Property litigation in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP is a respected player in the market and frequently called upon to handle the most prominent real estate litigation cases in the Scottish market. The practice led by Stephen Goldie is a regular fixture on high-value landlord and tenant disputes, including dilapidations and contractual interpretation disputes, and represents clients' interests through the Commercial Court and up to the Supreme Court. Its extensive client portfolio includes property developers, commercial clients, retailers, rural businesses and high-net-worth individuals, among others. Matthew Farrell is noted for his expertise in commercial lease disputes.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Goldie

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Farrell; Ken MacDonald

Testimonials

They are unique in terms for the quality and depth of advice they provide as a company in comparison to their competitors.’

Very high-quality team, up there with the best in Scotland. Two leading individuals and a well trained and highly capable team of solicitors. Pragmatic when they need to be but not afraid of a difficult case.

Realistic, professional and commercial in their advice and assistance.

The practice provides impeccable service and unlike many large firms, the seniors are very much involved in your matter.

The individuals treat you exceptionally well and are genuinely have your best interest at heart. This firm is not about charging fees but resolving a matter in the best option possible.

The advice they provide is always very well considered and taken from a commercial perspective. The team is very approachable and can explain their advice in straightforward terms.

Matthew Farrell is an outstanding litigation lawyer, who possesses a great attitude to getting the job done and the correct outcome for his clients which I applaud.

Matthew Farrell is a first-rate lawyer and really knows his onions. He has particular expertise in dilapidations but is able to cover the full spectrum of property-related disputes. He is great to work with.’

Matthew Farrell has provided excellent support to ourselves and our clients. He can be relied upon to react quickly when circumstances dictate and is able to give a balanced view on the strengths and weaknesses of any particular case alongside a firm recommendation of what he believes the best course of action should be.

Stephen Goldie is highly commercial and tenacious.

Key clients

Drum Property Group

Drum REIT

Nuveen (Janus Henderson)

Paccor

Toscaig (Capreon)

APCOA

Ediston

Moorfield Group Limited

M7 Real Estate

Hansteen Property Investments Ltd

Frasers Property

Canmoor

Orion Capital Partners

Co-op

Royal London

Work highlights

  • Acting for Drum Property Group in a range of matters across its extensive development portfolio and real estate assets, including contentious site and contractual interpretation issues pertaining to the Buchanan Wharf and Candleriggs projects.
  • Acted for M7 Real Estate in high-profile litigation in the Commercial Court of the Court of Session over whether or not Amazon’s lease had continued through tacit relocation for a year.
  • Enforcing a dilapidations payment obligation for the landlord, Drum REIT, against its tenant where the tenant challenged its validity.
  • Application to court for a decision that Paccor’s leases are at an end or will be coming to an end shortly as a result of the landlord’s failure to repair the damage caused to the premises by insured risks.
  • Acting for the tenant APCOA in court proceedings raised by the landlord pertaining to car park defects and in subsequent proceedings raised by the client to terminate its lease.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP has a fine reputation in the property litigation space and is well equipped to guide clients - including commercial clients, housebuilders and local authorities - through a wide range of disputes, such as those arising from dilapidations, lease terminations and obligations, building defects and land purchases. The group is also well placed to handle telecoms disputes and typically acts for operators. Solicitor advocate Alan McMillan heads the group and has particular expertise in commercial property.

Practice head(s):

Alan McMillan

Other key lawyers:

Steven Guild

Key clients

Dana Petroleum

Britannia Invest A/S

Mars

Stirling Developments Limited

Baxters

Scotco Restaurants Ltd (KFC)

PizzaExpress

NFU Mutual

University of St Andrews

Poundstretcher

Taylor Wimpey

Miller Homes

Work highlights

  • Advised Dana Petroleum on defending a dilapidations litigation against M7, which went to an evidential hearing before being settled.
  • Acting for Carpediem Investors, the owners of a large industrial site in Ayrshire, in a dispute with its tenant John G Stein & Co Ltd. The tenant is seeking to rely on an unusual lease provision which allows it to apply for consent to demolish the buildings it leases. The landlord does not wish the buildings to be demolished.
  • Advised Champfleurie Developments Limited on a dispute with the neighbouring landowner (a golf club) over a servitude over its land.
  • Advised David Britton and Linda Barclay on contractual interpretation disputes. This is an action pertaining to the misrepresentation and contractual interpretation of the Standard Clauses for Scottish Solicitors for use in residential sales.
  • Continues to act for Vodafone Limited in a long-running litigation over a key fixed line site in Stornoway.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern covers commercial and residential property disputes, including lease disputes, title and access disputes, residential tenancy disputes, dilapidation claims and compulsory compensation applications, while also having notable rural sector experience, leading to regular Lands Tribunal instructions. Solicitor advocate Fiona Stephen heads the practice and acts for commercial, public sector and private clients.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Stephen

Other key lawyers:

Fraser Geddes

Testimonials

They are able to move quickly to deal with new instances of unauthorised occupation. They also demonstrate an understanding of the relevant legislation and court guidance.

