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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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United Kingdom > Scotland > Real estate > Environment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Brodies LLP provides environmental law support on oil and gas, renewable energy, infrastructure and real estate transactions. The group also handles environmental prosecutions and civil litigation, and advises on regulatory issues, environmental aspects of planning matters, and waste, contaminated land, water and air pollution issues. Practice head Phil Hunter has more than 17 years of experience in the environment law arena. Paul Marshall is leading a team, which includes Duncan MacLean and Greg May, advising Transocean on possible civil and criminal liabilities for any pollution caused by the running aground of a semi-submersible rig on the Western Isles due to a storm. In another matter, Jackie McGuire defended Renfrewshire Council against a challenge brought by a developer to proposed plans to expand Braehead Shopping Centre, which involved a review of compliance with various EU environmental directives and environmental impact regulations. Other key figures include Neil Collar, Sarah-Jane McArthur and associate Niall McLean. Kenneth Ross retired from private practice in March 2017.

Jennifer Ballantyne heads Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘consistent and reliable’ team in Scotland, which is ‘a pleasure to deal with’. The practice operates on a UK-wide basis, covering non-contentious regulatory issues, the environmental aspects of planning matters, and provides transactional and project support (including advising on waste in oil and gas decommissioning projects). Dispute resolution and regulatory enforcement are other cornerstones of the practice. The firm acts as the sole environmental legal adviser to E.ON; in a recent highlight, a team including Gordon McCreath, Gary McGovern and legal director Ross McDowall have been advising the client on marine licensing issues at Humber Gateway offshore wind farm and environmental licensing issues at Rampion offshore wind farm, among other matters. Elsewhere, McDowall (who is praised for ‘delivering advice in a straightforward and business-friendly manner’) led the advice to Lakeland Dairies Co-operative Society on the regulatory and risk liability issues connected with its acquisition of Armaghdown Creameries’ dairy business. BP, Diageo Scotland and Tough Construction are also clients.

Shepherd and Wedderburn handles a wide range of matters, including the environmental aspects of planning and consenting, compliance and regulatory work, as well as investigations into and prosecutions of alleged breaches of environmental law. A significant proportion of the work is connected to the renewable energy sector; Patricia Hawthorn, John MacKenzie and others are representing Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind in judicial review proceedings brought by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), challenging the decision by the Scottish Ministers to grant consent for the development of four offshore wind farms located in the Forth and Tay. In another matter, Colin Innes is leading the advice to ScottishPower Renewables UK on the development of numerous onshore wind projects, which includes handling associated wildlife, habitats legislation and roads matters. Real estate partner Jamie Grant, who joined from MacRoberts LLP, is particularly well known for his expertise in soil contamination amtters. Scott McCallum, who handles contentious and non-contentious matters UK-wide, acted for DONG Energy in a six-month investigation into the recently-consented 1.8GW Hornsea Two offshore wind farm, which included a review of its potential impacts on environmentally protected sites and species. Richard Leslie is another key contact.

Anderson Strathern’s team has expertise in a wide variety of environmental issues, such as statutory and common law nuisance, pollution, contaminated land, flooding, water and drainage. It advises on environmental matters at every stage of a project, including those associated with consenting. In addition, the group handles judicial reviews, environmental appeals, regulatory investigations and environmental prosecutions. Alastair McKie is leading a team, which includes Martin Whiteford, Simon Brown and Jonathan Guy, advising INEOS on the environmental issues associated with the consenting of its new £20m headquarters at Grangemouth. In another highlight, McKie and Kirsty Slee are representing Ross Estates Company at a public local inquiry into a proposed Waste to Energy Combined Heat and Power Plant in Invergordon, which the client opposes. Other clients include Buchan Biogas, The Crown Estate, Scottish Water and Elgin Energy. Bruce Farquhar, Gavin Thain, Fiona Stephen and Anne Chapman are other notable practitioners.

Burness Paull LLP advises on a range of contentious and non-contentious environmental law issues, including matters arising from onshore and offshore renewable energy developments, and oil and gas infrastructure. In addition to providing advice on standalone environmental law matters, the practice is also active in assisting on issues related to corporate transactions; Craig Whelton assisted Brown-Forman Corporation with environmental due diligence in connection with its £285m acquisition of the BenRiach distillery company. In another matter, Whelton acted for North Lanarkshire Council in establishing legal agreements with certain landowners in the North Lanarkshire area over the remediation of contaminated land. Cemex, WH Malcolm & Sons and BP Central Area Transmission System are other clients.

Davidson Chalmers LLP handles a range of environmental disputes, and also provides assistance with enforcement actions, contractual issues and regulatory matters (including those involving the Scottish Environment Protection Agency). Laura Tainsh leads the team, which acts for waste management services providers, logistics companies and landfill operators. Recent highlights include assisting Billy Bowie Special Projects with an environmental audit of its resource management activities, and acting for Trent Valley Recycling on the sale of a landfill site. Andy Drane is also recommended.

