The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

BTO Solicitors LLP

Work 0131 222 2939
Fax 0131 222 2949
Edinburgh, Glasgow

Sandra Cassels

Work 0131 222 2939
BTO Solicitors LLP

Work Department

Construction and engineering.



Specialises in providing strategic construction and engineering dispute resolution advice. Vast experience in providing contentious construction advice in the areas of adjudication, litigation, arbitration, mediation, expert determination and early neutral evaluation. Important cases: Acted as lead partner for Graham Construction in the reported decision from the TCC, Pioneer Cladding Ltd –v– Graham Construction Ltd. Graham Construction applied for and successfully obtained a stay of execution of an adjudication decision. The court had to consider a “novel” point, namely whether the court should consider the actual position of the claimant (Pioneer) at the time the sub-contract was made, or the financial position that the claimant suggested it was in at that time. The court granted Graham’s application to stay the enforcement of the adjudicator’s position on the basis that Pioneer had misrepresented their financial position to Graham despite Graham undertaking a robust vetting process. An important case, welcomed by the construction industry as it recognises the practicalities that are faced when engaging with entities or new companies. It also emphasises the difficult hurdles which the courts continue to apply when considering an application for a stay of an adjudicator’s decision.


Partner, BTO Solicitors LLP (2013 –present), Partner Burness Paull (2008 – 2013); Partner DLA Piper (2000 – 2008); Partner Bird Semple (merged with DLA Piper) (1997 – 2000), Associate at Shepherd + Wedderburn (1995 – 1997), Associate at Ledingham Chalmers (1993 – 1995), Assistant then Associate at MacRoberts (1988 – 1993); Trained John G Gray Solicitors; Qualified (1988).

Member of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) Panels Management Group;

Scottish Arbitration Centre, Arbitral Appointments Committee; FCIArb; SCL; CEDR Accredited Mediator; Non-Executive Director, Energy Industries Council (EIC).




Member of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) Panels Management Group; member of Scottish Arbitration Centre, Arbitral Appointments Committee; FCIArb; SCL; CEDR Accredited Mediator.


Garrion Academy; Edinburgh University, LLB 1985; DipLP 1986.


Travel, running, hill walking, history.

Scotland: Real estate


Within: Construction

BTO Solicitors LLP handles a mix of contentious construction matters, which includes cases involving complex insurance/liability/quantum issues, contractual disputes and conflicts over final accounts and extensions of time, challenges to certification and construction defects. Jilly Petrie has particular expertise in this area. In addition, practice head Sandra Cassels specialises in construction and engineering dispute resolution. Elsewhere, the group advises on the non-contentious aspects of projects at all stages from inception to completion. It acts for a broad base of clients, including contractors, sub-contractors, local authorities, developers and funders. In 2017, Cassels and associate Caroline Earnshaw acted for Tigh Grian Limited in the delivery of 48 sustainable, energy-efficient and affordable homes to Link and Paragon Housing Associations. A notable growth area for the firm has been in mandates from hotel and leisure sector developers, with the team negotiating building contracts, professional appointment agreements, development agreements and facility agreements. Consultant Ann O’Connell, and associates Julie Scott-Gilroy and Claire Mills, are also recommended.

[back to top]

Social housing

Within: Social housing

BTO Solicitors LLP has been engaged in the social housing sector for four decades, and its team has a first-rate reputation in strategically significant mandates. Karen Brodie, and associates Marieclaire Reid and Lesley Gray, have been advising Clyde Valley Housing Association Limited on the acquisition of a number of development sites as part of its ambitious development programme. The team has also acted for Southside Housing Association in various matters; Brodie is assisting the client with a community hub project, which will receive Big Lottery funding and will be taken forward with another local community organisation. Team head Patrice Fabien recently advised the same client on governance issues, including updates to its Code of Conduct for Governing Body Members, and on a response to a complaint by a bidder over the client's approach to a procurement exercise. Grant Hunter oversees the firm's RSL litigation work and is experienced in disputes arising from tenancy breaches, stock transfers and development projects. Caroline Carr and Marion Davis are accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as specialists in employment law and charities law respectively, while consultant Ann O’Connell is an accredited construction law specialist. David Young is knowledgeable about debt recovery, tenancy litigation, factoring and ASBOs. Sandra Cassels and Paul Motion are also recommended.

[back to top]

Back to index

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to