contractor. Gillian Craig  also has a varied practice, with her workload spanning areas such as banking and pensions, fishing and crofting, and shareholder disputes, among others. Leon Breakey is a go-to for corporate and personal insolvency, as well as debt recovery matters, and he also handles various other types of commercial disputes. In 2017, Hamilton and Euan Duncan acted for CCHG (trading as Vaporized) at the Court of Session in a landmark appeal against the decision of a UK Intellectual Property Office hearing officer to declare its trademark invalid. Craig and senior associate Angus Wood acted for The Football Company (Scotland) Limited as the pursuer in a circa £1m damages action against Glasgow City Council arising from the destruction of the client's digital advertising hoarding following a pitch invasion at the Scottish Cup Final in 2016. Another name to note is senior associate Lynsay Cargill, who is an accredited mediator, a member of the Young Mediators Group and is also a member of the Property Litigation Association.

Morton Fraser undertakes commercial litigation for private and publicly listed companies, public sector organisations, high net-worth individuals and other private clients. Innes Clark leads the dedicated team, which acts for clients on a standalone basis, and is also able to draw upon the support of practitioners from disciplines across the firm in particularly complex matters, The group handles purely Scottish disputes, and also assists clients with cross-border matters involving an English law component; solicitor advocate Richard McMeeken, Susan Leslie and Claire Logue are all English law qualified litigators. In addition, as a member of the global Interlaw network, the firm is able to assist clients with international disputes. Other members of the team are Nicola Ross and Debbie Brogan, who acted for the Labour Party in two court actions brought by Labour councillors over the financing of their local government election campaigns. Chairman Maggie Moodie has had a focus on general commercial litigation and banking and finance litigation since 1992. Kenneth Carruthers, a seasoned practitioner with more than 25 years of experience, acts for clients such as Intu Properties, National Grid Gas and BAM Developments. Douglas Milne focuses on matters related to fraud and asset recovery. In addition to Brogan, Eilidh MacEwan and Ursula Currie are other highly regarded associates.

Balfour+Manson LLP's 'wide range of expertise and resources enable it to provide an excellent service to clients'. Gordon Deane, who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law, is experienced in a wide variety of contentious matters, including shareholders' disputes and contractual disputes, as well as professional negligence claims. Deane has developed a particular specialism in claims against banks over allegedly mis-sold interest rate hedging products. David Flint's workload includes cases involving personal and business debts, insolvency-related matters and partnership disputes. David McIntosh, who is 'exceptionally well-organised and commercial in his outlook', demonstrates 'judgment and experience to filter out irrelevant material'. Chairman Elaine Motion leads the team, which also includes Fiona Muirs and David Short.

Clyde & Co LLP's Scottish team wins a significant share of instructions thanks to its coverage of all types of disputes in sectors such as construction, education, automotive, and aerospace and defence. The firm has a particularly strong capability in the insurance sector; Zurich, Aviva and QBE are among its many longstanding clients. In addition to having a notable presence in the Scottish market, clients are drawn to the group's ability to call upon the resources of the wider UK and international network in cross-border matters. Gavin Henderson, who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law, handles a mix of insurance-related litigation and arbitration, property litigation, defence-side professional negligence work, general commercial disputes and product liability claims. Anne Kentish is also recommended for her professional negligence expertise. Another key figure is Andrew Constable, who handled two pieces of litigation for engineering contractor Hochtief, which arose from the collapse of a hydroelectric dam. Charles McGregor advised YOR Limited as the pursuer on a claim against Wallace Whittle Limited over allegedly excessive costs incurred from the redevelopment of Croythorn House in Edinburgh. Peter Anderson has retired from private practice.

The team at Davidson Chalmers LLP combines 'an excellent understanding of the law with a keen focus on the commercial needs of the client'. Sheila Webster, who is 'great to work with', has a strong track record in litigation at the Sheriff Court, Court of Session and Supreme Court. Also notable is that Webster, among her other qualifications, has served as a committee member for the Commercial Litigation Accreditation Committee of the Signet Accreditation scheme since its inception. 'Exceptionally effective'Greg Flett, who recently made partner, is also highly rated by clients, as is newly promoted associate Magnus Miller. The firm's prominence in the Scottish commercial litigation marketplace is underlined by the fact that, in addition to generating its own matters, it has a strong pipeline of work from other Scottish and English law firms. Webster and Miller are acting for Tweed Homes as the pursuer in a circa £2.4m damages claim against Clydesdale Bank over an agreement to finance a site development. Webster and Miller are also representing William Grant & Sons Distillers in a planning appeal concerning the consent that was granted by a local authority for the development of a windfarm site owned by a subsidiary of EDF.

