Commercial litigation in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP is a respected player in the commercial litigation market with a broad public and private sector client base, which also benefits from the team's capabilities in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Its workload spans all sectors but recently the team has been particularly active in the construction, manufacturing, IT, energy and oil and gas industries. Tony Jones QC is the key contact for the first mentioned segment. Alongside construction law, he is also known for his expertise in professional negligence, while Iain Rutherford focuses on IT and outsourcing, corporate and energy disputes. He receives regular support from associate and IT dispute specialist Monica Connolly. The practice is jointly led by Stephen Goldie, who is well versed in handling high-value contractual interpretation disputes, and head of the banking and financial services litigation team Joyce Cullen.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Goldie; Joyce Cullen

Testimonials

Brodies has developed a good relationship with us and a deep understanding of our offshore business. This in turn fosters a good synergy for both sides and enables for an effective collaboration on any disputed matters.

Brodies provides good litigation and dispute advice in a commercial context and not in a legal vacuum. They compare favorably to other law firms in their ability to debate strategy on how to achieve an acceptable outcome rather than advising on what the contract does or doesn’t say.

Brodies extensive industry experience has earned them a formidable reputation in the oil and gas sector not only locally but internationally. One of the few law firms we use globally that are conscious and worked hard to assist us to manage cost challenges during the industry down-turn. As a result, they earn my respect and additional follow-on work.

Brodies really cares about our business and makes us feel valued. Their partnership approach with us, as their client, coupled with their professionalism, reliability and knowledge makes them stand out. I particularly like how they go the extra mile and take the time to explain what complex legal decisions mean and use their knowledge of our industry to steer us with their recommendations.

Ken MacDonald is a seasoned litigator with a remarkable depth of expertise in the oil and gas sector. He provides commercially focused advice with the breadth and depth of knowledge to deliver solutions that meet our legal needs.

Iain Rutherford is very bright and able to discuss and debate dispute strategy that takes account of desired commercial outcomes rather than just legal positioning. Not afraid to challenge thinking or take challenge, while delivering advice in an easy-to-understand way that allows for the dispute strategy to take account of the given circumstances.

Iain Rutherford: Professional whilst remaining “human” and accessible is one of Iain’s many qualities. Iain has the ability to explain complex legal jargon and decisions in a language we can understand and with an injection of humour!

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

Moneybarn

Royal & Sun Alliance

WFS Technologies Limited

Work highlights

  • Instructed to appear on behalf of Muir Construction Limited in a commercial action in the Court of Session in defence against alleged design defects in a design and build project.

CMS

Colin Hutton heads up the team at CMS; his specialism in energy and financial services litigation reflects the team's overall sector focus, while it also acts for well known clients from the telecommunications, life sciences, consumer products, IT, transport and insurance industries. Other key members of the practice include Graeme MacLeod, who specialises in high-value commercial litigation and professional negligence proceedings in the Court of Session, and associate Emma Boffey, who has a particular focus on contract, financial services and corporate matters, particularly shareholders disputes. The team also provides mediation and ADR services.

Practice head(s):

Colin Hutton

Key clients

The 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

Land Securities

James Fisher & Sons plc

Braid Group

Clydesdale Bank plc

Basalt Infrastructure Partners LLP

Work highlights

  • Acting for shareholders in a leading technology company, the team secured an injunction in a shareholders’ dispute, involving allegations of financial crime.
  • Acting for SSE Generation Ltd a £135m dispute concerning the collapse of the Glendoe tunnel.
  • Defending a claim against the former joint administrators of Rangers Football Club brought by the current joint liquidators of the club. The claim relates to the conduct of the administration of the club between its entry into  administration and the eventual sale of the club in 2012.
  • Acting for the charitable foundation Raeburn Place Foundation (RPF) and Raeburn Place Development Limited (RPDL) in a commercial action in the Court of Session. The dispute concerned a strip of land, which runs along the front of an ongoing commercial development in Stockbridge, Edinburg.
  • Acted for Basalt Infrastructure Partners III LLP in a breach of warranty claim.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Recognised by clients and peers alike, Pinsent Masons LLP handles all forms of commercial dispute resolution before all civil courts in Scotland and is well placed to assist with litigation involving cross-border elements. The practice has a strong profile for big-ticket work and, as such, attracts a wide range of clients from various sectors such as financial services, IT, energy, food and drink and the public sector. Jim Cormack QC heads the practice and specialises in contentious work pertaining to IP, IT, media, finance, company and regulatory matters. Dual-qualified litigator and solicitor advocate Craig Connal QC and Jacqueline Harris, who handles a wide range of litigations, frequently involving multinational companies and complex, high-value claims, are also key members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Jim Cormack QC

Testimonials

What makes Pinsents so unique is their innovative and proactive approach to legal practice and that they always have a commercial mindset at the forefront of all activity and advice. Having a UK-wide footprint is really helpful which is bolstered by dual-qualified lawyers with higher rights of audience. This gives the ability to conduct claims across the UK from a single office in Glasgow.

Very knowledgeable, calm, commercial and pragmatic team. Their availability is fantastic as is their ability to respond quickly.

Personal service and sensible, sound advice.

Very professional and client-focussed. Technically excellent and able to communicate effectively the legal aspects of your situation.

They provide a personal touch with regular visits and back it up with knowledge and sound advice. They compare well with other firms and we have a long relationship with the person who handles our work. Would recommend them.

The individuals within the litigation team at Pinsents are just fantastic and constantly make us feel well looked after. The team, at all levels, are hugely switched on and always approachable. Unlike many of their competitors, the team at Pinsents always goes out of their way to accommodate changing requirements and urgent matters.

