Property litigation in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP’s wide-ranging property litigation capabilities have recently led to a number of asset management mandates from both landlords and tenants involving lease terminations, business rate and service charge matters, among others. Handling dilapidation claims is another cornerstone of the practice and an area of particular expertise for Matthew Farrell, who also routinely handles business rate and service charge disputes. Together with practice head Stephen Goldie, he is part of the core team and also provides alternative dispute resolution services. Clients include real estate funds, real estate management firms and property companies alongside rural estate owners and high-net-worth individuals.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Goldie

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Farrell; Ken MacDonald

Testimonials

‘I have always found Matthew Farrell to be very knowledgeable and highly professional; it has always been a pleasure working with him.

‘As litigators they have a really good commercial insight and attitude. In addition there is a finely honed sense of how to negotiate on given problems.’

‘The team just provided us with a reliable and professional back-up to our daily asset management operations on all spectrum of matters whether those be relatively minor or indeed potentially significant. Their approach is key, it is commercial, relatable and timely.’

‘Matthew Farrell continues to provide accurate and commercial advice and always seeks to resolve matters to his client’s satisfaction which does not always involve raising actual litigation. His experience and opinions are highly valued and undoubtedly assist our asset management strategy when required.’

‘First and foremost, Brodies’ litigation team are experts in their field. They use their skills and experience to then ascertain what you and your clients hope to achieve from a dispute or situation and design a plan to achieve this. They are not afraid to advise you if your expectations are unrealistic. I have complete faith in the advice that I am being offered and trust in the individuals offering it.’

‘Matt Farrell is quite simply one of the be best practising litigators that I have worked with. Knowledgeable, commercial, diligent and attentive to clients’ needs.’

Stephen Goldie’s ability as a litigator goes far beyond the law. He can form an argument like no other individual I know. In addition, he is excellent with people and can work directly with our clients to make the progression of litigation matters far simpler to achieve.

From my experience, Brodies are all about their people. They do not try and sell you the firm’s brand or image as a reason to use them. They present you with their excellent people and let them prove their capability to you.

Key clients

Drum Property Group N

HIE Y

Nuveen (Janus Henderson) N

Orion Capital Partners N

Toscaig

Peel Ports

Ediston

Moorfield Group Limited

M7

Hansteen Property Investments Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted for Orion Capital Partners in successfully obtaining interim orders to prevent anchor tenant, Marks & Spencer PLC, closing premises at East Kilbride Shopping Centre.
  • Successfully represented Drum REIT in a dilapidations payment obligation case.
  • Acted for Harding Holdings in a dilapidations claim against a single commercial tenant, Travis Perkins, across three different properties, in three different locations.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP has carved out a strong practice dealing with high-profile litigation and has also been increasingly active in arbitration and, to a lesser extent, mediation. This is not least thanks to Alan McMillan’s expertise acting as arbitrator; he heads the group and has a focus on commercial property. His practice handles the gamut of property-related disputes with a specialism in dilapidations - where the team acts for both tenants and landlords -, telecoms disputes - where operators make up its client base and are routinely advised by senior associate Stephen Farrell - contractual property disputes and lease terminations. Representing clients in challenges against local authorities and public bodies constitutes another key area of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Alan McMillan

Other key lawyers:

Steven Guild; Stephen Farrell

Testimonials

‘The team can handle anything that is thrown at them and do so with a can-do attitude. I’ve been instructing them for the best part of 20 years, I trust them and I’ve always been really impressed.’

‘Alan McMillan is very personable, knowledgeable, organised and commercially aware and goes the extra mile to deliver a very professional service. He has an impressive profile and is one of the best property litigators in Scotland.’

Key clients

Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited

Dana Petroleum

Taylor Wimpey

Mars

University of St Andrews

Britannia Invest A/S

Scotco (KFC)

Vodafone

NFU Mutual

NCR

Baxters

Work highlights

  • Defending NCR in a tacit relocation case (silent lease renewal), in which its landlord is seeking an extra year’s rental where no notice to quit was served.
  • Advised Dana Petroleum on defending a high-value and complex dilapidations claim by its landlords of premises in Aberdeen, involving an English law assignment, and disputed measures of loss.
  • Advising Carpediem Investors defending a claim by its tenant in large premises seeking to enforce demolition of much of the structure, negating the repairing obligation.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern has recently been particularly active for landlords and landowners in lease disputes, dilapidations and rent recovery matters as well as in telecoms sector disputes but the team also acts for a number of well-known tenants. Alongside its commercial and residential property client base, the practice is known for its experience acting for local authorities and public bodies. Fiona Stephen heads the practice and, as well as handling commercial and residential property disputes, is noted for her rural sector expertise.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Stephen

Testimonials

‘The approach of the team has always been of a high standard with prompt responses and careful consideration of all aspects of the issues at hand. Liaison between team members and other departments has been seamless. Communication is clear and concise. Practicality an pragmatism play a large role in the strive for a solution to an issue.’