Good team work.

The team, headed by Fiona Stephen, is very strong. As Anderson Strathern is a full-service firm, the team is complemented by great strength in connected areas, such as construction, planning and agriculture. This wide range makes them stand out.

Fiona Stephen is exceptional; she is very knowledgeable in her field, and also reliable and prompt in her responses.

Key clients

Transport Scotland

Ashtead Plant Hire Co Limited

Intu Properties plc

Buccleuch Group

Edinburgh Napier University

Northern Lighthouse Board

Work highlights

  • Acted for the tenant of commercial premises, Ashtead Plant Hire Limited, in two Court of Session actions concerning the interpretation of a rent review clause in the lease.

CMS

CMS has a strong profile for energy sector disputes, including rights of access, servitude disputes and disputed compensations claims, but the practice is equally well versed in assisting a broad range of real estate clients with lease issues, dilapidations and insolvency matters; with the last-mentioned segment typically stemming from the retail sector. With accredited mediator Alison Gow heading the practice, its offering also includes ADR and mediation services. Senior associate Marc Armstrong has particular experience with institutional investors alongside energy and student accomodation sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Alison Gow

Testimonials

I feel the team really knows each other and each other’s experience well. This means I get a solicitor depending on the issue and the solicitor’s experience rather than one solicitor wanting all my business, which happens with other firms.

The advice I have received has been pertinent and easily understood.

Marc Armstrong provided quality, calm and balanced advice during arbitration. He was very engaged with the wider team and was very able to engage clearly with the surveyors. He is a real credit to the profession.

Marc Armstrong has delivered timely advice in an appropriate manner to a variety staff form different disciplines.

Key clients

Raeburn Place Foundation and Raeburn Place Development Limited

Wyman-Gordon Limited

DNO Oman Limited

Lindsay Robertson Savage

Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution Plc

Healthcare Environmental Services Limited and BDO LLP (appointed as joint interim liquidators)

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Edinburgh St James Centre Limited

SSE Plc

Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Plc

Work highlights

  • Continues to act for Raeburn Place Foundation (RPF) and Raeburn Place Development Limited (RPDL) in contentious matters arising from the client’s development of a new sports stadium in the mixed residential and retail area of Stockbridge, Edinburgh. This includes a dispute about the ownership and adopted status of a strip of land which runs along the front of the almost completed development.
  • Acted for Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Plc (SHET) in raising proceedings for interim interdict to ensure the client could take immediate access to key infrastructure and transmission lines.
  • Instructed to apply for interim interdict on behalf of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) following the concern that the client’s tenant CS Wind UK Limited was winding down the key business of manufacturing wind towers in Scotland which would be in breach of an undertaking linked to the funding the client had provided.
  • Instructed by Wyman Gordon Limited to pursue Imet Group for the costs of reinstating a warehouse burned down in June 2017.
  • Defending Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution Plc against a claim by a landowner for compensation under the Electricity Act 1989 arising out of the client obtaining a necessary wayleave for cabling under his land.

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

Davidson Chalmers Stewart has substantial expertise in commercial and residential property development work, which leads to a steady stream of instructions on landlord and tenant disputes, lease notice disputes, dilapidation claims and land sterilisation-related compensation claims, among others. Handling judicial review work constitutes another key area of expertise for the team led by Sheila Webster and including Greg Flett, who both handle the full range of property litigation work.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Webster

Other key lawyers:

Greg Flett

Testimonials

Excellent at providing advice in plain English and without getting bogged down in technical detail.

Both Greg Flett and Sheila Webster are easy to deal with and quick to pick up commercial points so as to provide practical advice.

