Professional negligence in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Exhibiting ‘great experience, procedural knowledge, calmness and professionalism under extreme pressure’, Brodies LLP emphasises defender side actions, most notably in the real estate and construction space. Regularly wielding its strengths in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, the group is led by Alan Calvert and Alisdair Matheson, whose practices are enhanced by their construction sector knowledge. They act for an assortment of construction professionals, accountants and surveyors, as well as solicitors. Louise Kelso primarily handles claims emanating from the financial services and education sectors. At associate level, Laura Fell and James Jerman routinely provide key support in complex disputes.

Practice head(s):

Alan Calvert; Alisdair Matheson

Other key lawyers:

Louise Kelso; Laura Fell; James Jerman

Testimonials

‘The team led by Alan Calvert is excellent. Their diligence and expertise in gathering all the evidence necessary to present to my professional body was outstanding. The advice they gave was spot on. This is a very impressive team.’

‘Alan Calvert is a very astute and thoughtful lawyer who can see the case from every angle to ensure that the client is getting the best advice which leads to the best outcome.’

‘The people we work with at Brodies are proactive and personable. They are flexible too, being happy to take discrete pieces of work or run whole cases on our behalf. We find the team at Brodies responsive and helpful.’

‘I have been particularly impressed with professional negligence partner Louise Kelso. Even on relatively low value matters she had a grasp of the details many partners would have to ask their associate/assistant about!’

‘The team members with whom we dealt with were not only insightful and highly skilled, but practical and solutions-driven.’

‘What is best about Brodies’ is the people and the relationships which they build and stay close to. Can place trust in them to deliver on the most complex of matters. Special mention of respect for Louise Kelso and Alan Calvert.’

‘Alan Calvert stands out as an individual you want to represent you with his combination of legal, construction and insurance knowledge. He has an excellent way of asking the right questions and challenging issues.’

‘Alisdair Matheson is an excellent partner and runs a strong team. Alisdair is approachable and excellent at getting to the issues of a case quickly and economically.’

‘Brodies showed great experience, procedural knowledge, calmness and professionalism under extreme pressure.’

Key clients

RSA

Aviva

Nexus Claims Management Services Limited

Zurich

MS Amlin

AXA XL

Allianz

Arch

Aspen Insurance UK Ltd

Axis

Channel Underwriting

CGPA Europe SA

Clyde & Co LLP

Under the leadership of Gavin Henderson, the practice at Clyde & Co LLP deals with a broad range of professional indemnity claims, excelling in big-ticket claims. While the group defends claims across the full spectrum of professional services, Henderson has built a reputation in high-end construction matters, which are handled on behalf of a mixture of architects, engineers, property developers and surveyors. Anne Kentish remains a ‘go-to solicitor for claims against legal professionals and disciplinary work’. Another noteworthy practitioner is Sarah Crewes, who is frequently instructed by leading insurers to defend professionals in the financial services space.

Practice head(s):

Gavin Henderson

Other key lawyers:

Anne Kentish; Sarah Crewes

Testimonials

‘The firm has unrivalled experience in professional negligence insurance work. In my experience, instructions to counsel are thorough and tactical nous evident.’

‘Anne Kentish remains the ‘go-to’ solicitor for claims against legal professionals and disciplinary work. Gavin Henderson has considerable experience, in particular in claims against construction professionals and accountants. Both are excellent solicitors and bring a wealth of experience to the defence team in any claim.’

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP fields ‘a very strong team of commercial litigators working in the professional negligence area’, acting primarily for pursuers. The team is jointly headed up by the ‘absolutely exceptional' Sandy Hastie and David Kerr, who is ‘utterly unflappable and insightful’, particularly for financial and accountancy matters. Meanwhile, John McHugh specialises in assisting construction sector clients, E-Ming Fong primarily focuses on solicitors' negligence claims, and senior associate Andrew Mackenzie has carved out expertise in the banking and financial services sectors.

Practice head(s):

Sandy Hastie; David Kerr

Other key lawyers:

John McHugh; Andrew MacKenzie; E-Ming Fong; Fiona Pask; Laura McCorquodale

Testimonials

‘The team were thorough, well prepared for the discussions I had by telephone and video conference, and knowledgeable.’