‘Fiona Stephen leads the team and sets the standard. She repeatedly shows a good understanding of the issues and provides a clear and concise response and advice.’

‘The Anderson Strathern property litigation team is very experienced and efficient in providing both advice to clients and in running litigation. They have a number of high-profile clients. They provide an excellent all-round service.’

‘Fiona Stephen is very well known and respected as a commercial property litigator. She has extensive experience of running cases in the Court of Session. She is very knowledgeable and a delight to work with.’

‘Anderson Strathern is a full-service firm and the team makes really good use of the expertise across the firm to improve the service and outcomes, rather than being restricted to ‘just’ seeing what is before them. They see the ‘big picture’ and use this to secure the best possible outcome for their clients.’

‘Fiona Stephen has an impressive breadth and depth of knowledge and experience across the whole gamut of property law, from agriculture, to commercial property and planning. She is without a doubt one of the best in her field. She leads a very strong team. ’

‘The firm’s litigation team stand out from other firms for two principal reasons: First, unlike many firms, all the team members are great at ensuring all the work required is not only done on time but well in advance of deadlines. I have every confidence that the preparation is second-to-none. Secondly, the firm is very user-friendly. Any documents can be provided in any format whether hard copy or electronic, but more importantly available on the firms electronic platform which is exceptionally easy to use.’

‘I have found the firm always to be well prepared, with a real insight into the key issues in disputes, particularly Fiona Stephen in relation to commercial property disputes both in the courts and in arbitrations.’

Key clients

Transport Scotland (Scottish Government)

Sunbelt Rentals Limited (formerly Ashtead Plant Hire Limited)

Edinburgh Airport Limited

Buccleuch Group

Edinburgh Napier University

Fife Council

City of Edinburgh Council

Crown Estate Scotland

Scottish Midland Co-Operative Society

D J Alexander

Castlehill Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Advised Edinburgh Airport Limited on the validity of an option notice to buy land from a neighbouring landowner.
  • Advised Sunbelt Rentals Limited (formerly Ashtead Plant Hire Limited) on an action concerning the meaning of a rent review clause.
  • Acting for D J Alexander (for Bernisdale Homes Limited) in defending an action by a tenant for recovery of advance rent.

CMS

CMS excels in assisting commercial and institutional landlords alongside energy sector clients with landlord and tenant disputes arising from the asset management of offices, retail parks and shopping centres, including dilapidation claims, as well as with title disputes and litigation associated with developments. This offering is complemented with expertise in the Electronic Communications Code and associated telecoms sector disputes. Team head Alison Gow handles a wide range of litigation and, as an accredited mediator, is also a key contact for ADR services. She is supported by senior associate Marc Armstrong, who has particular experience handling work for institutional investors alongside clients in the energy and student accommodation sectors.

Practice head(s):

Alison Gow

Other key lawyers:

Marc Armstrong

Testimonials

‘The particular strength of the CMS real estate disputes team, headed by Alison Gow, apart from their evident experience and expertise, is how impressively collaborative they are both with other members of their team, with other legal teams within CMS and with clients and counsel. I was impressed by how knowledgeable the individual members of the team are, not only about their own cases, but about those of others. They are clearly all kept in the loop which makes it easy for them to step in and assist each other, ensuring that help is always on hand.’

‘CMS provides relevant and easily understandable advice.’

‘Marc Armstrong has the ability to deal with issues quickly as they arise and provide relevant, timely advice – excellent.’

Key clients

Raeburn Place Foundation (RP’) and Raeburn Place Development Limited (RPDL)

Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution Plc (SHEPD)

Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc

HRWF (Craigleith) Limited

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)

SSE plc (SSE)

CWL Energy Limited

City of Edinburgh Council (CEC)

University of Glasgow

Tarmac Trading Limited (Tarmac)

DNO Oman Limited (DNO)

Work highlights

  • Representing Raeburn Place Foundation (RPF) and Raeburn Place Development Limited (RPDL) in various proceedings pertaining to the development of a new sports stadium in Stockbridge.
  • Acting for Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution Plc in defence of a claim by a landowner for compensation of £1.8m under the Electricity Act 1989 as a consequence of the grant of a necessary wayleave in favour of SHEPD to retain electricity infrastructure under the land.
  • Applied for interim interdict on behalf of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), who having provided funding to its tenants CS Wind UK Limited (CSW) for the site at Campbeltown Airport, following concern CSW were winding down the key business of manufacturing wind towers in Scotland which would be in breach of an undertaking linked to that funding.

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

Davidson Chalmers Stewart is a key player for landlord and tenant disputes and has recently handled a number of dilapidation and notice disputes alongside disputes pertaining to subletting application decisions. Both landlords and tenants also routinely seek the team’s assistance with retail CVAs; associate Magnus Miller is a key contact in this space. This focus is shared by team head Sheila Webster, who, as well as being a highly regarded litigator, also receives regular appointments as arbitrator. Other typical work arises from major developments, such as property contract and neighbourly matters, and includes instructions at the intersection with planning, including judicial reviews. Besides the team's wide-ranging expertise, clients also benefit from its Contract Express technology, allowing the speedy creation of standardised documents and thus translating into savings for the client. Greg Flett is another key contact for all forms of property litigation.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Webster

Other key lawyers:

Greg Flett; Magnus Miller

Testimonials

‘Personalised service, knowledge, professionalism.’

