EU and competition in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP handles merger control, regulatory compliance and investigations, state aid, public procurement and contentious issues across the full spectrum of EU and national competition law. Being one of the only Scottish firms with a Brussels office, the team has been advising on Brexit queries over the past few years. Practice head Charles Livingstone sits in Glasgow and regularly collaborates with the firm's oil and gas practice to assist major clients with competition matters in the sector. In Edinburgh, experienced litigator and firm chair Christine O’Neill - the pre-eminent public law specialist in Scotland' - maintains close connections with the Scottish Government.

Practice head(s):

Charles Livingstone

Other key lawyers:

Christine O’Neill ; Roger Cotton


Brodies’ EU and competition team always provides detailed, accurate and timely legal advice that is also commercially and pragmatically focused.

Charles Livingstone has an excellent knowledge of the subject, gives practical advice efficiently and within required time limits.

Christine O’Neill, Charles Livingstone and Roger Cotton know their respective areas of law, have excellent communication skills and are able to tailor their advice to their individual clients.

‘Christine O’Neill stands out in all areas, not just in public law in which she is the pre-eminent specialist among solicitors in Scotland. She also has an excellent practice in EU and commercial matters and substantial knowledge in both areas.’

Key clients

The Scotch Whisky Association

Lothian Buses Limited


Scottish Water Business Stream

AGS Airports Limited

Aberdeen City Council

Scottish Government

Groupe Grimaud Y


Lerwick Port Authority

Danfoss A/S

Glasgow City Council

City of Edinburgh Council

Wills Bros Civil Engineering Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Abellio on its bid for the East Midlands Rail Franchise.
  • Chairman Christine O’Neill was junior counsel for the Lord Advocate in the defence of the UK Government’s challenge to the UK Withdrawal from the European Union Bill, the first time the UK Government had referred a Scottish Parliament Bill to the Supreme Court.
  • Acted for French life sciences business Groupe Grimaud in obtaining CMA clearance for the disposal of Hubbard Holding, its broiler chicken division, to Aviagen Group Holding.
  • Advised Accel-KKR on the sale of Episerver, helping the client and the target respond to merger control and antitrust diligence questions from various bidders, in relation to a number of jurisdictions.
  • Provided state aid and procurement advice to Lerwick Port Authority on developing the port, including investing in a new fish market and options for investing in UK Continental Shelf decommissioning facilities.


The competition department at Dentons is best known for work on contentious matters including dawn raids, anti-bribery work and modern slavery issues. Michael Dean leads the group from Glasgow and is regularly involved in significant merger control, leniency applications, compliance programmes, vertical supply chain issues and retailing matters. Contentious specialist Catriona Munro has a particularly strong track record in the cartel space, regulatory issues, State aid and private damages claims,  both on the plaintiff and defendant side. Jennifer Marshall left the Edinburgh office to join Highlands and Islands Airport as in-house counsel.

Practice head(s):

Michael Dean

Other key lawyers:

Catriona Munro; David McGowan; Carolyn Burns; Melanie Martin


Dentons fields a very capable competition cartel litigation team with loads of experience.

The sheer width and depth of the legal knowledge and experience within the competition practice, together with its ability to listen and establish all of the facts, enables it to provide comprehensive, well-reasoned, top-quality legal advice.

The competition law team at Dentons has excellent practical experience in its field of law.

Catriona Munro has a cool, calm head combined with a sensible, pragmatic approach.

Michael Dean is extremely knowledgeable and experienced. He is very supportive and pursues his clients’ interests with vigour and passion. He makes himself accessible and is quick to respond to any communication with well-considered advice.

