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DLA Piper Scotland LLP

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Transport - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP is noted for its ‘deep understanding of maritime and rail transport matters including rail franchising’. The firm handles a steady flow of rail, ferry and road transport instructions, including public procurement work. ‘Very dedicated and customer-focused’ team head Sharon Fitzgerald ‘has a deep understanding of how the Scottish government works in procurement’ and is noted for her ‘vast experience advising on rail franchises and the procuring of new rolling stock’.

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Scotland: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow
Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP undertakes high-value domestic and cross-border transactions for Scottish, UK and multinational corporates. Led by Simon Rae, the Edinburgh-based group handles a full spectrum of matters, including corporate M&A, public and private fundraisings, restructurings and joint ventures. In 2016, Rae was a key adviser in a multidisciplinary team that handled Energy Ventures’ sale of UK-based engineering and service company Meta Downhole Limited to Schlumberger. Private equity buyouts are another core pillar of the practice, and the group acts for such names as Vespa Capital and Scottish Equity Partners in some of their most significant deals; Rae advised the latter on a £9.5m series C growth capital co-investment (alongside Grafton Capital and Draper Esprit) in flash sales website SportPursuit. Legal director Andrew Wardrop is also recommended.

Leading individuals

Simon Rae - DLA Piper Scotland LLP

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Scotland: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation
Commercial litigation - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP acts for clients based in Scotland, the UK and internationally on a varied workload, including public procurement challenges, mainstream commercial litigation, construction disputes, insurance litigation and banking-related cases, as well as health and safety litigation. Alistair Drummond and associate Grant McLarty are working with the London office on The FA Premier League’s application for an interim interdict to prevent the illegal broadcast of English Premier League matches by pubs across the UK. Drummond is also defending the Scottish Funding Council against a damages action arising from a workplace accident. Illustrative of the firm’s strengths in matters of reputational significance, Hazel Moffat and others assisted Sinopec with the successful settlement of Court of Session litigation brought by a Norwegian former manager of an oil rig. Other clients include Airbus Helicopters, Heineken UK and the Scottish Police Authority.

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Scotland: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

Noted for its global platform, DLA Piper Scotland LLP advises UK and international banks and corporate borrowers, among other clients, covering a wide remit of matters. Stuart McMillan leads the team, which has strong project finance credentials and robust experience across other areas of lending and borrowing. Legal director Michael Urquhart, who is qualified to practise in Scotland, England and Wales, is particularly experienced in acting for sponsors and funders in the renewable energy sector. McMillan and Urquhart acted for Green Africa Power in the €20m financing of the development of a 20MW photovoltaic solar power plant in Senegal. In another highlight, David Morton and senior associate William Reid assisted Motel One with obtaining development finance from Royal Bank of Scotland for a hotel in Glasgow. Morton, who has ‘been there and seen it all before’, is ‘very calm under pressure’.

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Scotland: Human resources

Employment - ranked: tier 5

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

With a focus on cross-border work, DLA Piper Scotland LLP provides advice on contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including dismissals and TUPE issues alongside discrimination claims and disciplinary proceedings. ‘Extremely knowledgable’ practice head Kate Hodgkiss continues to provide day-to-day advice to temporary power generation and temperature control equipment supplier Aggreko, which includes assistance with settlement arrangements for staff based nationally and seconded overseas, and employment contract issues. She also advised construction company BEAR Scotland on holiday pay issues, and the liquidators of ADTI on enhanced redundancy payment claims. In another highlight, the team assisted Exova’s UK HR department with TUPE, collective redundancy and immigration issues alongside senior level dismissals following a post-acquisition reorganisation.

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP’s team works in close co-operation with the firm’s regulatory and dispute resolution teams, often dealing with fatal accident inquiries and civil damages claims. Alistair Drummond assisted Airbus Helicopters with a fatal accident inquiry pertaining to the 2013 police helicopter’s crash into the roof of the Clutha Public House in Glasgow. He also advised the aviation sector client on civil claims for post-traumatic stress disorder following the 2012 Super Puma helicopter’s crash into the North Sea. In a separate matter, he assisted General Electric with the defence of a product liability claim raised in the Edinburgh Court of Session. In 2016, the team defended the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) in a damages action raised in the Court of Session by a former employee based on an accident at work. Bidvest instructed the team to advise on potential criminal liability issues following an accident at a facility in Oban operated by the client.

