Commercial litigation in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP stands out for its sizable team and the subsequent capacity to handle disputes across a wide range of sectors, most notably IT, energy, food and drink, construction and manufacturing as well as financial services and corporate. Its size alongside its wide-ranging expertise also enables the practice to represent clients faced with group proceedings. With the arrival of solicitor advocate Carly Forrest from BTO Solicitors LLP in May 2020 and the simultaneous partner promotions of English qualified litigator Jared Oyston, who is also well versed in international arbitration, and solicitor advocate Niall McLean, the practice not only expanded its inhouse advocacy capacities but also its UK-wide litigation and international arbitration offering. The latter is led by Aberdeen-based Ken MacDonald, who also handles commercial litigation and primarily acts for corporates, while Stephen Goldie, who acts for various commercial and international investment clients, and Iain Rutherford, who focuses on IT and outsourcing, corporate and energy disputes, jointly head the litigation practice. Associate Monica Connolly is another key contact for IT and outsourcing disputes, while Tony Jones QC is rated for his construction and professional negligence expertise. Banking and financial services litigation team head Joyce Cullen is another key member of the team and highly regarded in the market. Senior associate and solicitor advocate Craig Watt is noted for his expertise in contractual litigation and international disputes.

Practice head(s):

Iain Rutherford; Stephen Goldie

Other key lawyers:

Joyce Cullen; Tony Jones QC; Ken MacDonald; Jared Oyston; Niall McLean; Monica Connolly; Craig Watt; Carly Forrest

Testimonials

‘A team that is focused on the client’s case. Can move flexibly and quickly. High levels of expertise.’

‘Iain Rutherford  is clever, polished and effective. We had a tricky case and aggressive opponent, and Iain took a very measured approach to strategy and we succeeded in getting the claim against us struck out.’

‘Niall McLean and Jared Oyston are very practical and commercial and don’t waste time on fruitless exercises. They get straight to the nub of the issue.’

‘The team is very highly qualified and experienced in dispute resolution issues.’

‘Craig Watt has been the focal point in all our dealings with Brodies and during resolution of the disputes. He provided sound counsel at all stages to support our decision-making processes and during what became a very stressful situation.’

‘Iain Rutherford and Craig Watt are easy to work with, quick to respond and provide clear, commercial advice. I was most impressed with their speed of response.’

‘I valued that Iain Rutherford got straight to the point and gave clear advice. Craig Watt was extremely responsive and turned drafts and comments very quickly. That is invaluable in a fast-moving dispute.’

Key clients

Aggreko Plc

Whyte and MacKay

Scottish Water Business Stream

CGI IT UK Limited

Edgen Murray Europe Limited

FIM Forest Funds General Partner Ltd

PRA Group (UK) Limited

Pulsant Limited

Royal & Sun Alliance

WFS Technologies Limited

Work highlights

  • Successful pursuit for Pulsant Limited, an IT company, of a counterparty to a contract, for significant unpaid invoices for services arising out of an IT contract.

CMS

CMS' global footprint leads to regular instructions on cross-border disputes across various sectors, such as financial services, energy, sports and real estate. The team's focus on UK-wide and international work is reflected in the dual qualification of many of its team members in Scotland, who, like team head Colin Hutton, advise on both English and Scots law. Besides litigation, Hutton also handles arbitration and mediation and has particular experience in acting for energy, climate change and financial services sector clients; he is also adept at advising on matters pertaining to fraud and bribery. He is supported by senior associate Emma Boffey, who is also dual qualified and routinely called in for shareholder disputes. As another key member of the team, Graeme MacLeod specialises in high-value commercial litigation and professional negligence proceedings in the Court of Session and also handles insolvency litigation.

Practice head(s):

Colin Hutton

Other key lawyers:

Graeme MacLeod; Alison Gow; Harriet Munro; Emma Boffey

Testimonials

We can’t think of any other better team to have on side than the CMS litigation team headed by Colin Hutton. We are confident in the support, advice and work that the team are delivering. There is nothing that is ever missed in the case, and any question that we ask is answered and information provided there and then. We have never worked with such a proactive and engaged team before.

The high quality of the individual practitioners is matched with an unusually competent team ethos. Low on drama, high on skill.

Colin Hutton has an outstanding combination of legal skill and case management ability. He gets the best out of his team with an excellent temperament for what can be tense litigation.

Emma Boffey has excellent legal skills and a shrewd tenacity when things get difficult.

Graeme MacLeod was very effective.

Colin Hutton is an outstanding lawyer that is always looking to put in place a suitable strategy for the individual case. Emma Boffey is an extremely diligent solicitor with good commercial awareness.

Strength in depth at partner and associate level. Impressed by calibre and consistency in client service.

Emma Boffey is an outstanding, brilliant lawyer, excellent technical skills and creative thinker, prepared to challenge senior counsel on technicalities. Works well with clients of other advisers to prepare for hearing and thinks laterally about defences in action. Excellent communicator.

Key clients

Founders and shareholders of the PIE/PSG Group

Clydesdale Bank plc / Virgin Money plc

SSE Plc

The Scottish Salmon Company Limited

Raeburn Place Foundation and Raeburn Place Development Limited

ITV plc

The Joint Administrators of Rangers Football Club

Premier Oil

The shareholders and founders of ACE Winches

Basalt Infrastructure Partners LLP

Work highlights

  • Acted for the shareholders in a leading technology company in a high-profile shareholders’ dispute, involving allegations of financial crime.
  • Defended a high-profile claim brought by the current joint liquidators of Rangers Football Club against the club’s former joint administrators. The claim relates to the conduct of the administration of the club between its entry into the administration and the eventual sale of the club in 2012.
  • Advised Premier Oil in a unique opposed scheme of arrangement dispute.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP is a regular fixture on big-ticket litigation, which routinely spans various jurisdictions and disciplines. While handling all forms of commercial litigation, including disputes at the regulatory intersection and those including corporate crime elements, the team is also well placed to provide clients with arbitration and mediation services. This broad approach is reflected in the expertise of team head Jim Cormack QC, who, in addition to litigation, is also an accredited mediator and well versed in arbitration. He specialises in contentious work pertaining to IP, IT, media and finance alongside company and regulatory matters. Jacqueline Harris is another key contact and frequently acts for multinational companies. While the team's expertise spans various industries, it stands out for its work for clients from the financial services, energy - and oil and gas in particular - maritime and manufacturing sectors.

