Transport in Scotland

Brodies LLP

With expertise in shipping, road, rail, aviation and logistics, Brodies LLP acts for an extensive client roster including airports, ferry operators, rail operators, insurers and public sector bodies. Its shipping and marine work led by Duncan MacLean includes advice on vessel newbuilding contracts, charter agreements, harbour developments and insurance claims, while its rail sector work is split into the two segments rail franchising - led by Roger Cotton - and rail infrastructure jointly led by Jackie McGuire, Karen Hamilton and Odell Milne. Alongside rail projects, the infrastructure group is equally well placed to advise on road projects with typical instructions - for both rail and road - including compulsory purchase, planning and regulatory matters. This broad offering is complemented with solid contentious capabilities.

Practice head(s):

Duncan MacLean; Roger Cotton; Jackie McGuire; Karen Hamilton; Odell Milne

Other key lawyers:

Manus Quigg; Malcolm Mackay


‘Brodies treat their clients like a member of the family – they are always there to help if you call.’

‘Odell Milne – no problem is too big for her, or timescale too short. She has an excellent can-do attitude and the advice provided is always concise and accurate.’

‘The firm’s key strength and capability is an unparalleled knowledge of the law, coupled with a pragmatic attitude and approachable staff. Over the years working with Brodies on major transport infrastructure schemes, they have developed award-winning technology, including massively impressive, time-saving, error-minimising products.

‘Duncan MacLean is extremely proficient, professional, knowledgeable and personable.’

‘The team at Brodies demonstrates a strength and depth of the transport area in Scotland, with a knowledge of the legal background as well as the market itself. The individuals involved have well-known solid reputations which can be relied upon and are respected in the industry. ’

‘Karen Hamilton is knowledgeable, well respected in the sector, measured approach and good advisor.’

‘Vast knowledge of industry.’

‘Duncan MacLean understands our business and ensures that advice is directed appropriately. Their expertise in such a wide variety of business areas has ensured our business has addressed and resolved a number of difficult issues.’

Key clients

CalMac Ferries

Subsea 7 Ltd

Seaway Heavy Lift

Associated British Ports

Clyde Marine Services

Clarkson Port Services (Clarksons)

BP Shipping Ltd

Serco Northlink Ferries

Maersk Drilling

International Group P&I Clubs (including North of England, Gard, UK, Standard, Britannia, West of England, Steamship, Shipowners and Skuld)

Royal Yacht Britannia

Sunderland Marine

Lerwick Port Authority

Stornoway Port Authority

Swire Energy Services

NMU Speciality Insurance


TT Club



Lothian Buses

DB Cargo

XPO Logistics

Agility Logistics

Abellio East Midlands

Network Rail

Glasgow City Council and Renfrewshire Council City Deal Framework

Jacobs UK Ltd

Transport Scotland

Perth and Kinross Council

Stirling Council

Aberdeen City Council

Midlothian Council

Leyland Trucks Limited

Argyll and Bute Council

City of Edinburgh Council

Work highlights

  • Advising ScotRail on all operational franchise matters including management of the franchise agreement, supply chain contracts, rolling stock issues, station infrastructure improvement, policies and procedures, and real estate matters, employment law, contract disputes and data protection compliance.
  • Instructed by CalMac Ferries and Serco NorthLink Ferries and by their insurers to deal with any claims made against them. These include crew, passenger, cargo and harbour operator claims. The team also advises on regulatory investigations.
  • Advising Perth and Kinross Council on the Cross Tay Link Road.


CMS has particular strength in the road, shipping, rail and aviation sectors, with work regularly spanning multiple jurisdictions. Benefiting from the firm's solid offering in construction, planning and dispute resolution, the group is regularly instructed by public sector bodies, infrastructure developers and contractors to advise on matters at these intersections, while assisting with major procurement exercises constitutes another key element of the practice. This broad offering is complemented by Mark McMurray's road sector expertise covering electric vehicle charging and cycling infrastructure matters alongside road and traffic orders. Its shipping and maritime work - with team Eleanor Lane as a key contact - includes shipping contract and port services agreement support.

