Next Generation Partners

Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Professional negligence

Kennedys bolstered its Scottish offering in early 2022 with a double partner hire from Clyde & Co - Daniela Fusi in Glasgow and Gavin Henderson in Edinburgh.

Professional negligence in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP remains a market leader in the insurance space, fielding a team of ‘talented lawyers who are technically excellent and extremely professional’. The group has demonstrable strength acting across a broad range of sectors including real estate and construction, dispute resolution and financial services. The team is jointly managed by Alan Calvert and Alisdair Matheson, and acts for corporate and insurer clients, as well as construction industry contractors and insurance brokers. Accredited mediator Louise Kelso specialises in insurance disputes and has a track record defending claims covering financial services and education. Construction contacts Louise Shiels and David Arnott are also ‘excellent’ according to peers. Senior associate Laura Fell assists on regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Alan Calvert; Alisdair Matheson

Other key lawyers:

Louise Kelso; Laura Fell; Louise Shiels; David Arnott

Testimonials

‘Louise Kelso was an extremely impressive individual. At our first consultation she showed an unparalleled practical understanding of how the SLCC process works. At a difficult time, I felt reassured by her experience and as though I was in a safe pair of hands.’

‘Although Louise Kelso had several commitments, I felt as though she was still directly involved in my case, which was very much appreciated and again rare to see in modern practice. All in all, the legal services provided by Louise were faultless and I would have no hesitation in instructing Louise and her team in the future.’

‘Alan Calvert is the partner best known to me and apart from his expert legal knowledge, it is the focused and forthright manner in which he then responds to any claim or complaint that I find most welcome. His direct, no nonsense approach delivers perspective.’

‘Excellent team – talented lawyers, technically excellent and extremely professional.’

‘Great client service and very commercially aware. Diligent and committed.’

‘Louise Kelso is particularly impressive. Straight talking and does not sit on the fence – excellent technical ability and knows how to apply if for the benefit of her clients.’

‘Alan Calvert is extremely well respected in the professional negligence field offering expert advice particularly in the defence of solicitors professional negligence claims.’

‘Alan Calvert remains the giant of Professional Negligence defence in Scotland, and all those who have worked with him benefit from that. Partner Louise Kelso is very able, and combines a huge attention to detail with a strong commercial sense. She is a person who sees the solution, while understanding the problem.’

Key clients

Royal & Sun Alliance Limited (formerly Royal & Sun Alliance plc)

Aviva

Nexus Claims Management Services Limited

Zurich

MS Amlin

AXA XL

Allianz

Arch Insurance Company

Aspen Insurance UK Ltd

Axis

Channel Underwriting

CGPA Europe SA

Omny LLP

Clyde & Co

At Clyde & Co, the practice group is now led by the ‘excellent’ Anne Kentish and includes David Taylor; it is active across defender side actions against legal professionals and is regularly instructed by solicitors and advocates. Bolstered by its merger with Clyde & Co, the group is well placed to handle the full spectrum of professional indemnity claims and excels in big-ticket work across the property and construction sector – Sarah Crewes is the key contact here. At the associate level, Colette Finnieston advises surveyors and financial services sector professionals. The group has recently seen two high-level departures - former practice head Gavin Henderson  and Glasgow-based Daniela Fusi  who joined Kennedys.

Practice head(s):

Anne Kentish

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Crewes; David Taylor; Colette Finnieston

Testimonials

‘The team is very experienced in serving insurer clients and insured professionals. As well as understanding what both those types of clients need they also have deep experience of the types of case those clients tend to be involved in. That means they can deal sure-footedly with all aspects that arise in such cases. That is a very considerable strength and means cases are much more likely to proceed to an acceptable resolution.’

‘Sarah Crewes brings an admirable combination of great experience, fortitude and a welcome lightness of touch at appropriate times to the representation of insured professionals.’

‘Well-known as one of the leading lights in insurance litigation in Scotland.’

‘Anne Kentish specialises in defending claims against legal professionals including disciplinary matters. She and her team are widely recognised as the leaders in this area of work. She has huge experience of such claims and would be my ‘go-to’ solicitor if I were to be faced with such a claim.’

‘Sarah Crewes is very diligent and keeps a cool head when negotiations get heated.’

