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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

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  1. Property litigation
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

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Who Represents Who

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Brodies LLP's 'incredibly professional' team has a tremendous record of success in dilapidations cases, complex disputes concerning contractual interpretations, and commercial landlord and tenant matters. Stephen Goldie and solicitor Chloe Postlethwaite are advising a private equity fund on various contentious issues associated with a retail park and large shopping centre, such as tenant insolvency, recovery of arrears, keep open actions and common parts issues. The firm has developed a first-rate reputation in disputes over business rates. Matthew Farrell and Postlethwaite recently acted for a number of non-domestic ratepayers (including accountants, oil companies and high street retailers) located in Aberdeen on challenging their business rates before the Valuation Appeal Committee. TIAA Henderson Real Estate, Moorfield and Pramerica are among other clients. Ken MacDonald, who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law, is experienced in resolving disputes through methods such as litigation, mediation, arbitration and expert determination. Tony Jones QC joined from BTO Solicitors LLP.

Burness Paull LLP's practice is led by Alan McMillan (a Fellow of the CIArb and member of the Law Society specialist accreditation panel on arbitration) in Edinburgh, whose recent work has included multimillion pound arbitrations involving issues over dilapidations, service charge disputes and alienation clauses, among others. McMillan, who is also a CEDR-accredited mediator and seasoned litigator, is supported by Glasgow-based partner Gary Moffat and solicitor advocate Steven Guild. Senior solicitor Stephen Farrell is another name to note. The firm's outstanding track record in property disputes has enabled it to build up a client base including such names as BSkyB, City of Edinburgh Council, Stewart Milne Group and Vodafone. McMillan represented NFU Mutual in a dilapidations claim against Deloitte in 2017. In addition, McMillan and Farrell are advising wind farm developer Auquhirie Land Company Limited on a £2.6m damages action against Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Plc (SHET); the dispute arises from the client's ability to develop a five turbine development being limited to a three turbine development, as a consequence of SHET obtaining a statutory wayleave, which allows it to have pylons on the client's land.

Dentons, which entered the Scottish marketplace by merging with Maclay Murray & Spens in 2017, has seen its Scotland-based team become increasingly active in advising the firm's clients from further afield across the UK. The group, which is led by Gareth Hale, has recently attracted work from names such as J Sainsbury Plc and Argos. Its expertise in reputationally-significant cases spans a wide variety of issues, such as contested lease terminations, dilapidations and disputes arising from the termination of land option contracts. Hale and senior associate Sarah McCormick are representing CIP Property (AIPT) Limited at the Inner House of the Court of Session in a landmark case concerning the anti-money laundering obligations of financial institutions/other regulated entities, or their nominees, in property transactions. Another legally-significant case saw Hale and McCormick act for The Brucefield Estate Trustee Company Limited as the landlord in proceedings against former tenant Computacenter (UK) Limited; this widely-publicised case concerned the operation of tacit relocation. In addition to acting for landlords, the firm also advises corporate tenants, including TK Maxx, The Disney Store and John Menzies Plc. Ewan Easton has retired from private practice.

Morton Fraser's high calibre team undertakes a varied portfolio of contentious real estate cases that arise from land acquisitions and development, including matters involving an interplay between property law and other related areas, such as construction law, contract law and planning law. Kenneth Carruthers, who heads up the group, has focused predominantly on property disputes for nearly 30 years. His stable of clients includes the Scottish government, Buchan Biogas Limited and Standard Life Trustees Limited. He has also acted as Tesco's main adviser on property litigation in Scotland for nearly 20 years. In 2017, Carruthers and senior associate Lisa Dromgoole assisted Priya Properties and four other landowners with successfully appealing all 95 demolition orders served on flats at a housing scheme in Port Glasgow. Douglas Milne, who has specialised in property litigation since 1995, was the lead adviser to New Ingliston Limited on a Court of Session claim against City of Edinburgh Council over the Council's failure to return land to the client following completion of the Edinburgh Tram scheme. Nicola Ross represents public and private sector clients in landlord and tenant disputes, and disputes arising following the conclusion of sale/purchase contracts. Richard McMeeken, senior associate Susan Leslie and associate Ursula Currie are also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP provides 'a dependably high level of service' to its diverse client base, which includes developers, investors, funders and insolvency practitioners. Its heavyweight team, which is led by Craig Connal QC, has a strong track record in widely-reported, groundbreaking cases. Connal QC and senior associate Fiona MacGregor are representing Diageo Scotland in a high-value group of claims involving circa 1000 homeowners (whose properties neighbour the client's maturation facilities), who allege that a fungus was created by the client's whisky maturation process, and caused damage to their properties. In 2017, Joanne Gillies and associate David Crossan acted for Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP, as the joint administrators of several companies that were part of the property empire of Scottish businessman Thomas Coakley, in irritancy proceedings. BP, Peel Group and Realis Estates are other notable clients. Senior associate Claire Thornber 'can be relied upon to get to the heart of a dispute quickly, and advises clients competently and comprehensively'. Solicitor advocate Jacqueline Harris, who has more than 25 years of litigation experience, is another well-known name in the team.