Practice head(s):

Jim Cormack QC

Other key lawyers:

Jacqueline Harris; Joanne Gillies; David Woods; Bruce Craig; Laura Crilly

Testimonials

‘Very much client-focused with prompt attention to matters arising coupled with an ability to communicate the technical aspects in an easily understood way.’

‘Knowledgeable, clear and concise communication and available.’

‘Jacqueline Harris is a star.’

‘Jim Cormack is exceptionally smart. In addition has good psychological nous and was able to keep me focused on what is material and what a good outcome looks like.’

‘Currently the top commercial litigation team in Scotland in my view. Outstanding partners, great strength in depth from assistants and associates, commercial, dynamic and always enjoyable to work with.’

‘Joanne Gillies – a litigation superstar: super-smart, super-strategic; super-fun. She has a talent for tackling legal problems from every angle and her energy and commitment levels are phenomenal.’

‘Bruce Craig has spent his career working in the offshore and marine sector, and his breadth of experience in relation to that is perhaps unrivalled in Scotland by active lawyers. He is extremely easy to work with.’

‘David Woods is excellent.’

Key clients

News Corp

BP plc

Balmoral Group Holdings

The Royal Bank of Scotland

William Grant & Sons Limited

Imperial Tobacco Ltd

Galliford Try Group

Legal & General plc

Deloitte LLP

KCA Deutag Group

Shell

Balfour Beatty

Work highlights

  • Acting for NatWest Group in relation to a substantial portfolio of county court claims for Plevin plus redress under the Consumer Credit Act in relation to the sale of payment protection insurance (PPI).
  • Acted for Shell following the illegal boarding of two of its installations in the North Sea by environmental activists from Greenpeace.
  • Advising the SPEX group of companies on patent infringement proceedings that are on-going in Texas.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP has recently been particularly active for well-known names in the energy, telecoms and automotive sectors, while also handling work across various other sectors, and has handled a number of multijurisdictional disputes before Scottish and English courts. Team head Gary Moffat is best known for his restructuring and insolvency litigation expertise alongside experience dealing with disputes involving fraud. In April 2020, the team's  professional liability capabilities were strengthened with the arrival of Ashley Mawby from BTO Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):

Gary Moffat

Other key lawyers:

Neil Smith; Colin Hulme; Alan McMillan; Jody Crockett; Joanna Fulton; Ashley Mawby

Testimonials

‘The team at Burness Paull is made up of a number of partners all of whom have particular specialisms as well as having a strong background in litigation. This is quite unusual in Scotland where you will often find that the litigation teams are made up of individuals who specialise in litigation and rely on their colleagues in other departments for input on specialist issues. This is particularly noticeable in areas such as insolvency and property where the teams who deal with this work are specialists in their own right.’

‘Gary Moffat is the partner at Burness Paull that I deal with most regularly. He combines strong technical knowledge with a keen eye for the commercial issues at play. His case analysis is always spot-on. He knows what the client wants to achieve and focuses on putting together a strategy aimed at achieving that. What also makes Gary stand out is the breadth of knowledge at every level in his team. He clearly puts time and effort into training his team and this means that work can be delegated appropriately without any drop in quality.

‘We have found the firm to be proactive and have kept the same high level of professionalism during the last year which has been extremely hard on all businesses.

‘They have been stand-out as we are in the middle of a difficult case and require to speak to them beyond the boundaries of 9-5 and they have accommodated this with no complaints.

‘Great partner and associate support – responsive and receptive to client needs. Commercially focused advice based on sound legal analysis.’

‘Neil Smith – top notch and very commercial; also very quick in analysis; pinpoints issues immediately.’

‘Very proactive and commercial; highly client-focused on seeking the right business result; honest and frank assessment of case prospects.’

‘Very good communication and the ability to explain things clearly. Always take the time to receive your call and discuss each question/concern.’

Key clients

Vodafone

The Insolvency Service

Pension Protection Fund

Total

Sky TV

EnQuest

Elite/Hummel Sports

Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited

Dana Petroleum

Ramu Ramasamy and Palianiyapan Ramasamy

Scottish Arbitration Centre

Work highlights

  • Advised two major creditor groups in a heavily contested application by Premier Oil to approve a scheme of arrangement to restructure around $2.5bn of debt.
  • Advising EnQuest (an international oil and gas company) in a £25m dispute with BP arising out one of the largest oil and gas processing plants in Europe.
  • Advised Cornerstone (a joint venture between Telefonica (O2) and Vodafone) on the first case to be litigated in Scotland under the new Electronic Communications Code for mobile phone operators.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Shepherd and Wedderburn's client roster includes a wide range of large corporates, SMEs, sports associations and financial institutions, which benefit from the practice's capabilities in handling cross-border and multijurisdictional disputes as well as from its expertise in shareholder and contractual disputes, breach of duty matters and international class actions, among other contentious scenarios. The group also receives regular referrals from international firms on Scots law matters. Insolvency litigation expert Gillian Carty heads the team, which includes solicitor advocate John MacKenzie, who has particular expertise in IP and IT, and Elaine Brailsford, who handles a wide range of financial and property-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Gillian Carty

Other key lawyers:

Elaine Brailsford; John MacKenzie

Testimonials

Not afraid to give honest advice, even if pointing out potential weaknesses in position taken.

‘Elaine Brailsford’s professionalism is first class’

‘Strong technically – they know the law and are up to date on court procedures and practices. Responsive – always willing to assist and will carry out work within agreed timescales. Also proactive – work with you to come up with solutions. Pleasant and easy to work with. They are commercial and charge reasonable fees.’

‘Gillian Carty is the most knowledgeable solicitor specialising in insolvency in Scotland and is always my first choice particularly for difficult cases. She is very responsive, diligent and hard-working. She pays attention to details and also works to come up with good commercial solutions. She is also very personable and working with her is easy. She also has a very good team working under her supervision.