Key clients

Standard Life Aberdeen PLC

British Polythene Industries Ltd (RPC Group plc)

Stagecoach Group PLC

Network Rail

C&C Group PLC

Aggreko PLC

UK Government Department for International Development

Nynas Petroleum

Baxters Food Group Limited

John Menzies PLC

Edinburgh Airport Limited

London Luton Airport Limited

Strathclyde Passenger Transport

AO Retail Ltd

Beaconsfield Footwear (Hotter Shoes)

FW Evans Cycles (in Administration)


The Range

JCT 600 Ltd

Sytner Group Ltd

Aprirose (formerly QHotels)

Moorfields (Administrators for Toys ‘R’ Us – now in liquidation)

Avis Budget Group Inc.

World Fuels Services


Clyde Blowers Capital

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

Environmental Capital Fund/Indigo Pipelines Limited

Department of Education

East of England Co-op Ltd

Edinburgh Woollen Mill

Central England Co-op Limited

Spar UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the Environmental Capital Fund on the sale of Indigo Pipelines.
  • Defending Highlands and Islands Enterprise against allegations that the client made illegal grants of state aid to a particular beneficiary.
  • Acted for Kenman Holdings Limited, which submitted a bid for a contract for the operation of Lews Castle, following its exclusion from the procurement.
  • Advised Triple Point in respect of the regulatory aspects of its investments in the UK gas peaking sector.
  • Advising a group of 15 merchants in a claim for damages against MasterCard and Visa, in respect of multi-lateral interchange fees.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

At Shepherd and Wedderburn, the EU and competition practice covers all aspects of competition law - transaction and behavioural, procurement and state aid, as well as litigation - and is complemented by specialist public law and commercial litigation experience. Practice head Gordon Downie is particularly experienced in a range of regulated sectors, while Glasgow-based John Grady is a specialist in dealing with energy and utilities regulators.

Practice head(s):

Gordon Downie

Other key lawyers:

John Grady; Fiona Parker


‘The team is steeped in the intricacies of energy regulation and the application of competition law to regulated utilities and rightly enjoys a strong reputation among peers and clients’.

‘John Grady has an outstanding grasp of regulatory principles applicable to regulated sectors and an encyclopaedic knowledge of regulatory precedents across the various sectors. He is very hands-on, always on top of the detail, immensely dedicated and hard-working, added to which he is a very congenial colleague to work with’.

‘Gordon Downie is an acknowledged expert in EU and UK energy regulation and the application of competition law in regulated sectors. He writes and speaks with authority and clearly knows his subject inside out. He is a fantastic team player and great to work alongside’.

Key clients

Scottish Power

Single Electricity Market Committee

Water Industry Commission Scotland

City of Edinburgh Council

ORE Catapult

Capital Document Solutions

Scottish Enterprise

Work highlights

  • Advising the Water Industry Commission for Scotland, the economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry in Scotland, on non-household water and sewerage market review of disconnections and of vacancy charging.
  • Advised the Single Electricity Market Committee on competition and regulation for the entire wholesale Irish electricity market.

Burness Paull LLP

With anenviable client roster spanning the financial services, oil and gas, food and drink and public sectors, Burness Paull LLP's competition team advises on M&A transactions, state aid issues and complex commercial agreements. Graeme Palmer , who was recently promoted to the partnership, heads the firm's procurement and state aid sub-group from Glasgow. In Edinburgh, the main name to note is practice head David Goodbrand who specialises in commercial contracts, merger law and compliance and training for clients including Highland Spring, Royal London, ACCA and the Scottish Football Association.

Practice head(s):

David Goodbrand; Graeme Palmer

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Phillips; Michael Bryceland


Burness Paull fields a London-quality team right out of Edinburgh.

Michael Bryceland has excellent knowledge of the law and practical application, and is very responsive and prompt with his advice.

Key clients

Highland Spring

Oil and Gas Technology Centre

Glasgow City Council

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise


Offshore Contractors Association

Standard Life Aberdeen

Viridian Group

Student Loans Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Glasgow City Council on the restructuring of City Building LLP to become a joint venture.
  • Advising on the development of Hampden Park Stadium to accommodate the Euro 2020 football tournament.
  • Advising Highlands and Islands Enterprise on the development of a joint project with Orkney Islands Council to establish a research and incubation centre in Kirkwall, Orkney.
  • Advising the Oil and Gas Technology Centre on a range of procurement and state aid matters in order to support its delivery of funding for technology projects, R&D collaboration with higher education institutions and use of its innovation hub.


