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Who Represents Who

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Brodies LLP has ‘a superb team’ that is ‘great to work with’, is praised for its ‘commercial acumen’, and is ‘prepared to put words into action, beyond mere token gestures, to go the extra mile’. Alistair McLean spearheads the non-contentious side of the practice, which regularly acts in large-scale projects in Scotland and the UK involving areas such as student accommodation, oil and gas, renewable energy, infrastructure, mixed-use developments and offices. McLean and director Mark Finlay recently advised Dutch pension fund APG on construction issues associated with the St James Centre redevelopment in Edinburgh. In another highlight, McLean and managing associate Juliet Haldane advised Morgan Stanley on the construction aspects of its new headquarters in Glasgow. Louise Shiels, who is dual-qualified in Scottish and English law, has more than 12 years of construction-sector experience. Other key clients include Carillion, Interserve Construction, Drum Property Group and Amey OW. Manus Quigg, (‘an excellent strategist’) heads the contentious side of the practice, which was strengthened by the recent arrival of David Arnott from MacRoberts LLP. Also recommended are Jane McMonagle, who joined from Harper Macleod LLP, and associates Claire Rice, Keith Kilburn and Christopher Duff.

Pinsent Masons LLP attracts praise for its ‘impressive breadth of sector knowledge’ and for its ‘very commercial, and more importantly, demystified advice’. Kenny Valentine and Michael Allan jointly lead the team, which handles a range of complex contentious issues, and is also active in some of the most high-profile complex projects in Scotland and across the UK. Clients include Balfour Beatty, Galliford Try and Morgan Sindall. Allan is working with a cross-practice team advising Aberdeen Harbour board on the Aberdeen Harbour Expansion project. In another matter, Valentine, Julia Maguire and senior associate Gillian Woodward are acting for Lend Lease on the £90m Hydro project. On the contentious side, Brandon Nolan and legal director Simona Williamson represented Bouygues E&S Contracting Limited at the Court of Session in litigation against Vital Energi Utilities. Other key figures include Louise Forster, who ‘takes the time to understand the client’s business’; the ‘very knowledgeableFraser McMillan, who is rated for his ‘strategic advice’; and Colin Fraser. Iain MacPhail, Craig Morrison and Scott Johnston are also recommended.

Burness Paull LLP is deeply entrenched in the Scottish construction market, as illustrated by its client base, which includes Galliford Try, Amey and Weir Group. Led by Fenella Mason, the team has a strong track record handling the construction aspects of NPD and hub projects, and is singled out for its expertise in renewable energy projects, as well as matters involving the social housing, education, health and retail sectors. Stephen Phillips is regularly called on to develop structures to facilitate the delivery of infrastructure projects. In 2016, Chris Mackay led a team including Phillips and senior solicitors Andrew Little and David Harris, advising NHS Lothian on the delivery of a new community hospital in Haddington, East Lothian. In another highlight, Gavin Paton, director Colin Clelland and senior solicitor Kate Faith are acting for Grandhome Trust on a large-scale mixed-use development project at Bridge of Don, north of Aberdeen. On the contentious side, Mason is leading the firm’s representation of Kier Construction in litigation connected with the construction of the flagship DG One sport and leisure complex in Dumfries & Galloway. James Forbes, who specialises in the construction aspects of capital infrastructure and energy projects, and director Caroline Maciver are other names to note. Chris Arnold retired.

CMS has ‘demonstrable breadth and depth of expertise in contentious and non-contentious areas’, making it a strong choice for prestigious Scottish, UK and international projects. The group’s construction expertise spans the renewable energy, healthcare, education, utilities, infrastructure, and transport sectors. It also handles office and shopping centre developments, among others. The group is able to call upon the expertise of practitioners in various ancillary disciplines, such as projects and environment, and also leverage the wider network, to provide a full-service offering to clients including Laing O’Rourke, Galliford Try, Balfour Beatty, Standard Life Investments and Interserve. Ian McCann is leading the construction advice to Edinburgh St James on the redevelopment of the St James Quarter. In another highlight, Christine Worthington advised SSE on the construction aspects of its £355m disposal of a stake in the 350MW Clyde wind farm. The firm also has an outstanding reputation in high-profile construction disputes; key figures include Mark Kirke and Shona Frame, whose expertise includes remediation and bond claims, and PFI projects involving defects at operational phase. Recommended senior associates include Jane Fender-Allison and Madeleine Young, all of whom focus on contentious construction issues. Clients also single out non-contentious practitioners Christopher Dickson, Gwen Napier and Claudia Russell. Lindy Patterson QC has left the firm.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s team is ‘knowledgeable, and quick to respond to all issues’. The group is particularly strong in employer-led development work, and has notable strengths in the real estate, energy and transport sectors. Practice head Mark Macaulay, who specialises in construction procurement, is ‘a real shoulder to lean on’. Macaulay is leading the advice to The Edrington Group on the construction of the Macallan distillery and visitor centre. In another highlight, Kirsti Olson is acting for Stork Technical Services at a Court of Session appeal concerning its dispute with SGL Carbon Fibers arising from the client’s construction of a carbon fibre production line. Also recommended are David Scott, who is ‘approachable and persuasive’, and associate Sarah Alexander.