‘The team is very well run. They were very good at clarifying the differences between English and Scottish law for us. Since we dealt with the real estate and construction team first before starting litigation, we felt there was a lot of collaboration between the departments which helped the litigation team get up to speed quickly so we could hit the ground running with our claim.’

‘Magnus Miller has very good communication skills.’

‘Sheila Webster and Magnus Miller are both great at what they do and very approachable.’

‘Sheila Webster is always available, responds promptly and provides clear understandable advice no matter how complex type issue.’

‘Strong unique team which punches above its weight. Never hesitate to recommend.’

‘Shelia Webster and Greg Flett are a safe pair of hands, pragmatic and aim to resolve disputes.’

‘Shelia Webster is excellent. She is calm with an air of authority. She gets the job done with minimal fuss.’

Key clients

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

UK Rubber Limited

Springfield Properties plc

Anglian Windows Limited

Scottish Borders Council

Pizza Hut Restaurants (UK) Limited

Motability Operations Limited

Alexander Harley Seeds Limited

Stoneywood Developments (part of the Dandara Group)

Ogilvie Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Motability Limited in pursuing a claim arising out of delayed works. The claim concerns real estate litigation with construction law and commercial litigation aspects.
  • Acting for a group of tenant farmers in applications against the Scottish Government for claims arising out of defective legislation. The claim is now proceeding to the European Court of Human Rights
  • Acting for the Trustees for Land Enterprise Consulting Limited Pension Scheme in a dilapidations claim against Menzies Distribution Limited where the loss of value arises as a result of the property having been let to the former subtenant so that no works have been carried out, but where there is clear evidence of ultimate diminution to the value of the property.

Dentons

Dentons has a strong profile for landlord and tenant disputes, covering the full range from ratings and lease disputes to break options and dilapidation claims, while also handling contentious matters arising from commercial and residential developments. This offering attracts a wide range of institutional landlords, corporate tenants and housebuilders and has led to a number of prominent retailers instructing the team to handle all property disputes across its portfolio in Scotland. With accredited mediator Gareth Hale heading the practice, its services also include alternative dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):

Gareth Hale

Testimonials

‘The team has a natural ability to advise in writing or discussion, on what can be a complex legal matter, in such a way that the point at issue is readily understood. Such understanding and expertise gives confidence to the client in forming the basis of the next step in the process to achieve a successful outcome.’

‘I find Denton’s property litigation team easy to deal with, fast to respond and explain the situation to me as a lay person very well.’

‘They explain the situation clearly in layman’s terms – this ensures I understand the possible outcomes and costs involved.’

Key clients

Topland plc

M&G Real Estate

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited

Universities Superannuation Scheme

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

The John Lewis Partnership

M&S plc

Wildstone Capital

The Department of Work and Pensions

Taylor Wimpey plc

Work highlights

  • Acting for Doosan Babcock Limited in the successful defence of an action for rectification; the team is now instructed in the defence of an ongoing appeal to the Inner House.
  • Acting for the Co-operative Group in a large number of ratings disputes in Scotland.
  • Acting for John Lewis in all property disputes arising across its entire (industrial and retail) portfolio in Scotland.

MacRoberts LLP

MacRoberts LLP is frequently called upon by landlords and tenants, to assist with leasing disputes, monetary arrears and dilapidation claims alongside other landlord and tenant matters. This includes environmental-related disputes, an area of particular expertise for the team, which are often, but not exclusively, associated with development projects. Other matters in this space include servitude rights and option agreements, among others. The team’s expertise in judicial reviews complements this offering. While acting across a number of industries, energy sector work remains a key feature of the team’s workload. Gillian Craig heads the team and is the key contact for both litigation and arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Gillian Craig

Testimonials

‘MacRoberts’ legal departments work collaboratively and collectively to find the best and most practical solutions, whilst taking cognisance of the client’s needs and requirements. I have always found the MacRoberts partners and staff prepared to go the extra mile – employing their professional services definitely represents money well spent!’

‘Gillian Craig has an exceptional knowledge base in property litigation matters and her strategic and tactical advice conveyed in a clear and concise manner proved invaluable in achieving desired outcome. Gillian’s guidance and counsel was very much appreciated. She and her team offered a first-class service from initial consultation through to conclusion.’

‘A really response and effective Scottish real estate practice.’

‘Gillian Craig is great. Really responsive. Focused on getting the job done and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Gillian Craig is an outstanding lawyer. She is very client-friendly’

‘Gillian Craig is an outstanding lawyer and very good with clients.’