Gilson Gray, which launched in 2014, 'really punches above its weight in terms of generating consistently high quality instructions'. Its team is led by 'top performer' Rosie Walker, who is 'technically very sound and tactically astute'. Walker is experienced in cases involving cross-border issues, particularly those with a nexus to the Middle East; she is heading up a team, which is advising RMJM as the defenders on Court of Session litigation arising from the sale of a Dubai-based engineering business. Another highly rated individual is senior associate Keith Anderson, who is a 'go-to man in a crisis'. The group also benefits from the experience of its three solicitor advocates: Iain Clark (who undertakes commercial litigation and is also on the Law Society of Scotland's Specialist Accreditation Panel on Arbitration), Alex Garioch and Steven Jansch. In addition to having strong commercial litigation practices, Garioch and Jansch have expertise in construction litigation and insolvency law respectively. Garioch and solicitor Iain Grant are representing Scottish Salmon Company (a multinational producer of farmed salmon) as the pursuer in a multimillion pound action against a supplier in relation to the sale of defective fish-feed.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP's team is particularly experienced in handling disputes in the oil and gas, renewable energy and marine industries. In addition, it also assists clients with matters connected with other sectors, such as agriculture, property, construction and insurance. Complementing the team's broad industry coverage is its experience of all forms of dispute resolution, including litigation, arbitration, mediation, expert determination and adjudication. Team head Sarah Stuart and Timothy Thomas, who are the main partners in Aberdeen, together have nearly 40 years of litigation experience at the Court of Session and Sheriff Court. Senior associate Rebecca Walker handles a variety of cases, with a particular specialism in insolvency-related matters. John Chalmers in Edinburgh is particularly active in advising insurance and public sector clients on a range of contentious issues. Victoria Leslie, who made partner in 2017, is ably supported in Inverness by senior solicitor Laura Edmunds].

According to its clients, Lindsays has an 'outstanding' commercial litigation practice, with its team reaping particular praise for its 'industry knowledge and accessibility'. The core team that focuses on commercial dispute resolution is led by Douglas Millar, who has more than 30 years of experience in this area. Another well-known name is Brent Haywood, who is acting for David King (the former chairman of Rangers International Football Club Plc) in a case brought by The Panel on Takeovers and Mergers over King's failure to make a mandatory offer to purchase all shares of the club (in accordance with the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers) when acquiring certain shares. Among his other highlights, John Bett acted for McGivney Construction in a matter concerning a former director's breach of fiduciary duties, and handled a circa £3m landlord and tenant dispute for Healthcare Environmental Services Limited. Paul Harper is recommended for his property litigation expertise.

MBM Commercial's practice head Cat MacLean is 'a force to be reckoned with', particularly when bringing and defending claims against banks and other financial institutions on behalf of individual entrepreneurs and SMEs. Cases in this area involve a wide range of issues, such as negligent misrepresentations, and breaches of contracts and personal guarantees. In 2017, MacLean and others acted for numerous former customers of Clydesdale Bank who had pre-existing legal claims against the bank but discovered that their debts had been transferred to Promontoria. Elsewhere, other matters have included professional negligence claims (such as those against surveyors, accountants and solicitors), online fraud claims and contentious IP cases. Ballantyne Property Services, Dawnfresh Seafoods and Global Surface Intelligence are among the firm's clients. MacLean 'displays calm equanimity in the face of challenging, complex and often adversarial situations'. Associate Iain McDougall is 'a safe pair of hands'.