According to clients, Shepherd and Wedderburnstands out from the crowd’ in the construction arena, thanks to its track record in high-value and strategically important Scottish and UK projects involving sectors such as housing, defence, offices and retail. It also handles public sector projects delivered through the Scottish Futures Trust’s hub programme. Euan McLeod, who has 20 years of construction experience, is acting alongside Lauren Thomson for BAE Systems on the £250m redevelopment of the Govan and Scotstoun shipyards. In another matter, MacLeod is leading a team acting for Wheatley Housing Group on the procurement and construction aspects of a large-scale residential regeneration project at Sighthill. The firm’s other clients include British Land, Lend Lease and the Ministry of Defence. Gareth Parry is experienced in energy and infrastructure projects, as well as matters involving the education and healthcare sectors. Solicitor advocate Iain Drummond has an outstanding reputation in construction, engineering and PFI disputes, as well as professional negligence cases. David Anderson, Colin Archibald and senior associate Kirsteen Milne are recommended.

Following its merger with HBJ Gateley, Addleshaw Goddard now has a construction team in Scotland led by dual-qualified partner Alison Horner, who is ‘an excellent communicator’ who focuses on non-contentious construction and advises clients on commercial developments and renewable energy matters. In 2016, Horner, assisted a care home developer and operator with the construction aspects of five new care home developments in Scotland. Construction disputes specialist Anne Struckmeier handles contentious PFI/NPD matters, as well as cases related to waste and energy. Senior associate Andrew Fairlie, who joined from Turcan Connell in 2016, handles a wide range of projects for developers, contractors and funders, among other clients.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP’s team consists of Jennifer Young and Sarah Stuart, who are based in Aberdeen, and senior associates Roddy Cormack and Karen Cameron in Inverness. The group undertakes non-contentious work for contractors, including conducting risk reviews and advising on construction and engineering contracts, as well as providing assistance in construction disputes. The team also advises other public and private sector clients on construction and procurement issues, and regularly acts for banks in the financing of developments. Stuart and Cormack assisted specialist mechanical and electrical engineering contractor Richard Irvin & Sons with negotiating sub-contract terms in relation to a PPP project for the construction of a new school. In another matter, Young and Cormack represented CFF Contractors as the pursuer in a dispute centred on recovering sums due under a contract. Other clients include Arjo Wiggins Fine Papers, Tendeka BV, Svenska Handelsbanken and Kirkwood Homes.

MacRoberts LLP has an extensive construction practice, which is complemented by experts in associated areas, such as procurement and finance. John McGovern leads a specialist corporate defence team, which focuses on handling prosecutions brought by regulatory authorities such as the Health and Safety Executive and HMRC. Neil Kelly leads the team, which acts for a multitude of stakeholders in the construction industry, including funders, UK and international businesses, Scottish SMEs, project developers and specialist sub-contractors. The group particularly excels in the non-contentious construction aspects of large-scale PPP projects, as well in the associated disputes. It also advises on other types of high-stakes construction disputes; in 2016, Kelly and Jennifer McKay represented AMEC Foster Wheeler in litigation brought by Scottish Power concerning alleged defects in the foundation bases of wind turbines at a wind farm in central Scotland. Gavin Thomson (who recently joined from Pinsent Masons LLP) and Sophia Harrison are acting for Carillion Utility Services in the Edinburgh Trams Inquiry. Other key figures include. David Wilson, who has 20 years of experience of contentious construction; and non-contentious construction specialist Mike Barlow, who regularly advises on building contracts, development agreements and collateral warranties. Craig Bradshaw and senior associates Sarah Pengelly and Maggie Kinnes are also recommended. In 2016, David Arnott joined Brodies LLP and Richard Barrie departed for Levy & McRae.

Morton Fraser handles a range of non-contentious and contentious issues at all stages of construction projects, from inception to conclusion. Although the firm is particularly well-known for acting for commercial property developers and financiers, it also advises public sector organisations, retailers, consultants and contractors. In 2016, practice head Jonathan Seddon led a team advising Curo Poperty Funds on the redevelopment of Charlotte House in Glasgow, which including selling the retail and office sections of the building to Target Real Estate for £3.3m. In another matter, Kenneth Carruthers and senior associate Lisa Dromgoole are representing a consortium of property owners in an appeal against Inverclyde Council’s plans to demolish 95 properties located in Port Glasgow, on the basis of alleged structural defects on the properties’ concrete roofs. Another highlight involved acting for Transport Scotland, as one of the tenants at Buchanan House in Glasgow, in a long-running and high-profile dispute with the contractor responsible for a refurbishment project over defective cladding at the premises. Senior associates Mimi Stewart and Claire Logue are other notable practitioners.