Joanne Gillies is an excellent communicator, very much client and outcome-focussed and I have been most impressed with her commitment to my needs as a one time litigant. She has the ability to quickly and effectively get to the key issues.

David Woods is experienced, calm and assured.

Key clients

News Corp

BP plc

Balfour Beatty Group

The Royal Bank of Scotland

William Grant & Sons Limited

Imperial Tobacco Ltd

Galliford Try Group

Legal & General plc

Deloitte LLP

KCA Deutag Group

Work highlights

  • Continued to act for Agilisys Limited, a leading IT solutions provider, in a major Court of Session commercial litigation against CGI IT.
  • Acting for iiiTec Limited in three connected actions in Aberdeen Sheriff Court, against entities in the Weatherford Group, pertaining to a complex network of oil and gas technology agreements.
  • Acting for The Royal Bank of Scotland plc in a case about whether PPI compensation can be set off against unpaid loans to the bank after the customer has been through an insolvency process. The matter has been through the Sheriff Court, Sheriff Appeal Court and the Inner House of the Court of Session.
  • Represented the four former directors of a shipping company, which has entered into administration in proceedings pertaining to a claim for the alleged breach of directors’ duties.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP's team covers commercial disputes across a wide range of sectors. Much of its work pertains to fraud, insolvency and telecoms sector matters - all of which are areas of particular expertise for practice head Gary Moffat - alongside product liability, IP, banking and property. Within the research period, the team recorded a number of internal changes: In May 2019, shipping sector expert Andrew Forsyth joined from Brodies LLP and planning disputes expert Alasdair Sutherland from the Scottish Bar. Lynne Gray, who handles a wide range of contentious regulatory matters, was promoted to partner in September 2019.

Practice head(s):

Gary Moffat

Testimonials

Very effective and efficient team which seems well coordinated. Excellent communications. I had not worked with them before, but was very impressed.

A great regional law firm which handles a lot of interesting, high-value cases. Although they are a medium-sized firm, they often handle large, complex international litigations and arbitrations.

A leading Scottish firm with the client as their primary focus, whilst delivering a quality service within agreed timeframes.

The team within dispute resolution that I have experience working with is Gary Moffat’s team. I have found the whole team to be very well trained and very knowledgeable in the areas in which they specialise. This allows work to be done at the appropriate level without impacting on quality. I have found cases that the team deal with to have been very well managed. It is clear that time is spent at the outset analysing cases and advising clients of the different approaches that could be taken together with the benefits and weaknesses of each. This is hugely important in litigation where too many firms will simply raise proceedings and then only start thinking about the intricacies of the case at a later stage.

Jody Crockett is a very good communicator and was clearly working very hard in the background between calls. He also turned documents around quickly and managed the lay client well, despite the time difference. I was impressed by his diligence at every turn.

Jody Crockett is a fantastic lawyer, who is very talented. He is extremely capable and, in the case on which we worked together, was very adept at coming up with creative, effective solutions to procedural issues.

The individual I have worked with most is Gary Moffat. Gary is a very experienced commercial litigator with a specialism in insolvency and company law work. He is very client-focussed. One of the areas where he is particularly strong is in putting together the right team for a case. This involves consideration of both the client and the type of dispute. He clearly spends a lot of time training his team and helping them to further their own specialisms. This can be seen from the fact that Stuart Murdoch, who was one of his associates, became a partner in the division specialising in financial litigation. The benefit in investing in people in this way is that clients and counsel know that the person they are dealing with understands the issues in the case and can take them forward.

Gary Moffat provides excellent customer service and quality work.

Key clients

AstraZeneca Group

The Insolvency Service

Pension Protection Fund

SPUC Pro-Life Scotland Limited

Sky UK Limited

PPL PRS

PicRights Europe GmbH

GMB Union

Nick Sellman (Holdings) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the shareholders in Hermes i-Tickets Private Ltd, Ramu Ramasamy and Palianiyapan Ramasamy, in a £33m litigation pertaining to the sale of their shares in the company.
  • Continues to carry out insolvency litigation work for the Insolvency Service. This involves investigating insolvent companies; public interest winding-up cases; and director disqualification court applications.
  • Continues to assist Sky with IP enforcement in Scotland, including court actions to prevent unauthorised broadcasts of Sky’s sporting events in licensed premises throughout Scotland.
  • Instructed by PicRights UK Limited and PicRights Europe GmBH to enforce copyright in photographs on a bulk basis throughout the UK.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Insolvency specialist Gillian Carty heads up the team at Shepherd and Wedderburn, which regularly acts for major accountancy firms, financial services organisations, corporate clients, while also receiving referral work from international firms on matters involving Scottish law. Recently, the practice has been particularly active in the property, construction, professional negligence and IP space. Solicitor advocate John MacKenzie is a key contact for the last-mentioned segment; alongside his IP expertise, he is also well versed in dealing with IT matters, while Elaine Brailsford is a key contact for financial and property-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Gillian Carty

Testimonials

Dedicated team with excellent knowledge of our business lends itself to complete confidence in delivery of commercial litigation and dispute resolution.

Excellent strategic advice based on a wealth of experience.

I was most impressed by the firm’s ability to respond in under 12 hours with both a conflicts clearance and substantive help. Later in the process, they anticipated issues and helped us address them prior to the hearing.

Elaine Brailsford gives measured commercial advice whilst retaining a good sense of humour.

