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The ‘knowledgeable and diligent’ team at BTO Solicitors LLP attracts praise for its ‘tactical skill when aiming to achieve an economic settlement at a pre-litigation stage’. With a focus on defence work, the practice frequently acts for professional indemnity and D&O insurers covering a broad range of professionals, including advocates, accountants, architects and engineers. Alan Eadie, who jointly heads the team with Ashley Mawby, acted for the professional indemnity insurers of a firm of solicitors in a $210m action brought by the principal shareholder of an oil service company pertaining to a private equity investment. The claimant alleged that the solicitors acted for both sides in the investment and used another firm to act for the investor in negotiations in order to cover its involvement. Derek Allan retired.

Brodies LLP’s ‘performance-driven’ team is reputed for its defendant and claimant work and stands out for its construction and infrastructure-based professional negligence expertise. oil and gas matters and work related to the fishing sector forms another key element of the practice. Alisdair Matheson defended a professional indemnity insurer in a claim brought by a contractor pertaining to alleged construction delays. In a separate matter, team head Alan Calvert acted for a firm of solicitors and its professional indemnity insurers in a claim arising from the drafting of notices to quit pertaining to agricultural tenancies, which were held to be invalid by the Land Court.

Clyde & Co LLPunderstands the insurance industry and intuitively knows what is required’. With defence work at its core, the ‘experienced’ team acts for the full range of professionals and also handles professional disciplinary work. ‘Top-notch’ team head Gavin Henderson represented a firm of consulting engineers in a multi-party dispute in the Court of Session. Charles McGregor defended architectural designer Halliday Fraser Munro and its professional indemnity insurers against design flaw claims raised by construction company Stewart Milne Westhill. This pertained to a large-scale construction project for a new office, workshop and leisure building in Aberdeen, which experienced widespread flood damage shortly after being occupied. The ‘well-organisedAnne Kentishprovides clear and useful comments and analysis’. Also recommended are Peter Anderson, Graeme Watson and legal director Victoria Arnott, who has ‘impeccable attention for detail and a very good tactical feel for a case’.

The ‘highly skilled and experienced’ team at Burness Paull LLP specialises in pursuing professional negligence claims for corporate clients and pension schemes against advisers and construction professionals. Alan McMillan acted for the trustees of the Elliot of Harwood Trust in proceedings against a law firm for damages arising from professional negligence. Other clients include Highlands and Islands Airports and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Ewan McIntyre heads the team, which includes the ‘extremely knowledgeable and experienced’ Chris MacKay, whose ‘strategic skills can assist the client in obtaining the best solution to meet specific goals’.

CMS’s ‘very good’ team has a strong professional indemnity insurer client base but also acts for solicitors, accountants, and financial services and trust fund professionals. Architects, engineers and surveyors appreciate the team’s expertise in dealing with construction and property sector-related claims. Harriet Munro, who ‘has good links to London insurers’ and heads the team with Graeme MacLeod, defended a number of public relations marketing consultants and their professional indemnity insurers against a loss of profit claim. MacLeod defended a firm of charted building services engineers and its insurers against a high-value professional negligence claim pertaining to the development of a property. He also defended a law firm and its insurers against claims of providing negligent advice on a transaction.

Working in conjunction with the firm’s insurance team, DWF’s ‘determined and responsive’ team ‘provides good value for money’ and has a specialism in insurance sector work, defending architects, surveyors, engineers, solicitors and their indemnity insurers in property and construction-related disputes. The ‘very experienced, pragmatic and approachableAlison Grant heads the team, which includes recommended senior associate Lindsay Ogunyemi.

Shepherd and Wedderburn acts for defenders and pursuers across a wide range of sectors. The team defended the global engineering consultancy company Atkins against professional negligence claims arising from the multimillion-pound contract for the refurbishment of office premises in Glasgow and defects on the building that have been identified following its completion. The team also represented consulting firm Mercer against alleged professional negligence claims for the failure to equalise pension schemes in the 1990s. On the claimant side, Elaine Brailsford acted for UK Asset Resolution in a series of professional negligence claims against a firm of solicitors with regards to a number of buy-to-let mortgages arranged before the 2008 financial crash and a potential breach of contract. Practice head Alastair Frood, who specialises in financial services, is also recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard, which merged with HBJ Gateley in June 2017, has a team that regularly acts for financial institutions, businesses and individuals as pursuers in professional negligence claims against solicitors, surveyors and contractors, arising from construction, property and commercial disputes. Gordon Steele is a key member of the team headed by Simon Catto. Litigator Joan Devine joined from Anderson Strathern. The team’s client roster includes the Royal Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank and Dunfermline Building Society.

BLM acts for a wide range of insurers, underwriters, corporate clients and professionals. The team has particular expertise in representing surveyors, solicitors, construction and financial services professionals in claims alleging defective representation in criminal and civil cases, negligent valuations and auditing, as well as claims arising from construction disputes. Team head Grant MacLeanhas good attention to detail’. David Taylor is also recommended.

Pursuers of professional negligence claims often instruct Balfour+Manson LLP to act in claims against solicitors and architects, among other professionals. ‘Shrewd operator’ David Flint heads the team, which demonstrates particular expertise in handling claims arising from property-related disputes and ‘provides good results’. ‘Tenacious and skilled litigator’ Iain Nicol ‘shows good judgement’ and joined the firm from now defunct Compensation Lawyers (Scotland) Ltd.

Harper Macleod LLP’s ‘highly pragmatic and flexible’ team frequently acts for claimants pursuing professional negligence claims against banking and financial services, accountancy, surveyor, legal, architectural, construction and healthcare professionals. The team acted for pursuers in Sheriff Court proceedings against the client’s architects, claiming negligence in the preparation of drawings and specifications of materials, which led to the prolongation of the renovation of listed buildings in Kilsyth. John McHugh acted for a property developer in professional negligence claims against a construction contract administrator. Rod McKenzie heads the team, which includes the recommended Sandy Hastie.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP is ‘able to take on cases on short notice’ and has substantial expertise in defending solicitors and advocates. The ‘diligent’ team also pursues claims against other professionals such as accountants, tax advisers, surveyors and valuers. ‘Reassuring’ team head Tim Edward is ‘very good with clients’ and defended French medical product manufacturer Cousin Biotech and its lawyers Bernard-Hertz-Béjot against eight actions in the Court of Session arising from the provision of allegedly defective mesh products and alleged negligent advice on their use. He also pursued a claim for two individuals against accountancy firm McLay McAllister arising from alleged negligent tax advice. ‘Professional’ associate Bruce McCombie is recommended.

TLT is best known for its work in the financial services sector and regularly pursues professional negligence claims, which often involve fraud issues against solicitors, surveyors, accountants and other professionals. Other clients include property and development companies alongside other SMEs. Team head John Paul Sheridan acted for a high street bank in a claim against a surveyor for negligent mortgage valuations.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Professional negligence

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    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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