Practice head(s):

Eleanor Lane

Other key lawyers:

Colin Hutton; Christine Worthington; Mark McMurray

Key clients

TH Real Estate

The City of Edinburgh Council

Scottish Water

Renfrewshire Council

LS Buchanan (Landsec)

Revedor Malta Limited

Basalt Infrastructure

Braid Logistics



North Star Shipping

CalMac Ferries Limited

James Fisher & Sons Group

PDG Aviation

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport

Transport Scotland/Scottish Government


Stirling Council

Edinburgh Tram Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Transport Scotland/Scottish Ministers on the £3bn dualling programme of the A9 between Perth & Inverness; advice has covered procurement options, programme structuring and pre-contractual matters.
  • Advised St Andrews University on the conversion, testing and commissioning of a hydrogen fuelled train, including a contract with a strategic partner for the works and services, and funding arrangements with the Scottish Government.
  • Advising the City of Edinburgh Council on temporarily widening pavements and footpaths and providing temporary cycling infrastructure such as pop-up cycle lanes, all part of the Spaces for People programme in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard boosted its infrastructure offering in August 2020 with the arrival of a team from DWF including Suzanne Moir, whose focus lies on advising public sector clients on major infrastructure procurements. Sarah Baillie provides airports with planning and road law advice and handles transport matters arising from housing and commercial developments. The firm’s main strength, however, remains its shipping offering led by Ed Watt, who advises banks, port authorities, shipowners and operators alongside oilfield services companies on ship registration, international and domestic transactional, corporate and ship finance including associated disputes.

Practice head(s):

Ed Watt; Sarah Baillie

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Moir; Carrie Armstrong


‘The team at AG support us fully and is available 24/7 to support our business.’

‘Ed Watt is very professional and makes himself available for both planned and unplanned commissions in this fast moving business environment.’

‘AG team’s key strength is its prompt response and ability to resolve complicated matters in a most efficient way.’

‘Ed Watt is a true professional with lots of experience in maritime-related legal affairs. He gave valuable advice on a number of occasions when our company needed a professional legal assistance with respect to the construction and implementation of English maritime laws.’

Key clients

Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd

Highland and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL)

Aldi Stores Limited

Dundee Airport Limited


Forth Ports Limited

Lombard North Central Plc

Strawson Holdings Limited

London Offshore Consultants (LOC)

Briggs Marine Contractors Limited

Caspian Marine Services Limited

Irish Mainport Holdings Unlimited Company

Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) on the purchase of two £97m LNG ferries.
  • Advising Highland and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) on roads law, operational infrastructure and car parking estate.
  • Representing Irish Mainport Holdings, an Irish seismic support operator, in a group and fleet reorganisation.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern routinely provides public and private sector clients with planning, consenting and environmental law advice pertaining to rail, road and airport developments, while also handling associated disputes. Team head Neil Amner, who also leads the firm's Brexit group, has particular expertise at this intersection, leading to instructions on the post-Brexit creation of Freeports and other Brexit-related regulatory matters, while also handling rail freight issues. Senior associate Tom Docherty is a key contact for road sector work and is noted for his expertise in road operator licensing.

Practice head(s):

Neil Amner

Other key lawyers:

Audrey Cameron; Karyn Watt; Tom Docherty


‘The team handles a range of very high-value disputes. Those disputes usually involve large amounts of documentation, requiring exceptional technological and organisational skills to keep them manageable. In addition to their individual experience and expertise, I am always struck by how good the members of the team are at handling such large volumes of information and documentation in such an efficient manner.’

Key clients

Transport Scotland (Scottish Government)

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport

South East Scotland Transport Partnership

A group of 22 Scottish public sector bodies seeking damages from the EU Truck Cartel

Glasgow City Council

Edinburgh City Council

Fife Council

Highland Council

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority

Scottish Roadworks Commissioner

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

Alexander Dennis Ltd


Allied Vehicles Ltd

John Martin Group

Logistics UK (formerly Freight Transport Association)

Peter D Stirling Ltd


Stadler-Ansaldo JV

Crown Estate Scotland

Scottish Maritime Cluster

Scottish Canals

Northern Lighthouse Board

Hays Ships Limited

Waverley Steam Navigation Company Ltd

Shetland College and North Atlantic Fisheries College

Edinburgh Airport

Shetland Space Centre

ReFLEX Orkney Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted as sole business representative on the Scottish Government’s National Transport Strategy Review Board (and now National Transport Strategy Delivery Board) and the Covid-19 Transport Transition Group.
  • Advising Shetland Space Centre Ltd on the necessary consents for a vertical launch spaceport at Lamba Ness, Unst, Shetland.
  • Acting for all 22 Scottish public body claimants seeking damages from the truck cartel through litigation in Scotland.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP handles a broad spectrum of transport sector work but has recently been particularly active in the ports and harbours sector, which is not least a reflection of team head Chris MacKay's expertise in this space. Recent instructions from port authorities and operators include project contractual and procurement support alongside operational and corporate matters, while the team is also well placed to advise on maritime incidents. Handling contentious and non-contentious planning, construction, transactional and health and safety matters in the road and rail space constitute other key elements of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Chris Mackay

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Forsyth; Chris Horsley


‘Very good lawyers who we continue to work with and who provide efficient and helpful legal support.’