Elaine Brailsford possesses excellent working knowledge of the Hague process and was able to research and provide answers to some of our more difficult issues. She foresaw a potential conflict between our state and Scottish procedures and her foresight and preparation were instrumental in the ultimate issuance of letters.

Key clients

Cour Limited

Korein Tillery LLC

Lochaber Properties Limited

Macdonald Resorts Limited

SYFA Limited

Restrata Solutions Limited

Brand IP Licensing Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the landlord of a major wind farm, Cour Ltd, in a disputed change of control of the tenant company and professional negligence action against the client’s former solicitors.
  • Acting for an individual in an injunction claim against a hydropower company for breach of her riparian rights.
  • Acting for Macdonald Resorts Ltd in the recovery of management charges for various timeshare clubs following controversial and highly contested changes to the club constitutions.
  • Represented Lochaber Properties Limited (LPL) in a professional negligence action raised in the Court of Session against LPL’s former solicitors, South Forrest Solicitors (SF).
  • Acting for a pension fund as the former landlord of a property in a dispute over the interpretation of lease payment terms.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard acts for several large corporates, SMEs and high-net-worth individuals and has a strong profile for finance and insolvency-related matters, most notably those involving claims for payments and breach of warranty alongside shareholder disputes. The practice led by Simon Catto, who has a specialism in commercial contractual and insolvency disputes, is also well versed in cross-border litigation.

Practice head(s):

Simon Catto

Key clients

Frank A Smart & Sons Limited

Cerberus (through Promontoria (Henrico) Limited)

Cerberus (through Promontoria (Chestnut) Limited)

The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

Greene King Brewing and Retailing Limited

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended Frank A Smart & Sons Limited in a high-value VAT claim brought by HMRC and taken to Supreme Court Appeal.
  • Instructed by a number of high-net-worth individuals to pursue a breach of warranty claim, securing a decree for in excess of £1m.
  • Acted for the Royal Bank of Scotland plc in proceedings pertaining to conduct allegations surrounding the collapse of a well-known independent retail business in Perthshire, which was run by the Bullough family.
  • Instructed by Cerberus (through Promontoria (Henrico) Limited) to pursue repayment of a high-value loan.
  • Acted for Greene King Brewing and Retailing Limited in a professional negligence claim against a firm of architects.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern acts for a broad spectrum of clients, ranging from private individuals, family businesses and traditional partnerships to listed companies, and government agencies, while also attracting referral work from other boutiques and multinational law firms across the UK. Team head Fraser Geddes' handles a broad spectrum of commercial disputes - recently, this included breach of contract matters, fee arrangements and associated payment claims and disputes arising from the interpretation of commercial contracts - alongside property disputes and professional negligence claims.

Practice head(s):

Fraser Geddes

Testimonials

Anderson Strathern is among the best firms of commercial litigation solicitors in the country. They have long and deep experience of working with counsel on large commercial disputes before the Court of Session, especially its commercial court, and on appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. Their team, from new qualifieds to experienced partners, are all knowledgeable, motivated and cohesive. They are quick and efficient in following up on all enquiries, preparations and tactics advised by counsel.

In a major construction project-related dispute resolution context, the firm has a powerful team of dedicated lawyers at a variety of experience levels looking after the procedure, substance and management of the dispute. The breadth of skills and experience is helping us reach successful outcomes.

Anderson Strathern, or more accurately Gillian Jamieson, has been extremely capable with attention to detail and fully and quickly understanding issues on various matters raised.

Fraser Geddes is a very capable commercial litigation solicitor. He has long and deep experience in all areas of commercial dispute resolution, especially commercial property, construction and professional negligence.

Key clients

Edge Energy Limited

Ashtead Plant Hire Limited

Fife Council

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended Edge Energy Ltd against a breach of contract claim brought by Westerton (UK) Limited.
  • Successfully acting for the tenant of a commercial premises, Ashtead Plant Hire Limited, in two Court of Session actions concerning the interpretation of a rent review clause in the lease.
  • Acted for the administrators RSM LLP in a cross-jurisdictional commercial dispute, which arose out of the construction of the new Liverpool Museum.

BTO Solicitors LLP

BTO Solicitors LLP's strength lies in representing clients across various sectors in insurance and insolvency-related commercial litigation alongside disputes arising from housing developments. The team is led by Grant Hunter, whose commercial litigation expertise also extends to asset recovery and commercial debt recovery litigation, and includes Will Cole. He joined the practice in July 2019 from Burness Paull LLP and handles a wide range of commercial disputes in court and through ADR. IP and IT specialist Lynn Richmond made partner in April 2019.

Practice head(s):

Grant Hunter

Testimonials

BTO is a mid-sized firm, which allows it to respond quickly and appropriately to client demands at a reasonable feeing rate. It has the expertise without a lot of the baggage that bigger firms may bring to a project.

Very good team of lawyers.

Great team. Would work around the clock to deliver. With BTO your problem is their problem.

Paul Motion is a well-known and experienced individual with a high profile and unrivalled expertise in the sometimes rather abstruse area of data protection litigation in the commercial field.

Key clients

Pendragon plc (Evans Halshaw)

Lloyds Banking Group

Employees of Caley Fisheries

Greenbelt Group

Scottish Football Association

The Richmond Fellowship Scotland Limited

Stena Line Ports Limited

American Express Services (Europe) Limited

Dooneen Limited

Stena Line Ports Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for employees of Caley Fisheries Limited, beneficiaries of an employee benefit trust, in a circa £10m action against the trustees. The object of the action is to have the trustees restore funds to the trustee following their sale of the trust’s shares in the employer company to persons involved in the management of that company, allegedly for significantly under value and in breach of trust.
  • Acted for the majority shareholders of a Scottish company in the renewable energy industry in a dispute over a shareholder agreement.
  • Represented the proprietors of a 50 apartment building complex in a £4.4m insurance coverage dispute.
  • Instructed by a Scottish hotelier to act in the defence of commercial proceedings brought by a company seeking payment of substantial sums said to have arisen in respect of management and facilities services to a hotel.
  • Instructed by the Richmond Fellowship Scotland Limited (TRFS) to challenge the purported termination by a major local authority of a supported living contract in which the clients provided care and support services to vulnerable people with special needs.

