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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Scotland > Real estate > Property litigation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Brodies LLP has a strong track record securing favourable outcomes for domestic and international investors, corporate occupiers, housebuilders and property funds. Led by Stephen Goldie, the team handles significant and highly complex matters at all court levels, ranging from Sheriff Court proceedings to cases heard at the Supreme Court. The group’s extensive expertise covers a wide range of contentious property issues, including professional negligence, breaches of contract, dilapidations, rent reviews and development disputes. In 2016, Matthew Farrell defended Aviva, as the guarantor of Scottish Coal Company Limited, against a £4m claim for payment allegedly due under a bond. Farrell also defended Abellio Scotrail against a court application, which was brought by Select Service Partner in relation to the redevelopment of Queen Street railway station. Aberdeen-based Ken MacDonald, who has more than 20 years of experience in real estate litigation, successfully represented a landowner in a Land Register appeal at The Lands Tribunal for Scotland. Other clients include Pramerica, TIAA Henderson Real Estate, Sports Direct and Orion.

Burness Paull LLP’s specialist team ‘combines strong legal knowledge with creativity and boldness’. It has a wealth of expertise in dispute avoidance, as well as mediations, arbitrations and litigation for clients such as Argos, Aon, Ladbrokes and Royal Bank of Scotland. Gary Moffat and associate Jennifer Neill have undertaken a significant amount of work for Vodafone, including recently representing the client in a dispute with Glasgow College over mast equipment on college buildings scheduled for redevelopment. Practice head Alan McMillan is leading the defence of City of Edinburgh Council against a £8m dilapidations claim brought by Mapeley, which arose from its alleged breach of repair obligations as a tenant at Chesser House in Edinburgh. McMillan is also defending Dana Petroleum against a £1m dilapidations claim in relation to its tenancy at Grampian House in Aberdeen. The firm’s other recent matters include contested notices to quit and development-related matters.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP excels in all types of complex and high-value real estate disputes, including dilapidations claims, cases involving issues over title and servitudes, and contested notices to quit. Ewan Easton heads the practice, which acts for clients from a wide range of sectors, including retail, energy, agriculture, public infrastructure and residential development. 2016 highlights included representing Landvest PCC in Landvest PCC Limited v The Archdiocese of St Andrews, Edinburgh, which dealt with the issue of whether an exclusivity period referred to in a heads of term document amounted to a unilateral promise (and therefore created a binding legal obligation). Gareth Hale, who is the current secretary of the Property Litigation Association in Scotland, handles various matters for commercial landlords, commercial tenants and landowners.

Morton Fraser advises public and private sector clients on contentious servitude issues, dilapidations claims, boundary disputes and breaches of missives and development agreements. Practice head Kenneth Carruthers worked with Lisa Dromgoole and others advising Transport Scotland, as one of the tenants at Buchanan House in Glasgow, on a high-profile dispute with the contractor responsible for a refurbishment project at the premises. Carruthers and Dromgoole are also defending The Scottish Prison Service, as the tenant, against a dilapidations claim. Douglas Milne, who has specialised in property litigation since 1995, is experienced in rent arrears cases and lease disputes (including keep open claims). Also recommended is Richard McMeeken, who defended Stewart Milne Group against a claim brought by a family of property developers that it was entitled to a monthly payment of £5000 as a penalty if the client defaulted on a contract. Joel Conn joined Mitchells Roberton.

Pinsent Masons LLP has a strong bench of litigators at all levels of seniority, which covers a full range of general property disputes (including breaches of contract and dilapidations), as well as cases involving particularly novel legal issues. Clients include Peel Group, Realis Estates, BP, Livingston Centre Limited and John Lewis. Craig Connal QC and senior associate Fiona MacGregor are defending Diageo Scotland in a test case for a group of households in which it is alleged that ethanol released from the client’s whisky maturation process caused the creation of a black fungus, which caused damage to properties throughout central Scotland. In another matter, Connal QC and senior associate Claire Thornber defended Xcite Energy Limited as the tenant in a £161m dilapidations dispute involving Esson Properties Limited. Jacqueline Harris and Macgregor acted for William Tracey Group as the pursuer in William Tracey v SP Transmission Plc, a high-profile test case in relation to a wayleave, and also an associated judicial review. Associate Steven Blane is also recommended.