Key clients

Scottish Government

Chisholm Hunter

London and Cambridge Properties

British Waterways

GAC Services

Renewi

Morrisons plc

CS Wind UK Ltd

HCC International Insurance Company plc (part of Tokio Marine HCC)

Glencairn Crystal Studio Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted for Balmore Estates Limited, a landlord of a B-listed building in Glasgow, in a dispute with its tenant, Glasgow City Council, pertaining to the council’s ability to exercise a conditional break clause, monetary arrears and other lease breaches.
  • Acted for the London and Cambridge Properties group in a dispute over non-payment of rent and other lease obligations by Peacocks Stores.
  • Acted for the London and Cambridge Properties group in relation to the non-payment of rent by Boots UK, including advising on the execution of summary diligence, threatened suspension and interdict proceedings.

Morton Fraser

Morton Fraser acts for a wide range of public and private sector clients, which, in the former, includes public authorities and Scottish Government agencies, and blue-chip property investors and developers in the latter. With a focus on commercial property - while also dealing with residential sector work -, the team has recently handled a number of landlord and tenant disputes, including Covid-19-related matters, dilapidation claims and development-related litigation and is also experienced in land registration-related disputes. Commercial litigator Kenneth Carruthers heads the team and is supported by associate Ursula Currie, who handles a wide range of real estate litigation; recently, this included lease terminations, access rights and development-related disputes, among others.

Practice head(s):

Kenneth Carruthers

Other key lawyers:

Douglas Milne; Richard McMeeken; Ursula Currie

Testimonials

‘Morton Fraser adapted to the pandemic and lockdown well and we have used video technology for meetings which has helped us keep in touch. They have collaborated well with other people outside the practice involved in our case. We had the benefit of Morton Fraser’s experience and knowledge in property litigation during our case which went to the Land Tribunal. I was impressed by the service. We had the benefit of one of the partners managing our case, who was very effective.’

‘The individuals we worked with were supportive of us through a very difficult time. They showed us consideration and were always available. They were understanding of our situation. As we were lay people with little experience of property litigation, we found the process quite daunting. Our relationship with our lawyers was very important to us. As well as having a vast amount of experience, they were approachable and supportive at all times and I feel provided sound advice.’

‘The Morton Fraser team I’d describe as pragmatists and solid members of multi-disciplinary professional teams. Eager to find sensible solutions, the strength of the team is not only in its breadth but in the long-earned knowledge of the collaborative strengths of each solicitor.’

‘Kenneth Carruthers is a very good town planning and real estate litigation practitioner. A solid solicitor with a long-time experience of the UK real estate scene.’

Key clients

Tesco Stores Limited

BAM Properties plc

National Grid Gas

Diageo

Ministry of Defence

Persimmon Homes

Standard Life Trustee Company

Edinburgh City Council

Stewart Milne Group Limited

Glasgow City Council

Work highlights

  • Advised the landlord, Castle Crown Properties, on the successful defence of a claim by a tenant, Caffe Nero, that two of its leases had terminated as a consequence of the law of Frustration following the coming into effect of the Government’s Coronavirus regulations.
  • Advising Tesco Stores Limited on two dilapidation cases.
  • Advised Aberdeen City Council on the successful defence of an £8m claim brought by a green energy company pertaining to notice provisions in leases.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP operates as part of a wider UK real estate litigation team and has a strong Scottish presence with offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Led by Jim Cormack QC, the team is able to provide in-house counsel services, which are regularly called upon by clients faced with disputes arising from landlord and tenant relationships, the Electronic Communications Code and from developments, including title issues and servitude rights. Other work includes crofting disputes and planning-related matters. Cormack and commercial litigator Jacqueline Harris, who frequently handles disputes involving multi-national companies, took over the practice lead from Craig Connal QC following his retirement in May 2020. Senior associate Fiona MacGregor is another key member of the team and routinely acts at the interface between property, planning and environmental law and also handles arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Jim Cormack QC; Jacqueline Harris

Other key lawyers:

Fiona MacGregor

Testimonials

‘Put simply, this team is among the best in Scotland. They have the most experience, they have some of the brightest and most intelligent lawyers, and they have all of the resources required to engage in large commercial property disputes.’

‘Jim Cormack QC is a market leader and has years of experience in advising large commercial clients in some of the most difficult cases.’

‘Fiona MacGregor is a stand-out and provides partner-level services to her clients. She is always hugely impressive.’

‘High-end litigation offering for serious matters. Large, very well resourced team. Highly responsive.’

‘Hard working and focussed.’

‘The team has been quick to provide competitive quotes, prompt (and often urgent) turnarounds and has been available when needed.’

‘Jacqueline Harris is so easy to work with, provides concise and understandable advice and is quick to see our particular business needs and concerns and address them.’

