Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

United Kingdom > Scotland > Real estate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow
  2. Commercial property: leisure and hospitality
  3. Commercial property: retail occupiers
  4. Leading individuals

Nick Scott’s team at Brodies LLP acts for institutional funds, developers and local authorities, among other clients. In 2015, it advised Quartermile Ventures on a high-profile pre-let to FanDuel at Quartermile Four in Edinburgh. Kirsty Macpherson moved from Gillespie Macandrew LLP. In other developments, Laurence Douglas, Chris McDaid and Murray Soutar made partner. Other key names include Johane Murray and Richard Whyte.

Burness Paull LLP’s team expanded significantly in 2015 with the additions of consultant Stephen Scott, Robert Binning and Colin Brown from McClure Naismith LLP and consultant Katrina Ovenden from Harper Macleod LLP. In a notable highlight, Richard Rennie led advice to Harbert European Real Estate Fund IV on the Scottish law aspects of its acquisition of Eastgate Shopping Centre. Tamar Tammes’ group includes Nick Naddell, who heads the retail, leisure and hospitality side of the practice. A team led by Michael Wood undertakes English property mandates.

CMS’ expertise in complex and high-value mandates sees it act for developers, investors and public sector property owners, among other clients. Allan Wernham advised Land Securities on the £224m sale of The Centre and Almondvale West Retail Park in Livingston to HSBC Alternative Investments. Angus MacRae and Chris Rae recently made partner, while Deborah Wales joined Brodies LLP. Timothy Pitt and Iain Doran are also recommended.

Gordon Aitken and Simon Etchells head Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s team, which acts for public sector entities, listed/private companies and institutional clients on acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and other matters. Etchells is assisting The Light Cinemas with development agreements for multi-screen cinemas throughout the UK. Consultant Wilson Aitken joined from McClure Naismith LLP. Allan Cairns, Barry Edgar and Jo Campbell-Smith made partner, while Iain MacNiven retired.

Noted for its pan-UK coverage, Katharine Hardie’s team at Pinsent Masons LLP handles high-value multi-let property investments, large-scale commercial and student accommodation developments, portfolio transactions, and other matters. Russell Munro led advice to a fund managed by Tristan Capital Partners on its acquisition of The Forge Retail Park, Glasgow. Martin Devine is ‘strong on the development side’ and Ewan Alexander has ‘excellent industry knowledge’. Richard Linton is also recommended.

Rated as ‘one of the best in Scotland’ for commercial property work, Shepherd and Wedderburn acts for investors, developers, retailers and banks. In 2015, David Mitchell led advice to City of Edinburgh Council on the £100m sale of the Atria Edinburgh office development. Elsewhere, Andrew Hall is acting for clients such as Taylor Wimpey and Miller Homes in various strategic land sales and acquisitions.

In addition to acting for public sector clients, Drew Morris’ group at Anderson Strathern advises private sector organisations in areas such as retail, energy and healthcare. Anne McGregor and senior associate Fiona McKinnon are advising Intu Properties on the management and development aspects of its Intu Braehead portfolio. Joan Devine joined HBJ Gateley.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP’s wide-ranging practice covers matters such as investment acquisitions, disposals, development and leasing. Noted for its experience in portfolio transactions, Drew Wallace’s team worked with members of the firm’s London and Leeds offices to advise Aviva on the Scottish property aspects of a £2.25bn UK loan book and asset sale. In another highlight, Steve Edgecombe acted for Qatar Airways in its £15m acquisition of the Edinburgh Park Hotel.

Following significant expansion in 2014, HBJ Gateley further bolstered its practice in 2015, hiring Paul Ockrim and Nick Taylor from Leslie Wolfson & Co and Joan Devine from Anderson Strathern. It also increased its headcount at senior associate level, bringing in two practitioners. Miles Ede’s team is active in commercial investments, including portfolio transactions, while other areas of expertise include residential investment and development, and corporate occupier work. Kirsty Nicholson leads on English real estate matters.

