Leading Silks

Roddy Dunlop QCAxiom AdvocatesA robust advocate of the highest quality.
Mark Lindsay QC - Axiom Advocates 'Mark combines top quality, crystal clear advice with an approachability that clients really value. He is meticulous but also very pragmatic, and his written and oral submissions are always of the highest quality.'
Aidan O’Neill QCAmpersand AdvocatesHis breadth and depth of knowledge of the law as well as the historical factors that link in with it and its development are simply unparalleled. His knowledge of European law cases is quite staggering.’
Douglas Ross QC - Ampersand Advocates 'A careful and thoughtful advocate whose preparation for consultations and appearance work is detailed and thorough, and who is sympathetic to clients while remaining alive to the commercial considerations of litigation.'
Ruth Crawford QC – Axiom AdvocatesRuth is rightly an extremely highly respected silk in the field of public law in Scotland.  She is extremely robust - not to say fearless - both in her submissions in Court and in her advice to clients.  She is respected by the Court particularly in judicial reviews and statutory appeals, and is extremely focused.
James Findlay QC - Terra Firma Chambers 'He is approachable, and able to provide advice on complex issues in a way that non-lawyers understand. Instructing agents are impressed by his encyclopaedic knowledge and quick grasp of the issues.'
Vinit Khurana QCAmpersand AdvocatesVinit has shown himself to be an extremely thorough and thoughtful advocate. He is tenacious when required and is tactically very astute.
Morag Ross QC - Axiom Advocates 'She gives her clients an eloquent and persuasive voice in court - a first choice as a public law silk.'
Philip Simpson QC - Terra Firma Chambers 'Philip is probably the leading tax QC in Scotland. He is very well informed and knowledgeable with a relatively understated style.'

2020 Silks

Alasdair Burnet QC – Terra Firma ChambersHis composure and calming manner are very much appreciated by instructing solicitors and clients. Alasdair is an excellent advocate who despite his very approachable and friendly nature does not shy away from confrontation when it is needed.’
John MacGregor QC - Axiom Advocates 'A first rate court lawyer; hard-working and intelligent, very focussed, with a firm grasp of the possible angles, difficulties and booby-traps in complex litigation. Being on the other side is no soft option but is always a pleasure given his candour and focus. One of the most capable advocates practising in public law in Scotland.'

2021 Silks

Laura-Anne Van Der Westhuizen QC – Ampersand Advocates 'Laura-Anne is extremely easy to work with. She is diligent and has a good eye for detail, and has the ear of the Court - her submissions are always thorough and measured which is particularly important in sensitive cases.'

Leading Juniors

Scott Blair - Terra Firma Chambers 'Scott is very personable. He works in a collaborative matter with clients which is appreciated, and has the ability to explain technical legal matters to them in an understandable form.'
Dan Byrne - Axiom Advocates 'He has excellent knowledge of his subject matter, and wears his learning lightly - he gives straightforward and practical advice, and his courtcraft is excellent.'
Ewen Campbell - Axiom Advocates 'Intelligent, thorough and candid.'
Lesley Irvine – Axiom AdvocatesLesley is very clever – she grasps the legal points very quickly – and extremely hard working, with a strong grasp of the detail of every case. She is also very ambitious to achieve the best result for her clients.
Kenneth ForrestThemis AdvocatesKen has a can-do attitude and is always willing to find a stateable case where there is one. He will take cases at last minute, which is of particular assistance to those facing deportation or removal from the country. He will argue clients' cases with skill in whatever forum is required.
Derek Francis – Terra Firma ChambersA first port of call when a difficult question on tax arises – he shows a real passion for his subject and is extremely bright.
Wojciech Jajdelski  - Arnot Manderson Advocates 'A very diligent and knowledgeable lawyer, who is held in high regard.'
Adam McKinlay - Axiom Advocates 'His excellent advocacy skills mean he achieves a level of respect from the court often only reserved for more senior counsel.'
Robert SkinnerTerra Firma ChambersRobert is, without doubt, the most experienced member of the Scottish Bar practising in the field of alcohol and other forms of licensing. His understanding of the law is exceptional and he has featured in a substantial number of appeal cases leading to landmark judgments.
Usman Tariq - Ampersand Advocates 'A pleasure to work with, he is excellent on his feet and has the ear of the court.'
Gordon Watt – Terra Firma ChambersIn matters involving the court, Gordon shows insight into the issues a sheriff or judge will consider important to the matter – particularly in the context of tax matters which might not be so familiar to the decision-maker.
David Welsh - Axiom Advocates 'He is exceptionally bright, so is able to specialise in very technical areas of work, such as tax litigation. His written work and oral advocacy illustrate this intelligence. He is very precise and thoughtful when approaching each new piece of work.'
Stephen Winter - Terra Firma Chambers 'A pleasure to work with - he does very well in difficult cases with vulnerable clients.'
Timothy Young – Ampersand AdvocatesHe has strong technical skills that allow for early identification of the core legal issues that need to be addressed.

Rising Stars

Mark Boni - Ampersand Advocates 'Mark is an extremely intelligent and articulate advocate. His knowledge of substantive areas of law is wide-ranging and impressive. '
Michael Way - Ampersand Advocates 'A brilliant advocate - insightful, thorough and refreshingly convincing on his feet, he is approachable and easy to work with.'