In Scotland, CMS' competition and EU law team has strong connections the financial services sector in Edinburgh and Glasgow and the energy space across the country as a whole. The group also acts for household names across the utilities, higher education, telecoms, life sciences sectors, as well as acting for clients in the public sector. The team is led out of Edinburgh by Graeme Young.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Young


‘CMS has strength in depth and go out of their way to understand our business. They dovetail with our internal legal team in a most impressive manner and constantly seek ways to work closely with us to maximise the value from the relationship. They enjoy an excellent reputation within the legal profession and with industry, commerce and the public sector.’

‘The firm’s lawyers are skilled and commercially aware. Graeme Young provides pragmatic advice on procurement and competition issues and has excellent experience.’

Key clients

Scottish Water



The University of Glasgow

Land Securities


BioAberdeen Limited


Weir Group


Glasgow City Council

Oil & Gas UK

Stirling Council

South Lanarkshire Council

Scottish Exhibition Centre Limited


DWF's EU and competition team has continued to grow under the leadership of Glasgow-based Colin Miller, with a strong presence in the food and drink, education, energy and transport sectors. The practice's main client continues to be the Scottish Government, which has turned to thefirm to advise on significant procurement and state aid issues arising from major transport and telecom projects.

Practice head(s):

Colin Miller


‘Colin Miller provides good pragmatic advice.’

Colin Miller is a very exceptional lawyer. He work is technically strong but what marks him out is his charm, attentiveness, always available mindset and his overall commerciality. I would recommend him strongly to anyone.’

Key clients

The Scottish Government



Burtons Biscuits

Graham’s The Family Dairy


Beam Suntory

Aberdeen City Council

Monsoon Accessorize

Chivas Brothers

Work highlights

  • Advised Scottish Golf on the proposed creation of a cloud-based venue management system.
  • Advised the Scottish Government with all legal and commercial aspects of the R100 Project, which implements the Government’s strategy to achieve 100% broadband availability to all premises in Scotland by 2021.
  • Advised Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Moray Council on the procurement of the £120m joint energy-from-waste development in Aberdeen, working alongside financial advisers PwC, and technical advisers Ramboll.

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP advises public and private sector clients on the full range of competition law issues, including public procurement and state aid. The team also regularly handles merger control, anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance claims. James McMorrow leads the group from Glasgow, working with practitioners spread across Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as partner Jill Fryer in Inverness.

Practice head(s):

James McMorrow

Other key lawyers:

Jill Fryer; Jennifer Jack; Jamie Watt


Harper Macleod is always prepared to engage its team of specialist advisers and work to tight deadlines.

Jill Fryer never fails to provide valuable support to meet external deadlines, often in the face of rigid requirements she is able to come up with solutions and approaches that are acceptable to all parties involved.

James McMorrow is always adaptable and supportive from start to finish even when the goal posts move.

Key clients

Glasgow City Council

Highland Council

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

North Ayrshire Council

Inveryclyde Council

Moray Council

East Renfrewshire Council

Scape Group

Energy Savings Trust

Forestry Commission Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advised Glasgow City Council on compliance issues associated with the hosting of the European Sports Championships 2018 in Glasgow.
  • Advised Highland Council on procurement issues relating to two wi-fi projects which were progressed as a result of the Inverness City Region Deal.
  • Advising North Ayrshire Council on procurement and state aid issues arising from the proposed re-development of Ardrossan Harbour.

MacRoberts LLP

The MacRoberts LLP is best known for its work on compliance and investigation matters. David Flint's team advises on competition law aspects of corporate transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and the acquisition of companies holding publicly-awarded contracts.

Practice head(s):

David Flint