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DLA Piper Scotland LLP

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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

DLA Piper Scotland LLP's team has recently been kept busy handling deals in the technology and energy sectors. The group also has a strong track record advising multinationals, FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies on global reorganisations and restructurings. Notable individuals include practice head Simon Rae, who is a key name for M&A, private equity and venture capital deals.

Practice head(s):Simon Rae

Other key lawyers:Andrew Wardrop


'The team provides strong support and has extensive international offices.'

'Simon Rae manages the client relationship and his team very well.'

Key Clients

Business Growth Fund

Energy Ventures

Environmental Energy Fund

Energy Growth Investors

First Reserve

Infrared Capital Partners

Investec Investments UK

Proprium Capital

Secure Trust Bank

Scottish Equity Partners

Royal Bank of Scotland

Vespa Capital


Cimpress (Vistaprint)

Danaher Corporation

Element Group

Fortive Corporation

Heineken UK

Link Mobility

John Menzies

Work highlights

  • Acted for TTT Moneycorp on its acquisition of leading specialist broker, FirstRate FX Limited.
  • Advised Fortive Corporation on its $2.7bn acquisition of Advanced Sterilisation Products, a Johnson & Johnson company.
  • Acted for Link Mobility AS on its acquisition of leading business-to-consumer mobile messaging and mobile service provider, Hay Systems Limited.
  • Assisted Energy Ventures with the equity financing of leading Scotland technology manufacturer, Morphpackers Limited.
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

DLA Piper Scotland LLP is routinely engaged in cross-jurisdictional disputes and has particular expertise in handling public sector, property and construction-related disputes. Alastair Drummond is the main contact.

Practice head(s):Alistair Drummond

Other key lawyers:Hazel Moffat; James McGachie

Key Clients



Assurant General Insurance

Babcock Group

Clydesdale Bank


British Airways


Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Scottish Police Authority



Work highlights

  • Representing the Institute of Apprentices in an appeal brought by a trailblazer group, challenging the decision by the institute to recommend to the Secretary of State that the funding for certain course categories should be revised downwards.
  • Advising Lothian Amusements on the enforcement of a package of contractual arrangements for a development site in Portobello, Edinburgh.
  • Acted for Consort Healthcare in a dispute over a project agreement for the construction of new facilities at the Victoria Hospital in Fife, and raised proceedings in the Court of Session against its contractors and the independent tester following the discovery of faulty pipework and defects to the heating system.
  • Acting for developer Broad Sands in a defects liability dispute pertaining to a residential development in North Berwick, Scotland.

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Scotland: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper Scotland LLP

In addition to advising key domestic clients including Clydesdale Bank and HSBC, DLA Piper Scotland LLP's banking team regularly receives mandates from international clients providing inward investment to Scottish assets. The group also recently expanded its high-profile client base with the addition of ICICI Bank and ABN AMRO to its client roster, and enhanced its work on the early-stage funding of technology companies. Scotland finance head David Morton, legal director Michael Urquhart and senior associate William Reid are among the key names in the team

Other key lawyers:David Morton; Michael Urquhart; William Reid


'The practice at DLA Piper is responsive, pro-active and commercially minded, and is willing and eager to find solutions as well as highlighting risks. It is also pragmatic in dealing with other legal teams.'

'DLA Piper has an extensive network that allows it access to different markets and jurisdictions. This provides a significant advantage when dealing with cross-border or multi-national transactions.'

'David Morton has a calm, clear and considered manner, with a strong appreciation of commercial pressures as well as technical legal considerations. He is proactive in making progress in transactions.'

'David Morton is a highly experienced individual, who brings a very pragmatic approach to any transaction.'