Assisting a diverse mix of public and private sector clients, Harper Macleod LLP’s practice covers investment, development, property finance, commercial leasing and structuring work. In 2015, David Bell acted for Bath Resorts on its £6.75m acquisition of the Premier Inn Hotel at Argyle Street in Glasgow. Philip Sim joined from McClure Naismith LLP in 2015. John Meehan leads the team.

Noted for its expertise in commercial development, MacRoberts LLP acts for clients such as BAM Properties, Muse Developments and Carillion. It is also active on the investment side, undertaking high-value transactions for Hamilton Capital Partners and REVCAP, among others. Neil Amner and Robin Corbett joined from DWF.

Jonathan Seddon’s team at Morton Fraser is increasingly active on high-end investment deals, as well as development work involving student accommodation, residential and other commercial developments. Elspeth Carson was lead adviser to Rockspring Hanover Unit Property Trust on its £45m acquisition of EnQuest’s UK headquarters at Annan House, Aberdeen. Other strengths of the practice include portfolio transactions and estate management matters. Hugo Allan joined Thorntons Law LLP, and Brian Macfarlane and David Stewart made partner.

Alan Borthwick and David Gibson head BTO Solicitors LLP’s team, which advises charities, retailers, housebuilders, commercial developers and other clients. Graeme Kelly, who joined from DWF, has 25 years’ experience acting for clients in the hospitality and retail sectors.

Providing UK-wide coverage, DWF undertakes a significant amount of work for clients in sectors such as retail, energy/infrastructure, tourism/leisure and education. In 2015, David Ratter’s team assisted Marks and Spencer with various real estate matters, including three department store acquisitions. Moray Thomson joined from MacRoberts LLP, while Vivienne Stuart retired.

Davidson Chalmers LLP, which has a strong reputation for acting for private development companies, is handling two significant developments in Edinburgh city centre: acting for Chris Stewart Group in the development of The Registers, and advising Peveril Securities on a project at King’s Stables Road.

Dynamic and approachable firmLindsaysdelivers results in a timely and cost-effective way’. As part of a wider practice, Derek Nash’s team acts for corporate occupiers, and assisted FanDuel as tenant with taking up leases at Quartermile Four in Edinburgh. Kenneth Gray and Fiona Linklater are ‘knowledgeable and extremely personable’. Gavin Buchan recently joined from Maclay Murray & Spens LLP.

Shoosmiths’ ‘prompt and reliable’ team acts for national housebuilders in site acquisitions and plot sales. Its investment-side practice is gaining momentum, covering areas such as retail, student accommodation and office properties. In 2015, the firm advised Poundland on the Scottish property aspects of its acquisition of 99p Stores. Associate Jill Turnbull recently joined from Anderson Strathern. Practice head Stephen Dougherty has ‘a wealth of experience’.


Commercial property: Elsewhere in Scotland

Brodies LLP’s Colin MacLaren acts for Drum Property Group in various matters concerning Aberdeen’s Prime Four Business Park, and recently handled the sale of OneSubsea’s headquarters to Reassure. In another highlight in 2015, Tracey Menzies acted for Travis Perkins in the sale and leaseback of Scottish property assets.

Burness Paull’s Richard Goodfellow is leading the advice to a consortium of landowners in a £1bn project involving a 4,500-home settlement at Chapelton of Elsick. John Strachan is advising Malcolm Allan Housebuilders on a joint development project with Barratt Homes involving 1,071 homes in Aberdeenshire.

Pinsent Masons LLP undertakes all areas of commercial property, and has a particularly strong track record in residential and commercial development. Key clients include Persimmon Homes, Barratt Homes, CALA Group and Taylor Wimpey. Rodney Whyte and Mark McCall are advising Aberdeen Harbour Board on the property aspects of the Aberdeen Harbour Expansion Project. Val McDougall joined from Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace.