Stronachs LLP has 'a pragmatic, imaginative and hardworking team, which is committed to getting good outcomes for its clients'. It has a particular focus on sectors that are key to the North of Scotland economy, such as energy, food and drink, and agriculture. In Aberdeen, the team includes recently promoted partner Robert McDiarmid, who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Inverness-based solicitor advocate Colin Sandilands is 'a smart lawyer, who is pragmatic and sensible'. In 2017, Sandilands defended Danish company Johansens & Co against a £2m breach of warranty claim brought by purchasers of shares in a Scottish company. Other clients of the firm include First Integrated Solutions, Nu-Style Products and Marshall Errock Construction. Robert McDonald recently departed the firm to become a Sheriff.

At Aberdein Considine, Leonie Donald succeeded Rob Aberdein as the practice head, following Aberdein's departure to Walker Morris LLP in November 2017. Donald, who obtained the Signet Accreditation in 2015, works alongside Ross Webb and Paul McIntosh; all three individuals have more than 30 years of commercial litigation experience between them. The firm handles the gamut of contentious commercial matters for financial institutions, public sector, corporate and private clients. Webb's workload includes contentious insolvency matters, professional negligence cases and contractual disputes. McIntosh has a background in construction disputes, having previously worked in the contentious construction department at Dundas & Wilson, and he also represents lenders in professional negligence matters. Active clients of the firm's practice include Fishers Services, NHS Grampian, Johnson Matthey Plc and Lloyds Banking Group.

Halliday Campbell WS has David Halliday and assistant solicitor Lynn McMahon as its main contacts; both are Signet-accredited specialists in commercial litigation. The firm's strategic focus on this area means it is is well-placed to assist clients with all types of contentious issues, including corporate and commercial disputes, insolvency-related matters, property litigation and IP/IT cases. The team's client roster spans a wide range of industries, such as hospitality and leisure, telecommunications, construction and retail, among many others. Countrywide Scotland Estate Agents, Shire Leasing Plc and Macdonald Hotels are key clients.

In addition to undertaking general commercial litigation, Shoosmiths demonstrates strong capabilities in specialist contentious matters connected with banking, insolvency, health and safety, and real estate. IT supply contract disputes are a particular area of strength for the first-rate team, which is led by Stuart Clubb, and includes Rod Macphail and Andrew Foyle. Clubb and Foyle are solicitor advocates, giving them rights of audience at all court levels in Scotland, and also at the Supreme Court. Ben Zielinski, who was promoted to senior associate in 2017, is another key individual. In 2017, Clubb and Zielinski defended Regus Caledonia Limited at the Inner House of the Court of Session in a widely-commented case relating to the recovery of the costs of repair works to commercial premises that had been sub-leased to the client. Clubb is currently handling a professional negligence lawsuit against a law firm on behalf of a financial services company. Other clients that instruct the firm for complex disputes include British Gas, KPMG and Screwfix Direct.

Thorntons Law LLP's dedicated commercial litigation team, which is spread between its network of offices in Scotland, is ably supported by practitioners in other disciplines (such as commercial property, corporate and intellectual property). Led by Gillian Buchanan (Dundee), the team acts for clients UK-wide in their most important, business-critical matters. Scott Milne (Dundee/Edinburgh) and John Kydd (Dundee) represented D Geddes (Contractor) Limited at the Commercial Court of the Court of Session in proceedings arising from the provision of allegedly negligent advice to the client by an independent health and safety consultancy company. In another highlight, Kydd, Michelle Adam and associate Lauren Rae worked with the corporate team to advise a minority shareholder in a company on counteracting unfairly prejudicial conduct by a director. Ronnie Murphy (Dundee/St Andrews), Graham Harding (Perth), Anne McKeown (Forfar/Montrose) and Clare Macpherson (Edinburgh) are also recommended.

TLT has a strong pedigree in banking and financial services litigation, and it is also well regarded in commercial and property disputes in the leisure and retail sectors. Solicitor advocate Tom McEntegart leads the team, which provides a full service to clients, covering litigation, arbitration, mediation and informal methods of resolving disputes. John Paul Sheridan, who is also a solicitor advocate, leads a team that specialises in acting for pursuers in professional negligence claims. He also handles other commercial and contractual matters, and is currently acting as one of the lead advisers to an international food processing company on multiple court proceedings arising from the breakdown of a joint venture company. Alan Munro, who is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as an insolvency law specialist, has a wealth of experience of claims involving issues such as unfair preference, gratuitous alienation and misfeasance. Tony Reynolds, and legal directors Karen Cornwell and Louise Chopra are other key figures in the team.