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP is ‘intellectually strong with a collaborative approach’ according to clients and has a robust claimant practice against financial services sector and construction professionals, including engineers and architects. The group is jointly led by Sandy Hastie and David Kerr, both rated by peers, and remains active in negligence claims across the construction sector – John McHugh in Edinburgh is the key contact here. Also in the team is E-Ming Fong in Glasgow who focuses on solicitors’ negligence claims, while Andrew MacKenzie was recently promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Sandy Hastie; David Kerr

Other key lawyers:

John Hughes; E-Ming Fong; Andrew Mackenzie

Testimonials

‘David Kerr and Sandy Hastie are first class – technically sound and very pragmatic.’

‘E-Ming Fong is very methodical. A highly capable individual, her case analysis is forever impressive.’

‘John McHugh is well regarded and brings vast experience to his cases.’

‘The strongest professional practice in the country. There’s a strength in depth with which others struggle to compete. Clients can be confident that they’re getting true experts in the field.’

‘The team is largely a pursuer practice but they are instructed in high-profile and complicated cases against professionals, often at the higher value end of the spectrum of these cases. David Kerr is a standout figure in this area of the law.’

‘They have brought and fought difficult cases and always get fantastic results for their clients.’

‘They are particularly strong in cases against solicitors and accountants.’

This firm is very focussed and rigorous on building and checking the facts and the legal arguments for its client. It is intellectually strong and the collaborative approach within the team can bring unexpected insights to a case.’

Key clients

Robert Kidd

Centenary 6 Limited

Scottish Legal Complaints Commission

Montbank (Loanhead) Limited

Optical Express Group

Shetland Trust

David Kennedy

Saga Group Plc

Shetland Islands Council

River Clyde Homes

Work highlights

  • Acting for the pursuer Robert Kidd in this action for $210m in damages for unlawful means conspiracy, against Lime Rock Group, Ledingham Chalmers LLP and others.
  • Acting for the pursuer in a £40m solicitors negligence claim for loss of opportunity. The underlying claim relates to a claim open to the pursuer against a liquidator and is of considerable factual and legal complexity.
  • Instructed by River Clyde Homes (“RCH”) in an £8.5m claim for damages against British Gas Trading Limited for negligence and breach of a contract for the design and installation of external wall installation (“EWI”) on three high-rise social housing developments in Greenock.

BTO Solicitors LLP

At BTO Solicitors LLP, the defender-focused practice is skilled in the full spectrum of professional negligence claims acting for solicitors, accountants, engineers and other construction professionals. Headed by Alan Eadie, noted for his ‘strong technical ability’, the group handles coverage issues and claims disputes, and has seen an increase in education related claims. Accredited specialist Lynne Cardow is recommended for her specialism in data breaches and cyber fraud. Associate Gillian Harman has experience handling D&O defences. Elsewhere, Laura Donald specialises in professional discipline.

Practice head(s):

Alan Eadie

Other key lawyers:

Lynne Cardow; Gillian Harman; Laura Donald

Testimonials

‘Alan Eadie – very experienced and strategic thinker with a good eye for budget.’

‘Lynne Cardow is a solid reliable pair of hands.’

‘The Professional Negligence Defence Team at BTO is very strong. Led by Alan Eadie with strong partner support from Lynne Cardow, there is good strength and depth at various levels.’

‘Gillian Harman has worked exclusively in the field for many years and is extremely competent.’

‘Alan Eadie is a particular expert in the field of Professional Negligence, and has a strong commercial sense combined with a strong technical ability.’

Key clients

RSA Group

Allianz Speciality and Global

Aviva plc

AXIS Specialty Europe SE

AXA XL

CFC Underwriting

Riverstone Management Ltd (formerly Brit Insurance)

Chubb Insurance Company of Europe SE

AIG Europe Limited

Markel International

DAS UK Group

Work highlights

  • Advising a global technical services provider in relation to its involvement in the construction of two Scottish hospitals (Edinburgh RHSC and Glasgow QEUH), both of which have become the subject of multiple litigations and a Public Inquiry.
  • Advising a leading Scottish University and its insurers in the defence of a circa £12m claim for breach of contract and negligence in relation to a veterinary research project carried out by the University.
  • Advising a firm of solicitors and their insurers in its defence of a circa £20m claim relating to the drafting of a lease in relation to a windfarm development. The claim relates to whether the lease protects the landlord’s interests and whether, by virtue of alleged negligence, the landlord lost an option which may have provided an opportunity to purchase a share of the windfarm.