‘Shep+Wedd has been a great firm to work with. They are competent and committed to quality. We had a dispute which was in multiple jurisdictions and the firm has been a great support.’

‘The quality of advice is exceptional and the team is a pleasure to deal with.’

‘The practice has a great reputation and it is very well grounded. Impeccable lawyers!’

‘Competent, calm and clever.’

Key clients

The Joint Liquidators of RFC 2012 plc (formerly The Rangers Football Club Plc)

The Scottish Professional Football League Limited (SPFL)

Scottish Youth Football Association Limited

Cour Limited

Manolete Partners plc

IndigoVision Group plc

Kyowa Kirin International plc

Korein Tillery LLC

Scottish Sea Farms Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the joint liquidators of RFC 2012 plc (formerly The Rangers Football Club Plc) in relation to a Note for Orders under paragraph 75 of Schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986 seeking a £56m contribution.
  • Acting for Manolete Partners PLC in a £3.1m Court of Session claim against the former sole director of a company for alleged breach of fiduciary duties arising from the company’s participation in an Alchemy tax avoidance scheme.
  • Successfully defending the Scottish Professional Football League Limited (SPFL) in a claim of unfair prejudice with damages of £10m brought by Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle in the Court of Session

Addleshaw Goddard

Acting for both companies and individuals, Addleshaw Goddard receives regular instructions arising from contractual, insolvency and fraud claims with particular expertise in shareholder disputes and breach of warranty claims. This offering is not least a reflection of the expertise of practice head and solicitor advocate Simon Catto, who routinely handles breach of contract and warranty claims alongside insolvency-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Simon Catto

Other key lawyers:

Joan Devine; Alan Sinclair; Lynsey Walker

Testimonials

‘Alan Sinclair is a terrific litigation lawyer. He is pragmatic, cost aware, realistic as to prospects and has just the right amount of empathy when needed.’

‘Alan Sinclair is one of the smartest, yet down-to-earth lawyers I have met. He is measured and modest but is the litigator who you want to be fighting your corner. Too often litigators take an unnecessarily aggressive approach but Alan doesn’t need to because his style encompasses academic excellence, strategic acumen and commercial sensitivity to resolve disputes as smoothly as possible. He has shown integrity and understanding in delicate circumstances which supported the solicitor/ client relationship in a complex litigation. He is an asset to the team.’

‘We find the team incredibly concise and efficient. We are always provided with what we feel are frank and open responses with clarity of opinion on the matters at hand. This results in us not always being told what we hoped we would hear but certainly in us obtaining great quality advice on the legal matters at hand. Responses are always extremely quickly received and very often this can be out with normal hours which is particularly important to us.’

Simon Catto has learned to understand our culture and operates exactly in the manner that suits us.’

‘Joan Devine brings a calm and rational presence to the proceedings. Adept and experienced.’

‘They truly worked in tandem – allocating work between them to ensure the matter was always being conducted at an appropriate level in terms of required expertise and billing.’

They have been excellent, truly collegiate and collaborative, and a joy to work with.

Key clients

National Grid plc

Muller UK & Ireland LLP

SGN plc

BT plc

FNZ (UK) Limited

Asda Stores Limited

Aldi Stores Limited

Cerberus

Eastern Motor Company Limited

Greene King Brewing & Retailing Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted for Eastern Motor Company Limited in a dispute concerning completion accounts following its acquisition of Grassick Garage Company. The dispute centred around the allocation of manufacturer bonuses which was crucial in assessing the net asset value of the company.
  • Acted for a former partner in a partnership dispute following the remaining partners seeking to expel the client from the partnership.
  • Advising Speedy Asset Services Limited and Prospects Training International Limited on a dispute that arose following the competition of a share purchase agreement.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern's broad client base spans private individuals, family businesses, partnerships and listed companies as well as public sector bodies, while boutique and large UK-wide firms also instruct the team. Led by Fraser Geddes, the team handles a wide range of commercial and contractual litigation; recently, this included property and development-related contractual disputes, shareholder litigation, fraud-related matters and professional negligence.

Practice head(s):

Fraser Geddes

Other key lawyers:

Katrina Lumsdaine; Fiona Stephen; Gillian Jamieson; Alistair Dean

Testimonials

‘The commercial litigation team has a first-class ethos of effective communication and teamwork which means complicated multi-faceted and concurrent litigation can be advanced effectively.’

‘The dispute resolution team, headed by Fraser Geddes, works closely and effectively with other Anderson Strathern teams. My involvement with them has largely been in relation to commercial disputes, where they have provided invaluable advice in relation to procedure and strategy, as well as very impressive documentation management skills.’

‘Fraser Geddes has a wealth of contentious and non-contentions experience and provides invaluable advice and input when needed, in a calm, self assured manner.

‘Excellent communication even during difficult times by use of all forms of social media.’

‘Well-knit team with extensive knowledge of where to seek the best resources.’

‘Gillian Jamieson: Iron fist in silk glove. Knows her clients, works for them. She is the type of litigator you want to have working for you.’

‘Very responsive, practical and with a focus on the client’s objectives. We worked together on a cross-border litigation and found the AS team worked brilliantly with our team.’

‘Fiona Stephen and Fraser Geddes in particular are well-known as leaders in their fields in Scottish legal circles. They manage very competent teams and provide an excellent service.’

Key clients

22 Scottish local authorities and Scottish Water

Rangers Football Club Limited

Police Investigations and Review Commissioner

Monarch Transport Limited

Component Coating and Repair Services Limited

Sunbelt Rentals Limited (formerly Ashtead Plant Hire Limited)

Edinburgh Airport Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted in a group action representing 22 public bodies in a commercial action in the Court of Session seeking damages against five defenders, who have in turn brought in eleven third parties.
  • Defending Rangers Football Club Limited against breach of contract claims brought by Memorial Walls Limited.
  • Defended AGD Equipment Ltd in a dispute with its subcontractor over damages arising from allegedly defective goods delivered.