Key clients

Chris Stewart Group

Carpetright plc

Mars Black Sheep Hotels Limited

Mothercare plc

Dandara/ Stoneywood Developments Ltd

Scottish Borders Council

Alba Energy

Tweed Homes Limited

Ury Estate Limited/ FM Group

Natural Assets Investments Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Ury Estate Limites (part of the FM Group) in a multi-million pound claim arising from an agreement between the client and BP Exploration and Drilling Company Limited. The client seeks compensation for the loss of development opportunity as a result of the presence of a pipeline owned by BP.
  • Defending the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority in a dilapidations claim involving elements of betterment, supersession and a substantial loss of rent claim by its former landlord.
  • Acting for Carpetright plc in various matters arising from Scottish-based properties following Carpetright’s CVA. In one matter, the team successfully obtained interim interdict to prevent the landlord from attempting to terminate the lease following service of a pre-irritancy notice that the team argued was invalid.
  • Acting for a number of tenant farmers in a high-profile judicial review which ultimately seeks compensation from the Scottish Government following introduction of legislation affecting property rights in farming partnerships.
  • Defending Natural Assets Investments Limited against a claim brought by Highland and Islands Enterprise for dilapidations in buildings at Cairngorm Mountain, as well as for its responsibilities in terms of an operating agreement for the maintenance of the funicular railway.

Dentons

Dentons regularly acts for institutional landlords, corporate tenants and housebuilders across a wide range of sectors, including retail, property investment, agriculture, higher education, manufacturing and energy, in lease disputes and dilapidation claims, among other matters. Alongside its litigation capabilities, the team led by accredited mediator Gareth Hale also has a good track record in alternative dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):

Gareth Hale

Testimonials

Impressively knowledgeable and connected in their advice.

We have worked closely with Dentons for a number of years on projects of varying complexity. The diversity of the team to deliver helpful, accurate and concise advice, no matter the subject matter is a strength that allows the projects to be brought to a satisfactory conclusion within timescales set, which, on occasion can be challenging in itself.

The team provides a comprehensive and clear breakdown of the potential elements which could potentially slow down the programme, with advice on a suggested course of action. This is updated at appropriate stages with a clear list of instructions required by the client.

The team was extremely knowledgeable, professional and showed the correct amount of tenacity which reassured you that you were in very good hands.

In many cases, the contract deadlines are tight and in all cases the individuals ensure they respond quickly, on many occasions outside standard office hours. In many cases this involves repeated calls to the client when the client is unavailable. The key standout is their availability to take calls and give advice at short notice.

They are a talented team of lawyers that conduct litigation in a proper and reasonable way.

The Dentons’ property litigation team works hand-in-glove with their real estate colleagues to deliver pragmatic advice and commercial resolutions to its roster of heavyweight corporate landlords and tenants.

The practice has both width and depth of experience in numerous areas of real estate litigation. They have acted on a number of matters for us that resulted in a successful outcome. All matters, no matter how small or large, are tackled with the same enthusiasm and professionalism. The size of the team allows them to manage numerous projects simultaneously. We have often found their varied experience to be a key differentiator within their peer group.

A very knowledgeable team who worked hard to keep everyone up to date and involved in the case.

Gareth Hale seems never to be out of contact!

Gareth is not only extremely likeable but determined and insightful when dealing with litigation matters. His standing, reputation and contacts in the market have helped on numerous occasions to forge a path to successful resolutions. Coupled to that, Gareth has a sharp, inquisitive and tenacious attitude to all matters.

On more complex matters we have worked closely with Gareth Hale: Gareth is approachable and always in a position to give good and accurate advice to bring matters to a satisfactory conclusion.

Gareth Hale is sharp, commercial and quick to spot an advantage.

From the outset Gareth Hale impressed with the speed with which he grasped the issues, his knowledge of the law and the practice of the Lands Tribunal, and his accessibility to and his communication with us. He was sympathetic to our concerns about fees and readily agreed a reasonable capped basis of charging. Our objective had always been to try to agree a resolution of the tribunal application without a contested hearing. In achieving that outcome Gareth showed himself to be a skilled, shrewd and determined negotiator.

Gareth Hale heads up the team in Scotland and is extremely capable and hard working – he will move heaven and earth to deliver.

It was a pleasure to deal with Gareth Hale. What has stood out for me is the fact that, although this matter will almost certainly have ranked very low in comparison with other commercial legal work in which he and his department are normally engaged and were no doubt engaged at the time, there was never any hint that he regarded us as any less important than other clients. If he was not available when we called he would quickly come back. From the outset this inspired complete confidence in him. What I particularly valued was his personal commitment to our case. I have to say that it had occurred to me when we instructed him that this was something that he might well delegate as I suspect many others in his position would have done.