Harper Macleod LLP has a strong track record acting on regulatory issues for regulatory bodies, local authorities and other public sector entities, and also assists with environmental litigation and public inquiries. Rod McKenzie, Peter Ferguson and Jennifer Jack are representing Scottish Natural Heritage and Cairngorms National Park Authority in a public inquiry into the Dorenell 60-turbine wind farm development. In another highlight, David Kerr, Sandy Hastie and associate Laura McCorquodale defended Scottish Natural Heritage against two judicial review petitions, matters which involved novel environmental law issues concerning the imposition of restrictions on general licences for the killing of wild birds. Elsewhere, the firm acts for developers of renewable energy projects in contentious and non-contentious matters. Peter Ferguson focuses exclusively on planning and environmental law. Other clients of the practice include the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Forestry Commission Scotland and Perth & Kinross Council.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP advises public and private sector clients located across Scotland on a full range of environmental issues, including contaminated land issues, matters related to salmon and freshwater fisheries, water and drainage, and nature conservation. Jim Drysdale, who has more than 30 years of experience in the environmental law arena, heads the practice, which includes David Scott, who is singled out for his combined expertise in planning and environmental matters. Solicitor advocate John Chalmers, who has 26 years of experience of Sheriff Court and Court of Session litigation, undertakes a significant amount of work for local authorities, including judicial reviews of planning decisions (which involve environmental issues). Other names to note are Sarah Stuart, John Smart and Peter Murray.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s varied practice covers regulatory investigations and environmental prosecutions, civil litigation, environmental due diligence and risk allocation related to corporate and real estate transactions, and oil and gas sector related regulatory advice. Associate Pamela Coulthard, who heads the practice, has wide-ranging expertise including handling regulatory issues connected with oil and gas decommissioning and onshore fracturing, contaminated land and the interplay between insolvency legislation and environmental law. The firm recently acted for Esso Petroleum as the pursuer in high-profile litigation against the Scottish Ministers and M74 joint venture arising from the wrongful contamination of one of the client’s properties. Peel Gas & Oil, The Scottish Salmon Company, AF Decom and Swegon are also clients. Associate James McMillan, who joined from MacRoberts LLP, specialises in environmental litigation.

At MacRoberts LLP practice head Martin Sales combines planning and environmental law expertise to advise clients on the potential environmental risks of major projects, and ways to mitigate those risks. John McGovern, who spearheads the specialist corporate defence practice, has a wealth of experience defending clients in prosecutions arising from investigations brought by regulatory bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive and Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Senior associate Louise Gibson has extensive expertise in issues relating to contaminated land, operational consents, due diligence and risk apportionment. In 2016, Sales acted for Partnership for Renewables in section 36 application to develop a wind farm in Cloich Forest, Peeblesshire. Shanks Waste Management, John Dewar & Sons and Simpsons Oils are other clients. Jamie Grant and Neil Amner joined Shepherd and Wedderburn and Anderson Strathern, respectively.

CMS is noted for the breadth and depth of its expertise, which covers the environmental law spectrum. Its Edinburgh team handles standalone mandates, and also works with members of the London office on transactional, advisory and contentious matters. Particular areas of strength include acting for international clients in the waste management, chemicals and energy sectors. Robin Hutchison, senior associate Joanna Waddell and others have been assisting Hargreaves Services with environmental issues associated with a large-scale energy-from-waste development at Earls Gate Park, and the Westfield mixed-use development. Senior associate Mark McMurray is working with Hutchison to advise Inch Cape Offshore Limited on an appeal concerning the RSPB’s opposition to the proposed Inch Cape offshore wind farm.

Barry Love is the key contact at boutique firm Environmental Law Chambers Ltd; he advises clients across Scotland and the UK on a wide ambit of issues, including birds and habitat protection, marine regulation and water pollution. In addition to providing compliance advice, Love assists clients with contract reviews, regulatory investigations and environmental prosecutions. A particular area of activity is in the waste sector, where notable clients include Veolia Organics, Lowmac Alloys and Green Circle Recycling. Love also acts for property owners in matters involving contaminated land and nuisance. Other clients include food and drink manufacturers, public authorities and supermarkets.

Morton Fraser’s Nick Atkins has notable expertise in the environmental issues associated with nuclear energy, where he acts for clients such as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and UK Atomic Energy Authority. The firm also acts for the Ministry of Defence on potential energy developments that may impact on the client’s activities, such as radar interference caused by wind farms. Elsewhere, the team advises contamination issues, including those arising from oil spillages and asbestos. Planning head Douglas Milne primarily provides strategic advice on projects, but also undertakes public inquiry work for the Scottish government, including matters involving challenges on environmental grounds. Senior associate Lisa Dromgoole is also recommended. Associate Gail Watt has extensive knowledge of renewable energy developments on rural land in Scotland, and related environmental issues.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Environment

  • New ‘ROE Bill’ draft published

    Following from the recent public outcry regarding the lack of ‘transparency’ in the UK property market, a new ‘ROE Bill’ draft has now been published.
    - Hudson McKenzie

Legal Developments in the UK

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