Blackadders LLP’s workload includes the management of large-scale investment portfolios for clients such as Abercastle Investments, as well as site acquisitions and disposals for housebuilders. It also assists landowners with option agreements with developers. Emma Gray’s team includes Fraser Hardie and Stuart King.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP provides ‘a high standard of advice’ to public sector organisations and oilfield services companies, as well as developers, housebuilders and other clients. In 2015, Alan Michie assisted Kirkwood Homes with the acquisition and development of approximately 600 residential units at Blackdog, Aberdeenshire. In another highlight for Stephen Morrice’s team, Michie acted for Anderson Anderson & Brown LLP in its letting of a new-build office facility at Prime Four Business Park, Kingswells.

Duncan Campbell’s team at Stronachs LLP covers the full spectrum of commercial property matters for public and private sector clients across Scotland. Its extensive practice covers acquisitions and disposals, leasing and development agreements. Ferga McKay handled a large-scale leasing transaction for Caledonian Petroleum Services in a matter involving six industrial units. In 2015, Liz Stewart joined from Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace.


Construction

Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals

Kenny Valentine and Michael Allan lead the team at Pinsent Masons LLP, which advises on complex and high-risk contentious matters, including handling litigation, mediation and arbitration. On the non-contentious side, it manages high-profile and high-value construction projects spanning areas such as energy, infrastructure and real estate; it is project counsel to Aberdeen Harbour Board regarding the Aberdeen Harbour Expansion Project. Other clients include Galliford Try, Morgan Sindall and Laing O’Rourke. Iain MacPhail leads on transactional work for Balfour Beatty, and Craig Morrison ‘goes the extra mile’ on contentious matters. Colin Fraser and Louise Forster are among other key names.

Brodies LLP provides ‘sound tactical advice’ across all forms of dispute resolution, including litigation, arbitration and mediation. Manus Quigg’s contentious construction expertise includes professional negligence actions. Alistair McLean, who heads the non-contentious side of the practice, is advising Aberdeen City Council on contractual matters associated with the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre redevelopment project. Louise Shiels has ‘exceptional client communication skills’ and Keith Kilburn also earns praise.

Burness Paull’s team advises on high-profile construction projects across Scotland in areas such as renewable energy, education, retail and housing. James Forbes is leading advice to Scot Roads Partnership Project Ltd on the construction phase of the M8 extension. Renewable energy sector specialist Chris Mackay ‘inspires confidence’. In the contentious arena, Fenella Mason is ‘skilled in steering clients to the appropriate course of action’. Amey plc, Barhale plc and Kier Construction are among its clients.

CMSIan McCann, a key name in the firm’s non-contentious practice, advised Statoil on the design and construction of an offshore wind facility in England. The firm is particularly strong in the contentious arena; Shona Frame has ‘a wealth of experience across a wide range of dispute resolution procedures’. Department head Lindy Patterson QC is leading a team in SSE’s long-running £130m dispute with Hochtief over the Glendoe tunnel collapse. Christine Worthington made partner in 2015.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP undertakes a significant amount of employer-led development work, with particular expertise in the real estate, energy and transport sectors. The group’s strong reputation in construction sees it win high-end work; Mark Macaulay acted for the developer of the new ScottishPower headquarters in Glasgow. Dual-qualified partners Kirsti Olson and David Scott undertake construction disputes. Stewart Maciver joined from CMS.

MacRoberts LLP’s Neil Kelly is representing Dumfries and Galloway Council at the Court of Session in a dispute arising from defects found at the DG One leisure complex, and the facility’s ongoing closure. David Arnott* is acting for Carillion Utility Services at the Edinburgh Trams Inquiry. On the non-contentious front, the group advises on the construction aspects of large PPP projects for clients such as NHS Lothian and Edinburgh Schools Partnership. *David Arnott joined Brodies LLP in July 2016

Shepherd and Wedderburn handles employer and contractor work, as well as advising procurers and suppliers of construction services and other public and private sector organisations. Euan McLeod is advising Britel Fund Trustees on the demolition of existing buildings and the design and construction of a Class A office block in the Exchange District in Edinburgh. Solicitor advocate Iain Drummond and Gareth Parry, who deal with contentious matters, are recommended, as is David Anderson.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP’s Jonathan Gaskell is advising Edinburgh Haymarket Developments on the construction aspects of high-profile development work at Haymarket in central Edinburgh. Other clients include Heineken, Babcock International and Hoskins Architects.