Key clients

BP plc

Balfour Beatty Group

Legal & General plc

HFD Group

Livingston Centre Limited

McColl Retail Group

Serco

Arqiva Limited

Hazledene House Limited

Lovell Homes

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Serco Limited and Compass SNI Limited in a test case raised by former asylum seekers challenging the legal basis on which Serco propose to evict them from accommodation.
  • Representing Arqiva Limited in one of the first cases in the UK in which the terms of the Electronic Communications Code are relied on to obtain interim code rights to allow upgrade work on an existing site.
  • Acted for Stornoway Wind Farm Limited in an action brought by a group of crofters objecting the client’s plans to construct a wind farm on the island of Lewis.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Shepherd and Wedderburn has carved out a strong practice for telecoms property work with senior associate Daniel Bain as the key contact in this space. Based on this specialism, operator clients receive regular assistance with notices and applications to the Lands Tribunal under the new Electronic Communications Code, while farming partnerships, crofters and agricultural tenants instruct the group with matters at the intersection between telecoms property and crofting law. This interface expertise is based on its strong cooperation with the firm's dedicated rural property disputes and non-contentious rural property practices, and an area of expertise that regularly translates into instructions on renewable energy project developments in rural locations. Elaine Brailsford is the key contact in this space, while also handling various neighbourly disputes. She is a key member of Colin Archibald's team, who covers a broad range of real estate litigation.

Practice head(s):

Colin Archibald

Other key lawyers:

Elaine Brailsford; Daniel Bain

Testimonials

‘Billing and charging was transparent. Communication was clear. Guidance on what to expect through the process was also excellent.’

‘We felt confident in their abilities and felt reassured that they would be able to act effectively on our behalf.’

‘I am unaware of another firm in Scotland with such a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with the telecoms sector. Dan Bain can be relied upon to find solutions to protect our clients’ occupancy of properties when they are unable to yield up possession in a timely manner.’

‘Experienced team who have their ear to the ground.’

‘Knowledge, professionalism and time taken to explain their thinking/ reasoning.’

‘In-depth knowledge and expertise of land registry matters, all provided in a highly professional manner.’

I have always felt comfortable with the team. Each member of it is schooled in giving precise, no-frills advice.

‘Colin Archibald really does make me feel that I am his only client. He responds very quickly to communications and always in a positive way. His virtues are assessment of the facts and ordering their value, providing advice which is appropriate to the circumstances, including importantly moderation in response to provocation!

Key clients

Taylor Wimpey Group

Miller Homes Limited

British Telecommunications plc

EE Limited

ScottishPower UK plc

Clydeport Operations Limited

Trinity Mirror plc

British Land plc

RWE Renewables

Tarmac Trading Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for EE in an application to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland under the Electronic Communications Code seeking access rights to allow development of a new mobile telecoms mast site.
  • Acting for RWE Renewables in the successful application to the Scottish Land Court for temporary resumption of crofting land to facilitate the development of a hydro-electric power scheme.
  • Acting for British Telecommunications plc in defending a court action raised by BAM TCP about property rights relating to two adjacent commercial property sites in central Glasgow.

Addleshaw Goddard

As an integral part of Addleshaw Goddard's national dispute resolution practice, the Scotland-based property litigation team is routinely involved in cross-border litigation covering residential, commercial and agricultural sector work for private individuals, property investment firms, commercial entities and public bodies. Its offering includes assistance with servitude rights, lease disputes, dilapidation claims and other landlord and tenant issues. The last-mentioned segment has recently included a number of Covid-19-related rent disputes and CVA instructions in the hotel and retail sectors, while retailers also routinely instruct the team to advise on neighbourly and development-related disputes, among others. Its agricultural expertise has recently translated into instructions on crofting rights and boundary disputes. Glasgow-based Joan Devine heads the team and is the main contact for insolvency-related work. Legal director and solicitor advocate Edward Gratwick is the main contact in Edinburgh.

Practice head(s):

Joan Devine

Other key lawyers:

Simon Catto; Edward Gratwick

Testimonials

‘The team at Addleshaw Goddard always had my back, explaining my options and giving me cast-iron, personally tailored advice on how best to proceed. They were always ready with advice on exactly the right things to do in the legal process.’

‘Simon Catto and Edward Gratwick share the qualities of tenacity and sheer determination to succeed in protecting my interests. Edward Gratwick’s intellectual acuity and keen enthusiasm for the work shone through. Simon Catto stands out as a particularly brilliant lawyer, comfortable with the legal process at the highest level and consistently offering both legal and pragmatic advice to get me the very best result.’

‘Very approachable, good people and are willing to work collaboratively.’

‘Joan Devine is extremely attentive, she looks after us and sets out well-balanced advice to allow us to make informed decisions.’

‘Very good, commercial advice and a proactive approach to resolving disputes.’

‘Joan Devine has the ability to present technical advice in layman’s terms for non-legal clients. Upfront transparency on fees and an eye for the detail of an issue.’

‘Joan Devine has a long established and enviable reputation for persuasive representation with common sense.’