Shepherd and Wedderburn's Colin Archibald and Elaine Brailsford jointly have more than 50 years of experience handling the full spectrum of complex property disputes, a number of which have been among the most significant in Scotland. Archibald and Brailsford work alongside other notable individuals in the group, such as associates Daniel Bain and Stephanie Hepburn  A recent highlight involved Archibald and Bain acting for Tarmac in two interrelated litigations arising from a leasing dispute between the client and the executor of its former landlord of quarry subjects in the Scottish Borders. In another matter, Archibald, Bain and associate Fraser Mitchell are advising Taylor Wimpey Developments Limited on a dispute with West Lothian Council over an alleged statutory nuisance near a development site at Winchburgh in West Lothian. Elsewhere, market conditions have led to other growth areas of work, such as 'keep open' disputes between commercial landlords and tenants, and also dilapidations cases. In addition, telecoms sector property work is an emerging area of the practice, particularly in cases involving issues under the Electronic Communications Code. 

Anderson Strathern's property litigation experience is brought to bear in commercial lease disputes, title and access disputes, commercial property management cases, and crofting and agricultural matters. Practice head Fiona Stephen is one of nine solicitors recommended by the Law Society of Scotland to conduct property-related professional negligence cases.  Senior associate Shirley Evans has a track record in property litigation dating back more than 25 years. Kirsty Slee, Fraser Geddes and Alistair Dean are other members of the team, which acts for clients such as registered social landlords, commercial landlords, tenants, local authorities and developers. Stephen and Evans are representing Midlothian Council in litigation brought by landowners to recall a notice served by the council, which requires them to remove a fence prohibiting public access to Penicuik Estate. Geddes and senior associate Gillian Jamieson recently advised MP Burke Transport Limited on a professional negligence claim against an engineering consultancy over its alleged failure to identify corrosion on the metal roof sheeting of a warehouse in Paisley during a structural survey. In another highlight, Stephen represented a trustee in sequestration in an action for possession of farmland belonging to a debtor.

CMS 'leaves no stone unturned when working on a case'. Team head Alison Gow has 'a detailed understanding of Court of Session procedure and displays very strong tactical instincts'; she is 'a real fighter'. Other individuals who garner client praise are senior associate Marc Armstrong, who is 'always aware of the overall commercial interests of the client' and 'incisive' associate Danielle McLaughlin. The group, which also includes Colin Hutton and Harriet Munro, is prominent in headline property disputes. In 2017, Gow and Armstrong represented SSE Plc in The John Muir Trust's challenge of the decision by the Scottish Ministers to allow the development of the circa £460m Stronelairg wind farm development in the Scottish Highlands. Armstrong and Gow worked with the planning team to advise Inch Cape Offshore Limited on the RSPB's judicial review challenge of the Inch Cape Offshore wind farm; the RSPB was challenging this project, along with three other wind farms. In addition to acting for clients in the renewable energy sector, other areas of activity include oil and gas, IT, insurance and life sciences. The team's diverse workload also includes high-value dilapidations claims, property-related insolvency, real estate negligence, wayleave and servitude disputes, cases involving boundary and encroachment issues, and landlord and tenant matters. Senior associate Mary Forbes, who is a solicitor advocate, is a name to note in Aberdeen.

