EU and competition in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP handles the full gamut of EU and competition maters for high-profile clients in the transport and infrastructure, energy, food and drink, tech and public sectors. Well-versed in merger control, the practice also handles antitrust compliance and investigations, competition litigation and public procurement. Under the leadership of Charles Livingstone, the practice handles matters across the UK, EU and internationally. Christine O’Neill is a veteran litigator and solicitor advocate, who has considerable experience in procurement litigation. Roger Cotton runs the state aid practice and has recently been advising on businesses on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Practice head(s):

Charles Livingstone

Other key lawyers:

Christine O’Neill; Roger Cotton


‘The team provides valuable and insightful timely advice that is specifically tailored to and anchored by our business’ commercial priorities and circumstances’. 

‘The team listen to what I am trying to achieve and work with me to do that’.

‘It’s all very seamless, and they are really on top of the law’.

‘Brodies are excellent.’

‘They combined a keen understanding of the law with a close understanding of the needs of the client’.

‘Brodies went toe-to-toe with a magic circle firm and compared very favourably with them’. 

‘The advice set out what we needed to know to make an informed decision, and did not contain a list of caveats or attempt to sit on the fence’.

‘They combined a keen understanding of the law with a close understanding of the needs of the client’.

Key clients


The Scotch Whisky Association

Scottish Water Business Stream

AGS Airports Limited


Stornoway Port Authority


Scottish Government

Highlands & Islands Enterprise

Ian Macleod Distillers

Work highlights

  • Advised Kersia on securing approved buyer status from the CMA to allow the purchase of Holchem from Ecolab, following a CMA divestment order imposed on Ecolab.
  • Advised the Scotch Whisky Association on complying with competition law while facilitating hand sanitiser production by the whisky industry in response to the COIVD-19 crisis.
  • Advised Stornoway Port Authority on the State aid compliance of funding for its deep water port project, part of its 20-year masterplan.


Dentons is well regarded in the Scottish market for its broad competition expertise, with key areas of focus including merger control, compliance, competition litigation and dawn raid issues. The team is jointly led by London-based Adrian Magnus and Glasgow’s Michael Dean, who has considerable experience in the full range of EU and UK competition law proceedings. Key practitioner Catriona Munro has notable expertise in cartels and contentious competition law. Senior associate Melanie Martin is recommended for non-contentious competition issues, state aid and Brexit-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Michael Dean; Adrian Magnus

Other key lawyers:

Catriona Munro; David McGowan; Carolyn Burns; Melanie Martin


‘A highly skilled, professional and diverse team who are responsive and diligent on all matters. The wide range of expertise – and access to experts on wider areas of law – gives clients confidence that the team can collaborate to deliver projects of any scale, and that they can meet ambitious deadlines on complex problems. The stand-out feature of the team is their ability to understand the client, their operating environment, and risk appetite’.

‘The team really understand our business and their advice is always on point. They do not get bogged down in the detail but cut through it to give the advice we need. They are flexible and able to discuss concepts at a range of levels’.

‘Michael Dean and David McGowan always give great and easily digestible advice.’

‘Melanie Martin is bright and very easy to deal with.’

‘Catriona Munro gives flexible and helpful strategic guidance in disputes contexts.’

‘Approachable individuals who have good awareness of wider commercial considerations beyond just legal points. Each is an expert in their field, and give confidence that they are applying the most up-to-date thinking to matters.’

‘David McGowan is a notable expert who gives complete confidence in the breadth and thoroughness of his advice.’

‘This is a fast reacting and knowledgeable team who can convey this complex area of law in a way which resonates with the business we operate in.’