Dentons

Dentons handles various commercial disputes arising from contractual arrangements and has recently been particularly active in the public, energy, transport, food and drink and financial services sectors. Handling insolvency-related disputes, often with cross-border elements, is an area of particular expertise for team head and solicitor advocate Douglas Blyth, who is also experienced in shareholder and boardroom disputes. Aberdeen-based Malcolm Gunnyeon is a key contact for oil and gas alongside transport sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Douglas Blyth

Other key lawyers:

Malcolm Gunnyeon; Gareth Hale; Craig Kennedy

Testimonials

‘We have had great service from Malcolm Gunnyeon and his team in Aberdeen. They are proactive, professional and thorough which may seem as a basic requirement but is so often missing. We like people who pay attention to and don’t forget the fundamentals.

‘Malcolm Gunnyeon is very friendly with an ability to connect at a personal level with his clients from the very first meeting. He exudes professional capability and we are most impressed with his ability to grasp the core issues at hand very quickly.

‘Douglas Blyth is a smart and legally and commercially astute litigator with strong expertise in insolvency.’

‘Dentons’ portal was very useful for uploading and communicating documents quickly. Video conferencing was well resourced and trouble free. Flexibility on billing was helpful. However, Denton’s main stand-out strength is the quality of its people.’

‘Douglas Blyth is highly experienced in assessing the relative strengths and weaknesses in our case/defender’s case and developing an appropriate negotiating strategy.’

‘Douglas Blyth was a very solid man to guide us.’

‘The dispute resolution team at Dentons provides first-class technical advice and support in difficult times. Their advice is thorough but practical and they seek sensible solutions. They are available 24/7 and go above and beyond. ’

‘Douglas Blyth combines an excellent technical knowledge with a supportive and understanding style. He seeks sensible solutions and achieves results.

Key clients

Highland and Islands Enterprise

Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited

Standard Life Aberdeen Plc

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

Baxters Food Group Limited

The UK Government

KPMG LLP

GKFF – EnNovo LLC

HC-One Limited

The Royal Bank of Scotland

Work highlights

  • Acted for HC-One Limited in Court proceedings brought by the Care Inspectorate in one of the first highly publicised Covid-19 litigations in the Scottish Courts relating to Home Farm Care Home on the Isle of Skye.
  • Acted for the Co-operative Group in relation to a large number of ratings disputes in Scotland following the decision of the UK Supreme Court in Cardtronics UK Limited & Others v Sykes and others.
  • Acted for Kenman Holdings Limited, part of the biggest hotel group on the Island of Lewis, in a multi-million pound Court of Session action against Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (The Western Isles Council) pertaining to state aid and procurement.

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP remains a popular choice for corporate and shareholder litigation - a key area of expertise for Edinburgh-based team head Sandy Hastie - alongside disputes in the insolvency, IP, energy, sport and construction space. Its extensive government client base is testimony to the team's expertise in public sector commercial litigation, while, in the private sector, clients span private individuals, start-ups, major corporates and financial institutions. David Kerr heads the team in Glasgow and handles a wide range of commercial and public law litigation. He is supported by Andrew Mackenzie, who made partner in April 2021 and has particular expertise in banking litigation.

Practice head(s):

Sandy Hastie

Other key lawyers:

David Kerr; E-Ming Fong; John McHugh; Carolyn Morgan; Fiona Pask; Andrew Mackenzie

Testimonials

David Kerr offers logical and succinct responses to counter litigious adversaries.

A medium-sized law firm that can give a personal service. High competence levels.

Fiona Pask and Sandy Hastie are both excellent partners. Fiona in particular has a practice that is very broad but she has an expertise in shareholder/ director disputes and is absolutely steadfast in standing up for her clients at every turn.

An incredibly collaborative, thoughtful team which expertly combines the commercial demands of a case with the intellectual challenges. Excellent on the law and a fantastic team to work with. They really involve themselves in all aspects of the client’s case to understand the challenges, sensitivities, and desired outcome. Led by great partners who are very user-friendly.

They really work hard for the client, produce work of the highest quality. If you want to optimise the outcome in a particular dispute, this is the team to go to. Serious all-round capabilities with strength-in-depth and a real client-based and goal focused service.

Strategically clever and savvy, constantly looking to bring a wide range of innovative solutions to a particular case.

I found the team at Harper Macleod to be diligent, knowledgeable and easy to work with.

Key clients

Robert Kidd

Scottish Government

Greenpeace International

British Medical Association

Low & Bonar plc

Direct Line Insurance

Optical Express Group

Everwarm

Glasgow City Council

Forestry and Land Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advising a high-net-worth individual on a number of disputes arising out of the sale of his minority shareholding, which centres around a $210m Court of Session action based on an unlawful means conspiracy against the purchasers of the shareholding and their solicitors.
  • Representing Forth Health in a dispute with the FM contractor in the Forth Valley Royal Hospital PFI project concerning the indexation provisions within the payment mechanism for the project.
  • Advising Hugh McNally and his company, FOD, in a series of post-acquisition claims for breach of restrictive covenants, accounts and tax warranties, arising out of the client’s £52m sale of the Windhoist Group to the private equity firm Star Capital.

MacRoberts LLP

High-net-worth individuals alongside public and private sector players, including insurance companies, energy suppliers and food and drink clients, instruct MacRoberts LLP with a wide range of commercial disputes such as those arising from breach of warranty and breach of contract. Handling insolvency litigation is another key area of expertise, while other regular work lies at the intersection with waste, construction and IP. Solicitor advocate Julie Hamilton heads up the team and also assists with mediation.

Practice head(s):

Julie Hamilton

Other key lawyers:

Gillian Craig; Leon Breakey

Testimonials

‘First-class communication and very quick and comprehensive grasp of the legal and commercial issues.’

The advice was provided in a calm and professional manner, and provided a very professional front to what were emotive issues from a client.’

‘MacRoberts has a very strong team of commercial litigators who have an excellent market reputation.’

‘Julie Hamilton is a hugely experienced commercial litigator. She displays a thorough knowledge of any dispute she is involved in, and brings a strategic nous and commercial perspective that clients always value. A very good choice for complex cases.