Key Clients

Clydesdale Bank

Lloyds Banking Group

The Royal Bank of Scotland

RBS Invoice Finance Ltd





Vespa Capital


Harrison Street

Tosca Debt Capital Fund

Energy Ventures


Work highlights

  • Acted for Clydesdale Bank on its £15m acquisition funding of Laing Glasgow Holdings.
  • Acted for HSBC Bank on its £17m acquisition funding of Herbert Group.
  • Instructed by new client ICICI Bank to handle its £13m financing of the Easy Hotel, Edinburgh.
  • Advising Harrison Street on its £19m development funding for student accommodation in Glasgow.
Leading individuals

David Morton - DLA Piper Scotland LLP

Rising stars

William Reid - DLA Piper Scotland LLP

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Scotland: Human resources

Employment - ranked: tier 5

DLA Piper Scotland LLP

DLA Piper Scotland LLP frequently acts in close conjunction with its national employment team, handling UK-wide and cross-border matters in the banking and financial services, food and drink, insurance, life sciences and technology sectors, among others, pertaining to internal restructurings, transactions and projects. Other work includes assistance with GDPR issues and employment tribunal litigation. Kate Hodgkiss is the main contact for Scotland.

Practice head(s):Kate Hodgkiss

Key Clients



Dawnfresh Seafoods



Scottish Police Authority

Scottish Water

CPA Global Management

Charles Taylor

Elements Materials Technology

Felio Sylvania Europe



Work highlights

  • Following Smartsheet's acquisition of a technology business in Scotland, the team advised on the integration of UK employees into its business.
  • Acting as HEINEKEN’s sole employment law advisor and advising the client on all aspects of employment relations and employment matters. In 2018, this included advice on senior exits, disciplinary matters, industrial relations documentation and employment tribunal litigation, among other issues.
  • Successfully defended HSBC against a claim of discrimination based on race and religion.
  • Advising Scottish Water on employment law issues associated with major IT infrastructure projects, including the assessment of employment risks and implications at bidder stage, among other matters.
  • Advising Hitachi Rail Europe on the transfer of more than 500 employees following the successful bid by the client to undertake maintenance of rolling stock and management of a number of maintenance depots.

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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

The energy practice at DLA Piper Scotland LLP has expertise to advise on wind projects, photovoltaic power matters and anaerobic digestion plants. The team is notable for its planning and construction knowledge, and, as part of the firm's global network, regularly assists clients with cross-border projects and transactions.

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Projects - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper Scotland LLP

At DLA Piper Scotland LLP, Lillian Mackenzie was recently appointed as head of finance, projects and restructuring in Scotland. The group acts for international clients alongside a notable domestic client base including local authorities, which it advises on procurement models; the Welsh government is a key example. The team is also active in the education sector, and recently gained several new clients in the space.

Practice head(s):Lillian Mackenzie

Other key lawyers:Sharon Fitzgerald


'The diversified work in different legal sectors with qualified experts distinguishes DLA Piper's projects experts.'

'DLA Piper provides considerable experience in infrastructure procurement, particularly PPP.'

'For an international practice, the personal interest taken by the partners is exceptional and allows them to comment sensibly at any given moment. The team's genuine credibility in the market draws on many years of delivering successful projects in a practical, non-confrontational way.'

'The projects team makes a real effort to support clients in their own business requirements beyond just the provision of legal services.'

'Sharon Fitzgerald is a very open and cooperative person. She has very strong networking skills.'

'Sharon has immense global experience and is a great communicator, but what makes her stand out is how personable she is and her behavourial ethics. She is someone who clients trust implicitly for impeccable and timely advice.'

'Lillian Mackenzie is exceptionally capable and experienced, gaining her experience through the evolution of the PPP model throughout the UK. She offers practical solutions in a positive way and ensures that the client is fully informed before taking a decision - a true positive addition to any team.'

'Sharon Fitzgerald and Peter Dornan both deserve a mention for high-quality advice and support and a very practical approach to supporting their clients with the delivery of projects.'

Key Clients

City of Glasgow Council

Welsh Government


Galliford Try


Green Africa Power

Velindre NHS Trust

Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Government of Ghana

Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe

National Grid


GE (General Electric)

Lloyds Banking Group

Nord LB

Work highlights

  • Advising Welsh Government on the development of the Mutual Investment Model.
  • Advising the Velindre University NHS Trust on the design, build, finance and maintenance of a new cancer centre.
  • Assisted Kelda Water with the sale of various Scottish subsidiaries involved in the regulated water sector, the operation and maintenance of various ministry of defence sites, and the release of security and the reorganisation of funding.
  • Advising Investec on the Cardiff Parkway, St. Mellons park-and-ride railway station joint venture.