Dentons

With Edinburgh-based insolvency and company litigation expert Tim Edward, Glasgow-based solicitor advocate Douglas Blyth, who handles a wide range of corporate and contractual disputes, and Aberdeen-based Malcolm Gunnyeon, who has a specialism in the oil and gas sector, jointly heading the practice, Dentons is well placed to act for clients across Scotland. It is equally well versed to handle cross-border disputes, acting for clients spanning various sectors. Recently, the team has been particularly active handling business disputes alongside public law, insolvency, tax, real estate and construction-related litigation.

Other key lawyers:

Gareth Hale

Testimonials

This team is unique in Scotland in having significant amounts of European law and competition law experience. They are uniquely placed to provide advice in relation to such matters in Scotland.

Excellent teamwork, strategic advice, superb risk analysis and excellent coordination.

What makes this practice unique is the investment placed by the team in you as a client and a deep understanding of their client’s needs – they have a proactive, pragmatic, solutions-based approach to legal issues.

The team is always available and provides strong advice on which route to take. They have a very strong skill-set and often identify issues which other firms have missed.

I have worked with Douglas Blyth on a number of litigations. He has exceptional attention to detail. He is rightly highly regarded for dealing with high-value, complex, commercial litigation. He is very good at breaking down complex legal concepts in a way that clients can understand.

Douglas Blyth has sound commercial awareness which sets him apart from his peers.

Douglas Blyth is incredibly sharp, highly perceptive and very personable; unlike his competitors he is focused on solutions (rather than problems) and makes himself readily available to provide sound advice.

Douglas Blyth is technically very strong with a very engaging and understanding personality. This mix is ideally suited to dispute resolution.

Key clients

Highland and Islands Enterprise

Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited

Standard Life Aberdeen Plc

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

Baxters Food Group Limited

The Government of the United Kingdom

KPMG LLP

GKFF – EnNovo LLC

The Panel on Takeovers and Mergers

The Royal Bank of Scotland

HC-One Oval Limited

First Milk Limited

CVR Global LLP

Glencairn Scotch Whiskey Company Limited

Kenman Holdings Ltd

Sainsburys Supermarkets UK Ltd

Work highlights

  • Representing Biffin Limited in a cross-border £30m tax dispute with HMRC, which resulted in a favourable settlement for the client.
  • Acting for Kenman Holdings Limited in a multi-million pound claim for Francovich damages in the Commercial Court of the Court of Session arising from state aid and procurement issues in the award of the contract for the operation of Lews Castle, Stornoway, as hotel accommodation.
  • Acting for the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers in multiple actions against David King, as chairman of Rangers Football Club, including a Court of Session action pertaining to £20m worth of shares in the club.
  • Advising Rajinder Bains, OMI Management Limited and OMI Facilities Limited on various high-value litigations, which are in dependence before the Court of Session; the actions seek repayment of financial support given to an ailing hotel business by OMI in anticipation of having the shareholding in that business transferred to an OMI group company.

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP's broad client roster, including private individuals, start-ups and various organisations across the public and third sectors alongside major corporates, financial institutions and insurers, is testimony to the team's wide-ranging expertise. Its skill-set covers insolvency, corporate, banking, construction, energy and sports-related disputes but the practice has also been handling a growing number of competition claims and IP litigations. Corporate and shareholder dispute experts Sandy Hastie and David Kerr jointly head the team, which includes contractual and property disputes specialist Andrew Upton, who made partner in April 2019.

Practice head(s):

Sandy Hastie; David Kerr

Testimonials

Great service and good value for money, while maintaining all the professionalism levels you would expect.

David Kerr is technically strong and has a pragmatic, commercial approach. David is likable, measured, diligent and enjoyable to work with – his background in accountancy assists massively. A trusted advisor, who remains calm in situations of time pressure. He is approachable and listens to requests, putting client requirements first and responding well to clarification and/ or challenge queries.

David Kerr stands out as an extremely adept commercial litigator. He combines a sharp intellect with real world down-to-earth practical nous to great effect. He is always a pleasure to work with and serves his clients very well.

Key clients

The Scottish Government

Marks & Spencer

Halfords

Greenpeace

British Athletics

Lyndon SGB

Police Scotland

Dragados UK Ltd

Optical Express Group

RBS Insurance

Work highlights

  • Representing the liquidators of the Scottish distribution company Grampian MacLennan’s Distribution Services Ltd (GMDSL) as respondents in an appeal to the Supreme Court pertaining to the question of the remedies available to address pre-liquidation gratuitous alienations.
  • Instructed by Robert Kidd, who was formerly the sole shareholder in the company ITS Tubular Services (Holdings) Ltd, pursuing an action for $210m in damages for unlawful means conspiracy, against Lime Rock Group, Ledingham Chalmersl LLP and others.
  • Advising the founders of FanDuel Ltd in pursuing a claim in the Court of Session and now in the courts of New York concerning the undervaluation of the company in the context of its US merger with Paddy Power Betfair (PPB).
  • Representing Greenpeace UK, Greenpeace International and Greenpeace Netherlands in their defence of actions for interdict brought in the Court of Session by Shell, BP and Transocean Drilling following protests on oil rigs.
  • Acting for the sellers of Powerhouse Fitness, a major Scottish home fitness retailer, in two post-acquisition disputes with the German purchaser Sport Tiedje GmbH.