Debt recovery

Index of tables

  1. Debt recovery
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Debt recovery clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Aberdein Considine, whose team demonstrates 'excellent business acumen', is among the market leaders in the debt recovery field. The firm now has an impressive pan-UK offering, having strengthened in 2016, when it merged with A&S Ireland in Glasgow and also acquired Wallers  in Newcastle upon Tyne. In a significant development, Myra Scott joined the firm from Ascent Legal Scotland (along with fellow partner Laura Browne) in February 2018, with Scott succeeding the outgoing Rob Aberdein as practice head, following his move to Walker Morris LLP  in November 2017. In addition to Scott and Browne, the other highly regarded partners in the team are Leonie Donald, Paul McIntosh and Ross Webb. Operations director Joseph Bowie and associate Elaine Elder are also recommended. Scott's group has expertise in mortgage recoveries, consumer credit recoveries, asset finance recoveries, and corporate and commercial recoveries. Reflective of the firm's outstanding reputation, it acts for some of the UK's largest banks and other financial institutions, such as Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander. Its other clients include SMEs, publicly listed companies and public sector organisations.

Brodies LLP delivers 'a very high level of service' on both volume and bespoke debt and asset recovery mandates. The team acts for a broad cross-section of clients, including banks, utility companies, debt purchasers and insolvency practitioners. It also assists English law firms requiring Scottish debt litigation support. Practice head Stephen Goldie, who has circa 20 years of experience, has a particular specialism in property-related debts, such as arrears of rent, service and common charges. Goldie and others are particularly active in handling high-value property repossession work for private investment firms that purchased distressed secured property portfolios from banks. Solicitor advocate Iain Rutherford  works with Goldie to manage the volume debt recovery offering, and also handles his own caseload of high-value and high-profile matters. Also active in complex, large-value cases is solicitor advocate Laura McMillan. Philip Hall (who focuses on corporate and plant hire debt recovery) and associate Monica Connolly are other notable figures. The practice was strengthened by the arrival in April 2018 of managing associate Marianne Griffin from Dentons . Santander Consumer Finance, Fleximize Limited and Moneybarn are among the firm's clients. Ricky Cannon departed for DWF, while Tony Jones QC joined from BTO Solicitors LLP.

Morton Fraser's work includes advice to FCA-regulated clients (such as banks and asset-based lenders) on their internal processes; this is in order to ensure that they are compliant from a regulatory standpoint, and also operationally effective from a recoveries point of view. Bill Stark works with the banking team to ensure that standard recovery letters and clients' internal processes are FCA-compliant. In addition to acting for FCA-regulated entities, the firm's other clients include public sector organisations (such as local authorities and educational establishments), SMEs, Plcs and individuals. Fergus McDiarmid heads up a specialist team, which advises SIPP providers on debt recovery matters, and is particularly active in defended matters. Senior associate Claire Logue leads a group that focuses on debt recovery work falling within the jurisdiction of England and Wales. John Lunn, Nicola Ross and Beverley Wood are other names to note. Chairman Maggie Moodie heads up the team, whose clients include Highland Council, Toyota Financial Services UK Plc, Clydesdale Bank, Hombuckle Mitchell and Apex Hotels Limited.

The team at Shoosmiths is 'easy to deal with' and 'adds value' through 'timely and relevant feedback, good advice and high success rates'. Practice head Rod Macphail 'deserves particular praise'; 'he operates a very tight ship, employs staff who know exactly what's required and always makes himself available if detailed advice is needed'. A hallmark of the practice is the size and depth of its offering; Andrew Foyle is one of two solicitor advocates in the group with full rights of audience at the Court of Session and Supreme Court, along with Stuart Clubb. In addition, the team benefits from the experience of recoveries managers Rhona Cuthbert and David Smith, as well as recoveries team leader Gail Peterson. Noted for its pan-UK operation, the group provides the full spectrum of advice on recoveries related to asset finance, commercial and corporate secured and unsecured lending, consumer secured and unsecured lending, mortgage shortfalls, commercial business to business and insolvency-related matters. In a recent highlight, Foyle successfully acted for the Royal Bank of Scotland as the pursuer in a defended action for possession of a residential property owned by a customer; the action was defended by the customer on the basis of an alleged failure by the client to comply with the pre-action requirements under the Homeowner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010. D & C Fawcett, Paragon Car Finance and Thomas Cook Airlines are recent client wins. Associate Peter McGladrigan is recommended.