Key clients

Standard Life Aberdeen PLC

Daimler AG

Stagecoach Group PLC

Network Rail

The Edrington Group Limited

Aggreko PLC

UK Government (Department for International Development, Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Department for Education)

Alexander Dennis Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Daimler on a follow-on claim brought on behalf of 21 Scottish local authorities in relation to the European Commission’s Trucks decision.
  • Successfully defended Highlands and Islands Enterprise against allegations that they gave illegal state aid, both before the European Commission and the Scottish courts.
  • Representing Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited (SSWT) in ongoing proposed collective proceedings in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) brought by Justin Gutmann against SSWT and two other rail operators.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

The EU and competition practice at Shepherd and Wedderburn covers all areas of competition law. The practice is experienced in business-critical issues, such as transactional matters, anti-competitive agreements, procurement, state aid and litigation. The team, which is complemented by the firm’s public law and commercial litigation offerings, is headed by Gordon Downie, who founded the Scottish Competition Forum. Downie is recommended for regulatory matters in the food and drink, real estate, energy and tech sectors.

Practice head(s):

Gordon Downie

Other key lawyers:

John Grady; Fiona Parker


‘Gordon Downie leads from the front and has huge experience in competition and regulatory matters, with unparalleled knowledge of the energy markets’.

‘Fiona Parker is second to none on client and case-management, with huge experience in the water sector’.

‘The practice is unique in offering a full service legal firm across the UK, with a unique and unusual position in Scotland and offering services into Northern Ireland, on the utilities sectors’.

‘It has huge experience in EU regulatory issues’.                              

‘John Grady has an encyclopaedic knowledge of utility regulation in the UK, particularly energy’.

‘John Grady is a first-rate lawyer with good judgement and excellent client handling skills’.

‘Gordon Downie is one of the top competition and regulatory lawyers in Scotland; he has a quietly understated manner but is extremely knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with’. 

‘Very knowledgeable about energy regulation issues’.  

Key clients

ScottishPower (SP)

Single Electricity Market (SEM) Committee

Water Industry Commission Scotland

City of Edinburgh Council

Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult Ltd.

The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat)

Scottish Enterprise

Miller Homes Limited

Epic Games Inc

Work highlights

  • Advised the Water Industry Commission for Scotland on a major emergency intervention programme to support customers and suppliers in the competitive retail market for water services in Scotland, in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Advised a major international games developer and publisher on multi-jurisdictional merger control requirements relating to the acquisition of a specialist provider of ad-tech services across PC, mobile and major home console platforms.
  • Provided dawn raid response and follow-up support to a food production client subject to a major global investigation by the European Commission into allegations of a price-fixing cartel.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP’s broad bench was bolstered in July 2020 with the arrival of Hazel Moffat from DLA Piper. Moffat is a dispute resolution specialist, who brings considerable public law experience to the practice. The team is jointly headed by Colin Miller and Graeme Palmer, who is well known for procurement and state subsidy law matters. The practice handles merger control in a range of sectors, including food and drink, oil and gas, tech and the public sector.

Practice head(s):

Colin Miller; Graeme Palmer

Other key lawyers:

David Goodbrand; Stephen Phillips; Michael Bryceland; Hazel Moffat


‘Colin Miller is charming; insightful; responsive and I would strongly recommend him’.

‘Excellent lawyers, prompt service and integrity, together with a collaborative approach’.

‘Colin Miller is highly experienced, with a City background and international experience, and very commercial approach’.

Key clients

Highland Spring

Independent News Television (ITN)

Tillicoultry Quarries

Roxburghe Hotel Golf & Spa

Student Loans Company

Scottish Television (STV)

The Weir Group plc

EDF Energy Renewables

Scottish Enterprise

Ingen (UK)

Work highlights

  • Advised Tillicoultry Quarries in relation to its proposed acquisitions from Breedon Group plc of 14 businesses in England and Scotland – a mixture of quarries, asphalt and ready mix concrete sites, as well as a cement import terminal at Dundee port.
  • Continued to provide competition law advice to Highland Spring in connection with its ongoing distribution arrangements to supermarkets and other major retail outlets in the UK.
  • Supported Scottish Enterprise with the notification of one of the last UK State Aid schemes to the European Commission, which supports Covid-19 relief in the form of subordinated debt measures under the Commission’s Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak.


The competition and trade practice at CMS acts as a UK-wide team, with Edinburgh-based Graeme Young heading up the Scottish offering. The team handles antitrust and market investigations, merger control, state aid, public procurement and regulatory matters. Young is dual-qualified and acts for clients in the energy and utilities, financial services and infrastructure sectors. Judith Aldersey-Williams is recommended for competition matters in the energy sector.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Young

Other key lawyers:

Judith Aldersey-Williams


‘Graeme Young is very knowledgeable on the more challenging aspects of state aid’.