MacRoberts LLP

MacRoberts LLP acts for individuals alongside public and private sector clients - recently this included various transport, energy, health and leisure sector players - in a broad range of commercial disputes with particular expertise in environmental and waste, construction and property, IP, insolvency and professional negligence. Julie Hamilton heads the team from Edinburgh.

Practice head(s):

Julie Hamilton

Other key lawyers:

Gillian Craig; Leon Breakey

Testimonials

Responsive, friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and reliable.

Julie Hamilton is incredibly bright, friendly and knowledgeable. She gives clear, and practical advice and is a pleasure to deal with.

Key clients

The Scottish Government

Ballyvesey Holdings

French Duncan LLP

HCCI (part of Tokio Marine HCC)

Pentland Ferries

The Football Company (Scotland) Limited

VPZ

Bairds Malt (part of the GrainCorp Malt Group)

JPIMedia

Royal London

Work highlights

  • Instructed to act on behalf of Transport Scotland in the defence of an action raised by construction contractors seeking to set aside the award of a contract for the design, construction and maintenance of the A77 Maybole Bypass.
  • Acted for Pentland Ferries in a judicial review raised against the Scottish Government. The case raised issues concerning the lawfulness of a proposed subsidy to be paid by the Scottish Government to a rival ferry operator under a public service contract.
  • Defended Energen Biogas Limited in two commercial actions in the Court of Session against alleged damages for contaminated land.
  • Acted for Ramesh Dewan in a commercial action in the Court of Session concerning the alleged depositing of waste at the client’s premises in breach of a waste licence exemption.
  • Represented Ballyvesey Holdings Limited in an action for damages raised by Caithness Flagstone Limited. This action concerned a hire purchase agreement for heavy plant equipment.

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

Davidson Chalmers Stewart handles contractual disputes, including breach of warranty claims, contract interpretation disputes and professional fee disputes as well as professional negligence claims against solicitors and engineers. Team head Sheila Webster is best known for her property litigation expertise and Greg Flett for his experience in construction-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Webster

Other key lawyers:

Greg Flett; Laura Irvine

Testimonials

Excellent at providing advice in plain English and without getting bogged down in technical detail.

The team is particularly personable and helpful. Sheila Webster in particular is very experienced and knowledgeable.

I have worked with Sheila Webster and Greg Flett. Each of them are particularly personable, down-to-earth and easy to work with.

Both Greg Flett and Sheila Webster are proactive and very quick to pick up commercial points.

Key clients

Carpetright

Alba Energy Limited

Mars Black Sheep Hotels Limited

Tweed Homes Limited

Centenary 6 Limited

Chris Stewart Group

Pegasus Fire Protection Company Limited

Knight Frank

Pizza Hut Restaurants (U.K.) Limited

Natural Assets Investments Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Tweed Homes Limited on a claim arising from a breach of promise by Clydesdale Bank plc.
  • Acting for Scottish Borders Council in defence against a claim brought by a property developer to overturn its decision to resile from a contract, on the basis that the developer failed to comply with a condition of that contract.
  • Acting for Centenary 6 Limited in a claim for professional negligence against its joint liquidators.
  • Acting for Pegasus Fire Protection Company Limited in a professional negligence claim against its contractors, who acted in the conversion of a former mill building to residential properties, and in relation to a significant potential damages claim from a third party.
  • Acting for a number of tenant farmers in a judicial review, which ultimately seeks compensation from the Scottish Government following the introduction of legislation affecting property rights in farming partnerships.

DWF

Much of DWF's work takes place in the real estate, property and construction space but the team also handles a wide range of disputes pertaining to other sectors such as energy, insurance and banking. Led by Naomi Pryde, who splits her time between the firm's Scottish and London offices and handles a wide range of commercial litigation matters for both claimants and defendants, the practice is well placed to provide assistance with disputes concerning commercial contracts, including those involving cross-jurisdictional aspects, and with corporate disputes pertaining to the operation of corporate entities and shareholders' rights.

Practice head(s):

Naomi Pryde

Other key lawyers:

Ricky Cannon; Alison Grant

Testimonials

The team can handle large or small issues in both Scotland and England and shows itself to be extremely commercial in its view.

DWF has a vast amount of experience and incredible depth in their team. They are commercially astute and understand client’s needs.

Naomi Pryde is a breath of fresh air to the Scottish legal landscape. Highly commercial in her understanding and with great client empathy. Naomi cuts through disputes to advise clients to a successful conclusion and is always mindful of the costs of all outcomes.

Naomi Pryde has exceptional client management skills, plus strong legal knowledge.

Naomi Pryde is unflappably brilliant. She has the ability to distill huge amounts of information quickly and analyses a case’s strengths and weaknesses immediately.

