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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow
  2. Commercial property: leisure and hospitality
  3. Commercial property: retail
  4. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  5. Leading individuals
  6. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Noted for its 'strength in depth', Brodies LLP fields a team of 'industry-leading professionals, who are absolutely dedicated to their job and their clients'. It operates at the very top end of the investment and development market across a number of sectors, such as leisure, retail, offices and student accommodation. It also excels in commercial lettings, real estate finance and tax. Associate Elaine Petterson has extensive experience of the acquisition, disposal and management of multiple large-scale real estate assets. Richard Whyte and Elizabeth Ward are 'both technically superb, commercially astute and very easy to work with'. Johane Murray is 'able to see the full picture' and has 'a huge amount of personal charm and charisma'. Nick Scott, senior solicitor David Bales and others recently acted for Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in the £71m sale of Saltire Court in Edinburgh to the private office of the Al Rasheed family. Another highlight saw Scott and associate Clare Dewar advise Swiss fund manager AFIAA on the circa £28m sale of Quartmermile Two in Edinburgh to UBS. James Roscoe focuses on property investment and property finance, and acts for clients such as Blackstone, Citigroup and TPG Capital. Chris McDaid is assisting Brookfield with growing its student accommodation sector portfolio. Helen Abrams, Richard Smith, Michael Stephen and Colin Morrison (who heads up the retail sector, and hotels and leisure practices) are also recommended.

Burness Paull LLP 'compares favourably with most of the top law firms in the UK' in the commercial property arena; 'it always provides good strategic advice, rather than batting back queries to clients, looking for instructions'. Led by John Strachan, the team performs strongly in marquee acquisitions and disposals, headline development and regeneration projects and high-profile corporate occupier matters. It is also becoming increasingly active in the burgeoning Build to Rent sector. It is highly active in the retail sector, as well as hotels and leisure industry; one name to note in this area is Graeme Bradshaw, who is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a commercial leasing law specialist, and made partner in August 2017. Richard Rennie and senior solicitor Hannah Richards acted for Supermarket Income REIT in its £50m acquisition of a Tesco Extra store in Cumbernauld town centre. Rennie and Richards were also part of the team which advised Mars Pension Fund on the circa £100m sale of Livingston Designer Outlet to Blackstone. Nicholas Naddell advised Pace Trustees Limited/PGIM Real Estate on the £525m acquisition and leaseback of a portfolio of hotels in the UK regions; this was the largest hotel deal in 2017. Steven McKinlay has particular experience of assisting public sector clients with reorganising and restructuring their property portfolios. Peter Chambers is recommended for his commercial and residential development expertise. Tamar Tammes, Nicky Clemence and Scott Peterkin are also recommended.

CMS' 'proactive' team consists of 'industry experts, who are responsive, knowledgeable and commercial'; 'its ability to simplify matters to focus on the key points is excellent'. The firm's merger with Nabarro and Olswang in May 2017 expanded the breadth and depth of its offering to clients in the UK and further afield internationally. The firm acts for an impressively broad range of clients, including energy sector companies, hotels and leisure sector businesses, financial institutions and public sector organisations. Allan Wernham, who heads up the Scottish real estate team, specialises in real estate development and investment, with a particular interest in regeneration projects. Wernham, Stuart Tait, Roland Smyth and others are acting for TH Real Estate in the £1bn Edinburgh St James redevelopment. In a notable matter in the energy sector, David McGowan and Doug Land were the lead advisers to EDF Energy Renewables Holding Limited on the acquisition of 11 wind farm sites from Partnership for Renewables. Paul Carter and senior associate Mike McColl acted for UBS in its high-profile acquisition of the Quartermile Two office building from Swiss fund AFIAA. Darina Kerr's experience includes development, investment acquisitions and disposals, and portfolio management. Margaret McLean, who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law, has specialist knowledge of the student accommodation sector. Kirsten Partridge made partner in 2017.  Other key figures include David Davidson, Graeme Bruce, Iain Doran, Timothy Pitt, Chris Rae and senior associate Gary Georgeson.

Dentons expanded its coverage of the UK market, when it merged with Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens LLP in 2017. A sizeable number of the Scottish team are dual-qualified in English law and Scottish law, and a significant proportion of the work it handles is written under English law. Colin Keenan has a notable English and Scottish practice, with particular experience of transactions involving shopping centres (acquisitions, disposals and asset management). Simon Etchells advises English and Scottish clients on projects UK-wide involving cinemas, mixed-use and industrial developments. Barry McKeown is at the forefront of the team's advice to clients such as Sigma Capital Group and Gatehouse Bank on the delivery of new PRS housing units across the UK. Also recommended is Allan Cairns, who assisted Alpha Real Capital with the Scottish property aspects of a circa £125m sale and leaseback transaction involving 109 care homes across the UK, including 15 in Scotland.  Gordon Aitken (who co-heads the practice with Etchells) led a team, which included director Susan Gillon and senior associate Sheena Mackintosh, in the advice to Lime Property Fund on its circa £52.8m acquisition of the EcoCampus at Hamilton International Park. The firm has a strong track record in the retail sector; in 2017, a highlight involved acting for Long Row Properties Limited in its £25m acquisition of Debenhams department store in Nottingham. Elsewhere, McKeown and Gillian Downie are key figures in the specialist housebuilder unit which generates work from clients such as Barratt Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon Homes.

In addition to being embedded in the Scottish market, Pinsent Masons LLP's team leads on some of the most significant, complex and headline matters in the wider UK. Katharine Hardie heads up the group, which is among the market-leaders for commercial and residential development, commercial occupier work, high-end investment acquisitions and disposals, and portfolio transactions. Neil Hogg, who is particularly active in the student accommodation and hotels sectors, led a multidisciplinary team, which advised The Ability Group on the development of a new Hampton by Hilton Hotel at Edinburgh Airport. Jennifer Ballantyne leads the circa 40-strong specialist energy property team across the UK (of which approximately half are based in Scotland). Ballantyne, senior associates Andrea McLellan, Margaret McNeil and others are acting for Nanclach Limited in the development, sale and financing of the 39.1MW Tom Nan Clach onshore wind farm. Another name to note in the team is Alan Cook, who was the lead adviser to Legal & General Pensions Limited on the forward funding of the 190,000 sq ft office development at New Waverley, Edinburgh, which is pre-let to the UK government. Ewan Alexander, Paul Connolly, Richard Linton, Tom Ferrier and legal director Adrienne Quin are among other highly rated practitioners.

Shepherd and Wedderburn's position at the premium end of the market sees it act for some of the largest and most active housebuilders, funds, banks, investors and retailers. In the retail sector, it advises British Land Plc on the asset management of Fort Kinnaird retail park in Edinburgh and Glasgow Fort, which are owned by Gibraltar Limited Partners and Hercules Unit Trust respectively.  Another area of strength is in the hotels and leisure sector; Jamie Grant and Hugh Smith head up the firm's offering in this space. Recent highlights in this area included advising BDL Select Operations Limited on the £5.4m sale of the Hilton Doubletree hotel in Dundee, and acting for BlackRock in the Scottish aspects of its £23m acquisition of the Stonegate pub portfolio. The firm's development work spans mixed-use and residential developments, retail sector schemes and offices, among others. Scott Ritchie recently acted for large-scale residential investor Get Living in its acquisition of a 7.5 acre site in Glasgow's Merchant City; this is one of the largest Build to Rent schemes in Scotland to date. Elaine Todd and others are advising Hermes Investment Management on the largest current speculative office development in Edinburgh, to be known as Capital Square. Mitchell co-heads the practice with Nick Ryden. James Dobie, Andrew Hall and Caroline Shand are among many other notable individuals.

Addleshaw Goddard inherited HBJ Gateley's real estate team, which is led by Simon Ede, following the merger between the two firms in 2017. Now part of a much larger firm, the group is now better-placed to service a wide spectrum of UK and international clients, which includes funders, private developer investors, landlords and corporate occupiers, and fund clients. Ede's group includes Alison Newton, who has a wealth of experience in multi-use regeneration schemes and UK portfolio acquisitions. Neil Addis has expertise in investment and development matters, as well as commercial leasing work. Kirsty Nicholson is one of a number of individuals in the team with experience of undertaking English real estate work; a recent highlight involved acting for Staycity in deals for purpose-built aparthotels in Manchester, Edinburgh and Liverpool (and also the completion of leases for new aparthotels in London, Manchester and York). In 2017, Alastair Cowan led a multidisciplinary team, which acted for Harwood Mouse Two Limited in the £48m sale to Accrue of nine SPVs owning a mixed-use portfolio of 18 industrial and office properties. Carrie Armstrong, legal director Joanne Moynan are also recommended.

Anderson Strathern provides a full service to clients, with its work covering property investment, commercial and residential development, commercial leasing, property finance, and portfolio management. Although its team undertakes work across a wide range of sectors, it has a particularly strong profile in healthcare, education, energy, retail and leisure. Anne McGregor, Fiona Stephen and Stephen Moffat advise Intu Properties Plc on the management and development of Intu Braehead Shopping Centre, Retail Park and Soar at Intu. In a notable community-led regeneration project, McGregor is acting as the firm's lead adviser to The Halo Kilmarnock Limited on the redevelopment of the former Diageo Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock. Neil Farrell, who is dual-qualified to practise in Scotland and England/Wales, heads up the firm's English property group. Chris Richardson leads the team, which has benefited from the arrival of Iain Grieve from Addleshaw Goddard in 2017. Deborah Lovell and Ken Gerber are among other notable figures.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP is a strong choice for big-ticket investment acquisitions, disposals and development deals in Scotland. Its team also has a strong track record in commercial leasing and portfolio management matters. Further, its prominence in the market enables it to attract a sizeable portfolio of cross-border property work from blue-chip clients. In a particularly high-profile transaction, team head Drew Wallace (who has more than 30 years of commercial property experience), Lisa Kerr, Carolyne Hair and Edwin Truesdale worked with the property team in England to advise Heineken on the property aspects of its £403m acquisition of more than 1800 pubs from Punch Taverns across the UK. Another standout mandate saw Wallace, Stephen Dick, Guy Irving and others act for New Waverley 20 Limited in the circa £100m Government Property Unit letting of more than 180,000 square feet of office space at New Waverley; this was the largest office letting in Edinburgh for 20 years. Another name to note is Steve Edgecombe, who has a particularly strong reputation in the hospitality and leisure arena (particularly the hotels sector). Edgecombe leads on the firm's UK-wide relationships for Travelodge and Places for People, and also the international relationships for clients such as Hilton Hotels and Qatar Airways. Edgecombe was the lead adviser to Proprium and C&C Group on their £300m acquisition of shares in Admiral Pubs. Other clients of the firm include Aggregate Industries, Timpsons, AXA and Hansteen. Sheila Irvine is also recommended.

DWF, whose Scottish real estate team working closely with the other offices in the UK network, is particularly well-placed to serve the Scottish market, as it is active in all the key sectors of the economy. Reflective of its reputation in the retail sector, the firm acts as the exclusive adviser to Marks & Spencer on Scottish real estate matters; David Ratter and others assisted the client with the rollout of its expansion programme in 2017. Iain McLean and Iain McHardy are other individuals who are active in retail-related property work. McHardy is also the firm's lead contact for real estate work in the tourism/leisure industry; clients in this space include Whitbread, Marriott and De Vere Hotels. The firm also has a strong offering in the energy sector, as is evidenced by the firm's work for key client Scottish Power; Anthony McEwan is leading a team, which includes Joanna Hamilton  and Andrew Martin, in the advice to the client on the real estate aspects of a nationally-significant grid expansion project (this includes the grid connection to the Neart na Gaoithe wind farm). The firm also undertakes a significant amount of work for education/third sector clients, including Marie Curie, RNLI and The Robert Gordon University. Further illustrative of the firm's high quality real estate mandates, Ratter and Amy Watson acted for Aegon UK Property Fund in the sale of Silvan House in Edinburgh to a consortium of Far East-based investors. Another notable individual is Chris McLeish, who was the lead adviser to Bouwfonds Investment Management on its acquisition of the NCP Cark Park in Mitchell Street, Glasgow.

Harper Macleod LLP's credentials in commercial property are underpinned by its ability to consistently secure high-end mandates in sectors such as hospitality and leisure, retail, education and utilities. The team includes David Bell, who was the lead partner advising CBRE Global Investors Limited on the £7.76m sale of Oakbank Industrial Estate in Glasgow to Ribston UK Industrial Property (Nominee One) Limited and Ribston UK Industrial Property (Nominee Two) Limited. Bell, who is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a commercial leasing specialist, also assisted JD Sports with negotiating lease agreements for a number of retail units in Scotland. Chris Noble and associate Limor Wolfe advised Bridgepoint Capital on the Scottish real estate aspects of its acquisition of the largest Burger King franchisee in the UK. Noble has helped drive the firm's real estate offering in the hospitality and leisure sector, as has Philip Sim. Sim acted for The Edinburgh Collection and its parent company Europoint Holdings in the £23m acquisition of Tune Hotel in Haymarket. Practice head John Meehan  has worked with Wolfe, Kathryn Black, Mandy Quinn and Orla Gilligan to drive the growth of the firm's work for private developers in the residential development sector. The commercial development sector is another area of activity for the firm.

