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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’.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Property litigation

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 


    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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