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Following its merger with HBJ Gately in June 2017, Addleshaw Goddard has a pre-eminent shipping team in Scotland, handling wet and dry mandates at a national and international level. It is particularly noted for international transactional shipping advice and ship finance work, but it also provides a full-service dispute resolution offering, including extensive experience in London arbitrations. The ‘hugely impressive’ Ed Watt leads the practice and has ‘an incredible knowledge of maritime law’. Watt is advising Caledonian Maritime Assets, a company wholly owned by the Scottish government, as the buyer in connection with building and refinancing of two passenger ferries under construction by Ferguson Marine Engineering. Ship finance work is led by Alan Shanks, whose background and experience in the Middle East and Caspian shipping sectors are a huge asset to the team. Catriona Smith acts primarily for lenders in ship finance transactions, with niche expertise in shari’ah law. The group handled the due diligence for a major US law firm in relation to a proposed $200m investment into a global cruise line. It also acted as English and Scottish counsel to Topaz Energy and Marine in connection with its successful $375m high yield bond issue.

The ‘vastly experienced’ team at Brodies LLP handles the spectrum of road, rail and shipping work. It is well placed to advise clients on high-value Scottish transport projects, particularly in relation to marine and rail infrastructure. The shipping and marine group is led by the ‘passionate’ Duncan McLean, which spans contentious insurance, commercial and regulatory work, in addition to non-contentious matters including ship finance, sale, purchase and chartering. Roger Cotton is a rail specialist whose ‘knowledge of franchising procedures is a great strength to bidders’. Odell Milne’s ‘overall depth of expertise and pragmatic advice’ is noted. The group is advising Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow Council on a proposed rail link between Glasgow City Centre and Glasgow Airport, which is to be funded via the Glasgow City Deal. It continues to be instructed by Perth and Kinross Council in connection with a major road and bridge infrastructure project. On the shipping side, the team is advising Transocean on potential liabilities arising from the grounding of a large semi-submersible rig that occurred in August 2016. It is also the sole legal adviser to Lerwick Port Authority, handling matters including a decommissioning facility, the construction of a new quay, corporate deals and commercial developments by major industrial landlords.

CMS is the go-to firm for road-related matters, drawing on ‘excellent’ practice head Ann Faulds’ position as ‘the leading roads law expert in Scotland’. It routinely advises on all aspects of building, regulating and using a road, including major road procurements, road construction, haulage matters, logistics, congestion charges, traffic regulation orders and parking adjudication. The firm also handles a range of aviation and rail mandates. Highlights included advising Raeburn Place Development on road law matters arising from its contentious Edinburgh Academicals sports ground development. The team is also advising Edinburgh Airport on land acquisition, in addition to assisting it with the management of its property portfolio. It currently advises City of Edinburgh Council on the Parliamentary process for the Private Acts which authorised the Edinburgh Trams project, and subsequently assisted it with some aspects of the delivery, notably compulsory acquisitions and traffic regulation. Public procurement expert Michael McAuley and Eleanor Lane whose specialism is large-scale transport road and rail projects, are key practitioners.

Anderson Strathern’s practice covers the spectrum of transport sector work, including operational and infrastructure contractual and regulatory issues across rail, road, air and shipping. Practice head Neil Amner joined the team from a position at the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce in April 2017 and is an expert in railway law, although he also has considerable experience in aviation matters. Karyn Watt heads the infrastructure team and handles major transport projects for both local authorities and the private sector. Alongside senior associate Gillian Jamieson (a commercial disputes lawyer}, Warr is noted as ‘very able’ and possessing ‘good knowledge in the transport field’. Bruce Farquhar is advising Bright Green Hydrogen as the lead partner in the Levenmouth Community Energy project, which supports a large fleet of hydrogen dual-fuel vehicles and the associated infrastructure. Other highlights included assisting Mossend International Railfreight Park with the development of a logistics hub, which involved securing planning consents despite objections from the local planning authority.

