The Legal 500

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12 HOPE STREET, EDINBURGH, EH2 4DB, SCOTLAND
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Work 0131 625 9191
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408 EDINBURGH
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www.davidsonchalmers.com

Scotland: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow
Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow - ranked: tier 4

Davidson Chalmers LLP

At Davidson Chalmers LLP, ‚Äėthe level of service is excellent, as is the quality and commerciality of advice‚Äė. In the corporate real estate sphere, team head Craig Stirling¬†advised Palm Capital and Guernsey-based CL Selby Holdings Limited on the latter‚Äôs ¬£16.1m acquisition of DV4 Properties Orchard Brae Company Limited (a special purpose vehicle owning a substantial office premises in Edinburgh) from a vendor based in the British Virgin Islands. Stirling also acted for Sapphire Energy Limited (a subsidiary of Guinness Asset Management) in the acquisition of the business and assets of the Glassburn hydroelectric scheme. Elsewhere, and in addition to handling renewable energy sector transactions, Stirling has a particularly strong track record of handling M&A deals in the healthcare industry, including those involving medical practices, care homes, opticians and pharmacists. Stuart Duncan¬†is particularly experienced in acting for family-owned businesses.

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Scotland: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation
Commercial litigation - ranked: tier 3

Davidson Chalmers LLP

The team at Davidson Chalmers LLP combines 'an excellent understanding of the law with a keen focus on the commercial needs of the client'. Sheila Webster, who is 'great to work with', has a strong track record in litigation at the Sheriff Court, Court of Session and Supreme Court. Also notable is that Webster, among her other qualifications, has served as a committee member for the Commercial Litigation Accreditation Committee of the Signet Accreditation scheme since its inception. 'Exceptionally effective'Greg Flett, who recently made partner, is also highly rated by clients, as is newly promoted associate Magnus Miller. The firm's prominence in the Scottish commercial litigation marketplace is underlined by the fact that, in addition to generating its own matters, it has a strong pipeline of work from other Scottish and English law firms. Webster and Miller are acting for Tweed Homes as the pursuer in a circa £2.4m damages claim against Clydesdale Bank over an agreement to finance a site development. Webster and Miller are also representing William Grant & Sons Distillers in a planning appeal concerning the consent that was granted by a local authority for the development of a windfarm site owned by a subsidiary of EDF.

Leading individuals

Sheila Webster - Davidson Chalmers LLP

Next generation lawyers

Greg Flett - Davidson Chalmers LLP

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Scotland: Human resources

Employment
Employment - ranked: tier 5

Davidson Chalmers LLP

Davidson Chalmers LLP specialises in the provision of employment law advice to owner-managed businesses and other SMEs in Scotland. The practice is led by former employment judge, Alan Strain, who is ‚Äėa tower of strength at tribunals‚Äô and ‚Äėunderstands the needs of businesses of all shapes and sizes‚Äô. Recent highlights include successfully defending an interior design company against a claim raised by an ex-employee alleging wrongful termination of contract. In another highlight, the group advised a charity on the complex negotiations pertaining to the exit of its CEO. It is also advising a technology company on gender pay gay reporting, implications for its workforce and the potential for a next generation of equal pay claims.

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Scotland: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 3

Davidson Chalmers LLP

Davidson Chalmers LLP’s practice is particularly recommended for matters pertaining to renewables and waste management. Andy Drane leads the team and is particularly experienced in advising rural businesses on farm diversification, family disputes, energy projects and the disposal of land for development. Drane is currently assisting RJ Tyser Overseas Settlement with its disposal of a housing development site of around 250 units to Barratt Homes, in the first phase of a larger development. Laura Tainsh and Stuart Duncan are advising the Dunrobin Highland Distillery on developing distillery facilities and a visitor centre within the Dunrobin Castle estate, in a deal that includes complex lease agreements that meet the specific land-use needs of the client. Sheila Webster is acting for a group of several tenant farmers in a high profile judicial review, which seeks compensation from the Scottish Government following the introduction of legislation that has affected property rights in farming partnerships.

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Scotland: Projects, energy and natural resources

Energy (excluding oil and gas)
Energy (excluding oil and gas) - ranked: tier 4

Davidson Chalmers LLP

Davidson Chalmers LLP has established itself as a credible player in the renewable energy sector, since it handled its first project in 1998. Its 'very knowledgeable team' now undertakes a wide range of matters for clients such as community bodies, developers, landowners, investors, funders and suppliers of renewable energy fuel stocks. Its workload spans schemes involving onshore wind, biomass, solar PV, battery storage and community renewables, among others. The group provides 'strong, value-for-money advice, which is reflective of leading industry standards and expertise'. Team head Andy Drane and Stuart Duncan are acting for Gala Water and Mill Lades Society Limited in a community-led project, which involves the regeneration of the historic mill lade infrastructure in Galashiels and installation of several hydroelectric installations on the mill lade. 'Very experienced' Laura Tainsh works with  Louise Jones, Andrew McDonald and Jenny Anfield to assist clients such as Germany-based wind developer ABO Wind and Peel Energy with their Scottish renewable energy projects. June Gilles joined CMS in January 2018.