HBJ Gateley attracts work arising from areas such as real estate, housing and regeneration, healthcare and renewable energy. Solicitor-advocate Anne Struckmeier leads the contentious side of the practice, while Frazer Wardhaugh is the firm’s head of non-contentious construction. Notable clients include BAM Construction, Mott MacDonald and Peel Ports. Alison Horner recently joined from MacRoberts LLP.

Noted for its footprint in the Aberdeen and Inverness markets, Ledingham Chalmers LLP draws a significant amount of contentious and non-contentious work from contractors active in the traditional building sector, as well those engaged in the oil and gas supply chain space. The practice also attracts construction-related work from other sectors, such as banking, charities and real estate. Jennifer Young and Roddy Cormack are advising a wholly-owned subsidiary of Highland Hospice on the construction of a new in-patient facility for the hospice.

Morton Fraser’s Jonathan Seddon focuses on non-contentious construction matters, acting for employers, contractors, local authorities and funders, among other clients. Senior associate Lisa Dromgoole is recommended for dispute resolution and avoidance. The firm represented Pure Spa in adjudication proceedings brought by the contractors responsible for the fit out of its flagship store at Buchanan Street, Glasgow.


Environment

Index of tables

  1. Environment
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

In 2015, Brodies LLP advised Cube Housing Association on three biomass district heating schemes in Glasgow. The team also has expertise in contaminated land issues and waste, and provides environmental compliance support. Paul Marshall deals with environmental prosecutions and other regulatory action, while Neil Collar handles environmental issues in a planning context. Kenneth Ross is also recommended. Philip Hunter leads the practice.

Pinsent Masons LLP handles contentious and non-contentious mandates for waste management companies, oil and gas companies, and large energy utilities. Gordon McCreath assisted E.ON with various matters in 2015, including environmental issues arising from its proposed biomass project at Royal Portbury Docks in Bristol. Jennifer Ballantyne’s expertise includes contaminated land, environmental permitting and waste management. Legal director Ross McDowall is another key name.

Noted for its contentious and non-contentious capabilities, Shepherd and Wedderburn has expertise in areas such as contaminated land, waste, water resources and abstraction, and environmental permitting. Scott McCallum and Patricia Hawthorn are leading advice to DONG Energy on environmental issues connected with the proposed 1.8GW Hornsea Offshore Wind Farm Project Two.

In 2015, Anderson Strathern’s Alastair McKie dealt with contentious matters before the Court of Session, Supreme Court and Directorate of Planning and Appeals. McKie is currently handling a Supreme Court appeal for Ross Estates Company concerning its opposition to a proposed waste-to-energy combined heat and power plant. Sarah Baillie acted for Healthcare Environmental Group in two PPC environmental permit appeals before the Scottish Ministers.

Burness Paull deals with contentious and non-contentious environmental issues – including providing corporate transactional support – across a range of sectors, with particular strengths in energy, specifically oil and gas, offshore and marine renewables. Craig Whelton advised Icon Infrastructure Partners on the environmental aspects of its acquisition of Helius’ 50% interest in the Rothes biomass plant. Other clients include Total E&P, Cemex and Scottish Enterprise.

Laura Tainsh’s team at Davidson Chalmers LLP assists clients with their dealings with regulatory bodies such as the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, and has particular expertise in dealing with enforcement actions. Saica Natur UK, Straid Farms and Peel Energy are among its key clients.