Key clients

National Grid plc

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited

Asda Stores Limited

SGN plc

British Telecommunications plc

Aldi Stores Limited

Lloyds Pharmacy Limited

Mapeley STEPS Limited

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited

Wireless Infrastructure Group Limited

Red Rock Power Limited/Afton Wind Farm Limited

Vento Ludens Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted successfully for Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) in an Inner House appeal against a Land Court decision over whether crofting rights existed over any part of Stornoway Airport; the Court held that the crofting rights had been extinguished by a compulsory purchase during WW2.
  • Acting for a private individual pursing a Court of Session action for declarator and interdict in relation to servitude right of access to a residential property in Aberdeen.
  • Acted for the tenants of a retail development under a ground lease in a dispute over the question whether the landlord was entitled to a payment based on a surrender premium paid by a sub-tenant.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper is well equipped to guide commercial, residential and retail sector clients through a wide range of landlord and tenant as well as neighbourly issues, such as disputes over leases and servitude rights and dilapidation claims. The team also receives regular construction-related instructions which is not least due to team head Alistair Drummond's expertise in this space, which complements his experience in classic property litigation. Besides the practice's contentious capabilities, clients, including various players with large portfolio investments in Scotland, also benefit from the firm's newly launched litigation fund Aldersgate, which enables clients to access funds to pursue large-scale litigation in 30 jurisdictions.

Practice head(s):

Alistair Drummond

Testimonials

‘A very wide and deep knowledge of the commercial real estate sector.’

‘A true sense that you can trust the team to proceed with your best interests in mind and advise appropriately when in both positions of strength and weakness. Giving confidence that you are never being led astray for the sake of it.’

A wide array of professionalism with ability to pull in those most appropriate/ experienced colleagues to ensure, as required, you receive the best result possible.

‘Whilst dealing with an array of issues, team members understand you may not always be immersed in the work they are undertaking. However, the individuals ensure, as appropriate, situations are clearly explained, advised and executed with best interests in mind.’

‘DLA Piper’s knowledge is excellent, as is their ability to research associated case law.’

‘Sandy Telfer was able to identify the key areas on which to focus, and to give good guidance on the risks and opportunities of the options available.’

DWF

Handling landlord and tenant disputes, including dilapidation claims and insolvency-related matters, constitutes a key element of DWF's property litigation offering which extends to Electronic Communications Code issues alongside crofting and planning-related disputes. Its client base centres around real estate and retail sector players but also includes public sector bodies alongside telecommunications providers and energy and hospitality clients. Solicitor advocate Naomi Pryde heads up the commercial litigation team and is qualified in Scotland, England and Wales, and the Republic of Ireland, making the team an attractive choice for cross-border mandates.

Practice head(s):

Naomi Pryde

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Gaskell; Emma Forrester

Testimonials

‘Very personable’

‘Naomi Pryde is legally astute and full of personality. A delight to work with.’

‘Good in-depth knowledge of the sector. Very knowledgeable of the sector. They have a sharp focus on the issues which are in dispute.’

‘Very keen to ensure the delivery of the best advice to clients from both a practical and legal perspective.’

Key clients

Lunar Greenock (SARL)

Mileway Real Estate (UK) Limited

Marks and Spencer plc

Mobile Broadband Network Limited

EE Limited

McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles Limited

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council)

Aberdeen City Council

Grahams The Family Dairy Limited and Mactaggart & Mickel Homes Limited

M7 Real Estate Investment Partners V Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Lunar Greenock SARL in two commercial actions pertaining to a property and planning dispute relating to a defective highway bridge running directly over the client’s shopping centre properties.
  • Acting for United UK Propco 8 SARL in two separate court actions in which the tenant is seeking orders for declarator that the leases have been brought to an end and that sums of rent and service charge should not require to be paid.
  • Advised the Highland Council on a judicial review action raised by Wildland Limited, a company owned by Scotland’s biggest landowner, challenging the client’s decision to approve the plans of Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for a £17.3m spaceport at the A’Mhoine Peninsula.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP

Gillespie Macandrew LLP stands out for its rural and agricultural expertise reflected in a large sector-specific client base including land and estate owners alongside energy sector players, while its roster also includes housebuilders. Its developer and energy sector clients, most notably renewable energy companies, is testimony to its experience handling disputes associated with various developments, which, alongside tenancy (both commercial and residential) and construction-related disputes make up a large share of its workload. Fiona Cameron heads up the firm's litigation practice and is also a key contact for alternative dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Cameron

Other key lawyers:

John Stirling; Colin Hamilton; Isobell Reid

Testimonials

‘A very highly rated and competent team.’

‘John Stirling has great experience and maturity in case management and keeping his eye on the bigger picture. Sound judgement and great expertise in one go.’

‘Colin Hamilton is real quality. ’

‘The practice has a good grasp of technical issues and collaborates well with professional experts.’

‘Isobell Reid is a stand-out partner.’

‘The team is very practical and commercial in its approach. They become a natural extension to our team and are very good at offering practical solutions whilst at the same time delivering sound legal advice.’

‘Colin Hamilton is always very reliable and will always try to find a solution that works for the business. He has a very considered approach to issues and has an amazing knowledge of a variety of issues and laws.’

‘The team work well together and always has a clear vision of what is necessary and the practical actions required to make the outcome for the client achievable.’