Gareth Hale was extremely easy to communicate with and explained all options and potential routes to take in detail. Every step was carefully considered by him to make sure we got the best results possible.

Key clients

Hammerson plc

M&G Real Estate

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited

Universities Superannuation Scheme

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

Aviva Investors

Doosan Babcock Limited

Redevco B.V.

The Department of Work and Pensions

Taylor Wimpey plc

Work highlights

  • Acted for Hammerson plc in a dispute with the tenant of cinema premises at Union Square Shopping Centre, Aberdeen (Cine-UK Limited). The dispute concerned the question of whether the determination of an independent expert, whose decision was said in the lease to be “final and binding on all questions of fact and law” could be declared null and void by the court owing to an alleged error of law on the part of the expert.
  • Acting for JH & W Lamont in a dispute pertaining to the operation of option contracts over the development land and the corresponding standard securities granted by landowners.
  • Acting for the Department of Work and Pensions in multiple claims for terminal dilapidations, among others, arising from lease terminations across its entire portfolio of properties in Scotland.
  • Acting for the purchasers of a residential property in a dispute in which the client seeks to reduce the transaction (and recover the sale price and damages) owing to a misrepresentation of the seller as to the flooding history of the property.
  • Acting for the Official Receiver (and the special advisors, PwC) in all property litigation issues arising from the liquidation of Carillion group of companies.

MacRoberts LLP

MacRoberts LLP has a strong profile for landlord and tenant disputes, including lease disputes and dilapidation claims, but has also carved out a strong practice dealing with judicial reviews and environmental-related disputes as well as energy sector work. Its clients, including public sector bodies, utilities, corporates, retailers, portfolio landlords and developers, also benefit from the firm's robust real estate and construction practices, who are regularly involved in various instructions. Team head Gillian Craig has a specialism in lease disputes, rectification, variation of title conditions and CPO compensation claims.

Practice head(s):

Gillian Craig

Testimonials

Good team.

Easy to work with.

Key clients

The Scottish Government

Chisholm Hunter

London & Cambridge Properties

British Waterways

BioReliance

Norman Hay plc

GAC Services

Energen Biogas Limited

Renewi

Work highlights

  • Represented a portfolio landlord in a dispute with users of a failed waste processing facility on leased property following the tenant exceeding the limits of its waste licence exemption.
  • Acted for the landlord Chisholm Hunter in a dispute with the tenant Watches of Switzerland in a dispute over the tenant’s liability to contribute to the common charges of the Arcade, which housed the tenant’s shop, and the liability arising under the titles deeds.
  • Acted for a large industrial landlord 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.
  • Acting in four separate boundary disputes on behalf of the owners of the property on which encroachments have occurred.
  • Acted for Scotia Investments Limited Partnership in proceedings pursuant to the Conveyancing & Feudal Reform (Scotland) Act 1970 following calling up notices being served on the client in relation to development land at St Andrews.

Morton Fraser

Acting for a broad public and private sector client base, Morton Fraser has recently been particularly visible in the commercial property space, handling disputes pertaining to lease terminations, the ownership of property, servitude right of access, the recovery of rent arrears, compulsory purchases and energy-related matters, but it is also well placed to provide assistance with residential real estate work. The practice is led by commercial litigator Kenneth Carruthers and includes associate Ursula Currie, who handles a wide range of disputes before the Sheriff Courts, Court of Session and the Supreme Court.

Practice head(s):

Kenneth Carruthers

Key clients

Tesco Stores Limited

BAM Properties plc

National Grid Gas

Diageo

Ministry of Defence

Persimmon Homes

Standard Life Trustee Company

The City of Edinburgh Council

Stewart Milne Group Limited

Glasgow City Council

Work highlights

  • Acting for Tesco Stores Limited in a number of high-value dilapidation claims pertaining to vacated stores at lease-end.
  • Representing Transport Scotland in compensation and other claims arising out of the dualing of the A9 and A96 trunk roads and the new Aberdeen Western Relief Road.
  • Acting for BAM Developments in a title dispute with an adjoining landowner.
  • Defending City Building Glasgow against a claim by a housing association which argued that its building was severely damaged due to the spread of fire from an adjoining building caused by the negligence of the clients’ employees.
  • Defending the City of Edinburgh Council in a dispute pertaining to the ownership of a ransom strip at Comey Bank Road, Edinburgh.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Much of Pinsent Masons LLP's recent work stems from the energy, retail, food and drink and property sectors and regularly involves landlord and tenant disputes, dilapidations, the recovery of property and matters arising from planning and project development matters. Handling Electronic Communications Code-related telecoms sector work is another key area of expertise. Craig Connal QC, who represents clients in various courts, inquiries and tribunals, heads the team, which includes senior associate Fiona MacGregor, whose wide-ranging expertise includes rent reviews, title and planning disputes alongside disputes over development agreements, among others.