Key clients

Scottish Water Business Stream Limited

Santander Consumer (UK) PLC

Jaguar Land Rover

Grahams The Family Dairy and Mactaggart & Mickel

Greggs

Aberdeen City Council

The Highland Council

Aberdeenshire Council

Moray Council

Orkney Islands Council

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council)

Shetland Islands Council

Crown Commercial Services

Work highlights

  • Guiding Project Petra Bidco Limited through a Court of Session process regarding the implementation of a Scheme of Arrangement under and in terms of Part 26 of the Companies Act 2006. This transaction concerns the acquisition of the entire issued (and to be issued) shares in Murgitroyd Group plc by the client.
  • Instructed by Jaguar Land Rover Limited to defend product liability claims raised in Scotland.
  • Acting for DGM London Road Limited as the heritable proprietor of several titles in proceedings with the tenant seeking a declarator that they were able to assign their interest under the lease without the consent of the landlord.
  • Acting for M7 Real Estate Investment Partners V Limited in a dilapidations dispute pertaining to a large commercial property in Aberdeen.

Gilson Gray

Gilson Gray is well equipped to guide clients - including SMEs, construction and property sector players as well as financial and professional services - through commercial contract, shareholder, property and construction-related disputes alongside judicial reviews, defamation and insolvency matters, among others. Team head Rosie Walker specialises in Court of Session litigation with a focus on commercial contract disputes, property litigation and public law.

Practice head(s):

Rosie Walker

Other key lawyers:

Keith Anderson

Testimonials

They are customer-focussed, commercial in the advice they give and bloody good lawyers.

Small team of commercially astute, hard-working lawyers; an alternative to the bigger firms without compromising on experience.

I think they genuinely have a commercial approach rather than purely focusing on the legal aspects of the case. They are also focused on the needs of the client and fight our corner.

Time and time again they prove to be extremely competent.

Very thorough, they try to cover every eventuality.

The team – particularly of Rosie Walker and Keith Anderson – was once seen as an up-and coming-boutique offering. They have maintained that feel but are now firmly established in the market and receive a steady stream of mandates in high-profile commercial and public law disputes.

Keith Anderson: excellent communication, always a fast response and provided solid support for the counsel team whilst ensuring we were kept informed of all proceedings.

Keith Anderson is unflappable under pressure, drawing on unrivalled experience beyond his years in insolvency and commercial disputes. His judgment is highly valued.

Rosie Walker is an excellent people person. She does not overpromise and is assiduous in her attention to detail.

Rosie Walker is a rock for clients with high-profile disputes. She is measured, realistic and driven, she is a dream to work with.

Key clients

Lime Rock Management LLP

Sinnalba Group Limited

Glasgow Angling Centre Limited

Castle European Limited

Subway Scotland East

Mercat Tours Limited

James Aitken

Cherrytrees Children’s Nurseries

QTS Group Ltd

Petroceltic Holdings Limited

Alistair Carmichael

Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall Limited / RMJM Group

Sir Fraser Morrison

Caledonian Trust plc

Scotbeef Limited

Class One Traffic Management Limited

Lidl U.K. GmbH

AMA (New Town) Ltd

Brewdog plc

Centric Community Projects Ltd

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Association of Vehicle Recovery Operators

Avant Homes Limited

Leafrealm Land Limited

Sotheby’s

Elior plc

Enterprise Rent-a-Car Limited

Grant Thornton UK LLP

KPMG LLP

Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

Edinburgh Academy

Shaf Rasul

NCS Group Limited

MacInnes Brothers Limited

Professional Linen Services

Vets Now Limited

Middlebrooks Business Recovery & Advice Ltd

Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee

Federation of British Racecourse Bookmakers

Xyrex Limited

Roy Brett & Gary Welch/ Ondine Limited

Chiene + Tait

Ernst & Young LLP

French Duncan LLP

William Duncan + Co Limited

Wilson Imports Limited

James Gibb Property Management Ltd

Subsea Supplies Limited

Anglian Windows Limited

The Compass School

St Aloysius’ College

D.J. Alexander Limited

Euro Systems Limited

Grant Smith Law Practice

James & George Collie solicitors

Clarendon Planning & Development Limited

Colin Murray Developments Ltd

Alpine Travel Limited

Alex M Adamson LLP

DCL Joiners

Work highlights

  • Acted for Lime Rock Management LLP in a claim arising out of the sale of a business and involving various claims against professional advisors.
  • Acted for Leafrealm Land Limited in a property dispute concerning the existence of a ransom strip adjoining a well-known development.
  • Acted for Jo Swinson MP in successfully obtaining an interim interdict against the Royal Mail and the Scottish National Party  preventing the delivery of official election communication leaflet.
  • Acted for Alexander Peter Morrison & Declan Thompson in a dispute arising out of the sale of a UAE business by a Scottish partnership to a Californian corporation involving questions of private international law, constructive trusts, breach of contract, fiduciary duty, UAE statutory liability and allegations of fraud.
  • Instructed by three Sinnalba Group Limited shareholders to assist with a multi-party shareholder dispute involving two petitions under sections 994 and 996 of the Companies Act 2006 and a third petition for interim interdict, all in the Court of Session.

Lindsays

Lindsays handles a wide range of commercial disputes pertaining to contractual and payment obligations, breach of contract and share acquisitions alongside property and agricultural-related matters and professional negligence. It also assists clients with claims against high street banks. In April 2020, John Bett, who acts for a large SME client base, took over the lead from commercial litigator Douglas Millar, whose particular strength lies in professional negligence.

Practice head(s):

John Bett

Other key lawyers:

Douglas Millar; Brent Haywood

Testimonials

Lindsays is an excellent firm offering a very wide selection of specialities. In my experience, Lindsays provides an excellent, reliable service, which is cost-effective. As a company Lindsays has a wide and varied talent pool allowing them to meet the needs of most clients regardless of their requirements or situation. This has not been my experience with other firms.

This could be called a boutique practice and its great merit compared to the larger firms in this field is that individual attention is genuinely given by the responsible solicitor – work isn’t just farmed out to whoever is available or who the firm wants to get more practice.