Administrative and public law in Scottish Bar

Ampersand Advocates

Ampersand Advocates features a number of highly in-demand advocates across public law work. Aidan O’Neill QC – who is also a member of Matrix Chambers in London and is well-known for his EU law expertise – represented the pursuer in Keatings v Advocate General, a case brought by a supporter of Scottish independence seeking declaration that the devolved Holyrood parliament has the power to declare independence. Douglas Ross QC continues to be the only Scottish advocate on the Attorney-General’s Public International Law panel. Turning to the stable’s juniors, Paul Reid is First Standing Junior (a role not dissimilar to the Treasury Devil in England when the role was held by a junior pre-2006), Ross Anderson is recognized for his tax law expertise. Dorothy Bain QC was appointed as Lord Advocate.

Testimonials

Stable

They have excellent senior counsel who can be called upon in the most challenging of cases even at short notice, as well as experienced juniors. Their flexibility and forward-thinking approach to technology has made instructing seamless even during the difficulties of the pandemic.

Ampersand has a wide ranging practice, and therefore can always recommend suitable advocates.’

Ampersand is a stable I instruct frequently. It is a very strong stable with a number of outstanding advocates.

Ampersand has many experienced and talented counsel with new members emerging.

What I find particularly impressive about Ampersand is their focus on very good juniors (and particularly junior juniors) who are largely excellent across the board. Many of them will be the future stars of the Scottish Bar. Ampersand also provides our firm with training which is always of a high quality.’

Clerking               

Ampersand is an extremely impressive stable with highly efficient and personable clerks. Alan Moffat leads a great team of clerks. Most of my contact recently has been with Kathryn Ferguson who is always able to assist.

Sheena Hume is particularly helpful. She is very personable to deal with, is of great assistance when chasing counsel to meet deadlines and when locating suitable counsel for a new case.’

The clerks know their stable well and are always able to recommend the correct advocate. Very responsive.

Axiom Advocates

Axiom Advocates includes members instructed across the public law piece, including members of all levels of seniority who act for and against public bodies. James Mure QC – working with Christine O’Neill QC of Brodies LLP – represents the Scottish Government, which argues the case should be dismissed on procedural grounds, in the Keatings case, while Roddy Dunlop QC and Adam McKinlay represented a former administrator of Rangers FC in a malicious prosecution and wrongful arrest case brought against the Lord Advocate and Police Scotland – the matter settled in December 2020. In October 2021 Euan Duthie QC was appointed to the Perth Sheriff Court.

Testimonials

Stable

Axiom is highly regarded by me and the team I work in due to the vast range of specialisms covered by the respected advocates. My first choice stable.’

I mainly use Axiom for administrative law questions. The stable has a good selection of senior and junior counsel who are highly competent in this area. This represents both strength in depth and availability.

The go-to stable for complex cases in Scotland. A vast array of incomparably excellent advocates.

Axiom  continues to be the strongest stable in  commercial and  public law. The clerks are always very efficient and the whole operation is very impressive.

Axiom is one of the two main stables that I use. It is probably the best stable in terms of commercial litigation, but also has extremely able members across the board.

Clerking            

The stable is very professionally run by clerks who know their members well and are able to offer advice on suitable counsel depending on the nature/value of the dispute.’

The clerking team at Axiom is first class. All of the clerks provide a very prompt and efficient service in a professional and friendly manner. In particular, I would highly commend Colleen Adams.

Very responsive – usually go to Catriona Still as a first point of contact. Always get what I need when I need it.

The clerks are very responsive and are always able to identify the right counsel for the job.  I am seeing more of a willingness to take a creative approach to funding.

The clerks are very pro-active and helpful in providing good recommendations for the right advocate in the stable to cover a particular job.

Terra Firma Chambers

Terra Firma Chambers is a stable with a wide range of public law expertise, covering specialisms including immigration law, civil liberties, licencing and tax, alongside its staple area of work concerning real estate. Alasdair Burnet QC's work of late includes representing the City of Edinburgh Council in a challenge to closure notices issued to enforce the Scottish Government's COVID-19 lockdowns. Stephen Winter represented a person connected to Falun Gong, a spiritual movement created in China in the early 1990s, in an Inner House appeal in a refugee case, while Robert Skinner contributes notable licencing expertise and Philip Simpson QC is a notable tax silk who is also a member of Old Square Tax Chambers in London.

Testimonials

Stable

The stable provides an excellent knowledge base and range of experience. It is always willing to discuss fees to try and ensure mutually agreeable rates can be provided to clients, with advocates at the correct level of experience for the job.

Strong on public and regulatory matters, as well as a substantial commercial offering.

Terra Firma is an excellent stable. I have used other stables but now tend to instruct Terra Firma only. It has a depth of experience and knowledge that I believe is beyond challenge. I find the clerks are able to direct me very quickly to a suitable experienced advocate if I need a specialist in a particular area of law.

Terra Firma offers very good CPD sessions. I think it is perhaps the leading stable for this. That gives a window into the expertise it has on offer. In the private client/estate planning sphere, that seems undoubtedly strong.