‘A vastly experienced team that always delivers an assured service. They are a stand out in the marketplace. They are innovative in their use of technology to run cases and will always deliver clear advice to their clients about all aspects of their case.’

‘Sandy Hastie and Laura McCorquodale are both stars in the team. Sandy brings a huge amount of experience, and intelligence to all of his cases and is consistently impressive. Laura is a dynamic force who is great with clients, experienced in running big cases, and always proactive in managing clients’ expectations and understanding of the issues.’

‘Harper Macleod field a very strong team of commercial litigators working in the professional negligence area.’

‘Sandy Hastie is an absolutely exceptional solicitor. His knowledge of the case, his strategic thinking and work ethic are second to none.’

‘David Kerr is also a superb solicitor, especially in relation to financial or accountancy-related matters. He is utterly unflappable, insightful and gets the job done – a pleasure to deal with.’

‘The team at HM have a broad base of expertise but, in relation to professional negligence actions, their expertise is particularly well-founded. They act (in my experience at least) mainly for pursuers but the claims are very often at the more complicated and higher value end of the spectrum. They have particular expertise when it comes to actions involving the negligence of solicitors and accountants.’

‘David Kerr and his team in Glasgow are excellent. He is ably assisted by excellent lawyers like Andrew MacKenzie. They are involved in litigation at all levels of the court system, up to and including litigating in the UK Supreme Court. In Edinburgh, the team is genuinely excellent and is involved in most of the high-value cases in the Court of Session.’

Key clients

Centenary 6 Limited

Scottish Legal Complaints Commission

Montbank (Loanhead) Limited

Optical Express Group

Shetland Trust

Saga Group Plc

Shetland Islands Council

5 PM

Work highlights

  • Acting for the pursuer in an action for $210m in damages for unlawful means conspiracy, against Lime Rock Group, Ledingham Chalmers LLP and others.
  • Acting for the pursuer, Centenary 6 Limited, in a £40m solicitors negligence claim for loss of opportunity.
  • Acted for Scottish Legal Complaints Commission in six appeals to the Inner House of the Court of Session relating to solicitor complaints.

BLM

The practice at BLM is instructed by a broad variety of insurers, brokers, underwriters, reinsurers and corporate clients, attracting plaudits for its ‘consideration for the operational, tactical and strategic issues’ associated with professional negligence claims. Jointly led by Grant Maclean and David Taylor, the group defends claims running the gamut of professions, spanning architects, engineers, surveyors, insurance brokers, financial advisers, accountants and solicitors. Also active in the space are healthcare expert Greg MacDougall, insurance specialist Frank Hughes and the highly regarded Karen Dance.

Practice head(s):

Grant Maclean; David Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Greg MacDougall; Frank Hughes; Karen Dance

Testimonials

‘The team approached the matter in a systematic and disarming way, having consideration for the operational, tactical and strategic issues likely to arise. We were particularly impressed with the entrepreneurial way in which the lawyers addressed our long term commercial interests.’

‘Karen Dance has excellent knowledge of our niche insurance business handling professional negligence claims.’

‘They are noted for their experience and astuteness in particular.’

Key clients

Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians

BTO Solicitors LLP

Alongside its panel appointed work, the defender-focused practice at BTO Solicitors LLP acts for a range of professional indemnity and D&O insurers in the defence of claims and coverage issues. Alan Eadie - considered ‘a star individual amongst solicitors doing professional negligence work in Scotland’ - leads the ‘diverse and multi-skilled' team, with coverage spanning accountants, solicitors and advocates, architects, construction professionals, engineers, and surveyors. Lynne Cardow, who is ‘an up-and-coming star in the professional negligence field’, increasingly acts in the defence of claims concerning cyber fraud perpetrated against professional companies.

Practice head(s):

Alan Eadie

Other key lawyers:

Lynne Cardow; Gillian Harman; Jilly Petrie; Fraser Hopkins

Testimonials

‘The team is diverse and multi-skilled. The key insurance partners: Alan Eadie, Jilly Petrie and Fraser Hopkins are experienced and highly skilled in the Prof Neg field. They are very aware of the pro’s and con’s of a case and their pragmatic approach leads to appropriate and measured solutions for their clients.’

