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Burness Paull LLP

Living Wage
Work 0131 473 6000
Fax 0131 473 6006
Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow

Stephen Phillips

Work +44 (0)141 273 6764
Burness Paull LLP

Work Department

Public / Third Sector


Stephen specialises in corporate structures, and wider legal frameworks, for the delivery of major public sector projects, public sector offshoots and partnerships, social enterprises, and other initiatives and operations right across the not-for-profit sector. His practice ranges from flagship projects of Scotland-wide importance to support for individual community-led organisations. He is also widely recognised as one of Scotland’s leading charity law specialists. He has a strong reputation for innovation - blending principles and practice from the public, private and third sectors to create robust new legal models that closely reflect the client’s objectives and priorities. He has played a key role in developing new thinking on legal structures within the public sector, urban regeneration, the social enterprise sector, the development trust movement, community renewables, social housing, the co-operatives sector, and the charity sector.


1982 Admitted as Solicitor; 1987 Partner at Alexander Stone & Co; 1998 Partner at Burness (through merger with Alexander Stone & Co)


LLB (Hons)

Scotland: Public sector


Within: Education

Burness Paull LLP has an extensive track record advising on the establishment of research facilities for Scottish HE institutions, project work (including high-value and complex deals, often with cross-border aspects) and contentious matters. The ‘authoritative’ James Forbes is advising the University of St. Andrews on contractual and regulatory matters in relation to a newbuild music centre, as well as the procurement process for the centre’s construction. Stephen Phillips is advising the governors of the Donaldson Trust on the charity’s change from a trust to an SCIO. Phillips is also advising the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow on the legal framework behind a collaborative arrangement with the Royal College of Physicians of London to deliver post-graduate examinations, training and continuous professional development. The practice is led by Chris MacKay, who specialises in project dispute resolution in the public sector. ‘Calm and organised’ senior associate Chris Horsley is another key contact.

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Scotland: Real estate

Social housing

Within: Social housing

Burness Paull LLP's profile in the social housing sector sees it act for a mix of housing providers, housing charities and developers. Since it was appointed to Sanctuary Group's new legal panel in April 2017, the firm has undertaken a significant amount of work for the client through its Scottish subsidary Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association (SSHA); recent highlights included Stephen Phillips acting as the lead adviser on a complex inter-group restructuring, and Scott Peterkin and others assisting the client with the Scottish property aspects of the acquisition of a portfolio of 35 care homes (including 13 in Scotland) from Embrace Group. In addition, Peterkin, Craig Whelton and other members of the firm's property and planning teams are acting for SSHA in the High Rise Regeneration Project in Cumbernauld.Peter Chambers (who co-heads the practice with Peterkin) assists clients such as Hillcrest Housing Association and Link Group with large-scale developments, financing and development agreements with housebuilders. Chambers also advises housing provider Cruden Group on strategy and contract structuring to faciltate the delivery of affordable homes. Other facets of the firm's social housing work include assisting with health and safety, employment, construction and Freedom of Information requests. Scottish Futures Trust, Springfield Properties and Glasgow Housing Association are other clients.

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