‘Julie Hamilton leads the successful commercial department at MacRoberts. The firm has an extensive international client base, in addition to a large domestic clientele. The firm is widely regarded as being one of the foremost commercial law teams in Scotland.’

Key clients

Scottish Government

SSE PLC

French Duncan LLP

HCCI (part of Tokio Marine HCC)

Howdens

Student Loans Company

The Care Inspectorate

VPZ

Renewi PLC

Bairds Malt

JPIMedia

Work highlights

  • Acting for Scottish Salmon Company Limited in the defence of an action by a recruitment agency for payment in respect of temporary workers.
  • Advising Tomatin Trading Company in the defence of an intellectual property action in the Court of Session.
  • Acting for Bairds Malt Limited (part of Australian-based United Malt Group) in the defence of an action raised by a third party who is alleged to have suffered a serious brain injury whilst on site at the client’s malting plant.

BTO Solicitors LLP

BTO Solicitors LLP's team is led by Grant Hunter, whose commercial litigation expertise extends to property and insolvency-related disputes as well as commercial debt recovery litigation. Following a multidisciplinary approach, the team acts across a wide range of sectors and has recently handled a number of shareholder claims alongside disputes associated with option agreements and breach of contract. In November 2020, consultant Stephen Humphreys joined from Shepherd and Wedderburn, bringing additional expertise in property, construction and insolvency-related litigation.

Practice head(s):

Grant Hunter

Other key lawyers:

Paul Motion; Will Cole; Lynn Richmond; Stephen Humphreys

Testimonials

‘What makes BTO unique is the focus and attention that is given to client needs, and to maintaining client relations of the highest order. Nothing is too much trouble, and demanding deadlines are always met.’

‘We have benefitted enormously from the dedication and expertise of BTO partner Paul Motion and the assistance of a number of very attentive and efficient trainee solicitors. What makes Paul stand out is his wealth of experience and his highly developed relationship skills. He has consistently pulled out all the stops for us and he has been there for us every step of the way in a very difficult, long running dispute. His advice has been of a consistently high standard and his ever present flexibility of approach in a dynamic, challenging environment has been truly impressive. He is a credit to his profession.’

‘Will Cole communicates very well without wasting time. He has been very quick to understand the issue, very clear thinking in his assessment of our position and totally focused and definite in progressing the action. He is excellent. We are very impressed and have complete confidence in his capability.

‘Will Cole brought a  lengthy case to a successful conclusion after being dropped in midway through the action. He was excellent at getting up to speed with all the information and managed the case well.’

‘Paul Motion believes in the arguments put forward and strives for justice.’

Key clients

Beneficial owners of Caley Fisheries

Club Los Claveles

MAN SE

James Gibb Property Management Limited

Bellhill Limited

Your Expert Group of Companies

Mactaggart and Mickel Limited

Pendragon plc

Barony Universal Products plc

Work highlights

  • Acting for the majority shareholders of a Scottish company trading in China in a  cross-border shareholder dispute involving companies in the UK, China, Cyprus, the Netherlands, the Cayman Islands and Germany, and multiple Court applications and actions; this includes orders relating to unfair prejudice and for injunctive relief against mis-use of deemed transfer provisions to acquire shares and intellectual property in other business ventures.
  • Acting for the beneficial owners of shares in Caley Fisheries in a multi-million pound claim relating to the purchase of the shares at significantly under-value in a management buy-out.
  • Acting for Club Los Claveles, a committee representing around 2,400 time-share owners, in a series of international litigations regarding their interests in assets of a time-share resort in Tenerife.

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

Davidson Chalmers Stewart has seen an increase in contractual disputes, such as breach of warranty claims, contract interpretation disputes and family business disputes alongside insolvency-related and professional fee litigation, and continues to handle professional negligence claims against solicitors, accountants and engineers. With Sheila Webster heading the team, the practice has particular clout in the real estate space, and with Greg Flett in construction-related disputes. Webster is also a qualified mediator and regularly sits as arbitrator.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Webster

Other key lawyers:

Greg Flett; Laura Irvine

Testimonials

‘The individuals are personable and approachable. The issues are clearly understood and advice is able to be conveyed effectively and comprehensibly. Greg Flett has been impressive.’

‘They are exceptionally easy to deal with, responsive and experts in their areas.’

‘Greg Flett stands out as an innovator. He is a superb communicator and a committed lawyer.’

‘From my experience to date they have an experienced team who were also well used to instructing and working with outside counsel.’

‘A small, nice, friendly and unique team. Nothing is too much bother. Personal service at the right level. No perception of pushed down the line to a cheaper member of the team.

‘Sheila Webster is great at explaining legal concepts in a simple and clear way. She also is not afraid to state an opinion and not present a range of options without indicating which ones she thinks are strongest.’

‘Greg Flett and Sheila Webster are knowledgeable and trusted advisors for clients. We value their input.’

‘Greg Flett and Sheila Webster are down to earth and personable – more so than many others.’

Key clients

Mars Black Sheep Hotels Limited

Alba Energy Limited

Springfield Properties plc

Robert Kidd / A&E Investments

Scottish Borders Council

Pegasus Fire Protection Limited

Pizza Hut Restaurants (UK) Limited

Motability Operations Limited

Natural Assets Limited

Brown Bros. (Peebles) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Motability Limited in pursuing a claim arising out of delayed works. The claim concerns real estate litigation with construction law and commercial litigation aspects.
  • Acted for Robert Kidd and A&E Investments in an action against their former solicitors and advocate over success fee arrangements.
  • Acting for Natural Assets Investments Limited following the involvement of a subsidiary company in the business at Cairngorm Mountain, which went into administration in late 2018. The client is pursued by Highland and Islands Enterprise for guarantee obligations for works to the funicular railway at the ski resort on Cairngorm.

DLA Piper

Thanks to its global footprint, DLA Piper is regularly called upon to assist with cross-border and multijurisdictional disputes, including adjudication and arbitration, pertaining to commercial contracts, payment actions and IP matters as well associated enforcement proceedings. Team head Alistair Drummond complements this offering with expertise in property and construction-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Alistair Drummond

Other key lawyers:

James McGachie

Testimonials

‘The team at DLA impressed me with their ability to understand complex engineering issues. They bring solutions to problems and never lose enthusiasm, no matter how long a matter goes on for.’

