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Stables overview in Scottish Bar

Multi-disciplinary stable Ampersand Advocates is ‘an extremely well-run and efficient chambers’, has ‘a good understanding of the needs of solicitors’, and contains ‘the best counsel for complex matters’ across a range of areas including personal injury, civil liberties, and planning and environmental matters. In recent news, Jamie Dawson QC took silk in September 2020, while Euan Scott, Mark Boni, Nick McAndrew, Carla Fraser, and Dominic Scullion joined the set. ‘Nothing is too much trouble for the clerks who will make every effort to accommodate near impossible demands at short notice.’ Celebrating 20 years of service to the stable, ‘brilliant’ head clerk Alan Moffat is ‘very thorough, and will find a solution to a problem’. The team includes deputy clerks Jennifer Dunn, Shawn McArthur, Emma Busby, Kathryn Ferguson, and Sheena Hume, who ‘responds incredibly well under pressure from demanding solicitors’.

Arnot Manderson Advocates has expertise across the fields of personal injury, family, commercial, and property law, amongst others. In recent news, Ruth Charteris QC took silk in September 2020; Kenneth Campbell QC was appointed a Sheriff; Jonathan Murphy, Fergus Whyte, Kenny Cloggie, Andrew Crosbie, and Charles Oliver joined the stable. The ‘extremely helpful and efficient’ clerks’ room is led by Andrew Sutherland and Elizabeth Manderson, who are assisted by deputy clerks Anne Webster, Nicola-Jane Mallace, and Dawn Teitsma.

Axiom Advocates is a ‘go-to set for commercial disputes, professional negligence, and regulatory matters’ thanks to ‘a number of silks and junior counsel who excel in their field’. ‘They have an excellent roster of counsel. Their training programme of seminars are excellent, high-quality speakers and material, always worth attending.’ In recent news, Paul O’Brien QC and John MacGregor QC took silk in September 2020; Roddy Dunlop QC has been appointed the new Dean of Faculty; Lord Drummond Young, Victoria Arnott, and Neale Tosh have joined the set. Practice manager Lesley Flynn and her team are ‘second to none’ with a ‘particular focus on client satisfaction’. Deputy clerks Colleen Adams and Catriona Still are ‘responsive, friendly, helpful, and pragmatic’; Cheryl Wilson is ‘an excellent clerk, very responsive, and always super to deal with’; Veronica Darling is ‘professional, friendly, and reliable’.

Black Chambers is known for its criminal law expertise, with its members both prosecuting and defending across a range of offences. In recent news, Andy Lamb QC has returned to full-time practice having been at the Ministry of Justice since June 2014. The clerks’ room contains advocates’ clerk Lee-Anne Black and deputy clerk Stevie Burns.

Compass Chambers is ‘the premier chambers in Scotland for personal injury, medical negligence, and regulatory work’, ‘has been involved in all of the major health and safety prosecutions in recent years’, and is ‘the default choice for white-collar crime and Fatal Accident Inquiries’. ‘They are well managed, have significant strength in depth, run an excellent conference for practitioners every year, and are always keen to ensure that they have availability for any particular case.’ In recent news, Angela Grahame QC returned to full-time practice after stepping down as Vice Dean of the Faculty of Advocates; Gordon Lamont was appointed as a Sheriff; Gordon Balfour, Elaine Russell, Adam Black, and Cameron Smith joined the set; and Amber Galbraith QC and Barry Smith QC took silk in September 2020. The clerks are ‘a credit to the stable’. ‘Excellent’ practice manager Gavin Herd is ‘prompt, informed and responsive, and always helpful and easy to deal with’. Deputy clerk Lesley Hogg is ‘particularly impressive’, as are Erica Marmo, Leona Crosby, and Lucy McConville, who make up the rest of the team.

Optimum Advocates (formerly Mackinnon Advocates) is predominately a criminal law stable but it also offers expertise in family and immigration law. In recent news, Tony Graham took silk in September 2020 and Derek Ogg QC passed away earlier in the year. The clerking team is led by practice manager Angela Bath, who is supported by deputy clerk Laura Kenney.

Terra Firma Chambers is the ‘go-to’ stables for property-related disputes, according to instructing solicitors, thanks to having ‘a good range of advocates with a lot of knowledge and skill’. Recent news for the stable includes Jon Kiddie and Fergus Colquhoun joining the set; David Bartos was appointed by the Scottish Government as a Commissioner of the Scottish Law Commission; Julius Komorowski has been appointed by the Judicial Appointments Commission as a salaried Tribunal Judge in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber; while Alasdair Burnet QC took silk in September 2020. The stable’s clerking team is considered ‘incredibly flexible in dealing with matters quickly and cost effectively’ and ‘will always go to extra lengths to assist with the instruction of counsel’. ‘They respond promptly and ensure that clarity is provided around timescales and costs which tend to be the most important factors for most commercial clients.’ Practice manager Emma Caskie-Potter is ‘a standout clerk’, ‘very organised and responsive’; ‘excellent’ deputy clerk Andrew Veitch is ‘very good, responsive, helpful, and friendly’; deputy clerk Tracy Whitelaw is ‘very organised and helpful’.

The rebranded Themis Advocates has a track record in crime, employment, and public law as well as commercial disputes. In recent news, Robert Frazer has been appointed a Sherrif, while Chris Miller and Robert Hovey have joined the stable. Kiera Johnston joined Themis Advocates from Compass Chambers as the new senior clerk in September 2019 and has overseen the stables rebrand from Hastie Stables to Themis, the ancient Greek Titaness ‘of good counsel, offering balanced, and pragmatic advice’. Johnston is assisted in the clerking team by Elizabeth Archibald and Sara Mauriello.

Westwater Advocates is a multi-disciplinary stable with particular expertise across family, private wealth, property, and agricultural matters. In recent news, Douglas Fairley QC has been elevated to the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary and Sir Crispin Agnew QC has retired from practice after a 38-year career at the Bar; Antonia Welsh joined the stable. Principal clerk Sheila Westwater leads the clerking team which contains deputy clerks, Christina Ballantyne, Jane Morrison, and Debbie Dawson.