‘Graeme Young takes a commercial view, which is rare amongst procurement lawyers’.

Key clients

BP Plc

Braid Logistics

David Macbrayne Limited

Scottish Water

South of Scotland Enterprise


Highland and Islands Enterprise

Scottish Financial Enterprise

University of Glasgow


Opportunity North East Limited

The City of Edinburgh Council

NatWest Group Plc (NWG)

Scottish Futures Trust

Northern Ireland Water

Centrica Plc

Places for People Leisure Management Limited (PfP)



Atos UK

Stagecoach Plc

Work highlights

  • Advising David MacBrayne Limited (DML) on complex competition and procurement issues in the transport and infrastructure sectors.
  • Advising Braid on the competition and merger control aspects of the sale of its bulk logistics business to competitor, Hillebrand.
  • Advising Scottish Water on competition, procurement and state aid issues including on the introduction of measures by the Scottish Government to support the water market and business customers in light of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern’s EU and competition law group specialises in litigation, state aid and advice on general competition issues. Katrina Lumsdaine heads the team and focuses on high-value competition disputes, acting for a number of public sector clients. Douglas McLachlan is recommended for compliance, competition investigations and competition enforcement.

Practice head(s):

Katrina Lumsdaine

Other key lawyers:

Douglas McLachlan; Simon Brown


‘Anderson Strathern are a class act for EU and competition, particularly competition litigation’.

‘Katrina Lumsdaine is a fantastic litigator and has brilliant strategic and tactical instincts’.

‘Katrina Lumsdaine is well able to weave her enormous commercial litigation experience into competition litigation’.

‘Katrina Lumsdaine has a wonderful, deft touch with clients and she will be a major force in years to come in competition litigation in Scotland’.

Key clients

22 Scottish local authorities and Scottish Water

INEOS Chemicals Grangemouth Limited

Petroineos Europe Limited

Allied Vehicles Limited

John Martin Group Limited

Superfeet Worldwide Inc

Work highlights

  • Pursuing damages on behalf of 22 public bodies, in an action arising out of the high-profile truck cartel case.
  • Advising INEOS and Petroineos on strategically important procurement and supply contracts, including competition law issues.
  • Advising Allied Vehicles Limited on competition law and Brexit matters in a highly specialised sector.

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP has considerable experience in providing state aid advice to local councils across Scotland; it also acts for private sector clients on a broad range of competition matters. Specific areas of expertise include public procurement, merger control, anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance. James McMorrow heads the practice and is recommended for post-Brexit advice around the UK's new subsidy control regime.

Practice head(s):

James McMorrow

Other key lawyers:

Jill Fryer; Jennifer Jack; Jamie Watt


‘Jennifer Jack is extremely capable and exceptionally good at dealing with complexity, whether legal or practical’.

‘Jennifer Jack really understands clients’ needs and is a highly talented lawyer’.

‘Harper Macleod have always provided a good service and are able to tackle anything we ask for’.

Key clients

Glasgow City Council

City of Edinburgh Council

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council)

Inverclyde Council

The Capital City Partnership

East Renfrewshire Council

Creative Scotland

Energy Saving Trust

Forestry and Land Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advising Glasgow City Council in relation to its procurement of a complex alliance contracting solution to prevent and alleviate homelessness in Glasgow under the competitive dialogue procedure.
  • Advised UEFA in relation to the Scottish aspects of the 2020-21 European Championships.
  • Successfully defending Creative Scotland in a challenge, brought in the Competition Appeals Tribunal, in relation to decision-making on awards/refusal of grant funding.

MacRoberts LLP

MacRoberts LLP acts for public and private sector clients on compliance and investigation matters. Particular areas of focus include the competition aspects of corporate transactions, anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance issues. Practice head Robin Fallas is well versed in EU law, procurement and state aid matters.

Practice head(s):

Robin Fallas

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Osler


‘A good, common sense and cost-effective approach’.