MacRoberts LLP has established a first-rate reputation for commercial property in the UK market, with the firm working alongside London-headquartered and international firms, in addition to undertaking mandates on a standalone basis. One of the areas of growth of the practice is in residential development; the firm is currently advising CALA Group on a project at Pacific Quay in Glasgow. Douglas Lamb heads up the team, which has also had a strong pipeline of work in property investments and finance transactions, as has been demonstrated by its work for Wirefox City Park Property Limited in the acquisition (and related financing) of a 285,000 square feet multi-let Grade B listed building in Glasgow for £41m. Lamb's group is also assisting clients such as Hamilton Capital Partners, Revcap and London & Cambridge Properties with making investment acquisitions across Scotland. In another highlight, Lamb and others are advising Clydeside Regeneration Limited on the development of an 85 acre mixed-use site on the Clyde waterfront in Clydebank. Laurence Fraser, who is a director of the Citizens' Theatre in Glasgow, chairs the board sub-committee that is overseeing its £20m redevelopment; this is one of the largest ongoing development projects in the West of Scotland. Lisa Frost is active in all areas of real estate, with particular strengths in real estate finance and the Scottish aspects of UK portfolio deals. Gillian Campbell is dual English and Scottish law qualified, and is sought-after for cross-border commercial property transactions. In the retail and hospitality/leisure sectors, the firm's clients include Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc, All Saints Retail Limited and Dalata Hotel Group Plc. Kelsey Gibson, John McQuillan and David Milne are recommended.

Morton Fraser's team garners praise from clients, with one source reporting that 'they have made a real difference to our business with the way they conduct our affairs'. It also has an equally strong profile among law firms in England that provide referral work. One of the well-known names in the team is Elspeth Carson, who is 'very much on top of her brief and exceptionally good at organisation'. In 2017, Carson led a team including David Stewart, Morven Coulter and Stuart Dick, which advised BAM Properties on the forward fund development at Capital Square in Edinburgh; this is the largest speculative office development in Edinburgh. Chief Executive Chris Harte is another key figure in the group, (which is led by Jonathan Seddon) and was the lead adviser to Tritax Amazon Fund on the sale of the Amazon distribution centre in Dunfermline; this is Scotland's largest ever single-asset logistics deal. Elsewhere, the team fields a particularly strong capability in residential development; Robert Swindell, Robert Bree and Brian McFarlane act for housebuilders such as Persimmon, Stewart Milne and Taylor Wimpey. Robertson Homes were a new client in 2017. Seddon's team also has a sweet spot acting for pensions providers in SIPP/SSAS and other pensions-related commercial real estate transactions; key clients include Standard Life, James Hay and Legal and General. Another cornerstone of the practice involves advising public and private sector clients on managing their property portfolios. Elsewhere, consultant Claire Sturrock leads a team that focuses on acting for clients in the telecommunications sector. On the investment side of the practice, Brian Hutcheson, Sandra Hunter and others acted for Moolmoor (Waverley) Limited in the £23.3m acquisition of Waverley Shopping Centre in Edinburgh from Ritchie Investments Lux SARL. Other areas of activity for Seddon's group include property finance, PRS/Build to Rent, student accommodation, retail and leisure.

The experience of BTO Solicitors LLP's team has made it a go-to for commercial developers, housebuilders, retailers, charities, large estates and UK/overseas investors, among other clients. The group, which is jointly led by chairman Alan Borthwick and David Gibson, advises on the full spectrum of real estate matters, with support from practitioners active in areas such as banking and finance, construction and private client/tax. In 2017, Graeme Kelly, Peter Graham and others acted for Wirefox Management in the circa £16m acquisition of Silvan House in Edinburgh, and in its £43m acquisition of the multi-let office Capella Building in Glasgow. Showcasing the firm's work in development matters, Gibson is advising independent whisky company Isle of Arran Distillers on the development of a new distillery and warehouse. Another notable individual Scott Buchan assisted Calmont Group with negotiating a development agreement with Maven Capital over the refurbishment and conversion of Douglas House in Bothwell Street (Glasgow) to an Accor-branded hotel. Jane Steel acts for retail sector brand names, such as Superdry, Adidas and Maplin. Senior associate Jennifer Whitelaw is another notable individual.

Davidson Chalmers LLP, which is 'very good in all respects' for commercial property work, has a particularly standout reputation in property development; its list of clients includes Chris Stewart Group, JW Muir Group Plc and Kingsford Developments. Bruce Lancaster and Simone Young recently acted for developer Peveril Securities Limited in its negotiations with Staycity over the terms of a lease for a new aparthotel on a brownfield site near Edinburgh Castle. They also worked with Jenny Anfield to advise the same client on a land sale contract and forward funding agreement with Empiric Student Property Plc over a new student accommodation building in the centre of Edinburgh. On a related front, the team has handled student accommodation sector development and investment deals for Crosslane and Stamford Student Investments Limited. Outside of student accommodation, Lancaster and team head Andrew Chalmers advised specialist business park developer on the terms of a development agreement with Clyde Gateway Development Limited for a new satellite business district in Glasgow. Beyond development work, the group has a wealth of experience of investment transactions and commercial leasing; a highlight in 2017 involved acting for CL IV REO (Offshore) LLC in the £16.1m acquisition of Orchard Brae House in Edinburgh. Also recommended in the team are senior solicitor Lisa Graham, and associates Lizzy Enayati and Louise Jones. Director Stephanie Mackenzie recently joined from CMS, while June Gilles has gone the other way.

Lindsays' team is 'extremely professional in its dealings' and has 'good business acumen'. Having undergone significant expansion in 2016 and 2017, it now provides a full-service to clients on property-related matters. Stuart Rowson and Gavin Buchan have property finance expertise, while director Stacy Campbell is experienced in property investment and development, with particular knowledge of the hospitality and leisure sector. Director Dawn Anderson is particularly active in the retail sector, but her sector expertise also includes student accommodation, office and industrial, hospitality and leisure, and renewable energy. In addition to providing support on corporate transactions, director Fiona Linklater advises clients on commercial leasing and secured lending transactions. Practice head Derek Nash and Anderson acted for Waterstones Booksellers Limited in the relocation of its Aberdeen outlet to a flagship two floor store at the Bon Accord Centre. Nash, Anderson and director Andrew Boccoli assisted TP Real Estate with the sale of the Tune hotel in Edinburgh to The Edinburgh Collection. Kenny Gray and Susan Law are also recommended.

Shoosmiths, which has Stephen Dougherty at the helm as practice head, provides 'a reliable and steady service'. In addition to assisting clients with investment acquisitions and disposals (including portfolio transactions), it has seen significant growth in property finance mandates. Edinburgh office head Janette Speed, who is particularly knowledgeable about the student accommodation sector, has been instrumental in the firm seeing a major uptick in residential development work; clients in this space include Mactaggart and Mickel, Bellway, Balfour Beatty and Wheatley Group. In 2017, Speed and associate Shona White acted for student accommodation provider Watkin Jones in the disposal of a development site at Pittodrie Street in Aberdeen. Another pillar of the practice is commercial leasing, where the firm has a particularly strong profile among retail and office occupiers. Speed, senior associate John Dunlop and others assisted Roomzzz with negotiating a pre-let with TH Real Estate (the landlord) of a 73 room aparthotel at the Edinburgh St James development. Also experienced in landlord and tenant matters is Robin Mitchell. Senior associate Sheelagh Cooley specialises in real estate finance. Senior associate Gillian Wood joined from Shepherd and Wedderburn in 2017.

Aberdein Considine's overall level of service is 'excellent and cannot be faulted'; 'response times, business acumen and industry knowledge are all exemplary'. Practice head Paul Jennings and associate David Orr, who divide their time between the Edinburgh and Glasgow offices, 'work exceptionally well as a team'. Jennings, who has nearly 30 years of commercial property experience, has overseen the growth of the firm's practice in the central belt, since he moved from Anderson Strathern in 2015. The practice continued on its upward trajectory in 2017, winning work from clients such as Harlequin Group and Drum Property Group. Jennings and Orr acted for another new client Currie European Transport Limited as the landowner in the disposal of a former haulage yard and adjoining ground to Housing Partnership. Jennings also assisted Greggs Plc with negotiating lease arrangements in relation to its presence at The Centre in Livingston.

John Bingham leads Bellwether Green's team, which 'provides a level of service that goes above and beyond'. It 'scores highly for professionalism, value for money, being proactive and problem solving'. The practice is centred around acquisitions, development work, letting and financing. Reflective of the high calibre of the practice, the client list includes Fortune 500 company Emerson Process Management, motor retailer Vertu Motors Plc and global real estate investment manager St Bride's Managers. The firm also secured Virgin Media as a new client in 2017 to assist it with its Scottish property interests; Bingham and director Steven Templeton advised the client on the Scottish aspects of an intra-company transfer of a portfolio of 25 sites. Another highlight involved acting for Flemington Care Limited in the development of a children's nursery to be built within an existing care village in Cambuslang, Glasgow.

Eversheds Sutherland's Hazel Tait, who is the partner leading the real estate practice in Scotland, has a specialism in covering the clean energy sector.  Tait's expertise includes the property issues associated with financing the acquisition and disposal of clean energy projects, and matters related to development and construction. Tait is supported by real estate finance expert Christine Barnsley, who is also knowledgeable about the energy industry. Also recommended for his real estate finance expertise (particularly cross-border finance transactions) is principal associate Steven Dick, who (like Barnsley) is dual-qualified to practise in Scotland and England/Wales. Dixcee Fast is active in a wide range of sectors, focusing particularly on real estate investment, asset management and development. Clients of the firm include clearing banks, international banks, alternative lenders, funds and energy companies. 

Gillespie Macandrew LLP's team has had an upswing in commercial property activity.. The housebuilding side of the practice has gained momentum, with the firm adding to its client roster names such as Robertson Partnership Homes, Merchant Homes and Turnberry Homes. Harry Smith, who heads up a dedicated housebuilder team, recently worked with senior solicitor Andrew Leslie and Isobell Reid to advise Bellway Homes on the £10m+ acquisition of a development site at Bishopton in Renfrewshire. They also acted for Avant Homes (Scotland) Limited in the £9.5m acquisition of a development site at Shott Farm in High Blantyre. Commercial development work is another area of strength; clients include Newland Assets, Worthington Property Maintenance and Midtown Capital. Elsewhere, there has been a notable uptick in real estate finance mandates, with the firm generating work from UK and international banks, and alternative lenders; Kenneth Irons, Greg Peebles and others recently acted for Assetz SME Capital in a number of loan finance transactions. Another pillar of the practice is in investment transactions, which span sub-sectors such as retail, office and industrial. David Milne heads up the commercial property team.

Commercial property boutique Leslie Wolfson & Co has a group of practitioners that is 'professional, skilled, passionate and a pleasure to work with at all times'; it is 'very commercial and plain-speaking, and has the ability to seamlessly integrate in cross-border transactions'. Team head Howard Beach, who is 'consummate professional', has been accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a commercial leasing specialist since 2001. Other partners in the group, whose work covers the entire commercial property spectrum, are Alan Carlton, Andrew McCowan and Donna Strong. In addition to acting for Scottish and UK clients, the firm undertakes cross-jurisdictional matters for clients based in territories such as Brazil, the Netherlands and Poland. A recent highlight involved Strong acting for Leeds-based property company Town Centre Securities Plc in the £6.3m sale of 1-23 Shandwick Place (a mixed-use development in Edinburgh city centre) to 83S Limited. Beach and McCowan advised The Burger Chain Limited on the acquisition of four outlets in Scotland as part of a 28 restaurant national portfolio being bought out of administration.

'No issue is too small' at Morisons LLP, whose 'down to earth' team is praised for its 'practical approach to getting on with the job'. The team, which is led by Gary Thomas ('diligent, pragmatic and sensible in his advice'), includes partners Robin Valentine and Andrew Warren; all three individuals jointly have 90 years of private practice experience. In 2017, Warren assisted Vue Entertainment Limited with negotiating a new lease at Glasgow's St Enoch Centre in order to open a new multiplex cinema. In addition, Warren also acted for Singapore-based listed company Frasers Centrepoint Limited in the Scottish property aspects of its acquisition of Hillington Industrial Estate in Glasgow, as part of a portfolio acquisition of industrial estates UK-wide. PPG Industries, Lidl UK and Telefonica are longstanding clients of the firm.

TLT's clients are 'impressed' with its 'concise and commercial advice' on securitisations and portfolio refinancings, property portfolio acquisitions and disposals, commercial leasing, and investment and development matters. Kenneth Meldrum, who 'identifies key issues, and resolves them with practical and commercial solutions', is acting for Central Assets LLP as the landlord in the negotiation of multiple leases at Strathclyde Business Park. 'Excellent technical lawyer' Richard Turnbull, who specialises in handling energy-related property issues, advised GE Capital on the £39.8m disposal of an operational 16MW wind farm in Selkirk (known as Langhope Rig) to Greencoat Capital. Turnbull was also the lead adviser to Abundance in the forward funding of a pumped hydro project for ILI Investments. In addition to Meldrum and Turnbull, Brian Armour is another key figure. In the leisure sector, the firm acts for clients such as Greene King and Punch Taverns. Financial services is another area of strength.