This is a well-established firm with a depth of legal expertise.

The level of service and commitment from John Bett and his team has always and continues to be first class, their levels of communication when dealing with our issues is excellent and always keep us well informed of progress.

John Bett the partner who we would normally deal with is always courteous and extremely helpful, he always makes it clear that he is available for discussion and updates at any time night or day even outwith normal office hours. This we have found extremely helpful and we thank Mr Bett very much for his unwavering support for our business.

Brent Haywood was the partner in charge of my case. He is an exceptional individual and a fantastic solicitor advocate. In my experience, Brent is very knowledgeable in his field. He is a kind and compassionate gentleman. One generally seeks legal advice during those difficult times in life, Brent Haywood is the man you want in your corner.

In the field of dispute resolution my best contact is Brent Haywood. I trust his judgment in resolving difficult issues without turning them into crisis.

Brent Haywood is a subtle and intelligent litigator who can see further round corners than most.

Key clients

Scottish Water

British Boxing Board of Control

CJ Lang & Son Ltd

Starryshaw Consultants Ltd

David King, chairman of Rangers International Football Club plc

University of Glasgow

The University of Edinburgh

Lamond & Murray

McGivney Construction Limited

Rangers Football Club Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Dave King, chairman of Rangers International Football Club Ltd, in an action taken by the Panel on Takeovers and Merger over the acquisition of shares.
  • Instructed by Starryshaw Consultants in a series of disputes with NHS Trusts and others over the ownership and return of assets.
  • Acted for Mayfly GWR Offshore Industria E Comercio Ltd in a dispute over a distribution agreement entered between the client and a purchaser of the company’s products.
  • Defending a claim arising from the discovery of a hoard of ancient valuables; this Court of Session action was raised against the client by the Church of Scotland General Trustees.
  • Acting for Interplex Ltd in defence against a contractual claim relating to machinery.

Morton Fraser

Much of Morton Fraser's litigation work takes place in the property and insolvency space and frequently includes payment-related claims. Alongside private clients, the team led by Richard McMeeken, who covers a wide range of commercial disputes, also acts for companies and individual shareholders with particular expertise in the hospitality, entertainment, financial services and public sectors.

Practice head(s):

Richard McMeeken

Other key lawyers:

Maggie Moodie; Nicola Ross

Testimonials

The team is firm with the opposing side – robust, yet measured and polite. They give sensible advice to their own clients, being realistic about what can be achieved in litigation. Good capability allows them to stick to the necessary deadlines.

Richard McMeeken is knowledgeable, and combines that with a good grasp of practicalities. His team works well together.

Key clients

Nationwide Building Society

Heineken UK Ltd

Environment Agency

Lanark Road Property Ltd

Standard Life Trustee Company Limited

Marine Scotland

J & E Smillie (Montrose) Ltd

French Duncan

Autauric Limited

Glasgow City Council

Work highlights

  • Acting for Autauric Ltd t/a PCL Presents, the promoter of the cancelled Green Day concert at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, in a breach of contract action against the stage and stage roof provider. Sum sought is in excess of £1m.
  • Acting for The Environment Agency in the administration of the Dawson International group of companies in a dispute over certain environmental liabilities.
  • Acting for the liquidator of the Scotsman Hotel in Edinburg, French Duncan LLP, in all litigation and disputed matters arising in the liquidation.
  • Acting for Nationwide Building Society in a lease dispute with its landlords of a branch in Glasgow.
  • Instructed to defend the Glasgow City Council in a Court of Session commercial action raised by its landlord, who is seeking an order declaring that a break notice issued by the council was not validly served.

Stronachs LLP

Headquartered in Aberdeen, Stronachs LLP receives a steady stream of instructions, which increasingly contain cross-border elements, from energy and construction sector clients. Team head Robert McDiarmid is well versed to assist with litigation in the Scottish Court of Session and Sheriff Courts, English High Court and County Court and various ADR procedures, including arbitration, adjudication and mediation.

Practice head(s):

Robert McDiarmid

Other key lawyers:

Colin Sandilands

Testimonials

This is a very friendly and down-to-earth team. They are commercially aware and give prompt attention with excellent legal advice which takes into account tactics and the possible requirement to negotiate settlements. Stronachs also offers very competitive rates compared to some of the larger national and international firms, but in my view the legal advice is equally as good, therefore Stronachs offers better value for money.

Stronachs is unique among North East Scotland firms in their scope, approach and reputation. There are no other firms operating exclusively in the North East that deliver what they deliver or perform at their level. The firm handles a wide variety of commercial litigation and we’ve come across them in a number of different, complex areas. I cannot speak more highly of their team.

In depth experience of contractual warranty claims, dispute resolution and court litigation, primarily via Robert McDiarmid.

The team is headed by the extremely knowledgeable, friendly and tenacious Robert McDiarmid, who has stepped in to Bobby McDonald’s shoes seamlessly.

Robert McDiarmid takes a very pragmatic approach, has a most personable manner, shows respect for all parties, has strong analytical skills and very good communication skills.

Robert McDiarmid has been very approachable, gives detailed legal advice that has helped us tactically to negotiate the best way forward. The advice sets out the pros and cons to any action that we may take, which has been essential to how we have strategically dealt with matters to try and obtain the best outcome. Robert’s advice has been first-class, and in that regard Robert has really become part of our team.