‘The team is an experienced and commercially minded team with a wide ranging practice. It is well regarded in the Scottish market.’

‘Friendly and easy to get on with.’

‘The ability to communicate well and a down-to-earth approach.’

‘Alastair Drummond brings a level head and years of experience in resolving disputes.’

DWF

DWF has a strong profile for work in the real estate, property and construction space leading to regular instructions from retailers, developers, housebuilders and energy sector players, while various corporates and financial institutions also instruct the team. Team head and solicitor advocate Naomi Pryde - 'a true star in the Scottish firmament' - is qualified in Scotland, England and Wales and the Republic of Ireland, and as such is well placed to handle Scotland-based and cross-border disputes associated with commercial contracts, the operation of corporate entities and shareholder rights.

Practice head(s):

Naomi Pryde

Other key lawyers:

Ricky Cannon; Jonathan Gaskell; Emma Forrester

Testimonials

‘Naomi Pryde is unsurpassable. She is the most resilient, unconquerable, determined and driven lawyers that I know.’

‘Impressive leadership under the formidable Naomi Pryde.’

‘Naomi Pryde is technically excellent and commercially astute, and an excellent leader of the team.’

‘Naomi Pryde is a true star in the Scottish firmament. Poised, enthusiastic, doggedly determined and very persuasive. Knows absolutely everybody.’

‘The DWF team is dynamic and innovative. They are highly attentive both to client needs and to those of the counsel team.’

‘Naomi Pryde is the stand-out individual. I have worked with her on several cases, and she is a 100% litigator. She is always on top of the detail of the case.’

‘Very focused on delivering a top-quality responsive service to clients. They are very keen on ensuring it is the most useful advice for clients’ business needs.’

‘Dual qualified partner-led expertise’.

Key clients

Santander Consumer (UK) Plc

Lunar Greenock SARL

Marks and Spencer PLC

McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles Limited

Grahams The Family Dairy Limited and Mactaggart & Mickel Homes Limited

The Highland Council

Mobile Broadband Network Limited

Shawbrook Bank Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Marks and Spencer in relation to Court of Session interim order pertaining to a keep open clause contained in its commercial lease.
  • Represented Grahams The Family Dairy Limited and Mactaggart & Mickel Homes Limited on second appeal against the decision of Scottish Ministers to deny planning permission to develop a site at Airthrey Kerse. Following representations, the Scottish Ministers accepted that they had erred in law.
  • Advised the Highland Council in a judicial review action raised by Wildland Limited, a company owned by Scotland’s biggest landowner, challenging the Highland Council’s decision to approve the plans of Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for a £17.3m spaceport at the A’Mhoine Peninsula.

Gilson Gray

Gilson Gray acts for an extensive roster of SMEs alongside professional services, property and construction sector players and an increasing number of oil and gas clients. Much of its international work has links to the Middle East, while a number of recent national and cross-border instructions also included fraud elements. Rosie Walker heads the team from Edinburgh and is well versed in contract and shareholder disputes, professional negligence claims and property litigation.

Practice head(s):

Rosie Walker

Other key lawyers:

Keith Anderson

Testimonials

‘Keith Anderson and Rosie Walker are excellent litigation solicitors. Their attention to detail is fantastic and they will go into battle for their client like nobody else. Keith Anderson is a ferocious litigator and will fight tooth and nail for his client and they always know that they can rely on him to do so.’

‘The firm take difficult cases and provide robust advice. Their approach to litigation is tough. Other firms know that they are in for a fight when Gilson Gray is instructed.’

‘Rosie Walker is extremely good at handling clients and identifying what it is that they want out of a litigation. She is level-headed but can be tough when the need arises.’

‘Although a young practice, they demonstrate excellent strategic and tactical judgment and energy. Hugely client-focused.’

‘Rosie Walker and Keith Anderson inspire confidence. They are always willing to go the extra mile. Keith has the ability to see around corners, mapping out a route to a satisfactory resolution. Rosie is a formidable presence in any dispute – and is not afraid to fight hard cases.’

‘Technical capability is excellent as you would expect. However, also go to great lengths to understand the industry and the ‘politics’ involved.’

‘Keith Anderson is excellent – invaluable support, considered and pragmatic, 100% part of the project team and entirely committed 24/7.’

‘Excellent knowledge, particularly good when engaged from England and requiring “hand-holding” through differences in Scottish and English legislation.’

Key clients

Heart of Midlothian plc

Brewdog plc

Lime Rock Management LLP Limited

Sunny Hill Energy Limited (formerly Petroceltic Holdings Limited)

