Property litigation in Scotland

Brodies LLP

'Instilling a sense of confidence when resolving legal matters', Brodies LLP has impressive strength in the property litigation space. The 'professional, concise and commercial' practice represents real estate funds and property companies alongside local authorities, house builders, retailers and property developers in a wide range of commercial landlord and tenant disputes, high-value commercial development litigation and dilapidation claims. Stephen Goldie heads the practice, which also offers alternative dispute resolution strategies, and includes the 'extremely good, professional and commercially mindedMatthew Farrell; he is particularly experienced in commercial lease disputes and dilapidation claims.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Goldie

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Farrell; Ken MacDonald


They are market leaders and assert their client’s position in a professional manner.

Matthew Farrell’s knowledge and ability to convey that knowledge is unparalleled.

Ken MacDonald is approachable, knowledgeable and grasps issues quickly.

Matthew Farrell’s ability to analyse a situation and present a range of solutions evokes trust.

Exceptional quality of work.

Very good level of communication.

Matthew Farrell provides hands-on advice, always looks for a solution to problems as they arise and shows out-of-the-box thinking.

Key clients

Drum Property Group


Orion Capital Partners




Royal London Asset Management (RLAM)




Work highlights

  • Acting for Drum Property Group in a range of high-value and sensitive matters across its real estate assets and extensive development portfolio, which includes contentious site assembly and contractual interpretation issues.
  • Acting for JCAM Renfrew GP in servicing any contentious tenancy issues following the acquisition of Westway Park, Renfrew.
  • Advising Abellio on the issues associated with a property in disrepair adjoining an operational railway station.
  • Acting for the client in a claim against the builder of a retail park in Inverurie for defective drainage in the car park.
  • Acted for the client in a dilapidations dispute.

Burness Paull LLP

Alan McMillan heads the team at Burness Paull LLP, which is best known for assisting clients with landlord and tenant disputes, development-related proceedings, commercial leasing disputes and dilapidation claims. It is also well versed in mediation and arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Alan McMillan

Other key lawyers:

Steven Guild

Key clients

Dana Petroleum

Britannia Invest A/S


Auquhirie Land Company


Elsick Development Company


NFU Mutual

Work highlights

  • Defending the client against a court action raised by M7 pertaining to alleged wants of repair at Grampian House in Aberdeen.
  • Acting for the client in a dispute over repairing obligations and demolition rights.
  • Acting for a wind farm developer in a compensation claim following Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHET) obtaining a statutory wayleave from the government, allowing SHET to have pylons through the client’s land; as a result the client was only able to construct three turbines instead of five.
  • Acted for Britannia Invest, the landlord and owner of a large Edinburgh City Centre Development, in a dispute with NHS Education for Scotland concerning the payment of service charges for the leased premises.
  • Acting for the client in an action brought by Shahzaf Anwar and Sheriff Aisha Anwar pertaining to misrepresentation and contractual interpretation of the Standard Clauses for Scottish Solicitors for use in residential sales.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Known for its national and international reach, Pinsent Masons LLP remains a popular choice for developers, landlords, occupiers, investors and operators requiring assistance with landlord and tenant-related disputes, breach of contract claims, development-related litigation and dilapidation claims. Craig Connal QC heads the 'knowledgeable' team, which includes 'utterly meticulous and intelligent' senior associate Fiona MacGregor; her areas of expertise include rent reviews, title and planning disputes alongside disputes over development agreements, among others.

Practice head(s):

Craig Connal QC

Other key lawyers:

Jacqueline Harris; Fiona MacGregor


Senior associate Fiona MacGregor fights her client’s corner and is pleasant to work with.’

Jacqueline Harris demonstrates great understanding of the law and procedural aspects in conducting big-ticket litigation.

The strength in depth and experience is unparalleled.