Harper Macleod LLP has a strong reputation handling environmental disputes for local authorities and regulatory bodies. The firm also acts for developers in contentious and non-contentious matters where environmental issues arise from proposed developments. Rod McKenzie and Peter Ferguson represented Scottish Natural Heritage at a public inquiry in order to object to the proposed Carn Gorm wind farm. Jennifer Jack joined from DWF.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP’s Jim Drysdale, who has 30 years’ experience in environmental law, is knowledgeable in a broad scope of issues, including nature conservation, waste, contaminated land and volatile organic compounds. Experienced litigator John Chalmers conducts litigation for public sector and insurance-based clients.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s Tim Edward is currently representing Esso in a high-profile wrongful contamination case against the Scottish Ministers. Pamela Coulthard’s team also provides assistance with oil and gas environmental regulatory issues, particularly regarding onshore shale exploration and production, as well as decommissioning. Clients include Peel Gas & Oil, Aviva and Syngenta.

Jamie Grant’s* team at MacRoberts LLP expanded significantly in 2015 with a number of hires from DWF; Neil Amner and Martin Sales moved across along with Louise Gibson and Carly Mason. Another hire, corporate defence specialist John McGovern, joined from DAC Beachcroft Scotland. The group deals with contentious and non-contentious environmental issues across a wide range of sectors, including food and drink, transport and construction. Clients include Shanks Waste Management, Transport Scotland and Scottish Salmon Company. *Subsequent to publication, Jamie Grant has left the firm.


Planning

Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Led by the ‘exceptionally approachableNeil Collar, Brodies LLP’s team deals with matters ranging from early strategic advice on projects, through to planning inquiry advocacy and Court of Session appeals. A particular area of strength is in drafting s75 planning obligations. Clients include City of Edinburgh Council, Airvolution and Tulloch Homes. Karen Hamilton is recommended. Kevin Graham joined from City of Edinburgh Council, where he was an in-house planning solicitor, while Robert Seaton departed to become a Scottish Government appeal reporter.

Burness Paull has a particularly strong offering in the housebuilding sector; in 2015, Craig Whelton represented Mactaggart & Mickel in its successful planning appeal for 650 houses plus a new primary school in south east Edinburgh. Elaine Farquharson-Black’s team also handles planning issues for energy sector clients such as 2020 Renewables and Total E&P, and advises promoters and objectors on compulsory purchases. It also undertakes planning-related court litigation. Margaret Bochel joined the firm from Aberdeen City Council in 2015.

CMSAnn Faulds is handling planning and compulsory purchase procedures in connection with the redevelopment of the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre. Trudi Craggs specialises in the planning aspects of large-scale public infrastructure projects and commercial developments. Robin Hutchison, an expert in energy infrastructure planning and consenting, joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in 2015.

Shepherd and Wedderburn undertakes a significant amount of work in the residential development arena; Ewan MacLeod is advising EWP Investments on its 1,000-house development at Armadale, West Lothian. The firm’s energy and retail sector capabilities see it act for clients such as ScottishPower, RWE and Sainsbury’s. Scott McCallum and Fraser Mitchell are recommended.

Anderson Strathern’s practice advises on the planning aspects of projects in the retail, energy, infrastructure and housing sectors, among others. Clients include INEOS, Dandara Group and South Ayrshire Council. Alastair McKie is assisting Buccleuch Estates and Hermitage Action Group with opposing a planning application for a wind farm development in the Scottish Borders.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP’s team fields three Law Society accredited specialists in planning, including Sandy Telfer. Telfer draws planning work from the housing and retail sectors, and also has particular expertise in onshore unconventional gas. Michael Greig is advising Dawnfresh Farming on the planning status of its fish farms. Consultant John Watchman is another key individual.

Martin Sales, who joined from DWF in 2015, leads MacRoberts LLP’s team. It handles a wide range of matters, such as compulsory purchase orders (for acquiring authorities and objectors), planning advice on wind energy projects, and retail planning applications and appeals. Sales acted for Partnerships for Renewables in its application for consent to develop an s36 wind farm in Cloich Forest, Peeblesshire.