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Scotland: Public sector

Health
Health - ranked: tier 3

Davidson Chalmers LLP

Davidson Chalmers LLP is noted for its work in the medical and dental sectors, in addition to advising vets, care home operators, pharmacies, opticians and medical device companies on a range of non-contentious issues, including partnership agreements. ‚ÄėSensible negotiator‚Äô and corporate lawyer, practice head¬†Craig Stirling¬†is highly experienced in the sale and purchase of dental practices across Scotland. Andy Drane¬†advised Leith Walk Surgery on its relocation to another premises with support and funding from NHS Lothian; and Musselburgh Primary Care Centre on mitigating the impact of the closure of its Riverside Medical Practice in cooperation with the Lothian Health Board.

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Scotland: Real estate

Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow
Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow - ranked: tier 3

Davidson Chalmers LLP

Davidson Chalmers LLP, which is 'very good in all respects' for commercial property work, has a particularly standout reputation in property development; its list of clients includes Chris Stewart Group, JW Muir Group Plc and Kingsford Developments. Bruce Lancaster and Simone Young recently acted for developer Peveril Securities Limited in its negotiations with Staycity over the terms of a lease for a new aparthotel on a brownfield site near Edinburgh Castle. They also worked with Jenny Anfield to advise the same client on a land sale contract and forward funding agreement with Empiric Student Property Plc over a new student accommodation building in the centre of Edinburgh. On a related front, the team has handled student accommodation sector development and investment deals for Crosslane and Stamford Student Investments Limited. Outside of student accommodation, Lancaster and team head Andrew Chalmers advised specialist business park developer on the terms of a development agreement with Clyde Gateway Development Limited for a new satellite business district in Glasgow. Beyond development work, the group has a wealth of experience of investment transactions and commercial leasing; a highlight in 2017 involved acting for CL IV REO (Offshore) LLC in the £16.1m acquisition of Orchard Brae House in Edinburgh. Also recommended in the team are senior solicitor Lisa Graham, and associates Lizzy Enayati and Louise Jones. Director Stephanie Mackenzie recently joined from CMS, while June Gilles has gone the other way.

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 4

Davidson Chalmers LLP

Davidson Chalmers LLP acts for a number of Scotland's most active private development companies in the construction of large, high-profile residential, commercial and mixed-use developments. Practice head Simone Young is the lead adviser to Chris Stewart Group on high-end new-build and refurbishment developments at St Andrew Square in Edinburgh; the work recently covered procurement and contracts advice. In a related matter, Greg Flett advised the client on a claim brought by the proprietor of a neighbouring property against a demolition contractor employed by the client over damage the contractor had caused to the property. In another major project in Edinburgh, Bruce Lancaster and Young are advising Peveril Securities Limited on a multi-use development at King's Stables Road, which consists of four neighbouring construction projects; when complete, this will consist of a hotel, student accommodation, residential apartments and commercial units. Outside of acting for developers, the firm undertakes high-end work for other clients; Young is advising Apple Apartments on the multimillion pound refurbishment of a former school building in Edinburgh city centre to form a mixed serviced apartment and bar/restaurant scheme. Elsewhere, Andy Drane heads up a team that specialises in the waste and renewable energy sectors, and he also advises primary medical care operators on development matters.

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Environment
Environment - ranked: tier 2

Davidson Chalmers LLP

Davidson Chalmers LLP's team head Laura Tainsh, who is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as an environmental law specialist, has established a first-rate reputation among clients, which include landfill operators, recycling and waste management companies, and transport operators. Underlining her credentials in environmental law, in 2017, Tainsh was appointed to the Scottish Centre Council of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, and also the national Scientific and Technical Committee. Tainsh's group advises clients on a broad cross-section of matters, such as enforcement actions, regulatory issues and legislative/policy changes, and environmental impact assessments. Tainsh and associate Louise Jones are acting for Dunrobin Highland Distillery in the development and construction of a new distillery, which includes associated environmental issues, such as those relating to the use of water, the planning process, construction process and specific environmental consent applications. Saica Natur UK, WH Malcolm and Suez Group are other notable clients. Tainsh and others are also assisting Brewster Brothers Limited with the environmental aspects of its acquisition of an old quarry.

Next generation lawyers

Laura Tainsh - Davidson Chalmers LLP

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Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 3

Davidson Chalmers LLP

Davidson Chalmers LLP's Caroline Court has expertise in residential and commercial development, where she advises developers on the property and planning aspects of projects. Stephanie Mackenzie, who recently joined from CMS, is also knowledgeable about planning issues in residential development projects. Another key figure is Andy Drane, who is assisting The RJ Tyser Overseas Settlement with planning issues associated with the proposed development of 900 houses, a primary school and an access road at a site located on the outskirts of Inverness.  Court, Drane and others are acting for Story Homes in all aspects (including planning) of a 230 unit housing development in Biggar. Other sectors where the firm generates planning work include hospitality and leisure, renewable energy, student accommodation and retail. Peel Group, JW Muir Group Plc and Kingsford Developments Limited are other notable clients. Director Jacqueline Cook joined as the head of planning from Pinsent Masons LLP, succeeding former head June Gilles, who departed for CMS.

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Davidson Chalmers LLP

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.

Leading individuals

Sheila Webster - Davidson Chalmers LLP

Next generation lawyers

Greg Flett - Davidson Chalmers LLP

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Legal Developments in the UK

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