Key clients

Richmond Global Services Limited

Seagreen Wind Energy Limited

Redmond Retreats Limited

Scottish Veterans Garden City Association/Scottish Garden City Housing Society (trading as Veterans Housing Scotland)

Work highlights

  • Advised Seagreen Wind Energy Limited on the promotion of the compulsory purchase order seeking to acquire land and rights in land to install its offshore wind farm to the electricity grid on the Scottish mainland.
  • Advised Stornoway crofters on objections lodged by them in respect of an application to the Land Court for a developer to gain rights to carry out a wind farm development on Common Grazings that the clients have rights in under the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993
  • Advised seven of the eight owners of 4 Clutha Street, Glasgow on a nuisance claim against Glasgow Housing Association pertaining to damage caused by piling works.

Harper Macleod LLP

While commercial and residential landlord and tenant disputes, including dilapidation claims and lease terminations, make up a large portion of Harper Macleod LLP's workload, the team is also regularly called upon in disputes associated with agricultural properties and farmland and has seen an increase in disputes between neighbours pertaining to boundaries and title conditions. In other work, team head Carolyn Morgan has recently acted for a landowner in a lease agreement dispute under the Electronic Communications Code. Clients include commercial entities, public sector bodies and private individuals.

Practice head(s):

Carolyn Morgan

Other key lawyers:

Sandy Hastie; John McHugh; E-Ming Fong; Andrew Upton

Testimonials

‘Years of experience. Good team.’

‘E-Ming Fong and her team were very tenacious. Always on top, and very forward-thinking and sharp.’

‘Andrew Upton and E-Ming Fong are excellent lawyers. They demonstrate consistently high standards across the property litigation sector. Technically sound. Clearly in tune with the commercial demands of their clients. Very impressive indeed and entirely deserving of recognition at the highest level.’

‘The practice has an extensive and effective team of solicitors covering all disciplines of law. Their HM Connect Legal News provides a valuable and quick regular update on current legal issues, recent cases and legislation.’

‘E-Ming Fong is a highly effective litigator. Excellent at focusing on the issues in a dispute, problem-solving, and at communicating effectively with clients.’

Key clients

Forestry and Land Scotland

Scottish Government

NatureScot

Halfords Limited

Nero Holdings Limited (Caffe Nero)

William Hill Organization Limited

AIB Group (UK) plc (Allied Irish Bank UK)

National Car Parks Limited

Engie UK

London & Scottish Property Investments Management Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the commercial landlord Tay Properties Limited in its pursuit of its former tenant for dilapidations and loss of rent totalling approximately £3m.
  • Acting for Nero Holdings Limited in its attempt to challenge charges for payment on the basis that the leases had been frustrated due to the emergency coronavirus legislation preventing trade.
  • Acting for National Car Parks Limited in its defence of a claim brought by its landlord of a shopping centre car park for dilapidations where the landlord’s repairing obligations had been ignored.

Lindsays

Lindsays' scope spans commercial, rural and residential property sector work and extends to telecoms litigation, where the team exclusively acts for landowners. Other clients include housebuilders, retailers and developers alongside various landlords and tenants, who regularly instruct the team when faced with disputes over tenancy issues, dilapidations, servitude rights and contractual interpretations, among other matters. Paul Harper heads up the team.

Practice head(s):

Paul Harper

Other key lawyers:

John Bett

Testimonials

‘They have an appreciation of not just the law but of the practicalities involved in details of a person’s property, and how property disputes emotionally take their toll.’

‘Lindsays’ work encompasses a wide range of property related litigation involving companies and individuals. Their client care is exceptional. They are really willing to go the extra mile for their clients.’

‘Paul Harper is hugely experienced. Uses experience to craft strategy to seek realistic best outcomes for the client early on.’

‘They always have an excellent understanding of the legal and factual issues in the case and what they mean for their clients. Although they are robust in fighting their clients’ corner, they are also practical in their approach.’

‘I would recommend this team unreservedly to anyone stuck with trouble from a difficult tenant.’

‘People make Lindsays stand out – very personable, approachable, engaging – definitely not stuffy! Partner interaction and involvement is encouraging.’

‘John Bett stands out as being commercial, personable and gives clear, intelligent and sensible advice to clients. Does not shirk from informing decisions.’

‘John Bett and his team at Lindsays take the time to understand their clients requirements, and provide advice that is tailored to these requirements but may still be challenging to any client preconceptions. They demonstrate a high degree of commercial acumen. The entire team is readily available throughout the working day, and were effective at communicating developments so that we always felt they and we understood exactly the current position.’

Key clients

Scottish Water

The Thirteenth Duke of Argyll

Donald Cameron of Lochiel, Lord of Lochaber, Chief of the Clan Cameron, Achnacarry and Lochiel Estates

Thomas Steuart Forthringham, Baron Murthly, Murthly and Strathbaan Estates

Hostelling Scotland

Scottish Association of Mental Health

Parkhead Housing Association

CJ Lang & Son

The University of Glasgow

McGivney Construction

Work highlights

  • Advised and represented Baron Murthly and Strathbaan Estate on a telecoms dispute.
  • Advised and represented the Josephine Marshall Trust on three inter-linked residential tenancy disputes.
  • Advised and represented a client on the right to roam legislation and public rights of way.