Key clients

HFD Group


Legal & General

K/S Meadow Way

The Centre, Livingston

Moor Row

McColls Retail Group


Work highlights

  • Representing the client in a contested application under s19A of the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993 to the Scottish Land Court for permission to use common grazings/croft land for a wind farm.  
  • Acted for the tenant in a Court of Session Commercial Court action in which the tenant’s ability to assign a long lease is being challenged by the landlord.
  • Represented the client in a dispute with their former tenant of retail space in the centre of Edinburgh to recover the losses arising from the breach of certain repairing conditions at the end of the lease.
  • Acting for the landlord Moor Row in a high-value dilapidations dispute against the law firm DWF following the termination of the lease of its Glasgow office.
  • The case concerned the client’s objection to an application to the Lands Tribunal to rectify the Land Register to remove the client’s title and subsequent appeal to the Court of Session.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern demonstrates experience in a wide range of property litigation in the commercial, housing and agricultural sectors and acts for a number of local authorities and commercial organisations. Recent work includes lease, title and access disputes as well as tenancy, eviction and dilapidation matters. The 'strong' team is led by the 'very knowledgeable, measured and unflappableFiona Stephen and includes litigator Gillian Jamieson, who was promoted to partner in September 2018 and has notable experience in debt recovery.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Stephen

Other key lawyers:

Fraser Geddes; Alistair Dean; Gillian Jamieson


The team can cover any aspect of property litigation and works well together to ensure the client is well cared for.

Fiona Stephen is one of the leading lights in Scottish property litigation and a pleasure to deal with.

Stands out for its big picture thinking and pragmatic approach.

Key clients

Buccleuch Group

Midlothian Council

Edinburgh Napier University

Clyde Gateway

Scottish Midland Co-operative Society

Intu Properties

Fife Council

Transport Scotland

Work highlights

  • Acted for Midlothian Council in upholding its right to require removal of a barrier blocking the public’s right to access land.
  • Represented CDS in its successful appeal to the Lands Valuation Appeal Court pertaining to the rateable value for its The Range, Queen’s Links Leisure Park, Aberdeen.
  • Successfully represented MHA in an eviction case where the tenant’s continued occupation presented a fire risk to others.
  • Acting for one of three parties sued for a sum of circa £20m in relation to defects in a number of buildings in the same estate.


CMS' property litigation experience is brought to bear in landlord and tenant and service charge disputes, dilapidation claims, contentious access matters and insolvency-related real estate litigation work, among other issues. The team is led by Alison Gow and handles regular instructions from energy sector players and property investors.

Practice head(s):

Alison Gow

Other key lawyers:

Colin Hutton; Harriet Munro

Key clients


Columbia Threadneedle Investments

EDF Energy Renewables

Inch Cape Offshore

Land Securities Properties

Aberdeen Standard Investments

TH Real Estate

Work highlights

  • Defended a judicial review brought by Wm Grant & Sons Distillers pertaining to a major 59-turbine wind farm development.
  • Advising the client on challenges made by the tenants of an office building in Edinburgh to extensive service charge works, and to the recovery of the associated costs under the service charge reconciliation.
  • Defending a claim by a former landlord against a company within the Aberdeen Standard portfolio for service charge and dilapidations.
  • Acting for the client in a number of disputes over land access rights.

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

The 'strong' team led by the 'exceptionalSheila Webster at Davidson Chalmers Stewart is well equipped to guide clients, such as property developers, retail and leisure sector players as well as individuals, through landlord and tenant disputes and dilapidation claims in addition to title, boundary and property contract disputes. The 'very goodGreg Flett is also recommended; he handles all forms of property litigation.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Webster

Other key lawyers:

Greg Flett


Sheila Webster is a solid and able litigator. She is very experienced and keeps a cool head even in urgent situations.’

Greg Flett is unfailingly upbeat which makes him a delight to work with.’

Sheila Webster is one of the finest property litigation solicitors in Scotland.’

Sheila Webster is a litigator who understands that the client doesn’t want a PhD on the law but straightforward advice that tells the client what the law means for their business.

Gets to the nub of the issue quickly and outlines the options clearly.

