Next Generation Partners

Local government in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Highlighted as having ‘unrivalled expertise in Scotland’, the local government practice group at Brodies LLP has a deep bench of expertise covering large-scale infrastructure, energy and construction sector projects, advising on all manners of contracts, governance and internal investigations. Jackie McGuire, who is rated by peers and clients, leads the group from Glasgow and advises local authorities on social housing and infrastructure projects, while key partner Niall McLean focuses on governance matters and contentious issues facing councils. The team continues to act for leading public sector clients, receiving a steady stream of matters related to planning, employment and judicial reviews. Sarah-Jane McArthur is also a noted practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Jackie McGuire

Other key lawyers:

Niall McLean; Sarah-Jane McArthur

Testimonials

‘Jackie McGuire is a standout legal adviser. Her breadth of knowledge is very impressive allied to sound judgement and advice. She is approachable and manages to provide timely and considered advice that is tailored to the needs of the client.’

‘Brodies’ Local Government practice have excelled at all the things that should be simple and obvious, but aren’t always evident when obtaining external legal advice – for example, they have really made an effort to understand what our organisation does and how we are governed; they provide targeted advice which is well written and suitably succinct; and they stick to agreed timescales.’

‘Niall McLean is our lead relationship partner, and is attentive and down to earth. Niall strikes a great balance between having a steady, calm demeanour yet having a positive, can-do attitude. We enjoy working with him because he has both the technical legal skills and the people skills to ensure the work is executed to a high standard.

‘The practice has a number of highly experienced and leading individuals in this field, which in the local government sector is unrivalled to most, if not all of its competitors. Jackie McGuire’s practical experience as a formal Head of Legal brings practical understanding to the legal advice that is provided.’

‘Unrivalled expertise in Scotland for high-quality local government matters – definitely the first choice for advice, both contentious and non-contentious, for private client and local government.’

‘The Brodies team contains individuals who have worked in local government which gives them a very strong understanding of the work and challenges faced by the client. They manage to provide an excellent range of well coordinated input to complex areas of work reflecting the huge range of different issues that local government work can involve.’

Key clients

Aberdeen City Council

Glasgow City Council

City of Edinburgh Council

Stirling Council

Perth & Kinross Council

Argyll and Bute Council

East Dunbartonshire Council

East Renfrewshire Council

Falkirk Council

North Lanarkshire Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Falkirk Council and continue to be instructed in complex projects such as the delivery of new roads infrastructure, which require us to field multi-disciplinary team support.
  • Advising Argyll and Bute Council in high-profile, high-value matters.
  • Advising City of Edinburgh Council in relation to the establishment of the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) is a key, innovative initiative in the Council’s programme to tackle climate change.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP has strengthened its local government offering with the addition of Richard Lockhart to its rank, joining from Scottish Futures Trust at the beginning of the year. The team continues to have strength representing local authorities, public agencies and organisations across a variety of matters, including corporate restructurings, governance structures and property issues. Practice head Graeme Palmer has expertise in public procurement matters. Other key members of the team include Hazel Moffat, who handles work in the contentious space, and senior associate Emma Maxwell, who specialises in charity law matters pertaining to local government clients.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Palmer

Other key lawyers:

Emma Maxwell; Hazel Moffat; Richard Lockhart

Key clients

Glasgow City Council

East Dunbartonshire Council

Fife Cultural Trust

Perth & Kinross Council

Renfrewshire Council

Fife Sports & Leisure Trust

South Lanarkshire Council

Aberdeen City Council

North Ayrshire Council

Fusion Assets

Work highlights

  • Acting for North Ayrshire Council in relation to the £251.5m Ayrshire Growth Deal (funded jointly by the UK Treasury and Scottish Government) in relation to a significant development of the Irvine Harbour area.
  • Acting for Fusion Assets, a wholly-owned subsidiary of North Lanarkshire Council, in relation to procurement aspects of a joint venture to be established for the development of industrial units.
  • Acting for Perth & Kinross Council on two significant value DBDA projects with hub East Central Scotland.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern has a reputable local government practice covering public sector regeneration projects, transportation and public procurement for local authority clients. The team is experienced across the energy and education sectors, handling commercial property matters and contentious issues. Gillian Harkness-McKinlay, who joined from Burness Paull LLP, is noted for her expertise in charity law, and advises public and third sector clients. State aid is also a core specialism of the team, which is headed by Audrey Cameron.

