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Anderson Strathern is a respected player in the market, handling the full remit of parliamentary and public affairs work. Its client roster includes key public and regulatory bodies, UK and Scottish government agencies and departments, the Scottish parliament, and local authorities and education institutions. Highly regarded team head Fiona Killen advised the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) on the statutory interpretation of a range of statutes while also acting for the client in statutory appeals to the Court of Session and UK Supreme Court as well as in judicial review proceedings. In 2016, the team successfully defended a decision of the SIC that was challenged by a prisoner and pertained to a request for CCTV information made to the police. Other recent work includes assisting the SIC with data protection and regulatory compliance matters. The firm also handles the drafting of primary and secondary legislation, statutory interpretation and government bills amendments. Chairman Robert Carr and senior associate Ailidh Callander are also recommended.

Regarded by public sector and commercial clients as ‘one of the leaders in the field’, Brodies LLPprovides to-the-point advice’ on a range of matters including legislation, judicial review, public inquiry and procurement. Charles Livingstone continues to assist the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), Spirits Europe and the Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV) in their challenge of the Scottish government’s Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012, which would allow the Scottish government to set a minimum unit price for alcohol. ‘Eminently capable and pragmatic’ joint team head and chairman Christine O’Neill acted for the Scottish government as junior counsel before the UK Supreme Court in an appeal pertaining to the validity of the Scottish parliament’s named person legislation, involving human rights and data protection issues. The ‘excellentJackie McGuire, who heads the team alongside O’Neill, is praised for ‘delivering timely, high-quality and detailed advice’. She acted for the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) on the appointment of a judicial factor to Scotia Aid Sierra Leone, a charity accused of fraud and financial mismanagement.

DLA Piper Scotland LLPprovides a very good service’ to regulatory authorities, government departments and commissioners alongside corporate organisations. The firm regularly handles matters involving the drafting and interpretation of bills and legislation, governance and procurement, and judicial review proceedings. ‘First-rate’ practice head Hazel Moffat advised the Scottish Funding Council on a number of governance inquiries within the further education sector, and advised Heineken UK on its statutory obligations and duties following the introduction of a new statutory adjudicator, the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA). In another highlight, the team successfully represented the Scottish Police Authority in defending judicial review proceedings raised by a senior police officer against a decision to refuse the renewal of management vetting clearance.

CMS handles a broad spectrum of contentious and non-contentious public law matters, with particular expertise in the transport and renewable energy sectors. Notably, Eleanor Lane advised Renfrewshire Council on its Glasgow Airport Investment Area, Clyde Waterfront regeneration and Renfrew Riverside projects, which are being promoted as part of the £1bn Glasgow City Region City Deal. In another highlight, she assisted Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) with its approximately £300m procurement of a railway system for the Glasgow Subway Modernisation project, which included the drafting of project documents and negotiations with bidders. Team head Ann Faulds assisted the National Galleries of Scotland with the promotion of a private bill in the Scottish parliament pertaining to the client’s proposal to extend its complex at the Mound in Edinburgh. The bill would allow the City of Edinburgh Council to dispose of the relevant land and overcome a statutory restriction preventing construction in Princes Street Gardens. Trudi Craggs departed for an in-house position.

Harper Macleod LLP’s ‘good and reliable’ team ‘has considerate experience and knowledge’ of handling judicial reviews and statutory appeals for public sector clients while also handling contentious and non-contentious planning law, housing law and procurement matters. The ‘reliable, efficient and professional’ Jennifer Jack, who is ‘pleasant to work with’, advised a senior Scottish government official as witness in the Edinburgh tram inquiry, which aims to establish why, after a five-year delay and a reduced scope, the £776m transport project went significantly over budget. In a separate matter, she defended Perth and Kinross Council in two judicial challenges to planning decisions. Team head James McMorrow advised the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority on its proposed camping by-laws, which are intended to target a number of perceived anti-social behaviour issues within the national park area. The ‘well-prepared and hardworking’ Sandy Hastie is also recommended.

MacRoberts LLP is best known for advising on proposed legislation including its implications and on parliamentary and judicial procedures for challenges to proposed legislation. Team head Duncan Osler advised a number of Scottish ministers on the reform to the Scottish public procurement legislative framework, and assisted Transport Scotland with its implementation of the Forth Road Bridge Act 2013. Other clients include the Scottish Council for Development and Industry and the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. Neil Amner moved to Curle Stewart.

Unions and third sector clients regularly call on Thompsons Solicitors Scotland to advise on public inquiries, bill drafting and commercial issues. Notably, the team led by Patrick McGuire advised the National Union of Miners on matters arising from the miners’ strike inquiry, and advised the charity Open Secret on issues pertaining to the Scottish child abuse inquiry.

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