Key clients

Kier Property and FORE Partnership joint venture: 50 Bothwell Street

William Grant & Sons Distillers

Knight Frank


Dandara/ Stoneywood Developments

Scottish Borders Council

Alba Energy

Tweed Homes

Ury Estate

Work highlights

  • Advising the landlord on the recovery of sums paid under service-charge obligations in a lease where Ignis (now Aberdeen Standard) has failed to pay sums certified as being due.
  • Acting for a number of tenant farmers in a judicial review which ultimately seeks compensation from the Scottish Government following introduction of legislation affecting property rights in farming partnerships.
  • Acted for Scottish Borders Council in defending an action for declarator brought by Ramoyle Developments; the claim arose out of the council’s decision to resile from a contract for the purchase of a property which was subject to a planning application being submitted.
  • Acted for the executors in a claim which concerned the remediation of quarry land which had been leased to Tarmac Trading.


Dentons handles various contentious matters for institutional landlords and corporate tenants, including contractual and property transaction-related matters, dilapidation and damages claims as well as rent review and lease termination disputes. Team head Gareth Hale is also an accredited mediator.

Practice head(s):

Gareth Hale

Key clients


Aviva Investors


Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS)

Network Rail Infrastructure


TSB Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted for JH&W Lamont in Inner House proceedings concerning the operation of option agreements over land.  
  • Acted for Hammerson in a lease dispute with the cinema tenant Cine-UK at Union Square Shopping Centre Aberdeen.
  • Acting for the Officer Receiver in all property litigation issues arising out of the liquidation of the Carillion group of companies.
  • Successfully defended Persimmon Homes in a contractual dispute with a plot purchaser before the Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
  • Acted for the purchasers of a residential property in a dispute in which the client sought to reduce the transaction (and recover the sale price and damages) owing to a misrepresentations of the seller as to the flooding history of the property.

Morton Fraser

Morton Fraser acts for a broad private and public sector client base, including various blue-chip property investors and developers and a number of Scottish public authorities. Regular instructions include landlord and tenant disputes, eviction matters, and title and lease disputes. Kenneth Carruthers heads the team, which includes associate Ursula Currie; she frequently handles real estate and development-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Kenneth Carruthers

Other key lawyers:

Douglas Milne; Richard McMeeken; Susan Leslie; Ursula Currie

Key clients

Wheatley Group

The Scottish Government

The City of Edinburgh Council

Tesco Stores

Mewspark Properties


Stewart Milne Group


Work highlights

  • Successfully defended interdict proceedings raised against BAM by BT to prevent commencement of a £150m office development.
  • Successfully defended the Council in interdict proceedings concerning the status of a public road in Edinburgh. Seeking recovery of damages incurred by the council to a major landslip caused by an adjoining land-owner.  
  • Advising the fund managers, Rockspring, on all property litigation matters in respect of their property investments in Scotland, which include properties in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
  • Acted for the property developer, Parabola, in the removal of an unauthorised tenant from the insolvent House of Fraser’s flagship Scottish premises.
  • Challenge raised for the housebuilder Stewart Milne against the intention by Scottish Water to run a major water main though the client’s proposed golf course extension area.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Colin Archibald's team at Shepherd and Wedderburn handles a wide range of landlord and tenant disputes, contentious property sale and purchase issues, nuisance matters and property contract litigation, among other matters.

Practice head(s):

Colin Archibald

Other key lawyers:

Elaine Brailsford; Stephen Humphreys


Elaine Brailsford has a very impressive range of clients and an excellent reputation which is most well deserved.