Weightmans LLP's Scottish real estate team operates as part of a larger integrated UK group. Its wide-ranging workload for UK and international clients includes acquisitions and disposals, development, asset management and finance. Practice head Cassandra Auld has a wealth of experience of acting for clients in the hotels, leisure and retail sectors. The other notable figure in Glasgow is real estate finance head Douglas Gourlay, who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law. Bryan Finlayson recently departed for Curle Stewart.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, the result of a merger in November 2017 between Bond Dickinson LLP and US firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, now has a presence in Edinburgh, with a new office being opened there in the same year. Scottish real estate practice head Michael Spence, who had previously been based in Aberdeen, relocated to the new Edinburgh office. In addition, the firm has recently beefed up its operations by hiring managing associates Laura Bloxham and Paul Kenneth from Shoosmiths and Morton Fraser respectively. Kenneth specialises in real estate finance, with a particular focus on acting for lenders in Scottish loan and security transactions, and also in advising on the Scottish aspects of cross-border transactions. Bloxham is particularly knowledgeable about the residential development sector, where her work includes advising on acquisition and disposal contracts, section 75 agreements, estate set up and the disposal of individual plots. Property litigator Philip Knight and Emma Shearer joined from DWF as managing associate and associate respectively. Spence's team is also active in the retail and renewable sectors, and is also known for advising on PRS and Build to Rent Projects. Spence and Shearer advised Bridon on taking a lease of a new manufacturing and distribution facility at Grangemouth in 2017. The team also acts as the sole adviser on Scottish property matters to SIPPS provider Curtis Banks.

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP has the resources to provide the full scope of advice on acquisitions and disposals, development, real estate finance and commercial leasing as they relate to the Scottish market. In addition, it leverages the experience of dual-qualified practitioners Colin Brass, Neil Darling and senior associate Joanne Ockrim to advise on matters in England and Wales. Another feature of the practice is its broad industry coverage, which includes energy, leisure and hospitality, retail and telecommunications. In 2017, Ockrim assisted Macfarlane Group Plc with the English property aspects of its £16.75m acquisition of the business and assets of Greenwood Stock Boxes and its sister company Nottingham Recycling. Another matter involved Brass and Ockrim advising the UK's largest equipment hire group GAP Group on the acquisition of a five acre island site at Tillbury in England for £4m. Iain Dunn, Vicki Provan and Katy Davenport are other active members of the team. 

Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow (Retail occupiers)

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Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Brodies LLP's team is 'very knowledgeable, confident, professional and efficient', according to its clients. The firm acts for some of the most active market participants in office lettings, commercial and residential developments, housebuilding and property finance matters, among many other areas. In addition, its position as a market-leader in the north east of Scotland is underscored by its roles in high-profile and high-value matters. In 2017, Tracey Menzies advised Chrysaor Limited on its lease from M&G of 48,000 feet of space at The Capitol on Union Street in Aberdeen. The firm also acted for both Drum Property Group (as the seller) and LCN Capital Partners (as the buyer) in the sale and purchase of the Lloyds Register Building at Prime Four in Aberdeen; this was the largest investment deal in Aberdeen. Menzies and Nick Scott acted for LCN in this deal, while Colin MacLaren acted for Drum. Aberdeen City Council, Pramerica and Brookfield Student Real Estate are among other key clients. Clive Phillips, who leads the rural property team, is experienced in advising landed estates and farming clients on a range of commercial property matters, such as rural acquisitions and sales, and wind farm options and leases. Associate Jenna McCosh is another name to note.

At Burness Paull LLP, Peter Smith and director Emma Miller are part of a team whose members are 'all solid, and also tenacious when needs be'. Led by John Strachan, 'it always gives a good steer'. Strachan is particularly knowledgeable about residential and commercial development (including acting for funders in development transactions), and he also has experience of advising high net-worth individuals and families on property investments, and corporate occupier work in the energy sector. Strachan was the lead adviser to Jaguar Land Rover on multiple 'Arch Concept' developments in Edinburgh, Dundee and Perth. Richard Goodfellow focuses on commercial and residential development (acting for landowners, developers and occupiers), and he has built an excellent reputation in high-profile and groundbreaking projects. Goodfellow and Nicola Henderson are working with members of the planning and construction teams to advise Aberdeen Football Club on the development of a new stadium and training facility. In another headline mandate, Goodfellow, Sarah Stewart and others are acting for a consortium of landowners in the £1.5bn development of a  settlement consisting of 4500 homes at Chapelton of Elsick. Stewart Milne Group, Total E&P UK and Dandara are other notable clients.

Pinsent Masons LLP is dominant in large-scale residential projects, which is reflected in its work for major players such as Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon Homes and Kier Property Developments.  It also added Mactaggart and Mickel as a client in 2017. Department head Rodney Whyte has focused almost exclusively on the housebuilding sector for more than 10 years (acting for developers/investors and landowners). Whyte and associate Stuart Fraser recently assisted CALA Group and BDW Trading (Barratt) with successfully acquiring the highly sought-after Cammo Fields development in Edinburgh for a proposed residential development of circa 600 units. Whyte also worked with associate Michael Shepherd to advise CALA on acquiring a 50 unit multi-phase development at Meldrum Golf Club in Aberdeenshire. The firm is equally as capable in big-ticket commercial and mixed-use projects, where it generates mandates from funders, investors, developers and occupiers. Legal director Mark McCall recently led on the property aspects of Aberdeen Harbour Board's development of an extension of Aberdeen Harbour. Elsewhere, the firm's standout reputation in the oil and gas sector makes it a strong choice for property-related work arising from the industry; McCall acts for clients such as Baker Hughes, KCA Deutag and Taqa. Complementing its coverage of investments, developments and commercial leasing, the firm adds value in related areas, such as real estate finance, planning and environment, tax and construction.

Blackadders LLP's reputation in the commercial property arena is growing, under the leadership of its department head Emma Gray. Gray is overseeing an increase in the firm's housebuilding sector mandates, which come from mid and large-sized housing developers, and landowners. In addition to residential development, the firm's work also spans acquisitions and disposals (including franchise and portfolio transactions), property finance and landlord and tenant work. Gray, who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law, has specialist knowledge of the office, retail and leisure sectors. Gray and director Stuart King are acting for a development company in the redevelopment of a listed building and former warehouse to form new office and leisure space at Dundee Harbour. James Hay Pension Trustees Limited, Glendola Group, Morris Leslie Group and EWP Investments Limited are key clients.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP's practice is spread between its Aberdeen and Inverness offices, giving it excellent coverage of the market in the north and north east of Scotland. Led by Stephen Morrice, the firm provides a broad scope of services to public and private sector clients. In Aberdeen, Alasdair MacLure, heads up the firm's commercial leasing unit, while Alan Michie leads the firm's housebuilding practice. Michie recently worked with senior associate Lesley Currie to advise Kirkwood Homes Limited on its £4.75m acquisition of a 57 unit site at Countesswells in Aberdeen. In another matter, Michie, Currie and John Mitchell are assisting the same client with concluding missives for a five-phased residential development of 250 units at Linlathen in Dundee. In what was one of the largest office lettings in Aberdeen in 2017, planning lawyer David Scott and senior solicitor Rachael Mackay assisted Total Waste Management Alliance Limited as the tenant with negotiating and concluding a sub-lease of 7000 square feet of office space at Broadfold House. John Smart in Inverness has more than 20 years of experience of commercial property transactions, and handles a mix of sales and purchases, leases and development agreements. On the secured lending side, the firm handles property-related financing and refinancing matters for a number of mainstream lenders, including The Royal Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank and Santander.

Stronachs LLP provides corporate support and also delivers standalone commercial property advice to a varied client base including public sector organisations, investors, developers, international entities and partnerships. Duncan Campbell leads the team, which is active in areas such as renewable energy, oil and gas, hospitality and leisure, and retail. Liz Stewart, who has more than 17 years of commercial property experience, is knowledgeable about investment acquisitions and disposals, commercial leasing, the property aspects of security and finance work, option agreements and portfolio transactions. Recently promoted partner Emma Stephen has particular expertise in assisting residential property developers with complex title and development transactions. Consultant Grant MacKenzie, and senior associates Eloise Robb and Joy Mullin are other notable individuals in Aberdeen. Ross Linn is based in Inverness. Global Energy Group, Spex Services Limited and Weatherford UK Limited are active clients.

Aberdein Considine's work spans multiple sub-sectors of the Scottish commercial property market, including student accommodation, retail, leisure, industrial, offices, hotels and leisure. In Aberdeen, Jacqueline Law and Ritchie Whyte are the partners in the team, which handles acquisitions and disposals. financing, development and leasing. Whyte and Gemma Perfect acted for Duncans of Banchory in the acquisition of an office complex for redevelopment, and they also advised Handelsbanken on the refinance of a residential property portfolio to include 80 units over eight developments, among other matters. Anthony Quin in Stirling is assisting Indigo Sun Retail Limited with negotiating new leases and variations/extensions of existing leases as part of its national expansion across Scotland.

CMS' main contacts are Paul Carter (who divides time between Glasgow and Aberdeen) and senior associate Carol Nisbet. Carter has a particularly strong track record acting for institutional investors in investment and development transactions; his clients include Aberdeen Asset Management, Credit Suisse and Union Investments. In 2017, Nisbet's work included acting for CBRE Global Investors in the sale of Denburn House in Aberdeen city centre to a Jersey-based hotel operator. She is particularly recommended for her commercial leasing experience, an area where her clients include Lloyds Register, Statoil and Hunting Energy Group.

Dentons' team acts for clients based in Aberdeen, and the north and north east of Scotland, with its work involving sectors that are the core of the local economy, such as retail, renewable energy, hotels and agriculture. In the housebuilding space, David Rose acts for some of the largest and most active housebuilders - such as Barratt, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon's north Scotland business - and lenders to north east Scotland developers. In addition, as part of a much larger operation, the team is highly active in matters throughout the UK, such as property portfolio transactions. Rose, who has overseen the growth of the firm's Aberdeen-based practice since his arrival from Brodies LLP in 2015, made partner in June 2017. He is supported by Edinburgh-based partners Allan Cairns and Alan Stewart, who commit a significant proportion of time to the Aberdeen practice. In 2017, a highlight involved acting for McLaren (Aberdeen) Limited and McLaren Developments (Aberdeen) Limited in the sale of a portfolio of six student accommodation developments to Hines UK Limited. Another matter involved advising Craig Garbill Renewables LLP on the sale of a wind turbine to Wind Energy Renewables LLP.

Clients opine that MacRoberts LLP's Dundee team is 'extremely competent, pragmatic and sensible'. Team head David Milne and senior associate Kyle Moir are 'highly attentive, and are also assiduous in seeking to understand their market and how their clients' needs can be best served'. Since he set up the Dundee office in 2013, Milne has successfully grown the real estate practice, which provides support and coverage of the market locally and throughout Scotland. In 2017, Milne, Moir and senior solicitor Lisa MacRae were part of a cross-practice team which advised independent property development company FHP Properties Limited on the £3.2m acquisition of a prestigious site located in Dundee's West End. Another highlight involved acting for Braemore Estates in the refinancing of a portfolio of 43 commercial assets in Scotland and transfer of four development sites to a related company. Other clients include Unicorn Property Group, Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and Mole Valley Farmers.

In 2017, Thorntons Law LLP further entrenched its foothold in the Scottish market, by acquiring the business of Pagan Osborne, which had offices in places like Cupar, Anstruther and St Andrews. Its varied portfolio of work enables it to draw work from a wide range of client, including housebuilders/developers, housing associations, banks and building societies, and educational establishments. In addition to handling purely Scottish real estate matters, it also adds value on cross-border transactions, with Hugo Allan and associate Janice Napier being dual-qualified in English and Scottish law. The team provides the full scope of advice on investment purchases and sales, landlord and tenant work, secured lending, and commercial and residential development (including subsequent plot sales). Practice head Janet McIntyre, who divides time between St Andrews and Kirkcaldy, is particularly experienced in acting for clients in the licensed trade and hospitality sector in a wide range of matters. In a particularly high-profile deal, Ewan Miller and others are acting for the University of Strathclyde in the £32m disposal of its Jordanhill campus in Glasgow to CALA Homes; this matter represents the disposal of one of Scotland's largest residential development sites. In 2017, Miller and others worked alongside KPMG, as the administrators of the McEwens of Perth business, in the sale of the department store building to English department chain Beales. Graham Wilson advised Angus Housing Association Limited on the £8.5m acquisition of land (with a building contract for 71 new build housing units) on a greenfield site in Arbroath from Persimmon Homes. Craig Nicol and Bruce Renfrew are also recommended.


Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Construction clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Brodies LLP is viewed as the firm of choice by many of the UK's largest developers, contractors, investors and insurance companies. Alistair McLean, who heads up the non-contentious practice, has 30 years of construction experience and is qualified to practise in Scotland, England and Wales, and Hong Kong. McLean and others handle some of the largest and first to the market construction projects in Scotland. McLean and senior solicitor Rachael Brown are acting for Inhabit in the Candleriggs Quarter project in Glasgow and Broadford Works project in Aberdeen; these are among the first buy to rent projects in Scotland. McLean is also working with senior solicitor Lesley Mackenzie to advise Robertson Construction Group as the main contractor on the construction of the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. Transactional lawyer Jane McMonagle, who recently made partner, 'explains concepts easily and shows available options in a simple and clear style'. Mark Finlay and managing associate Juliet Haldane also have non-contentious construction expertise. The firm also has 'the go-to lawyers for construction disputes', who are praised for their 'thorough knowledge and understanding of legal and commercial issues involved'. David Arnott and associate Christopher Duff are representing Muir Construction Limited in Court of Session proceedings against Kapital Residential Limited; this case is one of the first in the UK to concern the requirements of a valid Pay Less Notice. Manus Quigg, who leads the contentious practice, is 'a brilliant tactician and thoroughly reliable - he knows every trick in the book'. Louise Shiels, managing associate Keith Kilburn, and associates Claire Rice and Sara Lannigan are also experienced in construction disputes. In recent developments, Drysdale Graham was hired from Pinsent Masons LLP, while associate Laura McCorquodale joined from Harper Macleod LLP.