Practice head(s):

Craig Connal QC

Testimonials

They draw on a huge real estate experience from all sectors and all types of property. They are definitely ‘go-to’ people for the biggest and most complex cases.’

Overall quality is top-notch; sound commercial sense combined with acute legal insight; and a brilliant ability to coordinate with all the other specialisms of a full-service firm.

Very hardworking team who gives practical, pragmatic and commercially sensible advice – but is also willing to litigate hard if the circumstances require it.

Fiona MacGregor is a stand-out senior associate. She is one of the most organised, knowledgeable and thorough litigators in Scotland.

Fiona MacGregor: excellent capacity for understanding the clients’ business and priorities; pragmatic and reliable.

Fiona MacGregor has formidable attention to detail and will fight hard for her client’s interests, while always remaining civil.

Craig Connal QC is excellent at explaining complex legal issues and jargon in a way that clients can really understand.

Jacqueline Harris is a stand-out in the Scottish commercial litigation field. Immense experience, great judgement and tactical nous.

Key clients

BP plc

Balfour Beatty Group

Legal & General plc

HFD Group

Livingston Centre Limited

McColl’s Retail Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for Stornoway Wind Farm Limited in litigation that arose from the development of a wind farm on Lewis.
  • Continues to represent Livingston Centre Limited in a number of matters ranging from debt recovery, the eviction of lawful occupiers to assessing the risks arising from the introduction of an aerial slide for the use of patrons. Recently, the team also acted for the client in dilapidations disputes, the recovery of possession and break notices, among other matters.
  • Acted for Ramoyle Developments Limited in a dispute that arose from a development project, where the developer claimed wrongful termination.
  • Represented Gatsby Retail Limited in a dispute with Edinburgh Woollen Mill Limited, its former tenant of retail space in the centre of Edinburgh. Gatsby raised a commercial action in the Court of Session to recover losses arising from the breach of certain repairing conditions at the end of the lease by EWM.
  • Advised McColl Retail Group on four dilapidation disputes.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Working in close cooperation with the firm's real estate and rural property practices, Shepherd and Wedderburn is well placed to assist its clients - including large corporates, public and third sector organisations and SMEs alongside estate owners and high-net-worth individuals - with the full range of property disputes, including telecoms sector work, which has become a key area of expertise for the team and has subsequently led to regular instructions from operators; these are typically handled by senior associate Daniel Bain. Other work includes lease, title and boundary disputes, dilapidation claims and rights of access issues, among others. Commercial litigator Colin Archibald heads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Colin Archibald

Testimonials

A top-rate firm with a busy practice.

Shepherd & Wedderburn assigns a specialist solicitor to each case, who is always contactable. They reply to emails in a very timely manner and in a straightforward, clear way.

Commercial and practical solutions to complex legal problems. The property litigation department is approachable, knowledgeable and pragmatic.’

My legal team was incredibly knowledgeable about a very unusual law. They discussed the case with me in layman’s terms so that I could easily understand everything. They were also incredibly helpful and supportive.

A long-established and trusted firm in the Scottish market, Shepherd and Wedderburn has developed a property litigation team which is highly-committed and knowledgeable with ample resources to deal with the whole gamut of property litigation efficiently and effectively.

Elaine Brailsford is a veteran litigator; her calm, realistic and practical approach is much valued by a wide variety of clients.

Elaine Brailsford was an amazing support overseeing my legal case.