Key clients

Taylor Wimpey

Miller Homes

Tarmac Trading


Thomas Cook Group


Clydeport Operations

BlackRock UK Property Fund

Trinity Mirror (now Reach)

Work highlights

  • Acted for Tarmac in two counterpart litigations concerning the interpretation of the client’s lease termination obligations.
  • Acting for D F Concerts in its judicial review of Glasgow City Council’s decision to grant planning permission for a residential development adjacent to King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, which is owned by the client.
  • Acting for Tarmac in a claim for compensation arising from the compulsory acquisition of land from the client by Network Rail at Blairhill Quarry, Lanarkshire, under the Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Act 2007, and in relation to a claim for damages against Network Rail relating to issues arising from works carried out by Network Rail.
  • Acted for the housebuilder TWDL in a dispute with West Lothian Council relating to an alleged statutory nuisance near a TWDL development in Winchburgh, West Lothian.
  • Acting for Persimmon Homes in a legal challenge by way of statutory appeal against the Scottish Ministers, challenging the refusal by a reporter appointed by the Scottish Ministers to grant planning permission to Persimmon Homes for the development of 62 residential units at the former Kingspark School, Dundee.

Addleshaw Goddard

Jointly led by Simon Catto and Joan Devine, the 'experienced' team at Addleshaw Goddard handles a wide range of contentious property issues for companies and high-net-worth individuals such as the recovery of rent arrears, dilapidation claims, and claims for compensation arising from compulsory purchases as well as eviction, lease, title and access matters. Managing associate and real estate litigator Edward Gratwick is recommended.

Practice head(s):

Simon Catto; Joan Devine

Other key lawyers:

Edward Gratwick


Joan Devine is a safe pair of hands and very knowledgeable.’

Demonstrates strong professionalism and high ethical standards.

Key clients

Lloyds Pharmacy

Virgin Media

Gerald and Deborah Hilferty

Link Group

Link Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Handling all property litigation issues which arise in Scotland, which includes assistance with the recovery of rent arrears from sub-tenants, preparing and serving notices to quit or break notices, and various dilapidations cases.
  • Acting for high-net-worth private client owners of a category-A-listed mansion house and country estate in a dispute with various neighbours over the use and maintenance of private access roads at the estate.
  • Acted for the clients in claims for compensation arising from a compulsory purchase of property required in connection with the construction of the Queensferry Crossing.
  • Providing ongoing advice on various contentious matters; this includes unlawful eviction proceedings  against the client’s sub-tenant, the recovery of overpaid rent and related lease provisions, among other issues.
  • Instructed by the Link Housing Association, seeking eviction of a tenant under a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy.

DLA Piper

Working in conjunction with its real estate, construction and projects team, DLA Piper Scotland LLP regularly assists developers and property investors as well as manufacturing, finance and energy sector clients with contractual disputes, contentious landlord and tenant matters, as well as lease, dilapidation and boundary issues. The 'excellentAlastair Drummond heads the team, which lost director Jonathan Gaskell to DWF in June 2018.

Practice head(s):

Alistair Drummond

Key clients

Broad Sands

Computacenter (UK)


Lothian Amusements

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

The Coal Authority

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill

Consort Healthcare (Fife)

Work highlights

  • Instructed to represent Mr and Mrs Jones in a servitude dispute concerning the erection of an extension on the boundary of two residential properties in Elie, Fife.
  • Advising Lothian Amusements on the enforcement of a complex package of contractual arrangements the client entered into in relation to a development site in Portobello, Edinburgh.
  • Acting for The Coal Authority in an action for declarator raised in the Court of Session, Edinburgh relating to subsidence damage caused by mine workings in Kirkcaldy, Fife, which has required the demolition of a number of residential properties and caused considerable damage to other properties in the surrounding area.
  • Defending an action raised against the client relating to alleged dilapidations and wants of repair to a commercial unit previously let by the client in Edinburgh.

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP's 'friendly' property litigation team, jointly led by Carolyn Morgan and Sandy Hastie, sits within the firm's dispute resolution practice and puts particular emphasis on commercial and private rented sector work, which leads to regular instructions from private and public sector clients, including registered social landlords, and private individuals on disputes arising from commercial lease interests and development contracts. Other areas of expertise include title boundaries, agricultural property, property factoring and conveyancing. The team frequently represents clients at the Lands Tribunal and also offers alternative dispute resolution strategies.

