The Legal 500

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Anderson Strathern

Living Wage
Work 0131 270 7700
Fax 0131 270 7788

Fiona Stephen

Work 0131 625 7281
Anderson Strathern

Work Department

Dispute resolution; property litigation.


Partner who heads up the property litigation team, focusing on commercial real estate and agriculture and estates. Also handles professional negligence cases involving property-related issues.


Articled McNeill & Critchley 1987-89; qualified 1989; partner Anderson Strathern 1997; the Law Society of Scotland’s pursuer’s panel for claims against solicitors; qualified as a solicitor advocate 2006. Experience in dealing with litigation in all courts in Scotland including the Court of Sessions, Scottish Land Court and Lands Tribunal for Scotland.


Writer to the Signet; solicitor to the Supreme Court; Environmental Law Association; Property Law Association.


Dalkeith High School; Dundee University (1986 LLB (Hons); 1987 Dip LP).


Music, hill walking, theatre.

Scotland: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation

Within: Commercial litigation

Anderson Strathern, which fields eight solicitor advocates in its team, has a strong market presence thanks to its coverage of high-value, complex and significant disputes across a broad spread of disciplines. Team head Fraser Geddes is experienced in domestic and cross-border litigation, arbitration and mediation; his areas of strength span property disputes, contentious construction and general commercial litigation. Katrina Lumsdaine leads both the contentious intellectual property team and contentious insolvency teams, and is also a Legal Member of the Scottish Tax Tribunal. Fiona Stephen heads up the real estate litigation practice. Alastair Dean and Jonathan Guy are other key partners in the group, whose other areas of strength include insurance, health and safety, and professional negligence. In addition to acting for private sector clients, such as SSE Plc and INEOS Manufacturing Scotland, the firm undertakes matters for public sector organisations; names on the client roster include HMRC, the Scottish Court Service and the Scottish Government. At senior associate level, Gillian Jamieson and Dominic Scullion are among the names to note.

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Debt recovery

Within: Debt recovery

Although Anderson Strathern is particularly active in advising banks and other financial institutions on debt recovery matters, its practice is broader, and it also generates work from other clients. Fiona Stephen, who heads up the property litigation team, has a wealth of experience handling property-related debt recovery matters for commercial, private and public sector entities. In addition to assisting banking sector clients with actions to evict tenants (from premises that are subject to their securities), senior solicitor Elizabeth Smartt is experienced in acting for registered social landlords in actions to recover possession of heritable properties. Stephen and Smartt are representing Northern Lighthouse Board in litigation against vessel owners and shipping agents over the recovery of light dues. Fraser Geddes and Karen Ogilvie are advising Wylie & Bisset LLP on the recovery of outstanding invoices following the liquidation of Forbes Transport Services. Alistair Dean, senior associate Gillian Jamieson, associate Seonaid Sandham and senior solicitor Lindsay Robertson are also recommended. Claire Martin left the firm in 2017.

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Scotland: Private client

Agriculture and estates

Within: Agriculture and estates

‚ÄėA¬†market leader, with a great depth of resources‚Äô,¬†Anderson Strathern¬†has the capacity to provide a full service to owners of estates, farms, forestry and other rural interests. It is particularly noted for its work for larger estates, which includes a long-term client relationships with the Crown Estates and the National Trust of Scotland. The practice is led by John Mitchell¬†is ‚Äėoutstanding in his field‚Äô and ‚Äėalways provides the highest quality of advice‚Äô in relation to landed estates. Fiona Stephen¬†is ‚Äėa leading litigation solicitor‚Äô who has extensive experience appearing before the Scottish Land Court and at the Lands Tribunal for Scotland in relation to disputed agricultural matters. Ad√®le Nicol¬†is ‚Äėwell known for rural conveyancing and tenancy issues‚Äô, including complex land titles and voluntary land registration. Fiona Gibb¬†is noted for possessing vast expertise in the acquisition, sale and management of estates and rural conveyancing, in addition to handling charitable property portfolios.

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Scotland: Public sector

Local government

Within: Local government

Anderson Strathern‚Äôs ‚Äėstrong‚Äô team focuses on projects, regeneration and infrastructure work, but it also advises local authorities on novel structures, such as transferring assets to ALEOs and the consolidation of existing ALEOs. The firm‚Äôs construction practice handles a range of both contentious and non-contentious issues for numerous Scottish councils. Practice head Audrey Cameron¬†is currently assisting Fife Council with the delivery of its Affordable Housing programme, which is being procured under the Scrape Framework. Real estate litigator Fiona Stephen¬†is representing Midlothian Council against an appeal lodged by various land owners to recall a notice served by the council requiring them to remove a fence. Gillian Anderson¬†is instructed by Dumfries and Galloway Council regarding its proposed ¬£1m loan to the Crichton Trust.

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Scotland: Real estate


Within: Planning

Anderson Strathern's practice head Alastair McKie, who is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a planning law specialist, and is 'exceptionally good with clients'. The firm is a first port of call for planning advice from a wide range of public and private sector organisations, including developers, local authorities, central and local governments and utility providers. McKie is handling the planning aspects of a multimillion pound development in Woking town centre for Bandstand Square Developments. In another highlight, McKie recently assisted Peter D. Stirling Limited and the Trustees of the I.D. Meiklam Trust with a planning application in relation to the circa £260m Mossend International Railfreight Park development. In the renewable energy sector, the team is acting for Ross Estates Company (which is owned by Mohamed Al Fayed) at a public local inquiry, which relates to its opposition to a proposed waste to energy CHP plant in Invergordon. Audrey Cameron, Fiona Stephen and senior associate Kirsty Slee are other members of the group.

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Property litigation

Within: Property litigation

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.

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