Morton Fraser’s strong following of public sector clients includes Transport Scotland, for which it undertakes public inquiry work. Douglas Milne represented Historic Environment Scotland at a planning appeal challenging Inverclyde Council’s refusal to grant permission for the development of Inverclyde Wind Farm. The firm also has a significant private sector client base, handling mandates from Tesco, Intu Properties and Stewart Milne Group, among others. Kenneth Carruthers is recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP handles a broad cross-section of planning mandates in areas such as retail, energy and infrastructure, and commercial and residential real estate development. Gary McGovern, who made partner in 2015, is advising Duddingston House Properties/Calton Hill Hotel on the planning aspects of the proposed redevelopment of the former Royal High School, Edinburgh. Jennifer Ballantyne, Gordon McCreath and Rodney Whyte are other key names.

Moray Thomson, who joined DWF from MacRoberts LLP in 2015, heads the firm’s planning practice, which undertakes a significant amount of work related to energy and energy infrastructure. Thomson advised ScottishPower Renewables (UK) on the extension to a wind farm at Hare Hill. Martin Sales moved to MacRoberts LLP.

Davidson Chalmers LLP’s June Gilles, who has ‘an excellent, unflappable manner’, advises on issues across a wide range of development projects, with particular strengths in energy and food retail developments. Caroline Court is another key name in the team, and advises clients such as Urban Wind, Chris Stewart Group and Story Homes.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP’s main contact is Murray Shaw, who has more than 25 years’ experience in planning law, and is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in the area. Although the practice attracts work across a wide range of areas, it has a particular emphasis on energy and housebuilding.

HBJ Gateley’s planning expertise spans energy, retail, housing and other areas. Practice head Craig Adamson ‘takes the lead on negotiating complex s75 issues with planning authorities’, and Paul Minto is another name to note. Clients of the practice include BT, Murray Estates and Berwickshire Housing Association.

In addition to acting for Scottish planning authorities and regulators, Harper Macleod LLP advises developers active in renewable energy projects, as well as residential, commercial and retail developments. Peter Ferguson acted for Cairngorm National Parks Authority and Highland Council at a public inquiry concerning a proposed 31-turbine wind farm.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP’s David Scott acts for clients such as residential and commercial developers, planning authorities, landowners and objectors. Scott’s wide-ranging expertise includes planning agreements, development plans, compulsory purchase matters and appeals. Kirkwood Homes, John Gordon & Son and Carlton Rock are among the firm’s clients.

Work for commercial developers and housebuilders is a mainstay of the practice at Maclay Murray & Spens LLP. ‘Extremely knowledgeable’ Gillian Simpson has expertise in compulsory purchase matters, appeals, judicial reviews and negotiating complex planning agreements. Simpson successfully concluded an s75 planning agreement for Robertson Homes in connection with its proposed development of a former hospital site in Bothwell.

In 2015, Fraser Gillies’ team at Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP advised 2020 Renewables on various matters, including its planning appeal associated with the proposed Inverclyde Wind Farm. The firm also acted for other renewable energy sector clients, such as RWE Innogy UK, RES and Partnership for Renewables. Andrew Wilson and senior associate Melanie Kane are also recommended.


Property litigation

Brodies LLP acts for property professionals, funds and corporates in property disputes. In 2015, Stephen Goldie defended Greenbelt Group’s operation of the land-owning maintenance model at the Lands Tribunal. Matthew Farrell, who made partner in 2015, has ‘a very natural commercial awareness’.