Practice head(s):

Carolyn Morgan; Sandy Hastie

Other key lawyers:

John McHugh


Does not subscribe to the constantly very aggressive approach which is so common of their competitors. They are very robust when needed but there is no over-the-top aggression which is very often counterproductive.’

Key clients

Loch Lomond & theTrossachs National Park Authority

Telecom Service CentresProperty Limited T/a Webhelp

Optical Express Group

AIB Group

William Hill Organization


Work highlights

  • Represented Moray Council in its defence of a £1.4m claim for compensation in the Lands Tribunal for Scotland brought by one of Moray’s hotels for damage alleged to have been caused to the applicant’s hotel business by the Elgin Flood Alleviation Scheme.
  • Advised the client on a dispute arising from the Right to Roam legislation; this concerned the Drumlean Estate in Argyll, where the landowner had erected fencing, gates and signage which prevented or deterred members of the public from exercising their statutory access rights under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.
  • Representing various homeowners of a housing development in Peebles, in their pursuit against Taylor Wimpy and NHBC for claims arising from various construction defects to their new build homes.
  • Advised IHA on its successful defence of an application to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland, and subsequent appeal to the First Division of the Inner House of the Court of Session, brought by its secure tenant asserting a Right to Buy.
  • Advised and represented the the client in a dispute with the estate of an agricultural tenant regarding entitlement to succeed to the lease.

MacRoberts LLP

Working in close co-operation with its planning and construction teams, MacRoberts LLP acts for a diverse client base consisting of local authorities, utilities, listed companies, high street retailers, portfolio landlords and developers. The 'very approachable and switched-onGillian Craig heads the 'very friendly and efficient' team, which is best known for its expertise in judicial reviews, dilapidation claims, way leave and lease matters.

Practice head(s):

Gillian Craig


‘All round great standard.

Key clients


The Scottish Government

All Saints Retail

Surface Technology UK



Scottish Property Group

Chivas Brothers

Work highlights

  • Advised on a judicial review that was raised against the Scottish Ministers by the owners of the Oak Mall Shopping Centre in Greenock and concerned a notice served on them by Transport Scotland in terms of section 87 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984.
  • Acted for the client in dilapidations claims concerning four neighbouring industrial units occupied by the client.
  • Instructed to act on behalf of William Wright and Robert Croxen of KPMG in their capacity as the supervisors in the Company Voluntary Arrangement of House of Fraser and House of Fraser Stores. It concerned a challenge by a number of landlords to the CVA on the grounds that it was unfairly prejudicial and suffered from material irregularities.
  • Acted for a college in contentious landlord and tenant matters.
  • Acted for the client, the owner of an industrial park, in a dispute with a tenant over waste disposal and associated licensing issues.

Blackadders LLP

Experienced in the agricultural, commercial and residential property sectors, Blackadders LLP is experienced in assisting clients with lease enforcements, dilapidation claims and agricultural disputes. With the latter constituting an increasingly significant portion of the practice's workload, the team frequently acts for farming clients in disputes involving servitude rights, way leaves and third-party property rights. In other work, the team led by 'excellent litigatorRyan McKay also handles property disputes arising from insolvency proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Ryan McKay

Other key lawyers:

Stephanie Carr; Richard Godden


Ability to address complex matters at a reasonable price-point.

Ryan McKay’s attention to detail on niche legal matters sets him out from his peers.

BTO Solicitors LLP

BTO Solicitors LLP's client base consists of insurers, housebuilders, estate owners and property developers, who regularly retain the 'sharp' team led by Mark Morton to assist with contentious property contract matters, eviction and various damage claims, including those arising from compulsory purchase orders. David Young is recommended for various commercial property disputes.

Practice head(s):

Mark Morton

Other key lawyers:

Grant Hunter; David Young; Angus Crawford; Robin Macpherson


The team always has a clear explanation of the options and associated risks to ensure that clients are clear on what happens.

Clear and concise communications.

They know how to listen to their clients and adapt their advice and recommendations to suit the client’s business, not themselves.