QTS Group Ltd

Elior UK plc

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Lidl UK GmbH

Scotbeef Limited

Scotmid

Dickson Minto WS

Leafrealm Land Limited

AMA (New Town) Limited

Mansfield Care Limited

Avant Homes Scotland Limited

Grant Thornton UK LLP

Enterprise Rent-a-Car Limited

London & Country Mortgages Limited

Arnold Clark Automobiles Ltd

Shaf Rasul

Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall Limited

Caledonian Trust plc

Len Lothian Limited

Class One Traffic Management Limited

Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

Edinburgh Academy

The Compass School

St Aloysius School

DJ Alexander Limited

NCS Group Limited

Euro Systems Limited

HBH Hydraulics Limited

MacInnes Brothers Limited

Johnson’s Apparelmaster Limited t/a Professional Linen Services

Rewind Festival Limited

Vets Now Limited

Anglian Windows Limited

Association of Vehicle Recovery Operators

George Hanson

Middlebrooks Business Recovery and Advice

Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee

Federation of British Race Course Bookmakers

DCL Joiners

Xyrex Limited

Alpine Travel Limited

Alex M Adamson LLP

Chiene & Tait

French Duncan LLP

Global Voices Limited

Gordon & Noble

Graham & Sibbald

Lester Aldridge LLP

LS Smellie & Sons Ltd

MGM Timber (Scotland) Limited

Stirling Park LLP

Thomas Hannah & Co

Western Circle Limited

Clarendon Planning & Development Ltd

William Duncan & Co Limited

Wilson Imports Limited

Sotheby’s

Subsea Supplies Limited

Colin Murray Developments Ltd

James Gibb Property Management Ltd

Centric Community Projects Limited

Castle European Limited

Condies Business Recovery and Insolvency

Aberdeen Laundry Services Limited

Birketts LLP

Carnbroe Estates Limited

CSN Care Group Limited

Delete Limited

Andersons Joinery

Associated British Ports

Contractor Property Rentals Limited

Dalkeith Apartments Limited

Disruptive Brands Ltd

Eros Retail Ltd

FGH Architectural and Building Design Services

GTC Infrastructure Limited

Happiness Delivered Ltd

Invertay Homes Ltd

Kaas Properties Limited

KO Franchise Ltd

Partick Thistle Football Club Ltd

Polygon Marketing Limited

Plutus Developments Ltd

Scot Heating Company Limited

Scottish Golf Ltd

Skwishee Ltd

Stream Marine Training Group Limited

Vivers Scotlamb Limited

WM Goodfellow (Contractors) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Lime Rock Management LLP, Lime Rock Management LP, Lime Rock Partners V, L.P., Hamish Hector Lawrence Ross and Jason Smith on a dispute arising out of an investment in a company by the Lime Rock Group.
  • Advising the RMJM Group and its directors on a long running international dispute arising out of the sale of a UAE business by a Scottish partnership to a Californian corporation.
  • Advising the international oil and gas company Sunny Hill Energy (formerly Petroceltic Holdings Limited) in relation to alleged fraud by its former managing director.

Lindsays

With a strong rural practice, Lindsays is well placed to handle agricultural and property-related work but the group also acts across a number of other sectors, including increasingly in the sport industry. Its recent contentious commercial and corporate work arose from breaches of warranty, partnership relationships and distribution agreements, among other matters, while the team is also experienced in claims against high street banks. Practice head John Bett routinely acts for SME clients and has a specialism in partnership and director disputes.

Practice head(s):

John Bett

Other key lawyers:

Brent Haywood; Paul Harper; Douglas Millar

Testimonials

‘Excellent service to clients. The team has an astute understanding of the law and always has a firm grasp of the factual detail and what it means for the case. All of that said, it always has an eye on the practicalities of the situation.’

‘John Bett – excellent at his job.’

‘There is also good internal structure to the team so that responses to enquiries are very rapid at all levels of the firm.’

‘Cultivate a very close relationship between with clients. This is attested to by the fact that team members have total mastery of the details of both the client’s businesses and legal objectives.’

‘Hugely helpful, approachable, knowledgeable.’

‘Lindsays is a firm with distinct skills in addressing controversial and high-profile issues with both common sense and resolution. They have been at the forefront of litigation in some of the coronavirus litigations and have dealt with these in a manner that commands respect.’

‘I am best acquainted with Brent Haywood, who has shown considerable skill in managing difficult client groups with calm and courtesy. He also command the respect of the court and colleagues.’

Key clients

Dundee United Football Company Limited

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Scottish Water

British Boxing Board of Control

C J Lang & Son

David King, chairman of Rangers International Football Club plc.

The University of Glasgow

The University of Edinburgh

Lamond & Murray

McGivney Construction

Destiny Ministries

Raith Rovers Football Club Limited

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended a petition served on Dundee United Football Company Limited, Raith Rovers Football Club Limited and Cove Rangers Football Club Limited in a challenge to the outcome of the 2019/20 Scottish football season. The dispute involved proceedings at the Court of Session and, separately, at arbitration.
  • Acted for Mayfly GWR Offshore Industria E Comercio Ltd in a Court of Session action following the client suing a multinational conglomerate regarding its obligations under a distribution agreement.
  • Raised court proceedings on behalf of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) claiming unlawful discriminations on the grounds of belief under the Equality Act.

Morton Fraser

Morton Fraser assists medium-sized and larger businesses across various sectors - recently, these have included property, construction and agriculture - alongside high-net-worth individuals with partnership and contractual disputes, breach of warranty claims, proceedings for payment and insolvency-related matters. Solicitor advocate Richard McMeeken heads the team and handles a wide range of commercial disputes, combining 'obvious experience and knowledge with a straight-talking, personable manner.'

Practice head(s):

Richard McMeeken

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Ross

Testimonials

‘The firm as a whole have been amazingly efficient at working with me. They’ve made the entire process incredibly straightforward in relation to the information provided, their ongoing communication and making the billing process simple.’

‘The firm came highly recommended and they have not disappointed.’

Their ability to assess all the information provided and arrange/formulate it in a way which is most productive and beneficial to my case has been incredibly reassuring.

I felt utterly lost and vulnerable at the start of this process, but they have truly turned that around and been able to offer clarity with regards to my entire situation.’

‘Richard McMeeken combines his obvious experience and knowledge with a straight-talking, personable manner.’

‘Richard McMeeken takes a pragmatic and sensible approach to dispute resolution, whilst still fighting hard to achieve a good deal for his clients.’

‘Nicola Ross is extremely talented with excellent customer focus and empathy, whilst having a commercial mindset and standing out within Scottish law.’

‘A strong team with a professional and commercial approach.’

Key clients

John G Russell (Transport) Limited

Heineken UK Ltd

Kinder Interiors Limited

Lanark Road Property Ltd

Standard Life Trustee Company Limited

Stewart Milne Group Limited

J&E Smillie (Montrose) Ltd

Softcell Medical Limited

Autauric Limited

RM & JF Seed/ADM Agriculture

Work highlights

  • Acting for RM & JF Seed in a commercial action in the Court of Session in which it is being sued by Alexander Inglis & Son for breach of contract and has counterclaimed for breach of contract.
  • Acting for the music promoter Autuaric Limited in the pursuit of a £1m damages claim following the cancellation of a Green Day concert due to take place in Glasgow in summer 2016.
  • Acting for Lanark Road Property Limited in a major shareholder dispute in the Commercial Court of the Court of Session pursuing an action for payment and reduction of a floating charge and defending a separate action for payment for breach of contract.