Burness Paull LLP

Now under the leadership of experienced practitioner Ashley Jones (formerly Mawby), the practice at Burness Paull LLP handles professional negligence matters across the construction and financial services sectors, which continues to be its main areas of focus. The team leverages its regulatory practice to assist on liability disputes for solicitors, surveyors, accountants and construction professionals. Chris Mackay advises on public sector projects.

Practice head(s):

Ashley Jones

Other key lawyers:

Chris MacKay

Testimonials

‘They have dealt with the matters very efficiently and their advice and updates are very clear, focused and to the point, which is really appreciated in a busy in-house role.’

‘Ashley Jones is clearly very experienced in the professional negligence sector, and I have total confidence in her work.’

‘I really appreciate how conscious Ashley is about costs, given the relatively low value nature of the matters I am currently instructing her on.’

‘Chris Mackay is very experienced, a wise head, tremendous engagement in cases.’

Key clients

Westcrowns Limited

Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners

Work highlights

  • Acting for The Westcrowns Group in a £1m+ action against one of its former directors.
  • Acting for the Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners in a Court of Session professional negligence action.

CMS

CMS has an ‘excellent grasp of complex construction professional indemnity issues’ and is active across the renewable energy area and has seen an uptick in instructions in the financial services sector. Practice head and dual-qualified Harriet Munro is described as a ‘star’ according to clients and acts for insurance brokers, accountants and media professionals on high-value claims, while co-head Graeme MacLeod focuses on claims against solicitors. The group continues to handle policy coverage disputes. Associate Rowena Williams specialises in constructions sector claims and CAR policies.

Practice head(s):

Harriet Munro; Graeme MacLeod

Other key lawyers:

Rowena Williams

Testimonials

‘The team has deep experience of serving insurer clients and insured professionals. As well as understanding what both those types of clients need they also have impressive experience of the types of cases those clients tend to be involved in and approach each case imaginatively in terms of getting to the earliest resolution possible.’

‘Their relations with clients appear particularly close and proceed on a keen understanding of the needs the clients have and of the tools available to reach an early resolution to the disputes they are involved in.’

‘Harriet Munro is a real star. A calm, almost laid back, demeanour cleverly masks a keen mind and a fierce work ethic. These characteristics, combined with past experience of working with insurer clients in London, makes her a stand out player in the professional negligence marketplace.’

‘Rowena Williams is a brilliant lawyer to work with. Always available, very switched on and constantly thoughtful, she can be relied upon to produce work of a high quality.’

‘Excellent grasp of complex construction professional indemnity issues. Harriet Munro (partner) is an excellent communicator.’

‘Rowena Williams has a keen eye for detail and able to distill complex issues.’

Key clients

QBE

Markel International

AIG

RSA

Riverstone (formerly Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group)

AXIS (formerly Novae Group plc)

Liberty Syndicate

AXA XL (formerly XL Catlin)

WR Berkley

Munich Re

Work highlights

  • Advising the former Joint Administrators of Rangers Football Club in the defence of a multi-million pound claim relating to the sale of the club in 2012.
  • Defending a complex $210m claim against leading Scottish law firm, Ledingham Chalmers.
  • Successfully defended test case in significant group litigation against engineering firm Scott Wilson relating to an alleged failure to properly remediate contaminated land.

DWF

DWF is noted for its ‘excellent knowledge of the market’ and continues to be instructed on solicitor’s negligence claims across Scotland. The group works closely with its London office and handles large cross-border claims for accountants, surveyors, architects and charitable organisations. Overseen by Alison Grant in Glasgow, the core team features Lindsay Ogunyemi, who represents professionals in litigated claims and mediations, and the highly rated Andrew McConnell, who handles construction related claims and high-value coverage declinature claims. The group also has a growing property-related practice.

Practice head(s):

Alison Grant

Other key lawyers:

Lindsay Ogunyemi; Andrew McConnell

Testimonials

‘Alison Grant is highly experienced and a shrewd negotiator.’

‘Lindsay Ogunyemi is highly pragmatic.’

A very prominent part of the professional indemnity litigation sector. Regularly instructed in the biggest cases (see for instance the appeal to the Inner House in WPH), the team’s reputation could hardly be stronger.’