Practice head(s):

Audrey Cameron

Other key lawyers:

Gillian Harkness-McKinlay

Testimonials

‘Audrey Cameron is standout when it comes to local government work.’ 

Team has good knowledge of our operating environment.’

Audrey Cameron has an excellent knowledge of the transport sector.’

Key clients

21 Local Authorities

Fife Council

Midlothian Council

City of Edinburgh Council

Live Borders

Jobs and Business Glasgow

Clyde Gateway

Woking Borough Council

Glasgow City Council

North Lanarkshire Council

Work highlights

  • Acting in a competition action for 22 local authorities in a unique group litigation in the Court of Session arising from the pan-European Truck Cartel.
  • A cross-firm team of specialists has been advising in merger between Shetland College and NAFC Marine Centre, which would be the first of its kind under the existing legislative framework.
  • Acting for Fife Council in relation to a collaborative project with Fife College in relation to the creation of the Dunfermline Learning Campus, Scotland’s first “super-campus”.

CMS

At CMS, the practice is known for its infrastructure and construction offering handling complex planning projects, contractual work and inquiries for city and rural council clients. Overseen from Glasgow by Mark McMurray and Ailsa Ritchie, the team is involved in property transactions and has seen an uptick in economic regeneration projects. The transport sector continues to be an area of strength for the team. Jae Fassam is the key name for government client pension schemes, while senior associate Keith Campbell covers contentious planning issues.

Practice head(s):

Ailsa Ritchie; Mark McMurray

Other key lawyers:

Keith Campbell; Jae Fassam

Key clients

Stirling Council

City of Edinburgh

Falkirk Council

Renfrewshire Council

East Dunbartonshire Council

Glasgow City Council

North Lanarkshire Council

Fife Pension Fund (Administered by Fife Council)

East Renfrewshire Council

Tayside Pension Fund (Administered by Dundee City Council)

Work highlights

  • Acting for Falkirk Council on the Grangemouth Flood Protection Scheme which involves 27km of flood defences and is one of the biggest projects of its type in the UK.
  • Advising East Dunbartonshire Council in relation to its Affordable Housing Programme for the construction of over 3,000 new homes.
  • Supporting the City of Edinburgh Council on the extension of the Edinburgh Tram to Newhaven.

Harper Macleod LLP

At Harper Macleod LLP, the local government’s practice continues to be instructed on several high-profile projects across public procurement, housing and contentious and non-contentious planning law for a number of leading local authority clients. The group is led by Jennifer Jack, who handles the contentious offering, while co-head in Glasgow James McMorrow leads the transactional aspects, covering commercial contracts and regulatory issues. In Inverness, Jill Fryer advises on subsidy control issues. State aid advice also features in the case highlights.

Practice head(s):

James McMorrow; Jennifer Jack

Other key lawyers:

Jill Fryer

Testimonials

‘Really knowledgeable about public sector contracts. Have developed innovative clauses to reflect the current construction market to benefit both parties e.g. contracts of purchase for off site works and contract amendments to deal with the volatility in the construction market.’

Key clients

Glasgow City Council

City of Edinburgh Council

North Ayrshire Council

Inverclyde Council

Highland Council

Shetland Islands Council

Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council)

North Lanarkshire Council

East Renfrewshire Council

Dumfries & Galloway Council

Fife Council

West Lothian Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Fife Council on the procurement of the Leven Rail Bridge project, a complex, high-value and high-profile project, which will improve the Leven Rail Link and associated programmes and bring some £100m of investment to the Levenmouth area of Fife.
  • Advising Dumfries & Galloway Council in relation to a range of complex, sensitive and high profile matters arising from the suspension of the care provider’s registration at Singleton Park Care Home.
  • Advising Inverclyde Council in relation to its investment, alongside Peel Ports Clydeport, to extend current facilities at Inchgreen Dry Dock, Greenock under the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

Morton Fraser

Morton Fraser has a track record advising on a range of complex matters for local government clients and public bodies spanning judicial reviews, litigation and planning issues; in a representative matter, the team is acting for Unison in Scotland's largest equal pay litigation, led by David Hossack. The group has considerable expertise in planning permission work, where practice head Rory Alexander is the key name advising on housing and regeneration projects.