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Scotland: Projects, energy and natural resources

Energy (excluding oil and gas)
Energy (excluding oil and gas) - ranked: tier 5

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP has a diverse practice covering issues associated with anaerobic digestion plants, wind energy, ESCO arrangements and photovoltaic projects, among other matters. Stuart McMillan leads the team, which includes planning experts Sandy Telfer and legal director Michael Greig; legal director Michael Urquhart, who has expertise in project finance; and construction specialist Jonathan Gaskell. The group also draws on the expertise of Scotland-based practitioners involved in areas such as real estate, corporate and regulatory, as well as members of the firm’s wider network. McMillan led a cross-office team advising Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) and Barclays Bank on the £75m financing of the 51.7MW Harburnhead onshore wind farm in West Lothian. In another matter, McMillan and Urquhart acted for BTMU on the £76m project financings of a wind farm portfolio comprising the Airies wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway, and the Sorbie Wind Farm in North Ayrshire. In an illustration of its multi-jurisdictional credentials, the firm was appointed to Green Africa Power’s panel and assisted it with the €20m financing of Senergy 2 development, a 20MW photovoltaic solar power plant in Bokhol, Senegal. Blue Energy, Investec and Nord LB are other notable clients.

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Projects - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP acts for public and private sector clients in projects involving industries such as energy, transport, healthcare, and education. Stuart McMillan has a particularly strong track record in project finance transactions, where he acts for banks, borrowers, corporate clients and local authorities. Other names to note are Sharon Fitzgerald, who has procurement and commercial contracts expertise, and Lillian Mackenzie, who regularly acts for bidders, funders and public authorities in NPD/PFI/PPP projects. Mackenzie is assisting the Welsh government with the development of a standard suite of PPP procurement documents, and is acting for the same client on the new Velindre Cancer Centre PPP project. In another matter for the Welsh government, Fitzgerald is acting in the A465 road dualling PPP project. Emerging markets related energy and infrastructure projects are another pillar of the practice; McMillan and legal director Michael Urquhart acted for Green Africa Power in negotiating a €20m project finance facility for the construction of a 20MW photovoltaic solar power plant in Senegal.

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Scotland: Public sector

Parliamentary and public affairs
Parliamentary and public affairs - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP ‘provides a very good service’ to regulatory authorities, government departments and commissioners alongside corporate organisations. The firm regularly handles matters involving the drafting and interpretation of bills and legislation, governance and procurement, and judicial review proceedings. ‘First-rate’ practice head Hazel Moffat advised the Scottish Funding Council on a number of governance inquiries within the further education sector, and advised Heineken UK on its statutory obligations and duties following the introduction of a new statutory adjudicator, the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA). In another highlight, the team successfully represented the Scottish Police Authority in defending judicial review proceedings raised by a senior police officer against a decision to refuse the renewal of management vetting clearance.

Leading individuals

Hazel Moffat - DLA Piper Scotland LLP

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Scotland: Real estate

Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow
Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

Commercial property: leisure and hospitality - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

Commercial property: retail occupiers - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP acts for a sizeable blue-chip client base, including Mas Plc (Artisan), Blackstone Scottish Water, and Heineken, which recently appointed the firm to handle its UK property work. Drew Wallace leads the team and handles a wide-ranging workload covering cross-border portfolio transactions, acquisitions and sales of high-end real estate assets, commercial leasing, and commercial and residential development projects. Steve Edgecombe, legal director Barbara Dow and senior associate Guy Irving advised Henry Boot on a development funding deal with Aberdeen City Council, in connection with the development of a new exhibition centre, energy centre and hotels. Elsewhere, Wallace, Irving and legal director Carolyne Hair are assisting Hansteen (AIF) with various matters across Scotland, including developments at Gilston, Polmont and Darnley in Glasgow. Sheila Irvine’s recent work includes advice to student accommodation providers and funds on urban development projects. Legal directors Stephen Dick and Edwin Truesdale are also recommended.