Key clients

Weatherford International PLC

Eland Oil & Gas PLC

Sellers of Scopus Engineering Limited

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

Andover Development Company Limited

Marshall Errock Construction Limited

Altens Development Company Limited

Spark’s Mechanical Services Limited

Park Farms Partnership

Euro NDT Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Weatherford Trading and Development GmbH in a multijurisdictional dispute over contractual matters and IP rights.
  • Advised the sellers of Share Capital of Scopus Group (Holdings) Ltd on defending a multi-million pound breach of warranty claim.
  • Advising an outgoing commercial director in Court of Session dawn raid proceedings alleging misuse of confidential information.
  • Acting for Park Farms Partnership in raising proceedings at Aberdeen Sheriff Court against engineering consultants; the dispute concerns defective work carried out in the reconstruction of a large riverbank flood barrier.

Aberdein Considine

Aberdein Considine's sector expertise in energy, retail, food and drink as well as hospitality attracts various high-net-worth private individuals alongside SMEs and large corporations. Team head and solicitor advocate Euan McSherry has a specialism in commercial, corporate and property litigation.

Practice head(s):

Euan McSherry

Other key lawyers:

Ross Webb

Testimonials

Their defence in the case against us was well constructed, its unique approach not only upend the opposite side, it has become a case study in application. It secured our counter claim being settled out of court. Great result.

The dispute resolution team at Aberdein Considine is very knowledgeable, has strength in depth and an offering that is able to punch well above its weight. Excellent advocacy and negotiation abilities but also an ability to calmly deliver advice even in challenging circumstances.

The team is highly responsive, with excellent attention to detail and it was quickly able to grasp the key commercial issues facing us and to design and deliver a legal strategy to support the company.

The team at AC is excellent at understanding our commercial requirements and making sure that my business is protected. They are always willing to work to tight deadlines and give us good straightforward advice to speed up the process. I believe that we are getting a brilliant service that is great value for money.

Euan McSherry always makes time to discuss any contractual issues and goes the extra mile to get the job done, he genuinely has our companies best interest at heart and understands our requirements. He also explains complicated legal language in simple terms so that we properly understand the meaning of the clauses and potential consequences.

Key clients

Pfizer

Mowi Scotland

Tiso

Solenis

Trump Aberdeen

PMAC Scientific

Jetlogic Limited

Shepherds Chartered Surveyors

Griffin Chartered Accountants

Utility ROV Services Limited

FM Group

Barrs Hydro Limited

Dash Properties Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Pfizer Inc in defence against an action brought by around 80 litigants before the Court of Session alleging that one of its heart drugs caused heart attacks and stroke.
  • Assisted PMAC Scientific Limited with a dispute over a share purchase agreement.
  • Acting for FM Group in a number of contract disputes in Sheriff Courts throughout Scotland.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has a strong profile for multi-jurisdictional work which frequently pertains to property and construction issues; this is a key areas of expertise for team head Alastair Drummond, who regularly handles commercial property and commercial lease disputes alongside contentious construction issues. Other works includes IP and banking matters, including payment claims and asset recovery.

Practice head(s):

Alistair Drummond

Testimonials

The team is approachable and easy to work with. They provide practical advice as and when required. The fees are also at a reasonable rate for this type of work.

Provides practical and easy-to-understand information.

Alistair Drummond understands our business and what we wish to achieve.

Key clients

Airbus Helicopters SAS

Babcock International Group

British Airways

Broad Sands Limited

Chris Stewart Group

The Coal Authority

Consort Healthcare (Fife) Limited

Deloitte

EasyJet Airlines

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill

Element

Emirates

Football Association Premier League

GE

GlaxoSmithKline

Heineken

Hilton

HSBC

KLM

KPMG

Lloyds Banking Group

Lockheed Martin

Lothian Amusements

Marriott Group

Merlin Entertainments Limited

Peak Scientific Instruments Limited

Raytheon

Scottish Police Authority

Scottish Power Energy Retail Limited

Serco

Skanska

Sodexo

Travelodge

Trillium

Turkish Airlines

UBS

The Government of the United Kingdom

Vesuvius UK Ltd

Walker Healthcare Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Coal Authority in an action for declarator raised in the Court of Session, Edinburgh pertaining to subsidence damage caused by mine workings at a housing development and associated contractual interpretation issues.
  • Advising Lothian Amusements Ltd (LAL) on the enforcement of a complex package of contractual arrangements the client entered into in relation to a development site in Portobello, Edinburgh.

Shoosmiths

Shoosmiths is best known for its capabilities in insolvency and financial services-related disputes but the team led by solicitor advocate Stuart Clubb also handles various other types of commercial contract and shareholders disputes, including debt recovery litigation.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Clubb

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Foyle

Testimonials

‘Excellent team – good breadth of knowledge and personable. Talent at all levels.’

‘Stuart Clubb stands out – he is an excellent lawyer. He has great technical ability, cares about his cases, but is very personable.’

‘Andrew Foyle is a seasoned veteran of banking disputes, responsive and very user-friendly.’

 

Key clients

Boots UK Limited

The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc

Poundland Limited

KPMG

British Gas

Grant Thornton UK LLP

Calor Gas Limited

Grafton Merchanting GB Limited

Screwfix Direct Ltd

PRS for Music

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of a firm of independent financial advisers in a professional negligence claim in the Court of Session against its former solicitors.
  • Acted for a leading commercial vehicle hire company in a successful claim for unpaid hire charge.
  • Acted on behalf of a shareholder and company director in a dispute with her fellow shareholder.
  • Instructed by a specialist litigation and claims acquisition company in the pursuit of a £313,200 gratuitous alienation claim.
  • Instructed by a former partner and shareholder of a law firm in a dispute which had arisen between him and the two remaining partners of the firm.