Ampersand Advocates handles a lot of work concerning the use of space, with many areas crossing over with its public law and commercial expertise. Eoghann Maclean represents the Duke of Argyll in a £7m claim against the Ministry of Defence concerning large quantities of unexploded WW2-era ordinance in his forest, which there was an allegedly bungled attempt to clear in the 1970s, while Laura-Anne Van Der Westhuizen QC - a 2021 silk appointment - is particularly active in work concerning planning and rural property. Malcolm Thomson QC has been active in work concerning the Electronic Communications Code, which underpins the UK-wide legal framework for physical telecoms infrastructure.
Property, planning and construction in Scottish Bar
‘The stable has a full breadth of advocates at all levels of experience with expertise over a broad area of law.’
‘Ampersand is a leading stable with a strong offering of advocates in both the junior and senior ranks across a variety of practice areas. The offering for planning and environmental matters is particularly strong, and includes some of the most impressive advocates in this area.’
‘Ampersand has a number of advocates who are some of the best in Scotland for planning law instructions.’
‘The stable is run by extremely competent, efficient as well as engaging staff. It is one of the stables that I use most frequently because of that and the quality of their members who are not only commercially flexible but they are willing to share their knowledge and carry out internal training as and when requested.’
‘The clerks as indicated above are engaged and engaging. They are pragmatic as well as sensible in looking after their members interests.’
‘Clerks are very quick and responsive to requests made by agents sometimes at very short notice.’
‘The head clerk, Alan Moffat, is ever courteous, professional, helpful and friendly. He is able to steer agents to making the right choice in terms of counsel for a particular case or piece of work.’
‘The clerks are extremely helpful, and responsive. Sheena Hume has been particularly helpful to me on a number of occasions.’
Members of Axiom Advocates are active across work involving the built environment, from planning through to post-completion disputes. In addition to members being involved in major disputes concerning some of Scotland’s most significant infrastructure projects, Garry Borland QC and Miranda Hamilton represent Glasgow City Council in a dispute with the architects of a number of new care homes in Glasgow, which were found to have failed to meet fire standards. Ruth Crawford QC represented the Scottish Ministers in judicial reviews concerning the “tilted balance” planning policy. The stable also features expertise in matters relating to rural life, from renewable energy through to farmland. Martin Richardson QC (as was) is now a Senator of the College of Justice.
‘Axiom clearly has a large number of excellent construction senior and juniors. It is the go to stable for construction counsel.’
‘Axiom is a leading stable with a strong offering of advocates in both the junior and senior ranks across a variety of practice areas. The offering for public law and planning is particularly strong and includes some of the most impressive advocates in this area.’
‘Axiom is a first-rate stable. Many of the most capable advocates are based there, including some of the highest ranked commercial and civil silks.’
‘I have been consistently impressed by the Axiom clerks. I have found them to be exceptionally helpful and responsive.’
‘The clerks at Axiom are very experienced and are always friendly and helpful. I deal regularly with Catriona Still and Colleen Adams who are always prompt in responding to any enquiries I have.’
‘Good, efficient and friendly service. Colleen Adams is a stand-out.’
Terra Firma Chambers
At Terra Firma Chambers, James Findlay QC – also a member of Cornerstone Barristers, which is highly regarded for this work in England – is active in some of the largest planning instructions on either side of the border, while Robert Sutherland and Roddy MacLeod are active in agricultural and rural work, including matters concerning crofts and grouse moors. Unled, Graham Dunlop represents East Ayrshire Council in Community Windpower Limited v Scottish Ministers, which involves questions as to the extent third parties can interfere with planning permission when conditions require use of their land.
‘The clerking team provide an excellent level of service and the advocates’ ability to pick up sometimes unusual and complex cases is what compels us to keep going back to Terra Firma. I believe it is the only stable that regularly offers CPD relevant to my fields of practice in the Highlands – and this is appreciated.’
‘Terra Firma is the pre-eminent stable for planning and compulsory purchase work and it takes a lot to go past it.’
‘The stable continues to offer some particularly able counsel in the fields of property and tax.’
‘Emma Caskie-Potter and the team are magnificent. They provide a wonderful service and really work as a team with the advocates. they know who is doing what and when.’
‘Emma Caskie-Potter, Andrew Veitch, Tracy Whitelaw and Catriona Downie are all excellent clerks. The level of service provided is second to none and it is a pleasure to speak with whomever answers the phone every time that I contact the stable. They are well versed in the expertise and knowledge of all of their advocates.’
‘The clerks are very good. I have found that I am directed to a particular advocate with a specialist area of interest and experience when that is required. Likewise if I need a more junior advocate I can also receive expert guidance to enable the most appropriate advocate to be instructed.’
Themis Advocates includes a number of members active in construction law work, among other areas. Steven Walker QC - who is also a member of Six Pump Court in England - has an international practice in engineering-related arbitrations, including working with law firms in Asia, and those handling energy-related work closer to home.
‘The breadth of expertise within the stable is clearly presented as a strength. I have never had any issues with counsel being over-committed.’
‘I have always found Liz Archibald and Sara Mauriello to be extremely helpful and responsive for any queries. I have been very impressed with Kiera Johnston since she came in as senior clerk.’
‘Kiera Johnston is a very capable and efficient lead clerk.’