Key clients



Mactaggart and Mickel Group

AG Barr

Barony Universal Products

Stena Line Ports

Clyde Valley Group

Greenbelt Group

Work highlights

  • Assisted the client with contentious maintenance obligations matters.
  • Acting for the client 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.
  • Obtained a decree of eviction for the client against a tenant convicted of drug dealing, possession of drugs and offences in breach of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act.
  • Instructed in the defence of commercial proceedings brought by a company against the client company seeking payment of substantial sums said to have arisen in respect of management and facilities services to a hotel.


DWF regularly acts for retail occupiers, commercial landlords and commercial lenders in disputes involving landlords and tenants and dilapidation claims. The team also has experience in eviction and way leave matters, as well as rent review arbitration. Recently, the 'very experienced' team went through several internal changes: The 'incredibly hard-workingNaomi Pryde, who joined the firm from Dentons in January 2019, now heads the team after previous main contact Euan McSherry left for Aberdein Considine in November 2018. Director and construction law expert Jonathan Gaskell joined from  DLA Piper Scotland LLP in June 2018.

Practice head(s):

Naomi Pryde

Other key lawyers:

Ricky Cannon; Jonathan Gaskell


Naomi Pryde is impressive, absurdly driven and fantastically smart. She combines deep knowledge of the law with a bubbly infectious personality.’

Key clients

Marble Acquisitions

Virgin Media

Grahams the Family Dairy and Mactaggart & Mickel


Fresh Student Living

Epic Financial Risks

Royal Sun Alliance

Work highlights

  • Successfully progressed a statutory appeal in the Inner House of the Court of Session against a decision of the Scottish Ministers to refuse planning permission in principle for the redevelopment of land at Kerse Dairy Farm, Henderson Street, Bridge of Allan.
  • Ongoing provision of asset management advice across Greggs’ property portfolio in Scotland. This includes assistance with the recovery of service charge arrears and various lease matters.
  • Providing assistance with the management of the client’s portfolio. Recently, this has included various disputes with tenants over failed payments and the failure to carry out dilapidation works at the end of the lease.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP

Gillespie Macandrew LLP has a strong profile for land and rural sector property disputes, which frequently pertain to energy, infrastructure and other construction projects. The team's workload also includes contentious commercial lease and right of way matters. Fiona Cameron heads the practice, which acts for land and estate owners, house builders and public sector bodies.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Cameron

Other key lawyers:

John Stirling; Colin Hamilton


Provides good all-round advice.

Colin Hamilton has first class knowledge on property, planning and environmental matters and a good track record of running contentious cases in court.

John Stirling has a very canny approach.

Key clients

No Kingsford Stadium

Crofters having rights in Stornoway Wind Farm Sites

Work highlights

  • Advised the clients on their objection to 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.
  • Provided assistance with challenging the decision to gran planning permission for a proposed stadium development by Aberdeen Football Club and with subsequent proceedings for judicial review.


Lindsays' 'personable, calm and efficient' practice is particularly active in various landlord and tenant disputes, including commercial lease and dilapidation matters, and demonstrates notable expertise in the agricultural, commercial and residential property sectors. Its client base, which includes a number of landed estates, also benefits from the team's mediation and arbitration capabilities. Paul Harper is the key contact.

Practice head(s):

Paul Harper

Other key lawyers:

John Bett


Good knowledge of the law coupled with a pragmatic and collaborative approach.

Key clients

Scottish Water

Arnold Clark Automobiles

The University of Edinburgh

Healthcare Environmental Services

Torquhil Ian Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll, Chief of Clan Campbell, Argyll Estates

Scottish Youth Hostel Association

Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH)

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 Forthringham, Baron Murthly, Murthly and Strathbaan Estates

Work highlights

  • Acting for the defenders in a high-value landlord and tenant dispute involving dilapidations claims.
  • Acting tor the client, the owner of a commercial property development in Dundee, in its dilapidations claim against a former tenant worth approximately £350,000.
  • The team has raised Land Tribunal and compensation claim proceedings against the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland following the incorrect registration of the client’s roadway.