Key clients

Taylor Wimpey plc

Miller Homes Limited

Tarmac Trading Limited

EE Ltd

British Telecommunications plc (BT)

NHBC

Clydeport Operations Limited

BlackRock UK Property Fund

Trinity Mirror plc

Atkins Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for British Telecommunications plc (BT) in a court action brought by BAM TCP Atlantic Square Limited; the pursuer seeks an order declaring that they exclusively own certain property situated between BT’s premises at Alexander Bain House, Glasgow, and an adjacent site being developed by BAM TCP.
  • Acting for a property owner in a court action against the owner of the adjacent property relating to the obstruction of access to the client’s property.
  • Acting for a landowner in a boundary and encroachment dispute which has the potential to become a ransom strip situation.
  • Acted for the former landlord of a property occupied by a local authority in a dispute over the interpretation of the lease with the local authority and an error in invoicing which had occurred during the currency of the lease.
  • Acting for the tenant in a multi-let building in Stirling in a dispute with its landlord, who has been in persistent breach of various obligations under the lease.

Addleshaw Goddard

As an integral part of Addleshaw Goddard's national offering, the team is well placed to act for a wide range of clients, including large companies, developers, retailers, investors, social landlords and high-net-worth individuals. Commercial litigator and team head Joan Devine has particular expertise in dealing with matters at the intersection with insolvency litigation, while much of the team's regular work pertains to disputes arising from property and land purchases, factoring and service charges, crofting rights, servitude rights of access and lease disputes. She is supported by managing associate and solicitor advocate Edward Gratwick, who handles various landlord and tenant and other contentious property issues.

Practice head(s):

Joan Devine

Other key lawyers:

Edward Gratwick

Testimonials

Recently expanded into Scotland. Has the advantage of access to their London and other UK offices to provide a back-up help and advice for clients in UK-wide areas of law.

Well prepared and dependable. Good quality of instructions to counsel. Communicate well.

Edward Gratwick is an excellent instructing solicitor, careful, detailed and with a wide knowledge of the law in his area of expertise.

Edward Gratwick is hardworking, thoughtful and very knowledgeable.

Joan Devine has a wide profile of cases. She is pragmatic and is always more than willing to negotiate to settle rather than to litigate provided it is in the best interests of the client.

Key clients

David and Diane Leng and the SLA Property Company Limited

Virgin Media Limited

Notre Dame Developments LLP

Campion Homes Limited

Scottish Woodlands Limited

Work highlights

  • Successfully pursued a damage to property claim on behalf of Virgin Media Limited against contractors.
  • Acted for Campion Homes Limited and successfully pursued a Court of Session action for interdict to protect the right to purchase a development site where the seller wrongly threatened to withdraw from missives.
  • Advising Scottish Woodlands Limited on claims for payment which have raised issues of enforceability of the deeds of condition.
  • Acted for private individuals and owners of an extensive property and land on the Isle of Mull in various disputes pertaining to servitude rights of access covering several tracks running through their land.
  • Acted for Notre Dame Developments LLP in a dispute over suspensive conditions in the missives for purchase of an area of ground for use as a car park in central Glasgow.

DLA Piper

Thanks to the firm's global footprint, DLA Piper is well suited to handle both national and international contentious property work across the residential, commercial and retail sectors. With team head Alistair Drummond's expertise extending to contentious construction issues - complementing his experience in commercial property and commercial lease disputes -, the practice also receives regular instructions on disputes arising from property developments and construction projects. Other regular work includes contractual lease, servitude and boundary disputes alongside dilapidation claims.

Practice head(s):

Alistair Drummond

Testimonials

The team has been really great, supportive and understanding throughout a difficult litigation process.

Alistair Drummond was very supportive and dealt with my concerns very carefully and in an understanding manner during a difficult litigation process.

Key clients

The Coal Authority

Consort Healthcare (Fife) Limited

Hochtief PPP Solutions (UK) Ltd

Lothian Amusements Ltd

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill

Heineken UK

Lothian Amusements Ltd

Hochtief PPP Solutions (UK) Ltd

Scottish Power Energy Retail Limited

Merlin Entertainments Group Limited

Hilton

Trillium

Work highlights

  • Advised the Coal Authority in a Court of Session action arising from significant subsidence damage caused by mine workings at a housing development in Kirkcaldy, Fife.
  • Advised Consort Healthcare (Fife) Limited on a commercial dispute arising from the construction of new hospital facilities.
  • Advising the Edinburgh Woollen Mill on a significant dilapidations dispute at a prominent store on Princess Street, Edinburgh.
  • Instructed by Hochtief PPP Solutions (UK) Ltd to advise on property defects at two schools in Ayrshire, Scotland.
  • Advising Lothian Amusements Ltd (LAL) on the enforcement of a complex package of contractual arrangements the client entered into in relation to a development site in Portobello, Edinburgh.

