Transport in Scotland

Brodies LLP

The 'excellent' team at Brodies LLP 'provides swift and accurate advice' and handles a broad spectrum of transport sector work. The 'very knowledgeable and proactiveDuncan MacLean is the key contact for shipping and marine work, which includes ship finance, transactional and chartering advice and assistance with continuous issues, Roger Cotton specialises in rail franchising matters while the 'experiencedJackie McGuire and the 'extremely professional, knowledgeable and efficientOdell Milne are well versed in handling road and rail-related issues.

Practice head(s):

Duncan MacLean

Other key lawyers:

Roger Cotton; Jackie McGuire; Odell Milne; Karen Hamilton


The firm’s knowledge of and expertise in the railway and construction sectors are unparalleled.

The team resolves issues quickly and engages with the client throughout the process.

The team consists of professional and knowledgeable lawyers who are nice to deal with.

Practical, solution-based approach to problems.

The firm can deal with any problem and always takes a commercial approach.

Always delivers on time.

The practice always strives to be better and keeps its clients and fellow professionals abreast of changes in the industry and legislation.’

Duncan MacLean takes a pragmatic and commercial approach, which best serves both the insurer and the client.

Key clients

Abellio ScotRail


Ferguson Marine Engineering

Network Rail


Transport Scotland

Perth and Kinross Council

CalMac Ferries

Aberdeen City Council

Associated British Ports

Lerwick Port Authority

Work highlights

  • Advising client on the construction of the world’s two first roll on/roll off dual-fuelled passenger ferries.
  • Advised Bank of Scotland on its position as lender to Pentland Ferries; owner of a new catamaran ferry being constructed in Vietnam, which included advice on the shipbuilding contract through to the funding and security arrangements.
  • Providing advice to both companies on various claims made against them by passengers, crew or cargo interests as well as on regulatory investigations.
  • Regular advice on on-going operations and future developments, including a  marina and reclamation project and deep water port expansion in Stornoway and a decommissioning project of an oil platform in Lerwick.
  • Advised the oil company on contractual matters to enable an uninterrupted supply of oil to customers.


CMS' 'very good and efficient' team has a strong profile for road and rail-related work and advises its clients, including Scottish public sector bodies, national and international infrastructure developers and corporates, on a wide range of procurement, construction, traffic order, regulatory and haulage matters, while also handling shipping and aviation-related matters. Eleanor Lane heads the team, which includes 'extremely knowledgeable and focused' planning expert Ann Faulds.

Practice head(s):

Eleanor Lane

Other key lawyers:

Ann Faulds; Colin Hutton; Christine Worthington; Ian McCann


Ann Faulds has great organisational skills, which enable her to successfully apply her knowledge to achieve good outcomes for her clients.

Key clients

Caledonian Maritime Assets

Sevan Marine

James Fisher and Sons

Bumi Armada Berhad

Renfrewshire Council

Scottish Enterprise


Scottish Water

Revedor Malta

Basalt Infrastructure

The City of Edinburgh Council

Rail Delivery Group

Work highlights

  • Advised the client on the purchase of a superyacht, registered in the Isle of Man.  
  • Ongoing advice on its Glasgow Airport Investment Area (‘GAIA’) and Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside (‘CWRR’) projects, which are being promoted as part of the £1bn Glasgow City Region City Deal.
  • Assisting Scottish Water with various contracts and claims arising from the construction of its flagship waste water project, Shieldhall, Glasgow.
  • Acting for the James Fisher Group in a dispute brought by the Norwegian dredging and excavation specialists, Scanmudring, pertaining to the removal and relocation of material in German territorial waters as part of the works for the creation of an offshore wind farm.
  • Advising Luss Estates and the community council on traffic regulation proposals to better manage the number of vehicles visiting the village Luss, on the banks of Loch Lomond.  