Practice head(s):

Rory Alexander

Other key lawyers:

David Hossack

Key clients

The City of Edinburgh Council

Glasgow City Council

Aberdeen City Council

Orkney Islands Council

East Lothian Council

Highland Council

West Lothian Council

Midlothian Council

Stirling Council

Moray Council

Work highlights

  • Currently advising The City of Edinburgh Council  on a major residential led development at East of Millburn Tower, Edinburgh, the so-called ‘Garden District’.
  • Instructed on behalf of Unison in relation to equal pay claims brought by its members against Glasgow City Council and associated employers.
  • Advising Aberdeen City Council Major housing and regeneration project where we are supporting the Council’s strategic aim of adding 2000 houses to its social housing stock .

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Shepherd and Wedderburn‘s local government practice is now under the leadership of  the ‘well-respectedStephen Colliston, and has demonstrable strength in the real estate, construction and infrastructure sectors for councils and ALEO’s. The group receives instructions on commercial contracts, governance matters and disputes. Education sector work is handled by Neil Maclean . Elsewhere, Euan Murray rejoined the firm as and is recommended for procurement and large-scale energy projects.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Colliston

Other key lawyers:

Neil Maclean; Euan Murray

Testimonials

‘Very good performance and very respectful with the company’s decisions and backing up and defending such decisions.’

Key clients

West Lothian Council

Fife Council

The City of Edinburgh Council

South Ayrshire Council

North Lanarkshire Council

Acciona Industrial SA

South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture Limited

East Ayrshire Council

Renfrewshire Leisure Limited

Enjoy East Lothian Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising South Ayrshire Council on seven hub DBDA projects across education, leisure, housing and public realm sectors.
  • Advising The City of Edinburgh Council on the first component of the £1.3bn redevelopment of Granton waterfront, Edinburgh.
  • Advising Acciona Industrial SA on one of the biggest local authority projects to close in the UK this year, the North London ERF Project.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard receives a steady stream of public sector instructions handling both contentious and non-contentious matters for commercial clients and local authorities. Suzanne Moir, who joined from DWF, advises on energy and transport sector work, while Sarah Baillie handles governance matters.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Moir; Sarah Baillie; Helena Brown; Ed Watt

Testimonials

Very flexible approach. Understand the political background to decisions.

‘Suzanne Moir is excellent in providing prompt and practical solutions and advice.’

Key clients

Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council

WasteServ Malta

Zero Waste Scotland and various local authorities in Scotland, including Perth and Kinross, Stirling, Clackmannanshire, Falkirk

Renfrewshire Council

Dundee City Council and Angus Council

Scottish Enterprise

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL)

Circularity Scotland Limited

Clackmannanshire Council

Angus Council

Moray Council

South of Scotland Enterprise

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

1Aldi Stores Limited

Scottish Future Trusts

Work highlights

  • Advised Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) across its operations, major infrastructure projects and construction developments this year, including various public law, freedom of information, planning, procurement, state aid, real estate, commercial and environmental matters.
  • Advising Dundee City Council in connection with the procurement of a new EfW Facility in Dundee.
  • Acting for Aberdeen City Council on the procurement of a joint venture partner to deliver its vision of an Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub.

MacRoberts LLP

MacRoberts LLP is frequently instructed by central government bodies and local councils on developments, procurement and employment-related matters, as well as social care contracting which has seen an increase. Duncan Osler handles large-scale projects. Gwen Murphy joined as senior associate from Inverclyde Council and advises on state aid, procurement regulation and governance issues.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Osler

Other key lawyers:

Gwen Murphy

Key clients

Scottish Water

North Ayrshire Council

Glasgow City Council

Police Scotland

Student Loans Company

Coalition of Care Providers in Scotland

Care Inspectorate

NHS Monklands Hospital

Scottish Environmental Protection Agency

Scottish Canals

Work highlights

  • Appointed to advise NHS Monklands Hospital  on the new £450m Monklands hospital.
  • Appointed to be on the panel of legal advisers for Scottish Water.
  • Appointed to Glasgow City Council’s Legal Services Framework for Lots 3 and Lots 7.