Anderson Strathern’s practice went from strength to strength in 2016: Alistair Dean joined the firm as a partner following the acquisition of his niche commercial and construction litigation firm ADLP. Further, the practice secured a significant number of new client wins, including Stewart Milne Group, New Age Developers, Andrew Cowie Construction and Dynamic Earth Enterprises. Practice head Karyn Watt, Pat Loftus and Martin Whiteford are acting for the University of Highlands and Islands in the multi-site construction of new student accommodation. Martin Whiteford is acting for Apex Hotels on the construction of a new hotel development in Bath. On the contentious side, the firm is representing Fife Council as the pursuer in litigation against a contractor arising from structural defects identified at a swimming pool in the Carnegie Leisure Centre in Dunfermline following its refurbishment. Audrey Cameron is also recommended.

BTO Solicitors LLP’s team demonstrates strong capabilities in non-contentious construction matters, where it assists clients with contractual and procurement issues, advises on insurance policy interpretation and indemnity issues, and provides strategic advice at all stages of construction projects. The firm also has impressive contentious credentials, including handling disputes over outstanding payments and extensions of time, challenges to certification, construction defects and insurance-related matters. Sandra Cassels, who has been involved in more than 50 adjudications, is also experienced in litigation, mediation and other forms of dispute resolution. Cassels co-heads the practice with Jilly Petrie, who handles construction claims for insurers and insured parties, and various other contentious construction matters. Consultant Ann O’Connell and Claire Mills assisted a subsidiary of the Institute of Structural Engineers with updating its guidance note on legal responsibilities and liabilities arising from the SER Scheme for Certification of Structural Design. Associates Julie Scott-Gilroy and Caroline Earnshaw are also recommended.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP primarily acts for blue-chip UK and international clients on all non-contentious aspects of large-scale construction projects, but also handles a range of disputes. Legal director Jonathan Gaskell has a wealth of experience of projects involving rail infrastructure, shopping centres, retail units, student accommodation and offices. Gaskell advised Merseytravel on construction law issues associated with new depot facilities on the Merseyrail network, and assisted Victoria Hall Management with the procurement of a 283-bed student accommodation scheme in Southampton. Other clients of the practice include Hansteen, Tiger Developments and Babcock International.

Davidson Chalmers LLP’s team has extensive expertise in a wide range of construction-related matters, including assisting clients with procurement, and drafting and negotiating building and engineering contracts, collateral warranties, and development agreements. In addition to advising on risk mitigation prior to the commencement of a project, the team also has extensive experience resolving construction disputes. Simone Young, Andrew Chalmers and Jenny Anfield are acting for developer West Register Street (Property) on a mixed-use development at West Register Street in Edinburgh, involving the demolition of an existing six storey office building, and the construction of a new seven-storey building. Young and Chalmers are also acting for St Andrew Square Property LLP in the refurbishment of former bank premises at St Andrew Square in Edinburgh. In another matter, Bruce Lancaster is leading the advice to Scarborough Hermiston Limited on the design and construction of a mixed-use development at Donibristle.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP has a strong housebuilding practice, and is on the panels of Taylor Wimpey, CALA Management and Avant Homes (Scotland). In addition to advising housebuilders, the firm acts for large estates active in constructing housing developments and renewable energy projects. The firm is currently advising Moray Estates Development Company (a landowner) and Tornagrain (a developer) on a residential development. The firm is also increasingly involved in hydro scheme developments, and is highly active in construction disputes. Harry Smith and associate Isobell Reid are also recommended. Murray Shaw has retired from private practice, but retains a position as a consultant to the firm.

Harper Macleod LLP’s team is highly regarded for its work for public sector bodies, developers, national and international contractors and banks. Its wide-ranging practice covers reviews of all types of construction and engineering contracts, bidding and procurement advice, assistance with project finance, joint ventures and dispute resolution. Practice head Michael Conroy, who has more than 20 years of experience of contentious and non-contentious matters, is advising Raag Glasgow Limited on the redevelopment of Fisher House as a Tune Hotel. In another highlight, Euan Pirie is acting for hub North Scotland Limited on the construction aspects of the Foresterhill and Inverurie health centre projects. Other clients of the practice include Everwarm Limited, Shetland Islands Council and London & Scottish Property Asset Management. In Inverness, Ross Thomson assists clients with construction disputes, and advises banks and developers on site acquisitions and development funding. Jane McMonagle joined Brodies LLP.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Construction

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 


    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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