Ascent Legal Scotland's prominence in the Scottish debt recovery market makes it a strong choice for institutional lenders, such as Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander. In addition, the firm's close links with the Federation of Small Businesses enable it to generate a significant amount of work from small businesses; Apollo Blinds, Charles Wilson Engineers and Forth Windows & Doors are among a number of recent client wins. Seasoned practitioner Mark Higgins heads up the team, which covers every stage of the debt and asset recovery lifecycle for clients, with the work ranging from pre-litigation collection to litigation and enforcement. Illustrative of his credentials, Higgins has acted in leading cases, and also written a book titled "The Enforcement of Heritable Securities". Senior associate Zibya Bashir and associate John Di Paola are other active individuals. Myra Scott and Laura Browne departed for Aberdein Considine.

Dentons' practice covers a wide ambit of matters in the commercial and consumer sectors, including utilities recoveries, motor finance and general commercial debt recovery cases, as well as debts arising from employment contracts and property-related debts. A notable strength of the firm is that it has a team in Aberdeen that is experienced in assisting oil and gas sector clients with recovering outstanding debts internationally. Frank Johnstone in Glasgow is the overall head of the practice, which is equally strong in handling bespoke and volume recoveries at all stages from pre-litigation to enforcement. Also recommended is solicitor advocate Douglas Blyth, who represents pursuers and defenders at the Sheriff Court and Court of Session in a range of commercial debt recovery matters. A recent highlight saw Blyth and senior associate Marianne Griffin successfully represent car park operator Indigo Park Services UK Limited in the highly-publicised, landmark case of Indigo Park Services UK Limited v Conor Watson, which arose from student nurses accruing unpaid parking fines at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. Blyth is also working with members of the London office to advise RBS Invoice Finance on recovering debts under an asset-based finance facility. Julie Devlin is another key figure in the team, as is Craig Kennedy, who is particularly strong in debt and asset recovery cases where there is an insolvency-related component. Clydesdale Bank, RCI Financial Services and Network Rail are among the firm's many clients.

Harper Macleod LLP's excellent reputation in the social housing sector sees the firm handle debt and asset recovery work for a significant number of registered social landlords; clients include Link Group, Scottish Borders Housing Association and Cairn Housing Association. The firm also has a notable following of public sector clients, such as Highland and North Lanarkshire Council, and Accountant in Bankruptcy. Elsewhere, a growth area of the practice is work for commercial clients, including those from sectors such as construction and logistics. Dawn McKenzie heads up the team, whose experience includes simple procedure claims and matters involving summary cause, ordinary cause, sequestration petitions and liquidations. It also excels in high-value and complex defended actions. Associates Fiona McLeod and Natalie Dissake are recommended, along with solicitor Keri Preece.

MacRoberts LLP significantly expanded its offering by acquiring the business of specialist debt recovery and credit control firm Yuill & Kyle in December 2017. This significant development saw Stephen Cowan and Helen McWilliams move across. Further illustrative of the growth of the practice, it has had a notable increase in referral work from law firms based in England and Wales. The team, which is led by Leon Breakey, is particularly active in the food and drink, construction and real estate sectors. It has a notably strong specialism in recovering mis-sold PPI claims. Breakey, who has a wealth of experience in insolvency litigation, is experienced in potential claims arising from the insolvency of a debtor. Debt Collect UK Limited, Cemex UK Operations Limited and Sealeco Limited are among the firm's clients.