Pinsent Masons LLP, which is 'one of the best firms for construction in the UK', has a team that is 'very aware of how construction companies operate and the pressures they work under in the current economic climate'. Fielding a group that is spread between the firm's Aberdeen and Central Belt offices, it stands out in the contentious and non-contentious aspects of the largest and most high-profile construction projects in Scotland. It is also active in UK and international matters of significant scale. Kenny Valentine and Michael Allan head up the group, whose experience spans sectors such as civil infrastructure/transport, manufacturing and real estate. Nicholas Carlin has supported clients in projects in the renewable energy and oil and gas markets (in the UK and beyond) for more than 10 years. Allan, Scott Johnston and others are acting as the project lawyers to Aberdeen Harbour Board in the Aberdeen Harbour Expansion Project.  In 2017, Valentine, legal director Gillian Woodward and Julia Maguire represented Lend Lease in two Court of Session litigations arising from the construction of the Hydro; this is a £90m 12,000 seat arena, which was built next to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow. Louise Forster is representing Bilfinger Construction UK Limited in a high-profile public inquiry into the Edinburgh Trams Project. Brandon Nolan undertakes advisory and disputes work in the construction and engineering, and oil and gas sectors. Colin Fraser is another key individual.

Addleshaw Goddard, which merged with HBJ Gateley in 2017, has invested in its construction offering in Scotland by hiring legal director Helen Hutcheson from Dentons. Hutcheson specialises in drafting and negotiating construction contracts and ancillary construction agreements, as well as third party development and funding documentation. In addition, managing associate Peter Clyde joined from niche London-based construction and property firm Decimus Fearon LLP; he also has previous in-house experience at Balfour Beatty. Alison Horner heads up the firm's non-contentious practice, which has historically been known to provide full-service support to developers on the construction aspects of PFI/PPP, NPD and hub projects, as well as matters involving areas such as renewable energy, education, hotels and leisure, and retail. The practice also now generates work from funders and funds in other sectors throughout Scotland and the UK. In addition, the firm is increasingly active in construction matters connected with the utilities and residential development sectors. Managing associates Andrew Fairlie and Suzanne Murphy are other practitioners who undertake non-contentious construction work. Horner and Murphy advised BAM Construction Limited on the Blairdardie and Carntyne DBFM project. In another matter, Horner is acting for Moda Living in the construction aspects of Scotland's first PRS scheme. The firm's contentious work is led by Anne Struckmeier, who is particularly active in PFI/NPD, waste and energy disputes.

Burness Paull LLP's 26-strong dedicated construction and projects team advises on procurement issues, standard form contracts (including NEC, JCT and ICC), dispute resolution and various other matters for its clients. Its ability to cover the entire ambit of contentious and non-contentious matters has enabled it to build up a notable client list, which includes Barhale Plc, Amey and Morgan Sindall Investments Limited. Practice head Fenella Mason and others are representing Kier Construction in a third party action, which arose from a dispute between Kier and DGC over DGC One's leisure complex. Another key individual in the group is Gavin Paton, who is leading the advice to Countesswells Development Limited on the construction of a new residential settlement of circa 3000 units, and related facilities, at Countesswells in Aberdeen. In 2017, Paton worked with senior associates Chris Horsley and Caroline Allan, and associate Kevin Cannon, to assist hub West ScotlandLimited/hub West Scotland Project Company (no. 6) Limited with various matters, including the Carntyne and Blairdardie DBFM project. James Forbes, who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law, recently handled four major projects for the University of St Andrews. Forbes also has a notable specialism in renewable energy projects.

CMS has a 30-year track record of handling high-value and prestigious construction, engineering and infrastructure projects. Rated by clients as 'one of the front-runners' in the market for contentious and non-contentious matters, it demonstrates strong capabilities in all aspects of Scottish and UK projects, as well as those overseas. In addition, the firm's merger with Nabarro and Olswang in 2017 has added to the breadth and depth of support that the Scotland-based team can call upon. In a recent highlight, a team led by Ian McCann and Mark Kirke advised on the contractual aspects of, and handled claims relating to, the construction of the £100m Shieldhall Tunnel in the south of Glasgow. In another high-profile matter, Kirke, Shona Frame and others are assisting Interserve Construction with handling high-value disputes associated with the long-delayed construction of the Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre, and the client's termination from the project. Christine Worthington is leading a team, which is acting as the main legal adviser to Balfour Beatty on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station project. Senior associate Gwen Napier is 'skilled in drafting a wide range of construction contracts and she is also knowledgeable about current practices/market trends'.  Other highly regarded senior associates include Jane Fender-Allison, Christopher Dickson, Madeleine Young and Claudia Russell.

Dentons moved into the Scottish market by merging with Maclay Murray & Spens LLP in 2017, expanding the scope of its construction offering across the UK. The firm's Scottish team is a strong performer in contentious and non-contentious matters, as is reflected by it consistently featuring in sophisticated, high-end projects, and by its list of high calibre clients. On the non-contentious side, it is particularly active in employer-led development work, particularly in areas such as real estate, energy (renewable energy and oil and gas) and transport. Mark Macaulay is leading a team in the advice to London Luton Airport Operations Limited on the procurement and construction issues associated with the expansion of the airport. The firm is also equally highly regarded in contentious construction matters; Kirsti Olson, who is dual-qualified in Scotland and England/Wales, is particularly knowledgeable about contentious construction matters related to transport, energy and PFI/PPP projects. David Scott recently departed the firm.

MacRoberts LLP's ties to the Scottish construction industry dates back more than 30 years. Its high quality team includes Mike Barlow, Craig Bradshaw, David Wilson and senior associate Sarah Pengelly; they are all accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as specialists in construction law. Practice head Neil Kelly, who is also an accredited construction law specialist, was made an honorary member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in 2007 and honorary fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) in 2012. The group has extensive experience of construction projects across a broad cross-section of industries, including healthcare, renewable energy, infrastructure, transport, education and real estate. It is equally strong in complex, high-profile and high-value contentious and non-contentious matters, where it acts for a wide range of parties. Barlow and real estate partner Laurence Fraser are advising Scottish Canals on the North Glasgow Integrated Water Management System, the construction aspects of which recently concerned the governance agreement and drainage partnership agreement with Glasgow City Council and Scottish Water, the NEC3 engineering and construction contract, and infrastructure works contract. Elsewhere, the firm has had significant involvement in the construction aspects of PPP projects across Scotland, and counts NHS Lothian as one of its clients in this area. It also acts for large UK and international businesses, and developers, among other entities. On the contentious side of the practice, Jennifer McKay is defending engineering services provider Aecom against an action at the Court of Session, where it is alleged that the client failed to properly advise on the design and supervision of groundworks at a site in Leithlands in Glasgow, which led to the site no longer being suitable for development. 

Shepherd and Wedderburn provides 'tailored and pragmatic advice at the first time of asking' on construction law issues to public and private sector clients, and its team demonstrates 'a strong understanding of business requirements and the pressures clients face'. Reflective of the breadth of the practice, the group is equally active in assisting employers and contractors with a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Led by Euan McLeod, it has made a name for itself in high-value and complex construction projects across the UK, with its work spanning areas such as renewable energy, social housing and real estate. McLeod, senior associate Lauren Thomson and others are acting for Wheatley Housing Group in the procurement and construction aspects of the £250m Transformational Regeneration Area project at Sighthill in Glasgow, which involves the construction of 650 new homes. In another significant mandate, McLeod and senior associate Kirsteen Milne are part of the team which is acting as the lead construction adviser to the UK government on an innovative new Framework Agreement and underlying contracts for the provision of £500m to £1bn over 10 years in order to deliver critical pieces of UK infrastructure. Gareth Parry advised a UK/Republic of Ireland joint venture company on the construction of a waster water treatment works project in Essex. The firm's recent contentious work included Iain Drummond and solicitor Nathaniel Buckingham representing Amey, as FM contractor for 21 primary and secondary schools in the Edinburgh Schools PPP project, in an independent inquiry and two adjudication proceedings over the collapse of a school wall. David Anderson and Colin Archibald also undertake contentious construction work.

One of Harper Macleod LLP's strong suits is in the construction aspects of large-scale Scottish infrastructure projects. Euan Pirie, who is 'an innovative thinker and inventive problem-solver', has expertise in NPD, PFI/PPP and hub projects. In 2017, he worked with associate Catriona Kemp to advise Robertson Construction Group Limited as construction contractor on the circa £30m Bertha Park hub DBFM project. Team head Michael Conroy, who has more than 20 years of contentious and non-contentious construction experience, is working with others to assist Glasgow City Council with drafting and negotiating contracts for the preparation of venues for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships. Other public sector clients to whom the firm provides advice on contentious and non-contentious matters (of which there are many) include Forestry Commission Scotland, sportscotland and City of Edinburgh Council. It also acts for private sector developers, sub-contractors and construction consultants. Solicitor advocate John McHugh and David Kerr handle construction disputes as part of their broader dispute resolution practices. Ross Thomson is a notable individual in Inverness.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP's practice captures a sizeable proportion of the Scottish market - particularly the north east of Scotland and Highlands and Islands region. Its team is spread between the Aberdeen and Inverness offices. In Aberdeen, managing partner Jennifer Young, who is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a construction law specialist, works alongside Sarah Stuart. The main contacts in Inverness are senior associates Roddy Cormack and Karen Cameron. Cormack (like Young) is also a Law Society accredited construction law specialist. The team is particularly well-known for acting for construction contractors (particularly those in the traditional building and oil and gas services sectors), for whom the non-contentious work encompasses risk reviews, analysis and negotiations of construction contracts. Other elements of the firm's non-contentious work include assisting private and public sector organisations with procurement and other construction issues, and advising banks on funding arrangements. The group also has expertise in matters that arise during the construction process itself (such as conflicts over instructions, health and safety, and financial disputes) and other-construction matters, including those concerning defective works, insolvency and late completion. Young and Stuart have litigation backgrounds, as does Cameron, who is a solicitor advocate. Gordon Mitchell Contractors, Bancon Construction, CFF Contractors and Svenska Handelsbanken are among the firm's many clients.

Since Jonathan Seddon established Morton Fraser's construction team in 2003, the firm has become a well-known name in the market for complex, large-scale and high-value development projects (and related disputes). On non-contentious matters, the firm has a particularly strong profile in relation to its work for developers. Illustrative of the quality of the firm's portfolio of work, Seddon and senior associate Mimi Stewart recently advised BAM Properties on the construction aspects of the forward funded development at Capital Square in Edinburgh; this is currently the largest speculative office development in Edinburgh. Seddon and Stewart were also part of a multidisciplinary team in the advice to student housing provider Empiric Student Property Plc on forward funding the acquisition and development of a 166 bed student accommodation block on King's Stables Road in Edinburgh. Other clients of the practice include development funders, and public and private sector owners and occupiers. Also recommended in the group is senior associate Lisa Dromgoole, who is 'good at case management and presenting sound advice in a timely manner'. In 2017, Dromgoole (who is the head of contentious construction), Kenneth Carruthers and others acted for the owners of a commercial property located in Edinburgh city centre in interdict proceedings arising from the damage sustained to the property as a result of demolition works at an adjacent plot.

Anderson Strathern's practice is led by Karyn Watt, who is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a construction law specialist, and has 'a tremendous ability to get through masses of ability in a short time'. Watt's team has an excellent record working with contractors, developers and funders on a wide range of construction projects, including town centre mixed-use schemes, housing projects and developments involving areas such as education, energy and manufacturing. In 2017, Martin Whiteford assisted Victoria Square Woking Limited with the construction aspects of the Victoria Square mixed-use scheme in Woking. The firm is developing a specialist practice in relation to hotel developments, and has recently handled projects for clients such as Apex Hotels, among others. In addition to acting for private sector clients, the firm has a particularly significant public sector client following, for whom it assists with procurement and construction issues; Transport Scotland, Fife Council and City of Edinburgh Council instruct the firm in this space. Elsewhere, the firm's work for educational institutions is another pillar of the practice. Audrey Cameron and Pat Loftus also have non-contentious construction expertise. Alistair Dean specialises in construction disputes.

BTO Solicitors LLP handles a mix of contentious construction matters, which includes cases involving complex insurance/liability/quantum issues, contractual disputes and conflicts over final accounts and extensions of time, challenges to certification and construction defects. Jilly Petrie has particular expertise in this area. In addition, practice head Sandra Cassels specialises in construction and engineering dispute resolution. Elsewhere, the group advises on the non-contentious aspects of projects at all stages from inception to completion. It acts for a broad base of clients, including contractors, sub-contractors, local authorities, developers and funders. In 2017, Cassels and associate Caroline Earnshaw acted for Tigh Grian Limited in the delivery of 48 sustainable, energy-efficient and affordable homes to Link and Paragon Housing Associations. A notable growth area for the firm has been in mandates from hotel and leisure sector developers, with the team negotiating building contracts, professional appointment agreements, development agreements and facility agreements. Consultant Ann O’Connell, and associates Julie Scott-Gilroy and Claire Mills, are also recommended.