Burness Paull LLP’s team undertakes high-end cases for a client roster that includes Stewart Milne Group, Vodafone and Glasgow Housing Association. Alan McMillan, who is ‘deservedly highly recommended’, successfully defended City of Edinburgh Council against an £8m dilapidations claim, and is representing University of St Andrews in a high-value multi-party dispute arising from a joint venture development project in St Andrews.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s Ewan Easton, who established the firm’s specialist practice in the late 1980s, is ‘excellent in a crisis’. The firm has a strong track record acting for institutional landlords and corporate tenants; Easton handled a £1m dilapidations claim against Santander for PDPF GP Limited. ‘Rising star’ Gareth Hale made partner in 2015.

Morton Fraser has a diverse practice, undertaking a wide range of matters for local authorities, government agencies, and private sector organisations. Kenneth Carruthers, who is ‘an absolute pleasure to deal with’, is experienced in landlord-tenant, development and public procurement related disputes. Douglas Milne is recommended, as are senior associates Susan Leslie and Lisa Dromgoole.

Craig Connal QC’s team at Pinsent Masons LLP has more than 60 years’ combined experience in property litigation. It deals with a broad cross-section of mandates, including those concerning enforcement of contractual obligations, rent reviews and dilapidations. Connal QC is representing Real Estates in a high-value contractual dispute. Other clients include Diageo, Martin McColl and Peel Group.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s practice covers a wide range of matters, including dilapidation cases, contractual disputes and professional negligence. A highlight for Colin Archibald’s ‘thorough and responsive’ team involved advising Lunar Greenock on claims arising from flooding to the Oak Mall Shopping Centre, Greenock. Elaine Brailsford and Daniel Bain are other key names.

Anderson Strathern leverages its strengths in areas such as commercial property, renewable energy and agriculture and estates to deal with a wide range of property disputes. Its team acts for a number of public and private sector clients, such as Midlothian Council, Kwik-Fit Group and Transport Scotland. Fiona Stephen’s group includes Kirsty Slee, who is ‘bright and focused’, and Shirley Evans. Joan Devine joined HBJ Gateley.

CMS undertakes contentious matters for real estate investors, as well as clients active in financial services, energy and infrastructure, and the public sector. Alison Gow acted for SSE Renewables in a judicial review of its proposed £460m wind farm development at Stronelairg. Colin Hutton and Harriet Munro are recommended. Lorna Sibbald left the firm.

DWF’s particularly strong retailer client base, which includes Arcadia and Next, is complemented by the firm’s strengths in landlord and tenant disputes, dilapidations and nuisance cases, among other matters. The firm also acts for investors and developers. Solicitor advocate Euan McSherry recently qualified as a RICS accredited mediator, and he also handles expert determinations and arbitrations. Brent Haywood and Jennifer Jack left for Lindsays and Harper Macleod LLP respectively.

Led by Sheila Webster, Davidson Chalmers LLP’s team deals with high-value and complex dilapidations cases, as well as contentious property development matters, and title and property contract disputes. Webster is defending Pizza Hut against a £1m dilapidations claim brought by a landlord.

BTO Solicitors LLPTony Jones and recently promoted partner David Young are representing ELB Securities at the Supreme Court in a high-profile case that addresses the effect of a company’s dissolution (and subsequent restoration to the register) on the status of property it once owned. Mark Morton heads the practice, which undertakes a significant amount of work for insurers such as RSA, NFU Mutual and Brit Insurance. Robin Macpherson joined from Brodies LLP in 2015.

Hazel Moffat and Alistair Drummond head DLA Piper Scotland LLP’s practice, which takes on work from Scottish, UK and international clients. Drummond is lead adviser to Brenntag Inorganic Chemicals in a land contamination case.

In addition to handling commercial property disputes, HBJ Gateley serves residential landlords in various matters, including cases involving rent arrears and antisocial behaviour. Simon Catto’s team acts for clients such as Virgin Media, Premier Property Group and First Title Insurance. Joan Devine joined from Anderson Strathern.

Led by Carolyn Morgan, Harper Macleod LLP acts for a broad client base, which includes Direct Line, Tulloch Group and River Clyde Homes. John McHugh and E-Ming Fong joined from McClure Naismith LLP in 2015. Fong is representing Kashmiri Properties (Ireland) in a case concerning a disputed servitude right.