Addleshaw Goddard

The 'quick' transport sector team at Addleshaw Goddard is led by the frequently recommended Ed Watt and stands out for its substantial expertise in shipping sector work, which frequently involves international and national transactional shipping, ship finance and ship registration matters, while also handling the full spectrum of contentious work, including London arbitrations. Other areas of expertise include rail and airport sector work; Jacqui Langley-White, who joined the team in Edinburgh from the firm's London office in September 2018, is the main contact for the former and Sarah Baillie for the latter.

Practice head(s):

Ed Watt; Jacqui Langley-White

Other key lawyers:

Alan Shanks; Sarah Baillie; Carrie Armstrong


The team has great strength in shipbuilding contracts and is very quick to understand technical issues on ships.’

Key clients

Caledonian Maritime Assets

Topaz Energy and Marine

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

Delta Marine

Clydesdale Bank

Stone Marine Services

Briggs Marine Contractors

Highlands & Islands Airports

Serco Caledonian Sleeper

The Road Haulage Association (RHA)

Edinburgh Airport

Caspian Marine Services

Work highlights

  • Advising CMAL on the construction of two new LNG ferries at Ferguson Marine Engineering in Port Glasgow.
  • Advising the client on the purchase of a fleet of five offshore support vessels from an Italian shipping group in administration.
  • Assisting the client with the purchase of three passenger ferries.
  • Assistance with a suite of contracts for  inclusion in the Transport Scotland re-tender of the Northern Isles Ferry Services.
  • Provided strategic advice on its operational assets including the implementation of sustainable transport measures across a number of operational airports.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern handles the full remit of transport sector work including operational and infrastructure contractual and regulatory matters across rail, road, air and shipping. Team head Neil Amner is recognised for his railway law expertise but he also has substantial expertise in port and harbour-related matters. Senior associate Tom Docherty is dedicated to dealing with road operator licensing matters, acting for road haulage and public service vehicle operators. Public sector expert Mary Frances O’Neill joined the firm as senior associate in February 2019; she was previously at the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.

Practice head(s):

Neil Amner

Other key lawyers:

Audrey Cameron; Karyn Watt; Gillian Jamieson; Tom Docherty; Mary Frances O’Neill

Key clients

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT)

Transport Scotland

Highland Council

Scottish Roadworks Commissioner

Glasgow City Council

The City of Edinburgh Council

South East Scotland Transport Partnership

Edinburgh Airport

Glasgow Prestwick Airport

Northern Lighthouse Board

Crown Estate Scotland

Hays Ships

Work highlights

  • Acting as sole advisers to Transport Scotland on the Scottish trunk roads (highways) network and associated roads projects, including the A9 Dualling project; this includes advice on land acquisitions, servitudes, leases and lease management agreements and wayleaves, options agreements, among others.
  • Acting for Transport Scotland in the acquisition of servitude rights from Network Rail for a new bridge structure above the existing Glasgow to Ayr railway line as part of the A737 Dalry Bypass project.
  • Assisting INEOS with the development of port and storage facilities for a £450m investment programme for shale gas ethane imports.
  • Assisted the developer with securing planning permission for the £260m Mossend International Railfreight Park following lengthy court proceedings due to sustained opposition from the local planning authority.
  • Advising LNER on Scottish operational premises matters, including the renunciation (surrender) of the lease of Craigentinny Depot in Edinburgh, to allow for the operation of the depot to pass to Hitachi.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP's 'professional' team has carved out a strong practice handling road and harbour sector work - the latter is frequently handled by practice head Chris MacKay - but its broad transport sector expertise also leads to regular instructions in the rail and aviation sphere, which includes procurement, construction and contentious issues.

Practice head(s):

Chris MacKay

Other key lawyers:

James Forbes


Chris MacKay always goes the extra mile for his clients.

The team understands the ins and outs of civil engineering contracts and has a good understanding of civil engineering construction.