Davidson Chalmers LLP's Sheila Webster and recently promoted partner Greg Flett 'combine an excellent understanding of the law with a keen focus on the commercial needs of the client'. In addition to generating standalone instructions, the firm's first-rate reputation in handling property disputes makes it a first port of call for referral work from English and Scottish law firms. The broad spread of work includes multimillion pound dilapidations cases, landlord and tenant matters (including notice disputes), property damage, title disputes and matters arising from commercial and residential developments (such as contentious construction issues). Webster, who is a qualified mediator, also regularly sits as an arbitrator on property disputes. She is also experienced in property-related judicial reviews, as is newly promoted associate Magnus Miller. Webster and Flett are assisting Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, as the former tenant of a commercial premises in Glasgow, with a number of interrelated disputes with a former landlord. In 2017, they advised Pizza Hut (UK) Limited on a dilapidations claim brought by landlords of a property in central Glasgow. Another matter saw Webster and Miller advise Carpetright on successfully bringing an application against its landlord for an extension of its lease under the Tenancy of Shops (Scotland) Act 1949. Muir Group, William Grant & Sons Distillers Limited and Straid Farms Limited are other clients.

Addleshaw Goddard represents clients in contentious property matters at all court levels in Scotland, and in arbitrations and mediations. Led by Simon Catto, the team advises clients on access and encroachment issues, rent review cases, dilapidation claims, title issues, and landlord and tenant matters. It is also increasingly sought-after to advise on disputes involving access to and the installation of telecommunications apparatus on land. Joan Devine recently acted for the receivers of Fieldoak Limited (a company which owned an extensive residential property portfolio) in an action for declarator against Citywide at the Commercial Court of the Court of Session; the dispute arose over control of the portfolio, which was worth between £7m and £9m. Another key figure is managing associate Edward Gratwick, who is a member of the Property Litigation Association, and acts for registered social landlords, public bodies, commercial and estate landowners, among other clients.

BTO Solicitors LLP, which fields six solicitor advocates, undertakes a comprehensive range of property disputes for insurance companies, property developers, property managers, registered social landlords and housebuilders, among others. David Young was the lead adviser to ELB Securities Limited (the owner of commercial premises on Buchanan Street in Glasgow) on a case which is the leading authority on the status of property disclaimed by the Crown during a time when a company has been struck off the register of companies. Bill Speirs, Jilly Petrie and others are acting for a large insurance company in a claim by William Grant & Sons, which arose from the collapse of the roofs of its warehouses as a result of heavy snowfalls in 2009 and 2010. Grant Hunter and Graeme Kelly are advising Pendragon Plc on a compensation claim at the Lands Tribunal, which relates to a CPO by Glasgow City Council to build a link road though the client's commercial premises in the east end of Glasgow. Mark Morton leads the team, which also includes consultant Robin Macpherson and Angus Crawford. Associates Mark McCluskie, Michael Collins and Jamie Reekie are also recommended. Tony Jones QC departed for Brodies LLP.

The experience of DLA Piper Scotland LLP's team in complex and strategically significant property disputes - across all forms of dispute resolution - is complemented by its ability to leverage cross-practice and cross-office support where required. Led by Alistair Drummond, the team acts for a broad base of Scottish, UK and international clients; names include Dreamvale Properties Limited, Heineken, Asda and The Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Drummond and senior Jennifer Talbot recently assisted The Coal Authority with raising a first-of-its-kind action for declarator over mining work in Kirkcaldy, which has caused subsidence in the area. Drummond and Talbot are also acting for Consort Healthcare (Fife) Limited in Court of Session proceedings against the contractors and independent tester in relation to defects to the pipework and heating system within the new facilities at Victoria Hospital in Fife. Drummond co-heads the practice with Hazel Moffat.