Davidson Chalmers LLP acts for a number of Scotland's most active private development companies in the construction of large, high-profile residential, commercial and mixed-use developments. Practice head Simone Young is the lead adviser to Chris Stewart Group on high-end new-build and refurbishment developments at St Andrew Square in Edinburgh; the work recently covered procurement and contracts advice. In a related matter, Greg Flett advised the client on a claim brought by the proprietor of a neighbouring property against a demolition contractor employed by the client over damage the contractor had caused to the property. In another major project in Edinburgh, Bruce Lancaster and Young are advising Peveril Securities Limited on a multi-use development at King's Stables Road, which consists of four neighbouring construction projects; when complete, this will consist of a hotel, student accommodation, residential apartments and commercial units. Outside of acting for developers, the firm undertakes high-end work for other clients; Young is advising Apple Apartments on the multimillion pound refurbishment of a former school building in Edinburgh city centre to form a mixed serviced apartment and bar/restaurant scheme. Elsewhere, Andy Drane heads up a team that specialises in the waste and renewable energy sectors, and he also advises primary medical care operators on development matters.

At DLA Piper Scotland LLP, legal director Jonathan Gaskell (who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law) advises clients on the contentious and non-contentious aspects of construction projects, including those connected with the development of student accommodation, rail infrastructure, roads and shopping centres. Gaskell's recent work included assisting Merseytravel with construction law issues associated with new depot facilities on the Merseyrail network, and advising Artisan Real Estate Investors on the construction of a new circa 190,000 square feet office development at the New Waverley development in Edinburgh. St Enoch Trustee Company Limited, Ark Data Centres and Sodexo are other clients in this area.

At Gillespie Macandrew LLP, residential development is one of the bedrocks of the firm's construction work. Harry Smith, who heads up a dedicated housebuilder team, has more than 30 years of experience of residential development. The firm is on the legal panels of major housebuilders such as Bellway Homes, Taylor Wimpey, CALA Management and Avant Homes (Scotland) Limited. It also acts for a number of large estates that have development companies, which construct new housing developments and renewable energy projects. The firm also plays an active role in building restoration projects, and also represents private individuals in construction disputes related to them. Smith works with Isobell Reid, who made partner in 2017, and is 'thoroughly professional in dealings with clients, experts and counsel'. Robertson Partnership Homes Limited, Turnberry Homes Limited and Merchant Homes Partnerships Limited are recent client wins. Murray Shaw has retired.


Index of tables

  1. Environment
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Environment clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Brodies LLP's environmental law offering adds an important dimension to the firm's advice on corporate and real estate transactions, and energy and infrastructure projects, among other matters. In addition to providing transactional and project support, members of its team provide standalone advice on the full range of environmental law issues. Philip Hunter, who heads up the practice (and is also a real estate partner), is leading a team, which is advising Clyde Gateway Developments Limited on the Shawfield Phase Two redevelopment project as part of the redevelopment of the Clyde Gateway area; the project covers an area of land where large swathes have a legacy of environmental contamination, owing to previous use as a chemical works. Duncan MacLean and Hunter advised Lerwick Port Authority (LPA) on environmental and consenting issues associated with the arrival of the semi-submersible Buchan Alpha at LPA's newly-extended deep-water quay at Dales Voe decommissioning facility for decommissioning. Sarah-Jane McArthur and others are acting for Indaver NV as the proposed operating subcontractor for one of the bidding consortia of a waste management project in the north east of Scotland. Paul Marshall assists clients with regulatory compliance, and on the contentious side, he also handles environmental prosecutions and enforcement actions. Associate Niall McLean, who is a solicitor advocate with extended rights of audience at the Court of Session, is active in environmental litigation. Neil Collar, who heads up the planning practice, is another name to note. Associate Ewen Cairns recently joined from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Jennifer Ballantyne leads Pinsent Masons LLP's specialist team in Scotland, which is 'among the best in the field', and covers all aspects of contentious and non-contentious environment law for clients UK-wide. Ballantyne, who has more than 20 years of experience in this area, is knowledgeable about contaminated land, waste management and permitting, among other matters. Another key figure is 'class act' Gordon McCreath, who acts for a wide range of clients, such as waste operators, water companies and developers. The group has particularly notable experience of advising major players in areas such as renewable energy, oil and gas, residential development, infrastructure and manufacturing. McCreath, Gary McGovern, legal director Ross McDowall and others recently advised E.ON on a number of matters, including its environmental incident response, a First Tier tribunal appeal concerning an information notice under the Environmental Information Regulations and environmental liability allocation in relation to new energy projects. McCreath is also providing ongoing assistance to Beatrice Offshore Wind Limited with environmental issues associated with the construction of the 588MW Beatrice offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth in the north east of Scotland. McDowall and Ian McCarlie advised Element Power on the environmental aspects of the sale of its 25MW battery-storage project in Newcastle to Italian electricity utility Enel. The firm's contentious work includes environmental litigation and regulatory enforcement proceedings.

Shepherd and Wedderburn, whose team operates on a cross-departmental basis, has a particularly strong capability in advising national and international developers on environmental law issues arising from energy sector projects, such as those related to onshore and offshore wind, wave, tidal, energy from waste and coal-fired power. In 2017, Ewan MacLeod and Chris Devlin advised Brown & Mason Limited on the planning and environmental issues associated with the demolition of Scottish Power's power station at Longannet in Fife; this was Scotland's last coal-fired power station. Colin Innes, Colin Robertson, Scott McCallum and others are acting for Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) Limited in the planning, property and environmental aspects of the 1,116MW Moray East offshore wind development in the Moray Firth. With the firm having successfully represented Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Limited in high-profile judicial review proceedings against the RSPB, Patricia Hawthorn and others are assisting the client with a new consent application for the Neart na Gaoithe project. Hawthorn jointly leads the environment practice with Innes. In addition to acting for energy sector clients, Jamie Grant advises those from infrastructure, ports and harbours, and hotels and leisure. Richard Leslie is also recommended.

Anderson Strathern has a wide-ranging environment practice, which plays a key role in transactions, projects, permitting, and civil and criminal litigation. Its team, which is led by Alastair McKie, is also up to speed on environmental regulatory issues. Reflective of its first-rate reputation in this area, the firm has been appointed to the Scottish Ministers' panel for public inquiries, and it has also secured Chemring Energetics UK Limited and Ashtead Plant Hire Company Limited as new clients. In the renewable energy sector, McKie and senior associate Kirsty Slee (who is a solicitor advocate) are representing Ross Estates Company at a public local inquiry in its opposition to a proposed waste to energy combined heat and power plant at Invergordon. Bruce Farquhar, Sheonagh Richards, McKie and senior solicitor Kirsty Jamieson assisted solar energy parks developer Elgin Energy with various matters recently, including the environmental aspects of the Milltown Airfield 10MW minimum solar development and of the Speyslaw 10MW minimum solar development. They also handled an environment impact assessment for the client in relation to a 99MW solar development at Wemyss Estate in Angus. Elsewhere, director Neil Amner is a leading expert on environmental issues in the transport sector. In the rural sector, Anne Chapman advises the owners of large estates on matters such as land slips and contamination.

Burness Paull LLP advises clients on contentious and non-contentious environmental issues across a wide range of industries, with particular strengths in the marine, oil and gas, and onshore and offshore renewable energy sectors. Craig Whelton undertakes environmental due diligence on corporate transactions and also provides standalone advice on soil contamination and remediation, and environmental permitting. Recent highlights included assisting Van Oord UK Limited with undertaking dredging works as part of its appointment on the new Aberdeen Harbour development, and advising Boralex on planning and environmental law issues relating to a proposed 36MW 12 turbine wind development at Fauch Hill in West Lothian.

CMS' Scotland-based group undertakes work on a standalone basis, and also operates as part of a UK-wide team. Although a part of the practice involves providing support on transactions and projects, the majority of the work is self-generated, covering regulatory compliance, consenting, governance issues and prosecutions, among various other areas. In Scotland, senior associate Joanna Waddell is experienced in representing clients in SEPA-led regulatory investigations. The firm's strong track record in handling complex contentious and non-contentious environmental issues sees it act for national and international clients in sectors that are particularly highly exposed to environmental issues, particularly energy, waste management and chemicals. Robin Hutchison, Waddell and others are advising Brockwell Energy on environmental impact assessements, Habitats Regulations and other environmental issues related to the energy from waste CHP development at Earl's Gate Energy Centre, and the Westfield mixed-use development. Hutchison also recently assisted Summit Power Caledonia UK Limited with the planning and environment, consenting and regulatory issues associated with the development of the Caledonia Clean Energy Project. Senior associate Mark McMurray also has vast environment law knowledge.

Davidson Chalmers LLP's team head Laura Tainsh, who is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as an environmental law specialist, has established a first-rate reputation among clients, which include landfill operators, recycling and waste management companies, and transport operators. Underlining her credentials in environmental law, in 2017, Tainsh was appointed to the Scottish Centre Council of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, and also the national Scientific and Technical Committee. Tainsh's group advises clients on a broad cross-section of matters, such as enforcement actions, regulatory issues and legislative/policy changes, and environmental impact assessments. Tainsh and associate Louise Jones are acting for Dunrobin Highland Distillery in the development and construction of a new distillery, which includes associated environmental issues, such as those relating to the use of water, the planning process, construction process and specific environmental consent applications. Saica Natur UK, WH Malcolm and Suez Group are other notable clients. Tainsh and others are also assisting Brewster Brothers Limited with the environmental aspects of its acquisition of an old quarry.

At Dentons, associate Pamela Coulthard (who heads up the Scottish environment practice) has expertise in the regulatory aspects of oil and gas decommissioning and onshore hydraulic fracturing, waste, contaminated land and the interplay between insolvency law and environmental law. Coulthard is assisting Network Rail with air quality issues (including local air quality management) relating to a city centre train station. Coulthard is also advising Ian Craig Haulage Limited on the replacement of a historic environmental agreement, which it had with a waste management company, with  an environmental insurance policy. In addition, Coulthard and others advise on the environmental liability and compliance issues associated with corporate acquisitions and disposals.

Harper Macleod LLP is a well-known name among planning authorities (it acts for eight out of 34 in Scotland) and regulatory bodies, for whom it delivers advice on non-contentious environmental (including regulatory) issues. It also provides them with representation at public inquiries, many of which are high-profile and involve issues over sensitive landscapes, habitats and species. Jennifer Jack advised Perth & Kinross Council on a petitioner's appeal to a court judgment at a judicial review challenge, which had affirmed the client's decision to grant planning permission for the development of a wind farm at Tullymurdoch. The case involved issues about the protection of wildcat and osprey in the locality of the wind farm. Jack also acted for Scottish Natural Heritage at a public local inquiry, where the client objected to an application for consent for the erection of an 18 turbine wind farm at Upper Sonachan in Argyll & Bute. Other clients include Dumfries & Galloway Council, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Moray Council and Historic Environment Scotland. The firm also undertakes advisory and advocacy work for developers of renewable energy projects. Peter Ferguson heads up the team.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP garners a significant amount of environmental work from throughout Scotland, owing to its involvement in a number of sectors, such as forestry and fisheries, farming, renewable energy and oil and gas. Practice head Jim Drysdale is knowledgeable about a wide variety of matters, such as nature conservation, waste, contaminated land and fluvial/pluvial/diffuse pollution. Solicitor advocate John Chalmers has 26 years of Sheriff Court and Court of Session litigation experience, and represents insurance companies and local authorities in litigation involving environmental issues and in judicial review cases. Other key figures include planning head David Scott, commercial lawyer Peter Murray and commercial property partner John Smart. Sarah Stuart and Neil Anderson are also recommended.

MacRoberts LLP leverages the experience of its multidisciplinary team to provide a full range of services to clients. One facet of the practice covers the environmental aspects of real estate/finance/corporate transactions and projects. Consultant Martin Sales is knowledgeable about environmental risks (and their mitigation) in major projects, with a focus on sectors such as energy, transport, minerals and waste. Sales and senior associate Keith Campbell are assisting M-I Drilling Fluids UK Limited with the environmental aspects of the development of a deep barite mine in the Loch Tummel National Scenic Area in Perthshire. Their experience also includes planning appeals and judicial reviews of matters involving environmentally-sensitive issues. Elsewhere, another strength of the firm's practice is in representing clients in litigation involving allegations of environmental law breaches, such as contaminated land, water pollution and recycling offences, among others. Consultant John McGovern, who is a criminal solicitor advocate, heads up a corporate defence team which defends clients against criminal prosecutions arising from regulatory investigations. Senior associate Louise Gibson is another key figure in the team.

Clients of boutique firm Environmental Law Chambers Ltd note the expertise of Barry Love, who became the first lawyer in Scotland to be accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as an accredited environmental law specialist in 2006, Love provides a broad scope of advice to Scottish and UK entities, spanning contract reviews, regulatory compliance and investigations, and criminal defence. Clients include local authorities, waste and recycling companies, food and drink companies and property developers.