Stronachs LLP

As an Aberdeen-headquartered firm, Stronachs LLP has energy and construction sector disputes at its core, but its client portfolio also covers other sectors such as property and farming. The team continues to receive an increasing number of cross-border instructions and, while predominately acting for businesses, also represents individuals. Robert McDiarmid heads the team and, besides commercial litigation, is also experienced in arbitration and mediation.

Practice head(s):

Robert McDiarmid

Other key lawyers:

Colin Sandilands 

Testimonials

‘Good management, responsive and knowledgeable.’

‘Stronachs has a relatively small team but has considerable in-house capability and is a pleasure to work with. I have found them very flexible and capable to work with and always available to assist or prompt where required.’

‘Colin Sandilands is a talented litigator with an ability to really grasp the details of a case. Also a pleasure to work with – very client focused.’

‘Robert McDiarmid is commercial and smart.’

‘They are very clear in what they can and cannot do on your behalf. They are simply very clever in their knowledge of law.’

‘Robert McDiarmid is a very reassuring and pragmatic advisor who tells it like it is.’

‘The team is approachable, commercial, professional and knowledgeable. They are proactive but not trying to up-sell unnecessarily as some other firms might do.’

‘Colin Sandilands is approachable and professional but down to earth so very good to deal with, we consider he offers practical advice which is in the best interests of our company.’

Key clients

Weatherford International PLC

Eland Oil & Gas PLC

G F Bisset (Inverbervie) Limited

Mr Cameron Anderson, Mrs Emily Anderson and Subsea Tooling Services UK Limited

Andover Development Company Limited

Marshall Errock Construction Limited

Newcastle Consortium Supporters Limited

Loch Ness Hotels Limited

Park Farms (A Partnership)

Marine Diesel Services (Scotland) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Weatherford Trading and Development GmbH on a multijurisdictional commercial dispute involving multiple litigations in Scotland and the US.
  • Advising and representing Newcastle Consortium Supporters Limited in respect of well-publicised claims against the English Premier League relating to the refusal of sanction for a takeover of Newcastle United Football Club by a Saudi-Arabia led consortium.
  • Advising Eland Oil & Gas PLC on the court and litigation aspects of, and representing the company, in a court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement in the London City takeover process of Eland Oil & Gas plc worth in excess of £382m.

Aberdein Considine

Aberdein Considine's client base consisting of high-net-worth individuals, SMEs and large corporates is testimony to the team's expertise in disputes over commercial contracts, insolvency scenarios and property-related matters. Team head Euan McSherry is particularly active for clients in the retail, food and drink, oil and gas and financial sectors.

Practice head(s):

Euan McSherry

Other key lawyers:

Ross Webb; Myra Scott; Paul McIntosh

Testimonials

‘Euan McSherry has been exceptional to work with; he made his responses easy to understand and explained things at length.’

‘A relatively small Scottish practice but extremely versatile.’

‘Always available to offer good advice – Ross Webb is a great partner.’

‘The team at Aberdein Considine is a collective of individual skillsets combined together to provide a full service. You have confidence in a team that you know have your best interest at heart. They are also willing to acknowledge where they may have stumbled in the process, and will negotiate fair terms to reflect.’

‘The individuals at Aberdein Considine provide a professional yet friendly service. They have your back and seem to know when to listen and when to lead. Each also gets your business which is important to not waste time.’

‘The team takes a modern approach to providing legal advice and is flexible in terms of billing arrangements and ways of working. This gives it an advantage of some competitors in my opinion.’

‘Euan McSherry is an impressive operator and combines sound advice on dispute resolution with considerable charm and style.

‘An excellent team which provided us with a great-value service. The team is aware of the commercial pressures we face and often fixes the fee allowing us to accurately budget and make a cost-benefit decision on the action to be taken.’

Key clients

Pfizer

Mowi Group

Tiso Group

Solenis Group

Royal & Ancient – St Andrews

Petroineous

Barrs Hydro Limited

Utility ROV Limited

DTS Energy Limited

Intellicore Limited

Shepherd Chartered Surveyors

Griffins Chartered Accountants

Jetlogic Limited

Hardies Property & Building Consultants

2G Events Limited

Arrowdawn Limited

Grant Thornton UK LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised Pfizer Inc. on actions brought against the client before the Court of Session alleging that one of its heart drugs caused heart attacks and strokes.
  • Acted for Utility ROV Ltd in a contractual charter payment dispute with a Norwegian customer and an ongoing claim in a complex corporate restructuring claim.
  • Advising the liquidators of Caroy House Limited, Grant Thornton UK LLP, on a commercial action at the Court of Session raised in order to secure their interest in trading hotel on the Isle of Skye.

Shoosmiths

Commercial litigator and solicitor advocate Stuart Clubb heads up the team at Shoosmiths, which has a strong profile for insolvency, finance and financial services-related litigation, including professional negligence claims. Other regular work pertains to IT supply contracts and property matters.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Clubb

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Foyle

Testimonials

‘Shoosmiths is a UK-wide firm which has a litigation presence in Edinburgh, but can also draw on specialist expertise from the rest of its UK network. The firm deals with a very broad range of high-quality work.’

‘Stuart Clubb has always impressed me as a an astute and talented litigator with well thought-out advice.’

‘Stuart Clubb is a well-regarded, experienced individual with a sound knowledge of the law and good relationships with clients.’

‘Experienced, knowledgeable and good value for money.’

‘Andrew Foyle really knows his stuff, particularly in banking and debt recovery disputes. A pleasure to work with.’

‘The practice has a good range of work and is experienced in acting for creditors and insolvency practitioners.’

Key clients

Boots UK Limited

The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc

Poundland Limited

KPMG

Close Brothers Limited

Grant Thornton

Calor Gas Limited

Grafton Merchanting GB Limited

Screwfix Direct Ltd

Breedon Aggregates Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of a specialist product design company in the defence of a patent infringement action in the Court of Session.
  • Acting on behalf of a property developer in a high-value breach of contract and professional negligence action against its former architects and cost consultants.
  • Acting on behalf of an enterprise hardware company in the defence of a high-value breach of contract IT dispute.