DWF has a strong profile inside and outside of Scotland for property litigation. It has historically been well-known for its work in the retail sector, where clients include Arcadia and JD Sports. In 2017, Euan McSherry and senior associate Kenneth Campbell successfully represented Marks & Spencer at the Inner House of the Court of Session in a long-running dispute with landlord Gyle Shopping Centre General Partners Limited over the interpretation of a commercial lease, and the rights of the landlord to build a new Primark store in and adjacent to the Gyle shopping centre. Beyond retail, the practice also generates mandates from clients in various other industries, such as energy, real estate, and hospitality and leisure. In addition, the firm is increasingly active in the telecommunications sector; McSherry recently defended Virgin Media in Sheriff Court litigation brought by a landlord over the laying of cabling on its land. Ricky Cannon, who recently joined the firm from Brodies LLP, is experienced in property repossession actions.

Harper Macleod LLP's group offers clients a combination of 'excellent technical abilities' with 'a willingness to offer practical advice and alternative solutions, which may lead to a faster and less expensive outcome'. Carolyn Morgan leads the team, whose wide-ranging workload includes disputed rent reviews, access and encroachment matters, dilapidations, nuisance and breach of missives. Morgan and Andrew Upton are acting for Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority at the Inner House of the Court of Session in proceedings arising from the client serving an enforcement notice on landowner Renyana Stahl Anstalt under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 requiring it to stop obstructing the public from making use of its access rights. Other clients of the firm include Cairngorm National Park Authority, Credential Group, Tulloch Group and River Clyde Homes. E-Ming Fong represented Kashmiri Properties (Ireland) Limited in a landmark case on the creation of implied servitudes. John McHugh, who is a solicitor advocate, has 20 years of contentious property experience. Associate Lewis Kemp is also recommended. Rod McKenzie has left to become legal counsel at the Scottish Professional Football League.

MacRoberts LLP's team is led by Gillian Craig, who is the chair of the Scottish branch of the Property Litigation Association. In her addition, her particular strengths in extra-judicial settlements (particularly property-related mediations) have led to her appointment on The Law Society of Scotland's commercial mediation accreditation panel. Craig assisted a Scottish Property Group Limited, as the landlord of a property in Glasgow city centre, with settling at mediation a dilapidations dispute with outgoing tenant Pizza Hut (UK) Limited. Craig is also working with senior associate Angus Wood, Leon Breakey and others to advise a college, as the landlord of a student halls of residence, on handling the breach by an operating company in administration (as the tenant) of an obligation to keep the premises in good repair, among other matters. Other recent highlights have involved wayleave and servitude issues, and also title and boundary disputes. Solicitor advocate Julie Hamilton and senior associate Lynsay Cargill are other practitioners who are recommended for their property litigation experience.

Blackadders LLP's team undertakes litigation at the Court of Session and Sheriff Court for clients from a variety of sectors, such as residential and commercial development, agriculture and construction. In addition, it also has an extensive alternative dispute resolution offering. The group's expertise includes rent arrears, dilapidations, contractual disputes and boundary disputes. Accredited insolvency specialist Stephanie Carr is knowledgeable about the interface between insolvency and property law issues. Ryan McKay leads the team, which also includes solicitor advocate Richard Godden.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP is particularly active in land and rural sector sector property disputes, where it acts for clients such as housebuilders, estate owners and public sector organisations. Led by Fiona Cameron, its team provides advice on the full range of issues, such as tenancy disputes, nuisance, boundaries, encroachment and dilapidations. It also handles contentious issues arising from strategic development projects, including residential developments and renewable energy projects. Colin Hamilton and solicitor advocate John Stirling represented Seagreen Wind Energy Limited in RSPB's judicial review challenge of the Forth and Tay offshore wind farms combined consent. Isobell Reid is another notable individual in the team. Murray Shaw has retired from private practice.

Lindsays' recent work included John Bett acting for Healthcare Environmental Services Limited as the defender in a widely-reported circa £3m landlord and tenant case at the Court of Session; the matter involved significant dilapidations issues, among others. Paul Harper heads up the team, which has expertise in acting for housing associations and letting agents; the scope of the advice covers debt recovery, repossessions, antisocial behaviour and tenancy deposit claims. Other clients include commercial developers, rural/highland estates, universities and charities.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Property litigation

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