Morton Fraser has a niche capability in assisting clients from the UK nuclear and defence industries with managing environmental concerns. Nick Atkins advises clients such as the UK Atomic Energy Authority and Dounreay Site Restoration Limited on issues associated with the decommissioning of radioactive contaminated land and disposal of radioactive waste, among others. A key defence industry client is the Ministry of Defence, who Atkins, Douglas Milne, senior associate Susan Leslie and others recently acted for in its objections to the Hill of Towie II wind farm in Morayshire and proposed Birneyknowe wind farm in the Scottish Borders. In the renewable energy sector, James Rust and senior associate Gail Watt recently advised Scottish Wildlife Trust on a number of renewable energy projects in extremely sensitive designated rural areas. Senior associate Lisa Dromgoole is another active team member.


Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Planning clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Brodies LLP is 'one of the leading planning law firms in Scotland', and is 'particularly well regarded among planning authorities' for whom 'its presence on a mandate inspires confidence'. Practice head Neil Collar, associate Alison Polson and senior solicitor Victoria Lane 'have an excellent awareness of planning matters' and they all deliver 'clear and consistent advice'. Karen Hamilton, associate Lee Murphy and managing associate Niall McLean are also highly recommended. The group provides a full service on the contentious and non-contentious issues arising at every stage of the planning process, ranging from early-stage strategic advice to planning inquiry advocacy and Court of Session appeals. A particular area of strength is in drafting section 75 planning obligations, including provisions on continuing liability, modification and discharge, and decommissioning bonds for minerals and wind farm developments. Collar and Lane are preparing the terms of a section 75 obligation on behalf of Park of Keir Partnership in relation to the 'Murray Legacy' project in Dunblane. Collar and Lane are also assisting Moda Living and Apache Capital Partners with the planning aspects of a proposed Build to Rent scheme at Springside in Edinburgh. Grangemouth Renewable Energy Limited, Boralex and Candleriggs Limited are other notable clients.

Burness Paull LLP's 'efficient and knowledgeable team' is led by 'planning guru' Elaine Farquharson-Black, who has 'great in-depth knowledge of the law, has great commercial skills and is an all-round player at the top of her game'. Farquharson-Black recently represented Elsick Development Company Limited at the Court of Session and Supreme Court in a landmark legal challenge of supplementary guidance on the Strategic Transport Fund, which has led to a proposed change to the law on planning obligations.  Farquharson-Black is also the lead adviser to Aberdeen Football Club on the planning application for a new £50m community stadium. Elsewhere, the group is highly active in assisting housebuilding clients with the planning aspects of large-scale residential development projects throughout Scotland (including associated infrastructure to support these projects, such as schools, transport and education facilities). Clients in this space include Taylor Wimpey, Stewart Milne Group and Dandara. Craig Whelton and senior associate Emma Dewar are advising West Craigs Limited on the promotion of a proposed new development at Maybury in West Edinburgh, consisting of 1400 new homes, as well as retail and medical facilities, and a new primary school. The group's energy-related work is gaining momentum, with it attracting mandates from clients such as EDF and Airvolution. Whelton and Dewar recently acted for Skylark (a joint venture between Ecotricity and Skanska) at a public local inquiry into the proposed development of a 19 turbine wind park at Upper Sonachan in Argyll & Bute. In the oil and gas sector, the firm acts as the sole planning adviser to Total E&P UK. Senior associate Theresa Hunt is recommended.

Morton Fraser has a sizeable base of public sector clients for whom it provides the gamut of planning-related legal services. Douglas Milne and associate Ursula Currie are acting for Scottish Canals in the promotion of a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to acquire the final part of the Forth & Clyde canal, which is in third party ownership; they recently represented the client at a public inquiry into objections to the CPO. Milne is also representing Transport Scotland in a public inquiry over the proposed dualling of the A96 trunk road from Inverness to Aberdeen. In a particularly high-profile matter, Milne, Rory Alexander and Currie represented Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority (SDPA) in the landmark Supreme Court challenge by Elsick Development Company Limited over SDPA's Supplementary Guidance on contributions to a Strategic Transport Fund. The firm also has a strong pipeline of work from private sector development and investment clients. Kenneth Carruthers is acting as the lead adviser to Parabola Properties Limited on the extension to Edinburgh Park. Carruthers also acts as the strategic planning adviser to Tesco, and Intu Properties Plc and Diageo are other key clients. Senior associates Susan Leslie and Lisa Dromgoole are also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP has 'a very proactive, constructive and practical focus on the service and advice that it provides'. Led by Jennifer Ballantyne, the team assists clients from Scotland and throughout the UK with the entire ambit of contentious and non-contentious planning matters. The firm has a particularly first-rate reputation in the consenting of large energy and infrastructure projects, as evidenced by the fact that Gordon McCreath is advising Beatrice Offshore Wind Limited on the consenting aspects of its £2.6bn 750MW Beatrice offshore wind farm. In the residential development sector, the group is experienced in the planning aspects of large-scale developments; Jacqueline Harris, Rodney Whyte and senior associate Fiona MacGregor recently assisted The Pilkington Trust (in conjunction with Stewart Milne Group) with obtaining planning permission for the development of Almond Valley Village, which will consist of 1500 new homes, and various school, leisure and retail facilities. Ballantyne's team also advises clients such as CALA, Barratt Homes and Ashfield Land on planning appeals and planning agreements. The minerals sector is another generator of planning work for the group; clients in this area include Aggregate Industries and Patersons Quarries. In the transport sector, McCreath is part of a cross-office team, which is advising Highways England on a highways project to upgrade the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down. Gary McGovern is another name to note.

Shepherd and Wedderburn's market-leading reputation is underscored by its portfolio of high-end work, with particular strengths in industries such as energy, residential development and retail. The team, which is equally strong in high-profile contentious and non-contentious planning matters, is jointly led by Ewan MacLeod and Colin Innes (who chairs the Law Society of Scotland Planning Accreditation Committee). MacLeod and senior associate Fraser Mitchell recently assisted Taylor Wimpey and CALA Homes with obtaining planning permission, and successfully represented the clients at a related judicial review, over the development of sites at Maidenhill in Newton Mearns. MacLeod and Mitchell also defended CALA Homes at a judicial review challenge raised by Jordanhill Community Council over the proposed redevelopment of the former Jordanhill College Campus. In the renewable energy sector, Innes and Scott McCallum are acting for Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) Limited in the planning aspects of the 1,116MW Moray East offshore wind development in the Moray Firth. In another matter, MacLeod advised Brown & Mason on a consenting strategy, which was agreed with Fife Council, to faciliate the demolition of Scottish Power's coal-fired Longannet power station. Elsewhere, clients such as British Land and Sainsbury's instruct the firm on all of their Scottish projects.

Anderson Strathern's practice head Alastair McKie, who is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a planning law specialist, and is 'exceptionally good with clients'. The firm is a first port of call for planning advice from a wide range of public and private sector organisations, including developers, local authorities, central and local governments and utility providers. McKie is handling the planning aspects of a multimillion pound development in Woking town centre for Bandstand Square Developments. In another highlight, McKie recently assisted Peter D. Stirling Limited and the Trustees of the I.D. Meiklam Trust with a planning application in relation to the circa £260m Mossend International Railfreight Park development. In the renewable energy sector, the team is acting for Ross Estates Company (which is owned by Mohamed Al Fayed) at a public local inquiry, which relates to its opposition to a proposed waste to energy CHP plant in Invergordon. Audrey Cameron, Fiona Stephen and senior associate Kirsty Slee are other members of the group.

CMS takes a lead role in high-profile planning matters, where it acts for many of the most significant players in Scotland; its client roster includes names such as SSE Plc, Aberdeen Standard and Scottish Water. Its first-rate team includes energy and infrastructure sector expert Robin Hutchison, who is active in both contentious and non-contentious planning matters, and 'provides excellent advice on very complex issues'. Hutchison, senior associate Mark McMurray and others recently acted for Inch Cape Offshore Limited in its successful defence of a judicial review challenge brought by the RSPB over consent for one of the world's first floating offshore wind farms (Kincardine Offshore Wind Farm). Clients also now benefit from the experience of June Gilles, who joined in January 2018 from Davidson Chalmers LLP, and has more than 30 years of experience of planning and compulsory purchase experience in the public and private sectors. Gilles' specialisms are in renewable energy, student accommodation, and rural and residential developments. Ann Faulds, who heads up the team, is working with McMurray to advise TH Real Estate on the planning, compulsory purchase and roads matters associated with the £1bn Edinburgh St James redevelopment project.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP's Sandy Telfer is a leading expert in the planning aspects of energy-related developments, particularly onshore unconventional gas developments. Telfer, Alistair Drummond, legal director Michael Greig and others are acting for INEOS in a judicial review application arising from the Scottish Government's ban on onshore unconventional gas. In a cross-border energy-related matter, Telfer and Greig are also working with members of the Birmingham office to assist the same client with appeals over the non-determination of two planning applications for exploratory gas development in Rotherham and Derbyshire. Wind farm developments are another area of energy-related planning activity for the firm. In the housing sector, Telfer, Greig and others have a wealth of experience acting for housebuilders and planning authorities in development plan examinations, appeals and court challenges. Greig represented Hallam Land Management and Commercial Estates Group at a housing appeal over a development at Cambusbarron in Stirling. Greig is also acting for Royal Bank of Scotland in relation to a proposed housing development at Millburn Tower, adjacent to its Edinburgh headquarters. Another standout highlight involved representing Aberdeenshire Council at the Supreme Court over the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Transport Fund.

MacRoberts LLP's team provides strategic advice to private developers and public sector clients on complex planning applications associated with large-scale and high-value developments. It also undertakes advocacy work in planning appeals, statutory appeals and judicial reviews. Consultant Martin Sales and senior associate Keith Campbell are acting for M-I Drilling Fluids UK Limited in the planning and environmental aspects of the development of a deep barite mine in the Loch Tummel National Scenic Area of Perthshire, which includes assisting with the consenting strategy and environmental impact assessment. Sales is also representing Drum Hollistan Renewables LLP in public local inquiries into the Drum Hollistan and nearby Limekiln wind farm applications. The firm also has strong specialisms in areas such as retail, commercial property, harbours and marine planning, and roads.

Addleshaw Goddard incorporated HBJ Gateley's planning offering, following the merger between the two firms in 2017. It has since expanded at associate level. The practice is led by Sarah Baillie, who is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a planning law specialist, and is also a chartered town planner with membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute. Key areas of focus for the firm in planning matters are in retail and leisure, development and regeneration (particularly housing and the private rented sector/build to rent), and transport, energy and utilities. Baillie's team acts as the sole planning advisers to Aldi in its store acquisition and development programme in Scotland; it recently defended the client against judicial review proceedings brought by Asda over proposed development in Dundee. It also recently assisted Pentland Studios Limited with the planning aspects of a proposed film studio complex at Straiton. Scotland Gas Network Plc, Staycity and Burcote Wind Group are other active clients.

Davidson Chalmers LLP's Caroline Court has expertise in residential and commercial development, where she advises developers on the property and planning aspects of projects. Stephanie Mackenzie, who recently joined from CMS, is also knowledgeable about planning issues in residential development projects. Another key figure is Andy Drane, who is assisting The RJ Tyser Overseas Settlement with planning issues associated with the proposed development of 900 houses, a primary school and an access road at a site located on the outskirts of Inverness.  Court, Drane and others are acting for Story Homes in all aspects (including planning) of a 230 unit housing development in Biggar. Other sectors where the firm generates planning work include hospitality and leisure, renewable energy, student accommodation and retail. Peel Group, JW Muir Group Plc and Kingsford Developments Limited are other notable clients. Director Jacqueline Cook joined as the head of planning from Pinsent Masons LLP, succeeding former head June Gilles, who departed for CMS.

Dentons' practice, which is led by director Gillian Simpson, is highly active in advising developers of residential and mixed-use developments on projects across Scotland. Simpson is acting for a consortium - consisting of CALA Homes (West) Limited, Lynch Homes and Abbey Developments (Jackton) Limited - in the negotiation of the section 75 obligation, and in relation to other planning matters, for a proposed development encompassing 1200 new homes and associated infrastructure in East Kilbride. Simpson and Fiona Gordon are also assisting Avant Homes (Scotland) Limited with planning issues associated with a large residential development at Mydub Farm in Denny. In addition to undertaking standalone work, the team supports other practices in transactional matters; a recent highlight involved working with the property team to assist Multi Let Global Investments with the acquisition (and related financing) of Morgan Stanley's Scottish headquarters building in Glasgow. The group's capabilities in contentious planning matters, such as appeals and judicial reviews, round off the practice.