‘Andrew McConnell is a very impressive solicitor. Now splitting his time between Scotland and London, he boasts an impressive list of clients and regularly finds himself involved in very complex cases and adjudications. He combines strong technical ability with true sense of pragmatism. A formidable opponent.’

‘DWF Scotland are extremely proactive and very hands on which is vital when a Professional is facing a negligence claim regardless of the size of the Practice and DWF understand this and give support to all of our insureds in a very personal and hands on approach. They regularly provide CPD sessions and face-to-face meetings to gain a real understanding of issues our insureds face.’

‘Alison Grant continues to be the figurehead of the PI team in DWF Scotland and her years of experience bring a wealth of knowledge and support to us and our insureds with her understanding of the need to forge relationships.’

‘The DWF team in Scotland has good strength in depth, high-quality people and excellent knowledge of the market.’

‘They are very user friendly and easy to deal with.’

‘Alison Grant, the leader of the team, is exceptional. She is very friendly and good to deal with while having exceptional experience of the market.’

Key clients

RSA

Zurich

Travellers

Wimsure

Arch

Allied World

QBE

Starr Underwriting

Markel

Hiscox

Work highlights

  • Handled a case which resulted in significant clarification on Law of Prescription.
  • Representing a firm of accountants in relation to share valuation and loss of chance claim.
  • Acting for architects in high-profile hospital ventilation claim.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

At Shepherd and Wedderburn, the practice is spearheaded by Elaine Brailsford in Edinburgh and handles both pursuer and defender side professional negligence actions. The group acts for solicitors, surveyors and accountants and receives instructions from construction sector clients. Solicitor advocate Iain Drummond remains active across the construction and engineering sector, while senior associate Gina Johnson, who is ‘meticulous’ according to clients, is recommended for high-value claims against solicitors. Also in the team is Thomas McFarlane.

Practice head(s):

Elaine Brailsford

Other key lawyers:

Iain Drummond; Gina Johnson; Thomas McFarlane

Testimonials

‘Thomas Mcfarlane has such a professional, but easy and relaxed attitude, and he makes me feel so at ease and doesn’t use legal jargon. nothing is too much bother for him.’

‘The team have a broad spectrum of knowledge. They clearly understand our business and were able to achieve a reasonable settlement for us given constraints that we were working against.’

‘The billing was spread over the period of the case. Outside consultancy work from a specialist in forestry management was used to help with specialist advice.’

‘Gina Johnston helped drive the case forward , with meticulous attention to timescale and detail.’

Key clients

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

Cour Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Joint Liquidators of RFC 2012 plc (formerly The Rangers Football Club Plc) in relation to a very high profile Note for Orders under paragraph 75 of Schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986 seeking a £47.7m contribution.
  • Acting for Cour Ltd, the landlord of a major wind farm in connection with a disputed change of control of the tenant company and £18.6m professional negligence action against our client’s former solicitors

TLT

TLT is ‘good at grasping the commercial realities’ and continues to receive a steady stream of instructions from financial services sector clients, including leading names in the industry. Strengthened by its banking litigation practice, John Paul Sheridan leads the claimant focused group from Glasgow and acts for solicitors, surveyors, and architects. It has seen an increase in insurance coverage matters, with particular focus on the construction sector.

Practice head(s):

John Paul Sheridan

Testimonials

‘John Paul Sheridan has an excellent knowledge of the sector and consistently provides clear and comprehensive advice on both straightforward and complex matters, balancing prospects of success with commerciality and risks.’

‘John Paul Sheridan is knowledgeable, approachable and helpful, and advice is always of a high quality with strategy focused on achieving the best possible resolution for the client.’

‘Very able legally and very diligent in their approach to cases on which they are instructed.’

‘Good at grasping the commercial realities and advising clients appropriately.’

‘John Paul Sheridan is exceptionally good. Has a very sound grasp of the law and works extremely hard in pursuing his clients’ interests but at the same time is always conscious of the commercial realities. Very approachable and always available to provide advice.’

‘The professional negligence team at TLT Scotland offers excellent client service – the team is friendly, approachable and efficient and advice is always clear, detailed and considered.’

Key clients

National Westminster Bank plc

UPS

WHSmith plc

Fitness First Ltd