Gillian Craig’s team at MacRoberts LLPcombines good general commercial litigation skills with specialist knowledge of Scottish property law’. It successfully defended Crown Aerosols against a commercial action for interdict brought by a landlord. Julie Hamilton is ‘very knowledgeable and delivers great client service’.


Social housing

Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Andrew Cowan - T C Young
    • Len Freedman - T C Young

Harper Macleod LLP acts for five of the six largest Scottish registered social landlords, while other clients include funders, developers and local authorities. Derek Hogg’s team includes James McMorrow, who is assisting Wheatley Housing Group with a review of its group procurement structure to reflect recent legal changes. Other strengths of the practice include mergers and stock transfers. In 2015, John McHugh and Jennifer Jack joined from McClure Naismith LLP and DWF, respectively.

T C Young’s longstanding track record sees it act for 120 registered social landlords located throughout Scotland. Its extensive workload includes private finance arrangements, group structures, court actions, land acquisitions and procurement advice. Mark Ewing acted for Bellsmyre Housing Association in the creation of a constitutional partnership with Caledonia Housing Association. Christine Stuart has ‘a very sharp mind’, Stephen MacGregor has ‘unmatched experience in corporate and governance work’ and Jim Bauld ‘cuts through the fluff’.

BTO Solicitors LLP’s team acts for a significant number of registered social landlords, including Clyde Valley Housing Association, Berwickshire Housing Association and Parkhead Housing Association. In a recent highlight, it advised Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership on the sale of properties earmarked for disposal under the New Supply Shared Equity scheme. Patrice Fabien, Karen Brodie and Marion Davis are ‘knowledgeable and personable’.

HBJ Gateley’s team deals with matters ranging from housing management and debt recovery to group structures and constitutional partnerships. Paul Minto and Heather Pearson assisted Berwickshire Community Renewables LLP with all legal matters connected with its successful development of a three-turbine wind farm in the Scottish Borders. Helena Brown joined from Burness Paull LLP, while Jacqueline McCluskey departed for Morisons LLP.

Anderson Strathern’s David Hunter, Gavin Thain and Deborah Lovell are advising three housing associations on a renewable energy initiative to generate free electricity for tenants and reduce fuel poverty levels. Shirley Evans, an expert in contentious housing management issues, ‘will fight your corner tenaciously’. Mark Cowie joined from McClure Naismith LLP and Douglas McLachlan was hired from DWF.

Burness Paull LLP’s Scott Peterkin acted for City Legacy and Cruden Estates in the development, marketing and sale of the Athletes’ Village in Dalmarnock, Glasgow. Peter Chambers and Stephen Phillips are other names to note in the team, which also acts for Link Group and Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association. Caroline Drummond joined the Scottish Law Commission.

CMS’ team acts for clients such as Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland in social housing finance transactions. Elsewhere, the firm has worked with City of Edinburgh Council on the delivery of affordable new homes through the National Housing Trust initiative. Ailsa Ritchie is recommended.

Social housing finance is a core area of focus at Morton Fraser, which acts for clients such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank. The firm also advises Scottish government departments on housing development projects, and assists social landlords with employment issues and development transactions. Andrew Meakin ‘thinks outside the box’.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s Stephen Humphreys specialises in contentious matters, and has particular experience in landlord and tenant issues. Senior associate Siobhan Connelly regularly represents registered social landlords in court litigation, with notable expertise in antisocial behaviour. Elaine Hunter and Rhona Harper are other key names in the team, which acts for City of Edinburgh Council, Wheatley Group and Southside Housing Association, among other clients.

Shoosmiths advises registered social landlords on a gamut of issues, including procurement, group restructurings and debt recovery. Janette Speed and Laura Bloxham acted for Dunedin Canmore Housing in its £2m acquisition of a development site in Edinburgh. Karen Harvie is recommended for employment and regulatory matters.


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