‘Alan Eadie is a very experienced and respected lawyer. He is very budget aware and understands the drivers on the market. He works for many of the large insurers and is indefatigable in all his efforts.’

‘Jilly Petrie is a driven and focused individual and has a solid prof neg background. She is always prepared to take issues head on but has the experience to assess and advise on liability and risk whenever necessary.’

‘Lynne Cardow is an up and coming star in the professional negligence field and is very driven and able. She maintains very high standards of customer facing skills whilst being very aware and focused on the key issues of her cases.’

‘Alan Eadie is, in my view, a star individual amongst solicitors doing professional negligence work in Scotland. He is thoughtful, hugely committed and tenacious – a very good man to have on your side.’

‘Strong lead partners experienced in professional negligence claims, including Lynne Cardow and Alan Eadie in particular. ’

‘A people centred organisation based around traditional values and customer care. Responsive and caring quickly becoming a trusted adviser and part of the team.’

Key clients

RSA Group

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 large accountant and auditor company on its defence of a £5m claim for negligence in relation to the preparation of a group company audit.
  • Advising a global technical services provider on its involvement in the construction of two Scottish hospitals (Edinburgh RHSC and Glasgow QEUH) both of which have become the subject of multiple disputes and now a Public Inquiry.
  • Advising a firm of solicitors on a multi-million-pound claim relating to legal advice in relation to a wind farm project.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP has a notable track record in handling professional negligence claims in the construction and financial services sectors, particularly for construction professionals. Expanding the group's capabilities in August 2020, the arrival of Ashley Mawby  brought a well of experience in claims related to solicitors, accountants, engineers, architects and surveyors. Working alongside Mawby is construction expert Chris MacKay, whose personal practice features niche expertise in matters arising from public sector projects.

Practice head(s):

Ashley Mawby

Other key lawyers:

Chris MacKay

Testimonials

‘Key strengths are knowledge, dedication and and attention to detail of the lawyers.’

Key clients

GMB Union

Fife Council

Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners

Work highlights

  • Acting for Fife Council in a professional negligence claim against its former solicitors arising from a failure to raise an action timeously against engineers in relation to a flood prevention scheme.
  • Acting for a contractor in the defence of a complex multi-million pound Court of Session action raised by Multiplex Construction Europe Limited against them and nine other defenders in respect of alleged defects at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
  • Acting for a property developer in a claim against his former solicitors arising from a failure to preserve the client’s right to pursue a financial adviser resulting in a large six figure loss to the client.

CMS

CMS is active in a ‘broad range of professional negligence work - in particular for construction and legal professionals’. It acts for insurers in a diverse set of claims against engineers, architects, surveyors, contractors, architects, project managers, solicitors, advocates and accountants. Revered as ‘one of the leading construction negligence solicitors in Scotland’, practice co-head Harriet Munro has an ‘appreciation of insurance aspects which is rare amongst Scottish solicitors’. Fellow co-head Graeme MacLeod specialises in solicitor and advocate negligence claims as well as financial services-related cases.

Practice head(s):

Harriet Munro; Graeme MacLeod

Other key lawyers:

Rory Thomson

Testimonials

‘Very experienced professional negligence team. Well known for their broad range of professional negligence work – in particular for construction and legal professionals.’

‘Harriet Munro is one of the leading construction negligence solicitors in Scotland. Having worked in London for a time, has an appreciation of insurance aspects which is rare amongst Scottish solicitors.’

‘Very switched on to insurance client needs and demands and bring an excellent overall approach to actually resolving disputes at the earliest possible stage by the means best suited to the merits of each dispute.’

‘Harriet Munro is a real star. She knows insurance client needs inside out and brings an unmatched strategic approach to every dispute.’

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 a leading Scottish law firm.
  • Defended a test case in group litigation against an engineering company relating to an alleged failure to properly remediate contaminated land.

DWF

DWF has ‘long experience in the field of professional negligence, in particular negligence claims against solicitors and advocates’. Collaborating closely with the firm’s London office, the group, which is led by 'great leader' Alison Grant, is frequently instructed by major London-based insurers and brokers. In addition, it has seen an increase in construction-related claims, regularly acting on behalf of architects, engineers and D&B contractors. Other names to note are Lindsay Ogunyemi, who is particularly well-versed in complex tax-related negligence claims, as well as 'construction expert' Andrew McConnell, who was promoted to director in January 2021.