DWF

Handling landlord and tenant matters constitutes a key portion of DWF's workload with clients including major retailers, commercial landlords and industrial estate owners. The practice led by commercial litigator and solicitor advocate Naomi Pryde is also adept at dealing with various contentious matters arising from infrastructure projects, and provides a wide range of arbitration and ADR services.

Practice head(s):

Naomi Pryde

Other key lawyers:

Ricky Cannon

Testimonials

Led by the formidable Naomi Pryde, any dispute with a GB/ROI cross-border element is bread and butter to this team.

Naomi Pryde has exceptional client management skills and excellent legal knowledge.

Naomi Pryde’s depth and breadth of knowledge is second-to-none and as the head of the DR team has appropriately skilled staff under her.

Naomi Pryde is exceptional. Her awards, notoriety and accolades are entirely deserved and warranted. I have never come across a dispute or issue which she cannot handle with her calm yet fiercely analytical skills. She is an opponent to be very wary of and someone you always want in your corner.

Key clients

Marble Acquisitions Limited

Holland & Barrett

Greggs Plc

Epic Financial Risks

Royal Sun Alliance (RSA)

DGM London Road Limited

Lunar Greenock SARL

M7 Real Estate Investment Partners V Limited

Mileway Real Estate UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Lunar Greenock SARL in a property and planning dispute pertaining to a defective highway bridge running directly over the client’s commercial shopping centre properties.
  • Acted for Mileway Real Estate UK Limited, a heritable proprietor of a large industrial estate near Livingston, West Lothian, in a lease dispute with the tenant of eight units under two leases.
  • Continues to assist Greggs Plc with the recovery of service charge arrears, break notices and dilapidation claims.
  • Acting for the industrial real estate owner Marble Acquisitions Limited in a claim against a former tenant for the failure to carry out dilapidations works at the end of the lease.
  • Represented DGM London Road Limited, the heritable proprietor of several titles that make up land let under a long lease to a care home operator, in proceedings commenced by the tenant seeking a declarator that they were able to assign their interest under the lease without the consent of the landlord.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP

Gillespie Macandrew LLP is well known for its strong rural and agricultural practice with a notable client portfolio of land and estate owners, including crofters, but the team is also well versed in acting for energy and public sector players, developers and commercial landlords. Led by Fiona Cameron, who also provides ADR services, the team regularly handles tenancy, title and access disputes alongside development-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Cameron

Testimonials

Scottish firm with a considerable depth of real experience and expertise.

Colin Hamilton is very experienced in compulsory purchase matters.

John Stirling is first rate and a very canny operator with an eye for the bigger commercial picture.

Key clients

St Paul’s and St George’s Church

Crofters In Sandwickhill North Street Common Grazing

Crofters in Melbost And Branahuie Common Grazings

Crofters in The Sandwick & Sandwick East Street Common Grazings

Crofters in The Aignish Common Grazings

Work highlights

  • Acting for a farming client in a dispute with his tenant following the tenant’s failure to comply with lease obligations pertaining to the erection of three wind turbines.
  • Acting for two individuals who had purchased and renovated a farmhouse from a developer in 2015; the property was subsequently discovered to have extensive dry and wet rot and dampness originating from a party wall with a neighbouring property. The team provided advice on the original missives and on pursuing a claim against the developer.
  • Acting for a group of crofters in an appeal by special case with the Inner House of the Court of Session following the clients’ application for the development of a wind farm which was refused by the Crofting Commission.
  • Acting for a group of crofters from Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in connection with objections lodged by the clients to an application to the Land Court to grant a wind farm developer the rights to carry out development on common grazings the clients have rights on under the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993.
  • Acting for the owner and landlord of a large commercial property in Glasgow in pursuing a commercial action in Glasgow Sheriff Court against one of the tenants for non-payment of rent, utilities and service charges.

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP's work covers the commercial and private rented sectors alongside agricultural property, including crofts. While the team led by commercial litigator Carolyn Morgan is best known for its public sector work, it also acts for a wide range of commercial clients as well as private individuals. Recently, its workload included dilapidation claims, right-to-buy matters, servitude right to access and public right of way issues alongside lease-related disputes, among others. Andrew Upton, who acts for public and private sector clients, made partner in April 2019.