Shepherd and Wedderburnstands out in Scotland’ for providing ‘an excellent service combined with a commercial focus’. Led by Colin Archibald, the group covers a full range of contentious property cases for commercial landlords and tenants, housebuilders, funders, developers and retailers. Archibald worked with associate Daniel Bain for Atkins in high-value landlord and tenant litigation with Friends Provident Life Assurance Limited and Friends Life Limited, which concerned the validity of break notices in relation to office premises occupied by the client in Glasgow. In another matter, Ewan MacLeod is representing Taylor Wimpey UK in a Court of Session action concerning the status of a grass verge located between a public footpath and a proposed development site owned by the client. Elaine Brailsford has more than 25 years of property litigation experience.

Anderson Strathern’s property litigation practice acts for clients in the commercial, agricultural and housing sectors. Fiona Stephen heads the practice, which includes Fraser Geddes, who has a wealth of experience in Sheriff and Court of Session proceedings, as well as other types of dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration. Alistair Dean and senior associates Kirsty Slee and Shirley Evans are other key individuals in the team, which acts for clients such as The Crown Estate, Intu Properties and Scottish Midland Co-operative Society. Slee, Stephen and are solicitor advocates. Joan Devine joined Addleshaw Goddard.

The ‘thoroughly professional team’ at CMS is headed by Alison Gow, who has more than 20 years of experience in this space and attracts praise for her ‘very good tactical instincts’; she is ‘a committed litigator with seemingly boundless energy’. Gow’s workload covers areas such as contentious landlord and tenant, wayleave and servitude disputes, and boundary encroachments cases. Gow and Danielle McLaughlin represented the trustees of The Tonsley 2 Trust in a dilapidations claim against former tenant Scottish Enterprise. Another name to note is Colin Hutton, who is dual-qualified in Scottish and English law, and specialises in energy disputes involving transmission and distribution networks. Marc Armstrong is ‘very bright, understands the law and has a pragmatic approach to problems’. Harriet Munro is recommended for real estate professional negligence claims.

DWF’s expertise covers all forms of dispute resolution, including expert determinations, mediations, arbitrations and litigation. Although the firm is particularly well-known for acting for retail occupiers, with particular strengths in landlord and tenant, and dilapidations cases, it also acts for investors, local authorities, energy companies and developers. Practice head Euan McSherry, who is a solicitor advocate and RICS-accredited mediator, and associate Kenneth Campbell acted for Marks & Spencer in an action concerning the rights of the landlords to build a new Primark store in and adjacent to the centre. In another matter, McSherry and associate Philip Knight assisted Marine Harvest with raising eviction proceedings against a hostile tenant at a quarry in Skye to facilitate the client’s acquisition of the site, for the purpose of establishing a new fish food processing factory. Halfords, Schroders and Greggs are also clients.

At Davidson Chalmers LLP, ‘professional and knowledgeable’ practice head Sheila Webster and associate Greg Flett form ‘an excellent team, which you would wish to have on your side in any contentious matter’. The group undertakes landlord and tenant disputes, keep trading obligations, contested service of notice cases, development-related matters, major dilapidations claims, and contentious title and property contract issues. The team is currently handling various property disputes for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, including a substantial dilapidations claim and rent review matter against its former landlord. In another highlight, Webster is leading the advice to Carpetright Plc on a Tenancy of Shops Act case. Phillips 66, Burger King and Muir Group are also clients.

Addleshaw Goddardoperates an excellent case management system, which means that the information is always available when interfacing with the firm’. The team in Scotland, which comprises practitioners from the legacy HBJ Gateley practice led by Simon Catto, and which covers a wide range of matters, including rent review disputes, professional negligence, breaches of contract, and dilapidations claims. Joan Devine, who joined the group from Anderson Strathern in 2016, and senior solicitor Ilona McGowan are representing Link Housing PSL in 27 combined actions for recovery of possession of properties and rent arrears under short Scottish secure tenancies. Also recommended are Lynsey Walker, who made partner, Edward Gratwick, who became a solicitor advocate in 2016 and was promoted to senior associate, Alan Sinclair and Anne Struckmeier. Stuart Clubb joined Shoosmiths.