Practice head(s):

Alison Grant

Other key lawyers:

Lindsay Ogunyemi; Andrew McConnell

Testimonials

‘I have an extremely strong working relationship with DWF LLP, Scotland in Glasgow. They are very professional and have amazing levels of expertise in all areas relating to Professional Indemnity Claims.’

‘Andrew McConnell is their construction expert and I would be more than happy for Andrew to work on any of our constructions related claims no matter the size or how complex the claim might be.’

‘Lindsay Ogumyeni would be my go to for accountants and other related services claims. Lindsay is very experienced and competent in this area.’

Alison Grant runs the team and is a great leader.’

‘DWF are highly regarded in this field. The team, headed by Alison Grant, has long experience in the field of professional negligence, in particular negligence claims against solicitors and advocates (barristers).’

‘Alison Grant is simply one of the best solicitors working in this area in Scotland, and has a wealth of experience. She and Andrew McConnell, a member of the team, are quick to identify the important issues in the case and to concentrate their efforts on these to get the best outcomes possible for the insured.’

‘The real strength is the leadership of Alison Grant. She is vastly experienced, pragmatic, highly skilled and friendly too.’

‘Director Lindsay Ogunyemi has been our lead contact for many years. She has an excellent knowledge of her market. She also has great “people skills” showing great empathy to clients. Her advice is solid and commercially astute.’

‘DWF Professional Liability team headed by Alison Grant in Scotland provides a first class service to professionals facing claims. Realistic in action and pragmatic in advice and actions.’

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Active on both the pursuer and defender side, the professional negligence team at Shepherd and Wedderburn is fronted by Elaine Brailsford, who mainly pursues professional negligence claims against solicitors and surveyors. Experienced solicitor advocate Iain Drummond is particularly active in professional negligence cases arising from the construction and engineering sectors. Also providing key support in this area is Thomas McFarlane, who receives plaudits for his ‘superb manner and way of making clients feel at ease’.

Practice head(s):

Elaine Brailsford

Other key lawyers:

Iain Drummond; Thomas McFarlane; Gina Johnston

Testimonials

‘Even considering the last year has meant so many changes in the way we all work and live, hats off to these guys, they have gone above and beyond in their correspondence.’

‘Thomas McFarlane has a superb manner and way of making client feel at ease. Very easy to correspond with and very quick to respond to any queries.’

‘Very effective communications and cooperation between key legal staff and financial advisers is a notable strength.’

‘As well as obviously having formal meetings, it is good to have lawyers who can on be comfortable and relaxed also. A positive way of working with clients where appropriate.’

‘In a somewhat unusual and complicated matter with a time limit for action imminent the team pulled out all the stops and brought a very stressful matter to a most satisfactory conclusion.’

Key clients

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

Cour Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Joint Liquidators of RFC 2012 plc (formerly The Rangers Football Club Plc) in relation to a very high-profile £56m professional negligence action against the former administrators of RFC.
  • Acting for the landlord of a major wind farm in a £26.34m professional negligence action against its former solicitors in respect of defective drafting of the wind farm lease.
  • Acting for the executors of an estate in relation to the pursuance of a professional negligence claim against a firm of solicitors acting on their behalf for the failure to properly wind up the estate and to pay the IHT due to HMRC during a period of nine years within which they were instructed to do so.

Balfour+Manson LLP

At Balfour+Manson LLP, David Flint and Elaine Motion are the key contacts for professional negligence work. The group has notable expertise in claims against solicitors, accountants, architects and surveyors.

Practice head(s):

David Flint; Elaine Motion

TLT

Collaborating closely with the firm’s other UK offices, especially its network of banking litigation specialists, the claimant-focused team at TLT in Scotland is notably active in the financial services space, where it acts for a range of lenders and clearing banks in high-value claims. John Paul Sheridan, who heads up the group, also has a track record in claims against solicitors, surveyors and architects.

Practice head(s):

John Paul Sheridan

Key clients

National Westminster Bank plc

UPS

WHSmith plc

Fitness First Ltd