Burness Paull LLP handles the range of road and rail mandates, but the team excels in marine construction and harbour authority planning, where it is advising on a number of significant projects. The practice is led by ‘true gentleman’ Chris MacKay has ‘a keen eye for mitigating risk’ and possesses knowledge of harbour legislation that is ‘unrivalled in Scotland’. Mackay is supported by Craig Whelton, who is noted for his ‘exceptional skills’ in planning law. Recent highlights include assisting Scrabster Harbour Trust with its procurement of a project to design and construct the redevelopment of Ola Pier. The group also advised Port Babcok Rosyth on the procurement of a design and build contractor for the construction of the Rosyth International Container Terminal, which is part of the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework. James Forbes is currently advising Highland Spring on the creation of a private two siding freight facility and its Blackford site, which involves complex negotiations between the client, Transport Scotland and Network Rail.

Dentons has significant expertise in major infrastructure projects, with a niche in rail mandates. The group is also called upon to advise transport companies on EU competition and regulatory matters in relation to franchise and framework agreements. The group is the sole legal advisor to Network Rail in Scotland and assists the client with a multitude of issues, including the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme, where it handled the project alliance agreement; and on all aspect of the client’s relationship with LS Buchanan, in relation to a major retail extension scheme which will be erected over the South Cutting adjacent to Queen Street Station in Glasgow. The group was also instructed by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport to negotiate the terms of an asset protection agreement with hotel developers on a site that passed above the Glasgow railway underground network. The key practitioners are construction specialist Mark Macaulay, procurement focused David McGowan and practice head Euan Wilson.

Pinsent Masons LLP handles major transport and infrastructure projects across Scotland, for procurers, bidders, and lenders. Major highlights include the Aberdeen Harbour Expansion Project, in relation to which the firm advised the Aberdeen Harbour Board on all construction, projects, finance and environmental matters. The main practitioners are major projects specialist Michael Allan, shipping expert Gavin Farquhar and corporate lawyer Kevin Devanny who has extensive experience in transport-related transactions.

DWF is noted for ‘great transport industry knowledge’, which is complimented by ‘good response times and appropriate advice’. ‘An excellent advisor’, team leader Martin Gallaher has extensive expertise in procurement, where he has assisted local authority clients with Wi-Fi and advertising concessions. He also led the team which advised Transport Scotland on the procurement and mobilisation of the £7.7bn ScotRail franchise and the £462m Caledonian Sleeper franchise. Suzanne Moir leads the projects team and handles transport matters for a variety of domestic and international clients. The group continues to act as the sole legal advisor to Loganair, and advises the airline on all operational matters including aircraft purchases and leases.

Harper Macleod LLP’s team is particularly geared towards shipping and maritime law, and also advises clients on matters concerning ports and harbours. The practice is led by Tony Cameron, who has considerable experience in acting for funders, purchasers and sellers of vessels, including ferries, fishing vessels, pleasure craft, yachts, workboats and other commercial vessels. He also acts for lenders and borrowers on a range of funding-related matters across the wider transport sector. Pamela Todd advised the Wick Harbour Board on the redevelopment of a disused portion of the harbour; negotiating the commercial contract and resulting lease and negotiating a new lease of the seabed from Crown Estate Scotland. Sandy Hastie successfully defended a high value claim for Highland Council, which was brought to the Court of Session by a tenant of Kyle Harbour who was seeking £21m damages for loss of business arising from the alleged conduct of council employees.

Mackinnons  stands out for its contentious admiralty and shipping practice, which is bolstered by ‘significant experience of cross-border and international commercial litigation’. The group’s client roster includes a number of P&I clubs, fishing mutual, major port authorities, offshore drilling contractors and shipping companies. Practice head Martin Sinclair specialises in shipping- and marine-based claims, such as fatal accident inquiries arising out of accidents at sea. ‘Legend in shipping’ Keith MacRae is an experienced shipboard accident investigator, and focuses on maritime claims. Graham Jones advises a range of clients on commercial shipping activity.

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