At DWF, Moray Thomson leads a team, which serves clients across a number of sectors on planning and consenting matters. Energy is one of the firm's core sector strengths in this space, with clients benefiting from the experience of associates Magdalena MacLean and Steven Stewart, who worked in-house on secondment at ScottishPower Renewables and SP Energy Networks respectively. Thomson and MacLean are acting for SP Transmission Plc in the planning aspects of the Crystal Rig substation extension. Elsewhere, Thomson and MacLean recently advised Loudoun Woods Homes Limited on a 'called-in' application for planning permission in principle for leisure and tourism development within the grounds of the Loudoun Castle Estate. Another highlight involved acting for Moda Living in the consenting strategy for a 17 storey PRS development at the former Strathclyde Police headquarters at Holland Street in Glasgow. Other clients include New River Retail, Jaguar Land Rover and Skene Group.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP's planning team is going from strength to strength, following the promotion to partner of Isobell Reid. In addition, Colin Hamilton also made partner, and then became the head of the practice. Active in both contentious and non-contentious matters, the firm's core focus is in its work for landowners, housebuilders, developers, market participants in the energy industry and public sector entities. Hamilton, solicitor advocate John Stirling and Fiona Cameron recently acted for Seagreen Wind Energy in a high-profile judicial review challenge brought by the RSPB over the development of the Forth and Tay offshore wind farms. In another matter, Cameron and Hamilton advised No Kingsford Stadium Limited on a potential judicial review of the decision to grant planning consent for Aberdeen FC's new stadium, which is to be built on greenbelt land.

Harper Macleod LLP has a sizeable client following of planning authorities (it acts for eight out of the 34 in Scotland). The firm also acts for a number of regulatory bodies; clients include Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland. In addition to undertaking planning-related transactional and advisory work, the firm also has significant involvement in planning appeals, inquiries and judicial reviews. Peter Ferguson and Jennifer Jack recently represented Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) at a public inquiry over the development of 1500 homes, associated community facilities and infrastructure. They also represented Historic Environment Scotland in a public inquiry over the refusal of planning permission for the erection of Cnoc an Eas wind farm, a 13 turbine wind energy development near Glenurquhart, Inverness-shire. The team also acts for developers of renewable energy projects. Rod McKenzie has left to become legal counsel at the Scottish Professional Football League.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP, which is noted for its strengths in the planning aspects of wind farm and housing developments, acts for multiple stakeholders in contentious and non-contentious planning matters, including landowners, developers, objectors and planning authorities. Planning practice head David Scott works alongside partner Stephen Morrice (among other members of the commercial property team) and senior associate Rebecca Walker, who has significant experience of contentious planning work, particularly wind farm inquiries. Scott and others are advising clients such as Kirkwood Homes Limited and Claymore Homes Limited as the landowner and/or application on multiple section 75 agreements across various development sites. Dandara Group, Bancon Developments Limited and Cornerstone Community Care are among other clients.

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP recently added additional resource to its practice by hiring associate Paul Adams to its Inverness office from Stronachs LLP. Adams, who has previous experience of working at the Highland Council, is knowledgeable about the planning aspects of renewable energy projects, retail and housing developments, and compulsory purchase orders.  Led by Fraser Gillies, the team advises on all aspects of planning applications, appeals and inquiries. Associate Nicola Martin, who is dual-qualified to practise in Scotland and England and Wales, has taken a lead role on a number of the firm's matters recently; highlights included acting for Renewable Energy Systems Limited in the Culachy wind farm public inquiry, and advising the same client on a planning appeal over the Aberarder wind farm project.

Property litigation

Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Property litigation clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Brodies LLP's 'incredibly professional' team has a tremendous record of success in dilapidations cases, complex disputes concerning contractual interpretations, and commercial landlord and tenant matters. Stephen Goldie and solicitor Chloe Postlethwaite are advising a private equity fund on various contentious issues associated with a retail park and large shopping centre, such as tenant insolvency, recovery of arrears, keep open actions and common parts issues. The firm has developed a first-rate reputation in disputes over business rates. Matthew Farrell and Postlethwaite recently acted for a number of non-domestic ratepayers (including accountants, oil companies and high street retailers) located in Aberdeen on challenging their business rates before the Valuation Appeal Committee. TIAA Henderson Real Estate, Moorfield and Pramerica are among other clients. Ken MacDonald, who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law, is experienced in resolving disputes through methods such as litigation, mediation, arbitration and expert determination. Tony Jones QC joined from BTO Solicitors LLP.

Burness Paull LLP's practice is led by Alan McMillan (a Fellow of the CIArb and member of the Law Society specialist accreditation panel on arbitration) in Edinburgh, whose recent work has included multimillion pound arbitrations involving issues over dilapidations, service charge disputes and alienation clauses, among others. McMillan, who is also a CEDR-accredited mediator and seasoned litigator, is supported by Glasgow-based partner Gary Moffat and solicitor advocate Steven Guild. Senior solicitor Stephen Farrell is another name to note. The firm's outstanding track record in property disputes has enabled it to build up a client base including such names as BSkyB, City of Edinburgh Council, Stewart Milne Group and Vodafone. McMillan represented NFU Mutual in a dilapidations claim against Deloitte in 2017. In addition, McMillan and Farrell are advising wind farm developer Auquhirie Land Company Limited on a £2.6m damages action against Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Plc (SHET); the dispute arises from the client's ability to develop a five turbine development being limited to a three turbine development, as a consequence of SHET obtaining a statutory wayleave, which allows it to have pylons on the client's land.

Dentons, which entered the Scottish marketplace by merging with Maclay Murray & Spens in 2017, has seen its Scotland-based team become increasingly active in advising the firm's clients from further afield across the UK. The group, which is led by Gareth Hale, has recently attracted work from names such as J Sainsbury Plc and Argos. Its expertise in reputationally-significant cases spans a wide variety of issues, such as contested lease terminations, dilapidations and disputes arising from the termination of land option contracts. Hale and senior associate Sarah McCormick are representing CIP Property (AIPT) Limited at the Inner House of the Court of Session in a landmark case concerning the anti-money laundering obligations of financial institutions/other regulated entities, or their nominees, in property transactions. Another legally-significant case saw Hale and McCormick act for The Brucefield Estate Trustee Company Limited as the landlord in proceedings against former tenant Computacenter (UK) Limited; this widely-publicised case concerned the operation of tacit relocation. In addition to acting for landlords, the firm also advises corporate tenants, including TK Maxx, The Disney Store and John Menzies Plc. Ewan Easton has retired from private practice.

Morton Fraser's high calibre team undertakes a varied portfolio of contentious real estate cases that arise from land acquisitions and development, including matters involving an interplay between property law and other related areas, such as construction law, contract law and planning law. Kenneth Carruthers, who heads up the group, has focused predominantly on property disputes for nearly 30 years. His stable of clients includes the Scottish government, Buchan Biogas Limited and Standard Life Trustees Limited. He has also acted as Tesco's main adviser on property litigation in Scotland for nearly 20 years. In 2017, Carruthers and senior associate Lisa Dromgoole assisted Priya Properties and four other landowners with successfully appealing all 95 demolition orders served on flats at a housing scheme in Port Glasgow. Douglas Milne, who has specialised in property litigation since 1995, was the lead adviser to New Ingliston Limited on a Court of Session claim against City of Edinburgh Council over the Council's failure to return land to the client following completion of the Edinburgh Tram scheme. Nicola Ross represents public and private sector clients in landlord and tenant disputes, and disputes arising following the conclusion of sale/purchase contracts. Richard McMeeken, senior associate Susan Leslie and associate Ursula Currie are also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP provides 'a dependably high level of service' to its diverse client base, which includes developers, investors, funders and insolvency practitioners. Its heavyweight team, which is led by Craig Connal QC, has a strong track record in widely-reported, groundbreaking cases. Connal QC and senior associate Fiona MacGregor are representing Diageo Scotland in a high-value group of claims involving circa 1000 homeowners (whose properties neighbour the client's maturation facilities), who allege that a fungus was created by the client's whisky maturation process, and caused damage to their properties. In 2017, Joanne Gillies and associate David Crossan acted for Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP, as the joint administrators of several companies that were part of the property empire of Scottish businessman Thomas Coakley, in irritancy proceedings. BP, Peel Group and Realis Estates are other notable clients. Senior associate Claire Thornber 'can be relied upon to get to the heart of a dispute quickly, and advises clients competently and comprehensively'. Solicitor advocate Jacqueline Harris, who has more than 25 years of litigation experience, is another well-known name in the team.

Shepherd and Wedderburn's Colin Archibald and Elaine Brailsford jointly have more than 50 years of experience handling the full spectrum of complex property disputes, a number of which have been among the most significant in Scotland. Archibald and Brailsford work alongside other notable individuals in the group, such as associates Daniel Bain and Stephanie Hepburn  A recent highlight involved Archibald and Bain acting for Tarmac in two interrelated litigations arising from a leasing dispute between the client and the executor of its former landlord of quarry subjects in the Scottish Borders. In another matter, Archibald, Bain and associate Fraser Mitchell are advising Taylor Wimpey Developments Limited on a dispute with West Lothian Council over an alleged statutory nuisance near a development site at Winchburgh in West Lothian. Elsewhere, market conditions have led to other growth areas of work, such as 'keep open' disputes between commercial landlords and tenants, and also dilapidations cases. In addition, telecoms sector property work is an emerging area of the practice, particularly in cases involving issues under the Electronic Communications Code. 

Anderson Strathern's property litigation experience is brought to bear in commercial lease disputes, title and access disputes, commercial property management cases, and crofting and agricultural matters. Practice head Fiona Stephen is one of nine solicitors recommended by the Law Society of Scotland to conduct property-related professional negligence cases. Senior associate Shirley Evans has a track record in property litigation dating back more than 25 years. Kirsty Slee, Fraser Geddes and Alistair Dean are other members of the team, which acts for clients such as registered social landlords, commercial landlords, tenants, local authorities and developers. Stephen and Evans are representing Midlothian Council in litigation brought by landowners to recall a notice served by the council, which requires them to remove a fence prohibiting public access to Penicuik Estate. Geddes and senior associate Gillian Jamieson recently advised MP Burke Transport Limited on a professional negligence claim against an engineering consultancy over its alleged failure to identify corrosion on the metal roof sheeting of a warehouse in Paisley during a structural survey. In another highlight, Stephen represented a trustee in sequestration in an action for possession of farmland belonging to a debtor.

CMS 'leaves no stone unturned when working on a case'. Team head Alison Gow has 'a detailed understanding of Court of Session procedure and displays very strong tactical instincts'; she is 'a real fighter'. Other individuals who garner client praise are senior associate Marc Armstrong, who is 'always aware of the overall commercial interests of the client' and 'incisive' associate Danielle McLaughlin. The group, which also includes Colin Hutton and Harriet Munro, is prominent in headline property disputes. In 2017, Gow and Armstrong represented SSE Plc in The John Muir Trust's challenge of the decision by the Scottish Ministers to allow the development of the circa £460m Stronelairg wind farm development in the Scottish Highlands. Armstrong and Gow worked with the planning team to advise Inch Cape Offshore Limited on the RSPB's judicial review challenge of the Inch Cape Offshore wind farm; the RSPB was challenging this project, along with three other wind farms. In addition to acting for clients in the renewable energy sector, other areas of activity include oil and gas, IT, insurance and life sciences. The team's diverse workload also includes high-value dilapidations claims, property-related insolvency, real estate negligence, wayleave and servitude disputes, cases involving boundary and encroachment issues, and landlord and tenant matters. Senior associate Mary Forbes, who is a solicitor advocate, is a name to note in Aberdeen.

Davidson Chalmers LLP's Sheila Webster and recently promoted partner Greg Flett 'combine an excellent understanding of the law with a keen focus on the commercial needs of the client'. In addition to generating standalone instructions, the firm's first-rate reputation in handling property disputes makes it a first port of call for referral work from English and Scottish law firms. The broad spread of work includes multimillion pound dilapidations cases, landlord and tenant matters (including notice disputes), property damage, title disputes and matters arising from commercial and residential developments (such as contentious construction issues). Webster, who is a qualified mediator, also regularly sits as an arbitrator on property disputes. She is also experienced in property-related judicial reviews, as is newly promoted associate Magnus Miller. Webster and Flett are assisting Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, as the former tenant of a commercial premises in Glasgow, with a number of interrelated disputes with a former landlord. In 2017, they advised Pizza Hut (UK) Limited on a dilapidations claim brought by landlords of a property in central Glasgow. Another matter saw Webster and Miller advise Carpetright on successfully bringing an application against its landlord for an extension of its lease under the Tenancy of Shops (Scotland) Act 1949. Muir Group, William Grant & Sons Distillers Limited and Straid Farms Limited are other clients.

Addleshaw Goddard represents clients in contentious property matters at all court levels in Scotland, and in arbitrations and mediations. Led by Simon Catto, the team advises clients on access and encroachment issues, rent review cases, dilapidation claims, title issues, and landlord and tenant matters. It is also increasingly sought-after to advise on disputes involving access to and the installation of telecommunications apparatus on land. Joan Devine recently acted for the receivers of Fieldoak Limited (a company which owned an extensive residential property portfolio) in an action for declarator against Citywide at the Commercial Court of the Court of Session; the dispute arose over control of the portfolio, which was worth between £7m and £9m. Another key figure is managing associate Edward Gratwick, who is a member of the Property Litigation Association, and acts for registered social landlords, public bodies, commercial and estate landowners, among other clients.