Key clients

Scot Roads Partnership Project

Improvement Service

Cleveland Bridge UK

John Clark Motor Group

Port of Cromarty Firth

Scrabster Harbour Trust

Highland Spring

National Express Group

Worldwide Flight Services

Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners


Work highlights

  • Advising the project company on various contentious and non-contentious construction and finance matters pertaining to a large NPD and a major roads project in Scotland.
  • The team continues to advise the Improvement Service on EU procurement law matters, among other issues, pertaining to a major Scotland-wide project involving all 32 Scottish local authorities.
  • Acting for SHT in its procurement of a project for the design and construction of the redevelopment of the Ola Pier at Scrabster Harbour.
  • Advising Highland Spring on the creation of a private, two-siding freight facility at its Blackford site.
  • Assisted WFS with securing a ground handling licence at Edinburgh Airport, which included a commitment by WFS to meet certain IT and technology standards throughout the airport.


As sole legal advisor to Network Rail, Dentons' strength lies in handling major rail sector infrastructure projects, which includes advice on regulatory, competition law and procurement matters pertaining to franchise and framework agreements. Euan Wilson, who co-heads the practice with construction specialist Mark MacAulay, is the main contact for project finance.

Practice head(s):

Euan Wilson; Mark Macaulay

Other key lawyers:

Barry Edgar; Malcolm Gunnyeon

Key clients

Network Rail

Port of Cairnryan

Traffic Commissioner for Scotland

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT)

Work highlights

  • Represented Network Rail on alliance negotiations with the bidders for the South Eastern franchise.
  • Advising Network Rail on the Crewe area project connecting the West Coast mainline with HS2.
  • Acting for the client in a construction dispute regarding the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, Scotland’s largest road scheme.

Harper Macleod LLP

Not least due to its local presence in the Highlands and Islands region, Harper Macleod LLP is well equipped to guide clients through a wide range of shipping and maritime sector matters which includes ports and harbours-related work. Recently, the team led by banking and finance expert Tony Cameron has been increasingly active in vessel finance work, acting for lenders and borrowers.

Practice head(s):

Tony Cameron

Other key lawyers:

Chris Kerr; John Pringle

Key clients

Shetland IslandsCouncil

Clydesdale Bank

Bank of Scotland

Wick Harbour Authority

The Highland Council

Johnson Marine

PSG Marine & Logistics

The Clyde Group

Abundance Investments

Boyd Brothers

Drummond Distribution

Gael Force Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Inverclyde Council on procurement and state aid matters, among others, pertaining to the Ocean Terminal in Greeenock as part of the Glasgow Region City Deal Project.
  • Advised North Ayrshire Council on procurement and state aid issues arising from the proposed re-development of Ardrossan Harbour.
  • Advised Shetland Islands Council on the sale of a vessel, which was being sold by the council as part of its tug fleet renewal project.
  • Advised the council on a three year bareboat charter agreement for the provision of Multratug 30, a Dutch tug boat, including the option to purchase the vessel.


'Specialised firm' Mackinnons is best known for its strong admiralty and shipping practice, handling a wide range of commercial and contentious work for national and international P&I clubs, fishing mutuals, port authorities, offshore drilling contractors, shipping companies and financial institutions. 'Very experienced' litigator Martin Sinclair, who is also noted as being 'very pragmatic and personable', and commercial partner Graham Jones are the main contacts. Consultant Keith MacRae is a 'colossus in the Scottish maritime law market'; his advice is always 'commercial and realistic'.

Practice head(s):

Martin Sinclair

Other key lawyers:

Graham Jones, Keith MacRae


The firm has an extensive client list of marine insurers and underwriters.’

Keith MacRae is a man of integrity and is hugely respected by his peers.’

Keith MacRae is probably the most experienced shipping casualty investigator in Scotland.

Graham Jones has a stellar reputation for transactional shipping work.

‘Keith MacRae is a colossus in the Scottish maritime law market.’

Pinsent Masons LLP

The team at Pinsent Masons LLP advises procurers, bidders and lenders on transport and infrastructure projects including transactional matters. Major projects specialist Michael Allan, shipping expert Gavin Farquhar and corporate lawyer Kevin Devanny are the main contacts.