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Scotland: Public sector

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

DLA Piper Scotland LLP

The 'impressive' team at DLA Piper Scotland LLP is led by the 'highly experienced' Hazel Moffat and is well equipped to guide public sector clients as well as food and drink, manufacturing and energy industry players through the full spectrum of parliamentary and public affairs issues. Much of its work pertains to judicial reviews, public inquiries, government structures and regulatory framework draftings.

Practice head(s):Hazel Moffat

Other key lawyers:James McGachie


'Hazel Moffat is very smart, intuitive and very easy to work with.'

Key Clients

Institute of Apprenticeships


The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Heineken UK

Market Operator Services

Transport for the North

Scottish Police Authority

Airbus Helicopter



Work highlights

  • Advising The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the Magnox Inquiry, investigating the award of the Magnox decommissioning contract by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and its subsequent termination.
  • Ongoing advice on the small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act (SBEEA) and the Pubs Code; recently, the team has been advising and defending the first tranche of arbitrations raised by tenants and addressed policy issues and drafting errors in the statutory Pubs Code to the government.
  • Advised on issues relating to the delegation of powers from local and central government to TfN.
  • Advising the SPA on judicial review cases brought against them by police officers in relation to decisions by the SPA to refuse applications for ill health retirement.
  • Represented Ineos in its application for judicial review of the Scottish Government ban on onshore unconventional gas (fracking ban).
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

Commercial property: leisure and hospitality - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper Scotland LLP

Commercial property: retail - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper Scotland LLP

The real estate team at DLA Piper Scotland LLP acts for developers, property funds and corporate occupiers and has particular strength in student accommodation mandates, shopping centre issues and retail matters. The department also benefits from the firm's global network and regularly acts for international clients. Real estate practice head Drew Wallace has a notable track record in the development and investment fields and Steve Edgecombe leads the firm's hospitality and leisure team; clients also praise Sheila Irvine, who focuses on leasings, investment issues and developments.

Practice head(s):Drew Wallace (Real estate); Steve Edgecombe (Hospitality and leisure)

Other key lawyers:Sheila Irvine;


'Known for its good legal knowledge and capabilities, DLA Piper is willing to bring in specialists - be they internal or external - to augment services and deliver results.'

'Sheila Irvine is very well informed and gives a fair and balanced view on most transactions. She will go the extra mile to get critical transactions completed.'

'Scott Ferrier is a senior associate who is very diligent and delivers detailed examination of transactions.'

Key Clients

Admiral Taverns

Aggregate Industries

Catella Parken Europa

The Ambassador Theatre Group


Osborne & Co/Vanguard Limited


Heineken UK Limited

Artisan Real Estate Investors Limited



British Airways

LaSalle Investment Management

Places for People


St Enoch Trustee Company (Blackstone and Sovereign)

Leonardo Hotel Group

Henry Boot Developments

New Waverley

Royal Bank of Scotland

Round Hill Capital UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Heineken on its pub portfolio across the UK including several disposal programmes.
  • Acted for Fattal Group and Jurys Inn on the acquisition of the freehold of the Jurys Inn, Edinburgh for £50m to include a development site for a new hotel.
  • Assisted New Waverley 12 with the £38m sale of its Premier Inn, Premier Inn Hub, Costa and Ronaq Restaurant to Union Investment.
  • Acting for Henry Boot on the development of the  new £360m Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, which includes a new arena, conference halls, a subterranean multipurpose space, energy centre, Hilton and Aloft hotels, car parking and public space.
  • Assisting Downing Students (Meadows) with its acquisition of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children building in Edinburgh for a proposed mixed-use development.
Leading individuals

Sheila Irvine - DLA Piper Scotland LLP

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Construction - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper Scotland LLP

Working in close co-operation with its England-based offices, DLA Piper Scotland LLP handles a variety of contentious and non-contentious issues arising from retail, commercial and mixed-use developments, hotels and leisure sector projects as well as student accommodations. Frequently handling contentious construction work, Alastair Drummond is the main contact for Scotland. Legal director Ross Campbell joined the team from Eversheds Sutherland in August 2018 and is experienced in energy, infrastructure and development projects.