BTO Solicitors LLP, which fields six solicitor advocates, undertakes a comprehensive range of property disputes for insurance companies, property developers, property managers, registered social landlords and housebuilders, among others. David Young was the lead adviser to ELB Securities Limited (the owner of commercial premises on Buchanan Street in Glasgow) on a case which is the leading authority on the status of property disclaimed by the Crown during a time when a company has been struck off the register of companies. Bill Speirs, Jilly Petrie and others are acting for a large insurance company in a claim by William Grant & Sons, which arose from the collapse of the roofs of its warehouses as a result of heavy snowfalls in 2009 and 2010. Grant Hunter and Graeme Kelly are advising Pendragon Plc on a compensation claim at the Lands Tribunal, which relates to a CPO by Glasgow City Council to build a link road though the client's commercial premises in the east end of Glasgow. Mark Morton leads the team, which also includes consultant Robin Macpherson and Angus Crawford. Associates Mark McCluskie, Michael Collins and Jamie Reekie are also recommended. Tony Jones QC departed for Brodies LLP.

The experience of DLA Piper Scotland LLP's team in complex and strategically significant property disputes - across all forms of dispute resolution - is complemented by its ability to leverage cross-practice and cross-office support where required. Led by Alistair Drummond, the team acts for a broad base of Scottish, UK and international clients; names include Dreamvale Properties Limited, Heineken, Asda and The Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Drummond and senior Jennifer Talbot recently assisted The Coal Authority with raising a first-of-its-kind action for declarator over mining work in Kirkcaldy, which has caused subsidence in the area. Drummond and Talbot are also acting for Consort Healthcare (Fife) Limited in Court of Session proceedings against the contractors and independent tester in relation to defects to the pipework and heating system within the new facilities at Victoria Hospital in Fife. Drummond co-heads the practice with Hazel Moffat.

DWF has a strong profile inside and outside of Scotland for property litigation. It has historically been well-known for its work in the retail sector, where clients include Arcadia and JD Sports. In 2017, Euan McSherry and senior associate Kenneth Campbell successfully represented Marks & Spencer at the Inner House of the Court of Session in a long-running dispute with landlord Gyle Shopping Centre General Partners Limited over the interpretation of a commercial lease, and the rights of the landlord to build a new Primark store in and adjacent to the Gyle shopping centre. Beyond retail, the practice also generates mandates from clients in various other industries, such as energy, real estate, and hospitality and leisure. In addition, the firm is increasingly active in the telecommunications sector; McSherry recently defended Virgin Media in Sheriff Court litigation brought by a landlord over the laying of cabling on its land. Ricky Cannon, who recently joined the firm from Brodies LLP, is experienced in property repossession actions.

Harper Macleod LLP's group offers clients a combination of 'excellent technical abilities' with 'a willingness to offer practical advice and alternative solutions, which may lead to a faster and less expensive outcome'. Carolyn Morgan leads the team, whose wide-ranging workload includes disputed rent reviews, access and encroachment matters, dilapidations, nuisance and breach of missives. Morgan and Andrew Upton are acting for Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority at the Inner House of the Court of Session in proceedings arising from the client serving an enforcement notice on landowner Renyana Stahl Anstalt under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 requiring it to stop obstructing the public from making use of its access rights. Other clients of the firm include Cairngorm National Park Authority, Credential Group, Tulloch Group and River Clyde Homes. E-Ming Fong represented Kashmiri Properties (Ireland) Limited in a landmark case on the creation of implied servitudes. John McHugh, who is a solicitor advocate, has 20 years of contentious property experience. Associate Lewis Kemp is also recommended. Rod McKenzie has left to become legal counsel at the Scottish Professional Football League.

MacRoberts LLP's team is led by Gillian Craig, who is the chair of the Scottish branch of the Property Litigation Association. In her addition, her particular strengths in extra-judicial settlements (particularly property-related mediations) have led to her appointment on The Law Society of Scotland's commercial mediation accreditation panel. Craig assisted a Scottish Property Group Limited, as the landlord of a property in Glasgow city centre, with settling at mediation a dilapidations dispute with outgoing tenant Pizza Hut (UK) Limited. Craig is also working with senior associate Angus Wood, Leon Breakey and others to advise a college, as the landlord of a student halls of residence, on handling the breach by an operating company in administration (as the tenant) of an obligation to keep the premises in good repair, among other matters. Other recent highlights have involved wayleave and servitude issues, and also title and boundary disputes. Solicitor advocate Julie Hamilton and senior associate Lynsay Cargill are other practitioners who are recommended for their property litigation experience.

Blackadders LLP's team undertakes litigation at the Court of Session and Sheriff Court for clients from a variety of sectors, such as residential and commercial development, agriculture and construction. In addition, it also has an extensive alternative dispute resolution offering. The group's expertise includes rent arrears, dilapidations, contractual disputes and boundary disputes. Accredited insolvency specialist Stephanie Carr is knowledgeable about the interface between insolvency and property law issues. Ryan McKay leads the team, which also includes solicitor advocate Richard Godden.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP is particularly active in land and rural sector sector property disputes, where it acts for clients such as housebuilders, estate owners and public sector organisations. Led by Fiona Cameron, its team provides advice on the full range of issues, such as tenancy disputes, nuisance, boundaries, encroachment and dilapidations. It also handles contentious issues arising from strategic development projects, including residential developments and renewable energy projects. Colin Hamilton and solicitor advocate John Stirling represented Seagreen Wind Energy Limited in RSPB's judicial review challenge of the Forth and Tay offshore wind farms combined consent. Isobell Reid is another notable individual in the team. Murray Shaw has retired from private practice.

Lindsays' recent work included John Bett acting for Healthcare Environmental Services Limited as the defender in a widely-reported circa £3m landlord and tenant case at the Court of Session; the matter involved significant dilapidations issues, among others. Paul Harper heads up the team, which has expertise in acting for housing associations and letting agents; the scope of the advice covers debt recovery, repossessions, antisocial behaviour and tenancy deposit claims. Other clients include commercial developers, rural/highland estates, universities and charities.

Social housing

Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

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Harper Macleod LLP is seen as 'an industry leader' within the social housing sector, as evidenced by the fact that it acts for more than half of the registered social landlords in Scotland (who collectively own or control circa 50% of the housing stock there). Its other clients include local authorities, private sector developers and joint venture bodies. Practice head Derek Hogg, who has specialised in social housing for more than 20 years, is working with David McIndoe and associate Collette Miller to advise the More Homes team of the Scottish Government's Housing and Social Justice Directorate on its affordable home ownership schemes. In addition, Hogg and James McMorrow are assisting Wheatley Housing Group with a large-scale governance review. The team's multifaceted workload also includes mergers and constitutional partnerships, commercial property acquisitions and disposals, public procurement and state aid advice, and dispute resolution. Associate Stephanie Nichol is recommended.

T C Young, whose track record in the social housing sector dates back more than 40 years, acts for more than 121 registered social landlords (RSLs) - more than 70% of RSLs in Scotland. Alison Brynes leads the team, whose expertise includes stock transfers, factoring and property management, development, finance, debt recovery and procurement. Mark Ewing leads the firm's advice on governance issues. Brynes, Douglas Collingham and Lauren Little recently acted for New Gorbals Housing Association in the Laurieston Living development, a major regeneration project which will bring a mix of private and housing association homes to the Gorbals area in Glasgow. Brynes and Collingham also advised Forth Housing Association on acquiring an NHS building and then leasing it to a public body for refurbishment. Jim Bauld assisted Milnbank Housing Association with pursuing an action for recovery of possession of a property on the grounds of antisocial behaviour by the tenant's children. Other notable individuals in the team are Andrew Cowan, Christine Stuart, consultant Len Freedman, Alastair McKendrick and associate Claire Mullen. Stephen MacGregor has retired.

Addleshaw Goddard's group, which is led byHeather Pearson, provides a full service to RSLs on all types of contentious and non-contentious matters. Susan McDonald, who has specialised in social housing for more than 20 years, is experienced in housing management, development conveyancing and tenancy matters, among other areas. Pearson's team includes employment law specialist Kim Pattullo, and also Paul Minto, who advises RSLs on investment transactions and development projects involving onshore wind farms. In addition, following the firm's merger with HBJ Gateley in 2017, the team increasingly plays a key role in social housing finance transactions. Pearson and managing associate Suzanne Murphy recently acted for Paragon Housing Association in its circa £1m turn-key acquisition of completed new-build properties in Alva. Link Group, Wheatley Housing Group and Kingdom Housing Association are other notable clients.

BTO Solicitors LLP has been engaged in the social housing sector for four decades, and its team has a first-rate reputation in strategically significant mandates. Karen Brodie, and associates Marieclaire Reid and Lesley Gray, have been advising Clyde Valley Housing Association Limited on the acquisition of a number of development sites as part of its ambitious development programme. The team has also acted for Southside Housing Association in various matters; Brodie is assisting the client with a community hub project, which will receive Big Lottery funding and will be taken forward with another local community organisation. Team head Patrice Fabien recently advised the same client on governance issues, including updates to its Code of Conduct for Governing Body Members, and on a response to a complaint by a bidder over the client's approach to a procurement exercise. Grant Hunter oversees the firm's RSL litigation work and is experienced in disputes arising from tenancy breaches, stock transfers and development projects. Caroline Carr and Marion Davis are accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as specialists in employment law and charities law respectively, while consultant Ann O’Connell is an accredited construction law specialist. David Young is knowledgeable about debt recovery, tenancy litigation, factoring and ASBOs. Sandra Cassels and Paul Motion are also recommended.

Burness Paull LLP's profile in the social housing sector sees it act for a mix of housing providers, housing charities and developers. Since it was appointed to Sanctuary Group's new legal panel in April 2017, the firm has undertaken a significant amount of work for the client through its Scottish subsidary Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association (SSHA); recent highlights included Stephen Phillips acting as the lead adviser on a complex inter-group restructuring, and Scott Peterkin and others assisting the client with the Scottish property aspects of the acquisition of a portfolio of 35 care homes (including 13 in Scotland) from Embrace Group. In addition, Peterkin, Craig Whelton and other members of the firm's property and planning teams are acting for SSHA in the High Rise Regeneration Project in Cumbernauld.Peter Chambers (who co-heads the practice with Peterkin) assists clients such as Hillcrest Housing Association and Link Group with large-scale developments, financing and development agreements with housebuilders. Chambers also advises housing provider Cruden Group on strategy and contract structuring to faciltate the delivery of affordable homes. Other facets of the firm's social housing work include assisting with health and safety, employment, construction and Freedom of Information requests. Scottish Futures Trust, Springfield Properties and Glasgow Housing Association are other clients.

Shepherd and Wedderburn acts for local authority and housing association clients in a wide range of matters by drawing upon its strengths across a number of disciplines, including projects, construction, litigation and pensions. Its first-rate reputation in real estate sees it regularly advise RSLs on related social housing matters; Elaine Hunter recently assisted Southside Housing Association with a number of matters, including the acquisition of a development site at Paisley Road West in the south of Glasgow. On the contentious front, practice head Stephen Humphreys (who has more than 25 years of experience of the social housing sector) is representing Kingdom Housing Association in ongoing actions to recover heritable property, while Colin Archibald and others are acting for Loretto Housing Association (which is part of the Wheatley Housing Group) in a structural defects claim against Cruden (the contractor) and Cameron & Ross (the structural engineer) over a building which was converted from a hospital to create 17 flats and a day centre facility. Neil Maclean advises social housing clients on employment law issues, while Rhona Harper is an expert on procurement.

Anderson Strathern is a one-stop shop for contentious and non-contentious social housing advice. Team head David Hunter advises social housing providers on matters such as leasing, site acquisitions and development. Deputy head Shirley Evans specialises in litigation and housing management issues (where she acts for local authorities and housing associations); in 2017, she handled an eviction action for Manor Estates Housing Association. The group also assists clients with other matters impacting the sector, including residential development projects, public procurement, real estate finance and governance. In the renewable energy sector, Martin Whiteford is advising Ore Valley Housing Association on a CHP project. In addition, Hunter, Gavin Thain and Deborah Lovell assisted Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association, East Lothian Housing Association and Grampian Housing Association with an innovative renewable energy initiative (in partnership with Edison Energy) to generate free electricity for tenants and reduce fuel poverty levels. Fiona Killen is knowledgeable about data protection and freedom of information issues affecting social housing clients.

Morton Fraser has a particularly strong capability in finance transactions, and its practice head Andrew Meakin acts for a number of the most active lenders in the social housing sector, including Santander, Nationwide and Royal Bank of Scotland. Meakin, associate Lauren Hart and others acted for Bank of Scotland in various transactions, including the provision of new loan facilities of £7m to Cunninghame Housing Association. Elsewhere, Suzanne Hardie has been instrumental in the growth of the firm's work for RSLs, where the scope of mandates includes advice on development acquisitions, tenancy issues, governance and regulatory matters. Real estate finance specialist Ainsley Reid, who is dual-qualified in Scottish and English law, joined from Dentons in December 2017. Employment head Innes Clark is another key figure.

A core area of strength at Shoosmiths is its advice to RSLs on real estate development projects (including the associated site acquisitions and sales) in Edinburgh, Fife and Glasgow. Janette Speed and senior associate Gillian Wood are acting for Port of Leith Housing Association in its acquisition of development sites at Granton Harbour and Brunswick Road (both in Edinburgh). Kingdom Housing Association, Dunedin Canmore and Wheatley Group are other notable clients on development matters. Elsewhere, the firm also advises RSLs on other matters; Karen Harvie has expertise in employment and governance issues. Solicitor advocate Andrew Foyle undertakes recoveries work and is also knowledgeable about insolvency-related issues. Commercial litigator Stuart Clubb and corporate partner Stuart Murray are also recommended. Laura Bloxham departed for Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in 2017.

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