Leading litigators Tom McEntegart and John Paul Sheridan head up TLT's team, which has a particularly strong track record handling debt recovery matters for clients in the banking and financial services, retail and leisure sectors. McEntegart and legal director Louise Chopra are representing NRAM in a landmark repossession case, which concerns the interpretation of s24D of the Conveyancing and Feudal Reform (Scotland) Act 1970. Legal director Karen Cornwell is experienced in representing pursuers and defenders at Sheriff Courts and the Court of Session. Associate Lucy Harington is also recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard's varied portfolio of work ranges from straightforward volume-driven matters to cases involving legally intricate issues in areas such as insolvency, banking and finance, and property, among others. A pillar of the practice is in matters related to social housing, where the work involves assisting large Scottish registered social landlords with actions for recovery of rent arrears and related actions for eviction; Ilona McGowan has made a name for herself in this space. Joan Devine focuses on property-related recoveries cases, a portion of which also involves acting for social housing sector clients. Laura McCabe is particularly experienced in litigating utilities sector debt recovery matters which are connected with the supply of water. The team, which is led by Alan Sinclair and Devine jointly, acts for clients such as Grampian Housing Association, Castle Water Limited, Johnstone Carmichael and Stirling Park Sheriff Officers.

Although Anderson Strathern is particularly active in advising banks and other financial institutions on debt recovery matters, its practice is broader, and it also generates work from other clients. Fiona Stephen, who heads up the property litigation team, has a wealth of experience handling property-related debt recovery matters for commercial, private and public sector entities. In addition to assisting banking sector clients with actions to evict tenants (from premises that are subject to their securities), senior solicitor Elizabeth Smartt is experienced in acting for registered social landlords in actions to recover possession of heritable properties. Stephen and Smartt are representing Northern Lighthouse Board in litigation against vessel owners and shipping agents over the recovery of light dues. Fraser Geddes and Karen Ogilvie are advising Wylie & Bisset LLP on the recovery of outstanding invoices following the liquidation of Forbes Transport Services. Alistair Dean, senior associate Gillian Jamieson, associate Seonaid Sandham and senior solicitor Lindsay Robertson are also recommended. Claire Martin left the firm in 2017.

BTO Solicitors LLP undertakes a sizeable volume of secured and unsecured recoveries work for banks and credit insurance companies, as well as Scottish, UK and international businesses. In addition to banking and financial services, the team (which is led by Grant Hunter) is particularly active in retail, property management and social housing. Other sector strengths include food and drink, and ports and marine. Dorothy Hatfield and others are acting for a PPI claim recoveries company and its client (which had succeeded in a PPI claim) in a UK Supreme Court case which concerns the entitlement to PPI awards where there has been an intervening insolvency by a claimant. Quarriers, Cigna Global Health and American Express Services Europe Limited are other notable clients. Hunter's team also includes David Young and consultant Robin Macpherson, who is an accredited insolvency specialist. Kirsteen Maclean has more than 10 years of debt recovery experience. Tony Jones QC joined Brodies LLP.

Shepherd and Wedderburn covers a wide range of matters in the real estate sector, such as debts arising from leases, timeshare management charges and recoveries of service charges, among others. Practice head Elaine Brailsford is particularly knowledgeable about property-related debt claims. Other strengths include financial services and social housing sector matters; the latter is a particular growth area, with the firm assisting social landlords with the recovery of rent and factoring charges. In addition to Brailsford, clients count on the experience of Alistair Frood, Gillian Carty and Stephen Humphrey. In 2017, the firm won the tender to handle debt recovery work for City of Edinburgh Council.

Gilson Gray's practice head David Alexander has been instrumental in growing the debt recovery practice, since the firm's inception in 2014. The firm acts for clients ranging in size from small local businesses to large multinational companies. Alexander, who has a particular specialism in landlord and tenant matters, has been successful in winning work from commercial and social landlords, housing associations, insolvency practitioners, and construction firms, among other clients. Alexander has more recently focused on generating mandates from English law firms and debt collection agencies. Another recommended individual is solicitor advocate Steven Jansch, who holds accreditations from the WS Society and Law Society of Scotland in commercial litigation and insolvency law respectively. In addition to handling insolvency and property-related debt recovery work, the team assists clients with recoveries arising from employment contracts and commercial contracts, among other areas. Fife Housing Association, Gordonstoun School and Debt Collect UK are among the entities on the client roster.


GC Diversity and Inclusion Report

In partnership with...

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases in the UK

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to