Practice head(s):Alistair Drummond

Other key lawyers:Ross Campbell

Key Clients

Consort Healthcare (Fife)

Lothian Amusements

New Waverley 12

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

St Enoch Trustee Company

Ambassador Theatre Group

Jury’s Inn

Leonardo Hotels


Heineken UK

Work highlights

  • Advising RBS (as site owner) on the construction aspects of the development of the IMPACT Centre concert hall and arts venue by its tenant, International Music & Performing Arts Charitable Trust Scotland, at a site lying immediately behind RBS’s historic Dundas House HQ at 36 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh.
  • Advised St Enoch Trustee Company (owner of the St Enoch Centre, Glasgow) on all contract documentation for the design and construction of a cinema development within the St Enoch Centre.
  • Advised New Waverley 12 on the construction aspects of the sale of two new hotel buildings at East Market Street, Edinburgh, to Union Investments, and on additional works carried out at the Premier Inn Hub hotel.
  • Advising Lothian Amusements on the enforcement of a complex package of contractual arrangements the client entered into in relation to a development site in Portobello, Edinburgh.
  • Advised Artisan Canonmills (as owner and developer) on all contract documentation for the design and construction of circa 200 residential units at Warriston Road, Edinburgh, together with associated car parking and services.

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Planning - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper Scotland LLP

Acting for objectors, appellants and other parties, DLA Piper Scotland LLP has substantial expertise in contentious planning matters, including judicial review challenges. The practice led by Sandy Telfer is also well versed in providing planning advice on housing developments alongside infrastructure and energy sector development projects, including those in a multi-jurisdictional setting.

Practice head(s):Sandy Telfer

Other key lawyers:Michael Greig

Key Clients

INEOS Upstream

Perth and Kinross Council

Hallam Land Management

New Waverley Advisers

Royal Bank of Scotland

Places for People

Henry Boot Developments

Dawnfresh Farming

Highways England

Hansteen Land

Work highlights

  • Advised Hallam Land Management on a possible legal challenge to the West Lothian Local Development Plan in relation to a site at Bathgate, Scotland.
  • Representing Hallam Land Management and CEG Land Promotions in the complex negotiation of a section 75 planning obligation following a previous successful planning appeal.
  • Advising Highways England on the promotion of multiple development consent orders for the upgrade of the sections of the A1 trunk road between Gateshead and the Scottish border.
  • Advising Places for People on the negotiation of developer contributions and the drafting of a section 75 agreement for a housing development forming Phase 3 of its Granton development in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Represented Ineos in a Court of Session judicial review challenge pertaining to onshore shale gas developments.
Leading individuals

Sandy Telfer - DLA Piper Scotland LLP

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper Scotland LLP

Working in conjunction with its real estate, construction and projects team, DLA Piper Scotland LLP regularly assists developers and property investors as well as manufacturing, finance and energy sector clients with contractual disputes, contentious landlord and tenant matters, as well as lease, dilapidation and boundary issues. The 'excellent' Alastair Drummond heads the team, which lost director Jonathan Gaskell to DWF in June 2018.

Practice head(s):Alistair Drummond

Key Clients

Broad Sands

Computacenter (UK)


Lothian Amusements

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

The Coal Authority

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill

Consort Healthcare (Fife)

Work highlights

  • Instructed to represent Mr and Mrs Jones in a servitude dispute concerning the erection of an extension on the boundary of two residential properties in Elie, Fife.
  • Advising Lothian Amusements on the enforcement of a complex package of contractual arrangements the client entered into in relation to a development site in Portobello, Edinburgh.
  • Acting for The Coal Authority in an action for declarator raised in the Court of Session, Edinburgh relating to subsidence damage caused by mine workings in Kirkcaldy, Fife, which has required the demolition of a number of residential properties and caused considerable damage to other properties in the surrounding area.
  • Defending an action raised against the client relating to alleged dilapidations and wants of repair to a commercial unit previously let by the client in Edinburgh.