BTO Solicitors LLP’s team inspires ‘complete confidence’ in clients. Mark Morton, Tony Jones, Robin Macpherson and Michael Collins all have solicitor advocacy expertise. Grant Hunter is leading a team defending Clyde Valley Group against court actions brought by multiple tenants in relation to personal injuries they claim were sustained due to the construction of housing stock on contaminated land. The practice also has a particularly strong following among insurer clients, including RSA and NFU Mutual. Bill Speirs, Jilly Petrie and Jones are representing an insurer in a Court of Session claim arising from the collapse of warehouse roofs owned by William Grant & Company following heavy snow falls in 2009 and 2010. Property damage expert Angus Crawford, recently promoted partner David Young and associate Mark McCluskie are other notable team members.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP’s ‘responsive and efficient team’ regularly handles complex property disputes. The practice generates work from a broad base of Scottish, UK and international clients; Henry Boot Developments, RBS and Heineken UK Limited are all clients. Alistair Drummond has wide-ranging expertise covering commercial leases, dilapidations, keep open obligations and servitudes. Drummond, who jointly heads the practice with Hazel Moffat, is defending Arjo Wiggins in an action for breach of contract related to the assignation of a wayleave agreement. Drummond is also handling a defect liability dispute connected with a residential development in North Berwick for developer Broad Sands Limited. Joanna Clark is singled out for her knowledge of insolvency-related property issues.

Harper Macleod LLP’s client roster includes institutional landlords, commercial tenants (such as financial institutions and corporate occupiers), UK public bodies and registered social landlords. Its team, which appears at all courts and tribunals in Scotland, handles commercial lease disputes, boundary and public access disputes, dilapidations claims, contentious land management matters and recoveries of possession of heritage. Practice head Carolyn Morgan, who is dual-qualified in Scottish and English law, led a team acting for Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority in a case concerning the enforcement of public access rights under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Rod McKenzie and associate Andrew Upton issued proceedings on behalf of Caledonian & Northern Properties over the refusal by its landlord to consent to assignation of a lease. E-Ming Fong successfully defended Kashmiri Properties in declaratory and interdict proceedings concerning whether a servitude right existed over the client’s property in favour of a neighbour’s land. Sandy Hastie and John McHugh are other highly regarded practitioners.

MacRoberts LLP’s team ‘understands property law and the commercial property market in which its clients operate, enabling it to direct the conduct of cases skilfully and efficiently as a result’. ‘Superbly able’ practice head Gillian Craig, who ‘goes above and beyond expectations’, worked with senior associate Angus Wood to defend the guarantors of a tenant (which had gone into administration) of an Edinburgh aparthotel, against a claim initiated by a landlord seeking to recover payment for rent arrears and dilapidations. The group’s other areas of expertise include title condition disputes, nuisance-related matters, boundary disputes and encroachments. Also recommended are solicitor advocate Julie Hamilton and senior associate Lynsay Cargill. In 2016, Gavin Thomson joined from Pinsent Masons LLP, while David Arnott joined Brodies LLP and Richard Barrie moved to Levy & McRae.

At Blackadders LLP, practice head Ryan McKay is particularly active in contentious commercial leasing matters and Scottish Land Court cases. Stephanie Carr, who is an accredited insolvency specialist, regularly handles contentious property matters for insolvency practitioners. Solicitor advocate Richard Godden is experienced in property cases before the Court of Session.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP’s team is particularly skilled in rural and land-based property disputes; its clients in this space include rural estate clients, estate owners, housebuilders and public sector bodies. The firm also handles commercial and residential property disputes, including dilapidations claims, lease disputes, boundaries and encroachment issues, rights of access and nuisance, among other areas. Fiona Cameron, who made partner in 2016, handles cases at the Scottish Land Court, Sheriff Court and Court of Session. Cameron has particular strength in matters involving TUPE issues arising from the sale or purchase of an estate. Colin Hamilton also recently made partner. Ian Turnbull leads the team, which includes John Stirling and associate Isobell Reid, who joined from DWF.

Lindsays acts for charities, registered social landlords, commercial developers, SMEs and universities. Cases involving issues under the Telecommunications Code 1984 are a particular area of activity; in 2016, team head Paul Harper and senior solicitor Gregor MacEwan assisted the University of Edinburgh with raising numerous court actions against mobile network operators, and also handled parallel negotiations for the purpose of compelling them to vacate various sites at the university. In another highlight, John Bett and Brian Pollock defended Healthcare Environmental Services as the tenant at the Commercial Court of the Court of Session in a £3.5m commercial landlord and tenant dispute.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Property litigation

  • New ‘ROE Bill’ draft published

    Following from the recent public outcry regarding the lack of ‘transparency’ in the UK property market, a new ‘ROE Bill’ draft has now been published.
    - Hudson McKenzie

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