‘Overall team engagement was of a very high standard in dealing with a complex issue.’

‘Andrew Forsyth provided sound advice and showed great diligence.’

‘The team coordinate well with each other and thus offer their clients good professional advice and value for money. They have a wide range of expertise which assists in the handling of contractual matters, from the preparation of contract to claims, in a cost-effective manner. I have experience of other practices in Scotland and believe that they are one of the best, and always prepared to go the extra mile.’

‘A detailed knowledge of the law in this area, together with their ability to talk to and deal with clients.’

Key clients

Scot Roads Partnership Project Limited (a joint venture consisting of Uberior, Amey, Cintra and Meridiam)

Improvement Service

Oban Community Harbour Development Association

John Clark Motor Group

Port of Cromarty Firth

Scrabster Harbour Trust

Highland Spring

Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners

Subsea 7 and its P&I Club, The Standard club

Patentes de Talgo

Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles

Macdonald Hotels

Work highlights

  • Acted for Macdonald Hotels in objecting to Transport Scotland’s project for the upgrading of the A9 trunk road at Aviemore. This included appearing on behalf of the client at the public local inquiry in Grantown on Spey.
  • Continues to advise Scot Roads Partnership Project Limited, the project company developing the M8 PPP project, on resolving any remaining construction phase disputes, defects issues and final payments.
  • Continues to provide ongoing project contractual support to Port of Cromarty Firth on the £31m Phase 4 Development of Invergordon Service Base, including advice on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and significant delays encountered during construction.


Acting as exclusive legal services provider to Network Rail, Dentons has rail sector work at its core and handles the full spectrum of business-relevant contentious and non-contentious matters, including real estate, construction, health and safety, commercial contracts and procurement. The group also assists with transactions, disputes and various commercial matters in the ports, road and bus sectors. The team is jointly led by construction procurement specialist Mark Macaulay and Euan Wilson, who has a specialism in infrastructure and project finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

Mark Macaulay; Euan Wilson

Other key lawyers:

Barry Edgar; Malcolm Gunnyeon; Kirsti Olson; Michael Dean

Key clients

Network Rail

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport

Transport for London


Royal Mail

Port of Cairnryan

Semperian PPP Investment Partners No. 2 Limited


Jones Brothers

Glasgow Prestwick Airport Limited

Scottish Citylink Coaches Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing Port of Cairnryan (part of the P&O Ferries group) in proceedings raised in the Court of Session against engineers Mouchel Limited (now owned by WSP) arising out of the design and construction of a new floating linkspan at Cairnryan in the southwest of Scotland.
  • Defending Halcrow Group Limited in proceedings raised in the Court of Session by the Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners (FHC). The proceedings arose out of works carried out by McLaughlin & Harvey Limited (MCLH) from 2013 to deepen the existing North Harbour at Fraserburgh.
  • Acted for Acciona and Jones Bros. in its bid for the Welsh Government’s MIM project to upgrade and build an 18km section of the A465 road.


Shipping law boutique Mackinnons offers various players across the sector, such as vessel owners and operators, port authorities, ferry operators, P&I clubs and banks, with the full spectrum of industry-relevant advice. Recently, this included various shipbuilding projects and transactions, both of which frequently feature cross-border elements, while providing assistance with  marine casualties, injury claims and Admiralty actions constitute other key elements of the practice led by litigator and personal injury specialist Martin Sinclair.

Practice head(s):

Martin Sinclair

Other key lawyers:

Graham Jones; Angus Easton


‘A stand-out niche practice, widely recognised as the leading firm in Scotland for admiralty, marine and fisheries work. Extensive experience of large-scale commercial disputes.

‘Martin Sinclair is one of the most well-respected and liked practitioners – he has extensive experience of international and cross-border disputes, as well as Scottish ship arrests and interim remedies.’

‘They handled the sensitivities and tensions that arose as part of the litigation extremely well.’

‘They know their stuff! You can have complete confidence in them and the job they are doing and you know that they will answer any questions you have.’

‘Very quick to respond and knowledgeable of our business.’

‘Mackinnons is a niche shipping and marine firm with a history in that area unrivalled in Scotland.’

‘Martin Sinclair is extremely easy to work with and has a good bedside manner.’

On the transactional side, Graham Jones is generally considered peerless in Scotland.