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Construction - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP primarily acts for blue-chip UK and international clients on all non-contentious aspects of large-scale construction projects, but also handles a range of disputes. Legal director Jonathan Gaskell has a wealth of experience of projects involving rail infrastructure, shopping centres, retail units, student accommodation and offices. Gaskell advised Merseytravel on construction law issues associated with new depot facilities on the Merseyrail network, and assisted Victoria Hall Management with the procurement of a 283-bed student accommodation scheme in Southampton. Other clients of the practice include Hansteen, Tiger Developments and Babcock International.

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Planning - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP’s team undertakes a significant amount of work in the housebuilding sector, where it advises developers and planning authorities on development plan examinations, appeals and challenges. The group also assists public sector bodies and developers with negotiating planning obligations. Sandy Telfer is assisting Aggregate with negotiating a section 75 agreement for a minerals development across two local authority areas. The group also advises on the planning aspects of wind farm developments, with emphasis on acting for the funders of such developments. In addition, Telfer has particular cross-border experience of onshore gas development, and was instrumental in the firm recently being appointed to INEOS’ planning and environmental law panel, which involves assisting with its push to explore for shale gas in the UK. Legal director Michael Greig, who has more than 20 years of planning experience, is working with Telfer to advise Hallam Land Management and Commercial Estates Group in an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for a housing development at Cambusbarron, Stirling. Consultant John Watchman is another name to note.

Leading individuals

Sandy Telfer - DLA Piper Scotland LLP

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP’s ‘responsive and efficient team’ regularly handles complex property disputes. The practice generates work from a broad base of Scottish, UK and international clients; Henry Boot Developments, RBS and Heineken UK Limited are all clients. Alistair Drummond has wide-ranging expertise covering commercial leases, dilapidations, keep open obligations and servitudes. Drummond, who jointly heads the practice with Hazel Moffat, is defending Arjo Wiggins in an action for breach of contract related to the assignation of a wayleave agreement. Drummond is also handling a defect liability dispute connected with a residential development in North Berwick for developer Broad Sands Limited. Joanna Clark is singled out for her knowledge of insolvency-related property issues.

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Scotland: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP’s ‘very knowledgeable and responsive’ team has a fine reputation in the IT and telecoms market, handling IT procurement, outsourcing, data protection and IT contract matters. In an illustration of its track record of advice to public and financial sector clients, highly regarded team head John McKinlay assisted Scottish Water with the re-procurement of its core IT and telecoms infrastructure as part of the organisation’s new investment cycle. Other highlights included advising RBS on the outsourcing of its ATM operations including security and fraud issues, and acting as lead adviser to the Highland Council on matters pertaining to its three-year ICT re-provision programme to procure end-to-end ICT products and services across the council’s and various stakeholders’ organisations. Edinburgh Airport instructed the team to advise on data protection issues pertaining to the new flight path consultation. Other clients include Secure Trust Bank and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. Callum Sinclair moved to Burness Paull LLP.

Leading individuals

John McKinlay - DLA Piper Scotland LLP

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper Scotland LLP (Edinburgh, Glasgow)

DLA Piper Scotland LLP attracts praise for its track record in licensing, sponsorship and promotion agreements, trade mark portfolio management and IP enforcement actions. Team head John McKinlay assisted Merlin Entertainments with licensing and sponsorship issues, and advised Arran Aromatics on its global rebranding from Arran Aromatics to ARRAN, which involved conducting trade mark clearance searches in 17 jurisdictions. Other recent work includes advising entertainment company Underbelly, which operates the largest venue at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, on brand protection issues in the UK and on commercial agreements for its venues, and assisting the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society with a range of commercial IP matters, including its sponsorship agreement with Virgin Money. Roslin Cells is another client. Callum Sinclair moved to Burness Paull LLP.

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Legal Developments by:
DLA Piper LLP (US)

  • Sentencing guidelines for corporate manslaughter

    In February 2010 the Sentencing Guidelines Council (the SGC) issued definitive guidelines to courts on imposing appropriate sentences for corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences causing death. The SGC states that fines imposed on companies found guilty of corporate manslaughter should not fall below £500,000, while fines in respect of health and safety offences that are a significant cause of death should be at least £100,000. Crucially, the SGC declined to provide for a fixed link between the imposed fine and the turnover or profitability of the offending company.

    - DLA Piper UK LLP

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