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Scotland: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper Scotland LLP

Under the leadership of John McKinlay, DLA Piper Scotland LLP's IT team has substantial experience advising its client roster on major projects, particularly in the financial services and public sectors. The team has gained several new clients including BAE Systems. McKinlay is a key name for outsourcing and procurement contracts, technology licensing work and cross-border transactions; and legal director Ishbel MacPherson acts for entertainment and public sector clients.

Practice head(s):John McKinlay

Other key lawyers:Ishbel MacPherson; Caroline Scott


'The team at DLA Piper is very experienced in TMT work and its industry knowledge is invaluable during commercial and legal negotiations. It is a very strong part of DLA Piper's Scottish team and is very well regarded in the sector.'

'With strong leadership by John McKinlay, the team is able to translate and communicate complex legal issues to a non-legal audience in a straightforward and practical manner. It is innovative,highly responsive, extremely patient and always makes clients feel like they are the only client. The team is truly commercial and takes ownership; it becomes an extension of and vital part of the client's in-house legal team.'

'John McKinlay is the lead partner and is a joy to work with. He is knowledgeable, clever and attentive and is supported by a strong team of associates. He is extremely efficient and a very effective negotiator of complex contracts. The stand-out senior associate is Linzi Penman, whose youth belies her ability to produce outstanding, thoughtful results to tight timescales.'

'John McKinlay stands out as a stalwart adviser who draws on deep and wide ranging experience.'

'Ishbel MacPherson stands out. She is technically strong and extremely capable yet het ability to swap legalese for what makes commercial sense is what makes her a pleasure to deal with.'

Key Clients


Clydesdale Bank


Royal Bank of Scotland

Scottish Water

BAE Systems

Core HR

The Highland Council

Merlin Entertainments

Edinburgh Airport



Work highlights

  • Assisted Scottish Water with procuring a new five-year partnership with consulting firms Capgemini and Atos to deliver a portfolio of services across Scottish Water including customer-focused IT services, core IT infrastructure and applications.
  • Advising Heineken on matters relating to its BEAM (build, extend, accelerate and maximise) framework including advising on the introduction of telematics in its fleet management processes, drafting and negotiating a framework agreement for the adoption of a toolset to comprise Heineken’s strategic configurable platform for workflow, and further negotiating with a different technology vendor on the developments for Heineken’s critical lease management system.
  • Advised Core on a variety of IT contract negotiations and drafting, involving a full GDPR remediation programme with vendors.
Leading individuals

John McKinlay - DLA Piper Scotland LLP

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper Scotland LLP

DLA Piper Scotland LLP has substantial capabilities in Scotland and internationally, where it leverages the firm's global network to handle cross-border projects. John McKinlay heads up the practice, which also includes legal director Ishbel MacPherson, who regularly advises on commercial contracts in the technology and life sciences sectors.

Practice head(s):John McKinlay

Other key lawyers:Ishbel MacPherson

Key Clients

Merlin Entertainments

Shire Pharmaceuticals


Heineken UK

FA Premier League



Wm Grant & Sons



Work highlights

  • Advised Merlin on a range of IP issues including image rights, promotion agreements, sponsorship and marketing deals, advertising matters and IP licensing work for its theme parks and tourist attractions.
  • Representing The Football Association Premier League in seeking interdicts against pubs showing the overseas broadcast of English Premier League matches on the basis of copyright infringement.
  • Advised Heineken on a range of e-commerce deals and other commercial contracts involving the use of IP rights, and also handled the management of over 2000 UK and international trade mark registrations.

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Legal Developments by:
DLA Piper LLP (US)

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    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.‚Ä©
    - DLA Piper UK LLP

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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