Practice head(s):

Carolyn Morgan

Other key lawyers:

John McHugh;  Andrew Upton

Key clients

The Scottish Government

Forestry and Land Scotland

Scottish Natural Heritage

British Athletics

William Hill Organization Limited

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

Halfords Limited

Sportscotland

Historic Environment Scotland

Glasgow City Council

Work highlights

  • Advising the commercial landlord Tay Properties Limited on a multi-million pound claim for payment of dilapidations and loss of rent for a prominent commercial property in Glasgow.
  • Acted for AIB Group (UK) plc (Allied Irish Bank) in the defence of a Court of Session action for payment under a bond granted to guarantee satisfactory completion of restoration works at Mossband Quarry.
  • Representing Bridgewater Housing Association in its successful defence of an action at the Lands Tribunal for Scotland brought by its tenants to declare that they had the right to buy their tenanted property at a discount.
  • Advised and represented Leehand Properties Limited in its successful application to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland to discharge a servitude right of access over its land and discharge feudal burdens which remained on its title.
  • Defended an individual in a public right of way dispute and continues to act for the client, pursuing an interdict action against neighbouring residents from parking vehicles on his land.

BTO Solicitors LLP

BTO Solicitors LLP has notable in-house advocacy capabilities and is best known for its work for insurers but also acts for commercial landlords and tenants, estate owners and housing associations. Typical instructions include disputes arising from damages to buildings - an area of particular expertise for team head and solicitor advocate Mark Morton -, alongside landlord and tenant disputes. In July 2019, Fraser Hopkins joined the team from Pinsent Masons LLP; he is a key contact for construction-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Mark Morton

Key clients

RSA

Pendragon plc

Mactaggart & Mickel Group

A.G. Barr plc

Barony Universal Products plc

Stena Line Ports Limited

Clyde Valley Group

Greenbelt Group Ltd

Life Property Management Ltd

Hallam Land Management Limited

Speirs Gumley Property Management Ltd

NFU Mutual

Work highlights

  • Acted for Greenbelt Group Ltd in defence of the legal validity of land-owner/ manager arrangements with significant implications for the maintenance of common areas in many developments throughout Scotland.
  • Acting for Pendragon plc in a Lands Tribunal appeal for compensation arising out of a compulsory purchase order by Glasgow City Council to build a link road through commercial premises operated by the client in the East End of Glasgow.
  • Acting for RSA in a £16m damages claim following the collapse of a number of roofs of warehouses owned by the drinks specialist William Grant & Sons following heavy snow falls in 2009/2010.
  • Acted for Argyll Community Housing Association in the eviction of tenants involved in drugs offences.
  • Acted for an hotelier in defence of a claim for property and facilities management fees.

Lindsays

Lindsays has notable expertise in the residential, commercial and rural sectors, which is complemented by telecoms sector work capabilities. This skill set is regularly called upon by commercial property owners, major highland estates, private individuals, tenants in the private rent sector and developers, who require assistance with various landlord and tenant disputes, including dilapidation claims and lease disputes, alongside disputes over development land, land registrations and servitudes of access. Commercial disputes expert Paul Harper heads the practice and covers contentious property matters across various sectors.

Practice head(s):

Paul Harper

Other key lawyers:

John Bett

Testimonials

Efficient, personable and thorough.

My experience straddles the Edinburgh and Glasgow teams. Both are good and both teams are small enough to ensure whoever you deal with will possess a solid knowledge base in relation to the case in question. Both straddle SME/ individual litigation and therefore possess breadth of practical knowledge applicable to most litigation scenarios.

Experienced, focused and driven solicitors.

Paul Harper is so seasoned in this area that he can be relied upon to identify a pragmatic course early on.

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

Robin Maclean of Ardgour, 18th Laird and Chief of Clan Maclean, Ardgour Estate

Thomas Steuart Fothringham, Baron Murthly, Murthly & Strathbraan Estates

Houston Acquisitions

Hostelling Scotland

M.A.D. Creative Solutions Limited

Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH)

Parkhead Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Acting for the landlord Sampension KP International in a four-party commercial property dispute concerning the Telecoms Code and dilapidations claims. The dispute involves a prominent, modern office building in Edinburgh occupied by an international professional services business.
  • Acting for a property developer client in a claim for damages following fuel pollution of development land, including the pollution of plots which were already on the market.
  • Acting for the landlord Houston Acquisitions in a dilapidations claim brought at the Commercial Court of Court of Session concerning substantial commercial subjects previously let to a local authority.
  • Assisting the Residents Association with a repairs claim by a local authority against a group of 61 owners of flats in tower blocks.
  • Acted for Freelands in a Court of Session action for interdict over disputed ownership of potential development land.