BTO Solicitors LLP

Working closely with the firm's transactional commercial property team, BTO Solicitors LLP's property litigation practice counts landowners, developers, commercial landlords and tenants as well as registered social landlords among its clients. The team received a boost with the arrival of Stephen Humphreys from Shepherd and Wedderburn in November 2020; he joined as consultant and is also member of the social housing team, translating into particular expertise at this intersection. Led by Will Cole, who is also a key contact for alternative dispute resolution, the team has recently handled compensation claims arising from compulsory purchase orders, title and ownership matters, lease terminations, rent arrears and construction-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Will Cole

Other key lawyers:

Grant Hunter; David Young; Stephen Humphreys

Testimonials

‘The firm has built up an experienced and knowledgeable expertise in the wide spectrum of property litigation, strengthened by the recruitment of several highly regarded litigators in recent years. Client service is the highest priority, reflected in extremely quick response times and access to specialist knowledge within the firm as and when needed.’

‘Will Cole is especially impressive. Will is able to demonstrate an innovative and strategic approach to resolving difficulties in property litigation. At every stage, Will provided excellent advice and the highest levels of professionalism in what had been challenging and stressful circumstances. I was extremely impressed by Will’s client-orientated approach.’

‘We recently used the BTO property litigation team for the first time and I have been impressed with them. They are communicative, professional and diligent.’

‘Will Cole has a very straightforward manner and communicates very well, which is important as a client when trying to understand complex legal points.’

‘BTO have become our natural ‘go to’ firm for all property-related matters in Scotland across various sectors including office, retail and hospitality. There is always consistent delivery at a high level in terms of commercial property from transactions, litigation, to all leasing and banking matters. Daily advice has been invaluable as we navigate a difficult and fast-moving property market.’

‘Will Cole has a way of communicating in a logical, unflappable manner and will be our ‘go to’ for future litigation.’

Key clients

Rockford Trilogy Limited

Forrest Outdoor Media Limited

Hallam Land Management Limited

Pendragon plc (Evans Halshaw)

James Gibb Property Management Limited

Berwickshire Housing Association

Mactaggart & Mickel Limited

Greenbelt Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for a private individual in Lands Tribunal proceedings to vary title conditions relating to repair and maintenance a Georgian property within the Edinburgh UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Acting for James Gibb Property Management Limited in pursuing a £4.4m claim for common repairs in respect of a 50-apartment housing block in Edinburgh.
  • Acting for Hallam Land Management Limited in connection with a dispute over ownership and occupation of a piece of development land.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Led by experienced litigator and accredited mediator Philip Knight, who joined Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in 2017, the team is a relatively new addition to the Scottish market. The practice's work covers an array of sectors with hospitality, leisure and retail clients making up a large share of its roster. Typical work includes dilapidation claims, rent arrears, lease terminations and insolvency-related disputes. Telecommunication providers also instruct the team in disputes with landowners seeking to remove masts.

Practice head(s):

Philip Knight

Testimonials

‘An incredibly innovative team, with deep knowledge of their subject.’

‘Philip Knight is a force to be reckoned with. He is incredibly knowledgeable and is able to communicate complex issues in a straightforward, easy to understand way. He has an enormous sense of fun and is a joy to work with.’

‘The team is impressive, particularly given that it is a relative newcomer to the Scottish market. The team is led by Philip Knight, who is a stand-out individual. It has an impressive breath and depth of clients and cases, punching above its weight in terms of the Scottish market.’

‘Philip Knight is a stand-out individual. He has excellent legal knowledge and is extremely personable. He is commercially minded and has excellent judgment. He is extremely good at keeping an online profile and using online marketing and providing updates online. Highly recommended.’

‘Philip Knight has developed an enviable reputation as a litigator of extraordinary skill. He’s a real heavyweight and the runaway gold star of the team. He is known for his personable but determined approach.’

‘Philip Knight is well known in the property sector for providing clear, commercial and well thought through legal advice. He is stand-out in his field.’

‘Philip Knight has a wealth of experience in property litigation. His knowledge of commercial property practice is extensive. The practice is small but well led.’

‘Philip Knight is knowledgeable and responsive. His first rate understanding of commercial property disputes is matched by his ability to respond promptly.’

Key clients

FRP Consultancy

Holland and Barrett

Expeditors

Secretary of State for Transport

Airwave

Greggs

Tuli Holdings

Vodafone

Work highlights

  • Acting for Expeditors UK Limited in a dilapidations case for a warehouse at Glasgow International Airport.
  • Assists Airwave with its real estate litigation matters in Scotland.
  • Acting for Tuli Holidays across its Scottish portfolio, including a number of disputes with tenants.