Burness Paull LLP > Edinburgh, Scotland > Firm Profile

Burness Paull LLP
50 LOTHIAN ROAD
EDINBURGH
EH3 9WJ
Scotland

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 1

A team which ‘provides a wow factor’, Burness Paull LLP caters to a broad spectrum of clients, from start-ups and PLCs through to family businesses, private equity houses and venture capital firms. The practice is proficient in local, national and international deals, owing to its integration with the Lex Mundi global network, and is especially active in the private equity, technology, financial services, owner-managed business (OMB) and capital markets fields. Team head Mark Ellis and experienced partner David Davidson are among the market’s foremost named for private equity-related deals meanwhile chair Peter Lawson is a veteran of countless public and private M&A transactions. The team is also home to China market specialist Catriona Macallan, as well as Chris Gotts, a renewable energy, life science and technology specialist, with notable expertise in fundraisings and cross-border deals.

Practice head(s):

Mark Ellis

Other key lawyers:

Catriona Macallan; Paul Scullion; Walter Clark; Grant Stevenson; Edward Hunter; David Davidson; Chris Gotts

Testimonials

‘These guys provide the personal WOW factor compared to any other practice I have used. They like to understand you and your business in detail and shape there service offering around this.’

‘Proactiveness, good response times, diligence and advice second to none.’

‘We’ve used Burness for asset acquisitions, asset sales, and farm-outs in both the UK and Canada, equity issuances in the UK, admissions (and re-admissions) to AIM, an admission to the TSX, the issuance and ongoing management of our senior-secured loan notes, employment matters, and many others . They’ve always been extremely knowledgeable in every area of engagement, have in-house specialisation with deep knowledge for each of our corporate, asset, and capital requirements.’

‘Their staff are friendly, engaging, collaborative, highly responsive, and flexible.’

‘Chris Gotts is recommended for corporate and capital structuring, fundraising (types, processes, regulation), listing process, rules and regulations for publicly listed companies.

‘Edward Hunter is very knowledgeable.’

‘Excellent technical capability, flexible ways of collaborating, open to alternative billing structures, very responsive.’

‘Walter Clark – hugely knowledgeable and technically capable, personable, responsive, and gets to know clients’ objectives and drivers.’

Key clients

abrdn

Royal London

Hg Capital

Bridgepoint Growth

The Access Group

Lonsdale Capital Partners

Kester Capital

STV plc

Kings Park Capital

i3 Energy plc

Hymans Robertson

Maven Capital Partners

ScottishPower

BlueGem Capital Partners LLP

Savannah Energy PLC

Work highlights

  • Advising UPM-Kymenne Oyj, a Finnish sustainable solutions provider listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd, on the sale of its paper production and recycling subsidiary (Shotton Mill Limited) to Eren Paper Limited, a subsidiary of the Modern Karton group based in Turkey.
  • Advising Bridgepoint Growth, a listed private equity investor, on its investment into PharmaReview.
  • Advising Snappy Shopper on a £19.4m funding round (one of the largest private fundraisings in the Scottish market in 2021) led by PayPoint, Highland Tech, Justin King, Maven Capital Partners, Kelvin Capital and Scottish Enterprise and existing investor Mercia Asset Management.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 1

A firm with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, Burness Paull LLP is active on deals throughout the North East, demonstrating a particular tenacity for oil and gas-related transactions. Jamie Stark leads from the Aberdeen office, leveraging a 25-year track record in both local and cross-border transactions; his team includes Alasdair Freeman, a lawyer with IT, turnaround, restructuring and insolvency issues, in addition to Arran Mackenzie, a director well-versed in M&A and private equity transactions.

Practice head(s):

Mark Ellis (Edinburgh); Jamie Stark

Other key lawyers:

Helen Dickson; Arran MacKenzie; Alasdair Freeman

Testimonials

‘They understand the importance of having multi-skills and experience that need to be brought in from time to time either internally from their several offices or externally, to ensure a robust response to technical issues that arise. the diversity that they can bring is very important in dealing with international issues when you have business covering USA operations, Asia markets and Australia. As a practice they can deliver this support to there clients, this international element is key to develop future corporate and commercial growth, and Burness Paull delivers this for its customers.’

‘Excellent M&A advisory with ability to flex capacity to meet demands.’

‘The team at Burness are utterly personable and have a manner which is calm and assuring. We were taking part in a transaction which was new to the business and the Burness Team understood quickly what we wanted to achieve. Despite our lack of expertise in the transaction and our daft questions, we concluded and had great comfort that we got what we set out for at the beginning. Burness integrated seamlessly with us throughout by understanding our business and our ultimate requirements and took us to the finish line in a straightforward manner.’

‘Alasdair Freeman was the partner and whilst this was a fairly small transaction had full engagement with our team and our timetable.’

Key clients

Hydro Group

Cofra AG

Incremental Group

Grieg Seafood AS

Starn Energy Services Group Limited

Subsea Technology

James Fisher and Sons plc

Zi-Lift A/S

National Oilwell Varco, Inc

Stena Drilling

OPEX Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for digital technology services provider Incremental Group in its acquisition of the Adatis Group, a London-based data analytics business. This was a multinational deal involving the acquisition of Adatis group companies in the UK, Bulgaria and India.
  • Acted for Grieg Seafood ASA in connection with the sale of its Scottish business, Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK Limited to Scottish Sea Farms Limited.
  • Acted for James Fisher and Sons plc in the sale of James Fisher Testing Services Limited to the Phenna Group.

Employment Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP’s client portfolio is a reflection of Scotland’s key sectors with oil and gas, energy, financial services and food and drink companies playing a prominent role. Its sizeable practice supports employers with the full life cycle of employment law with much of its recent work taking place in the transactional and contentious spheres. The former typically involves TUPE and reorganisation support, while its contentious work includes senior executive departures – Morag Hutchison is a key contact for this – and various employment tribunal claims, which are handled by practice head Mandy Laurie and the wider team. Trade union and industrial relations issues are typically handled by David Morgan. Other key individuals include oil and gas sector specialist Sean Saluja; Andrew Knight, who was promoted to partner in August 2021 and specialises in employment tribunal advocacy, in Aberdeen; and Jennifer Skeoch in Glasgow. Skeoch is a key contact for cross-border work.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘They take time to understand our business and culture and provide commercial, pragmatic advice.’

‘Burness Paull prides itself on inclusivity, and has impressed recently with the accolade of accreditation as one of Scotland’s first “menopause-friendly” employers. They are passionate about developing fresh legal talent.’

‘The Employment team at Burness Paull have delivered exceptional service in relation to employment litigation, in particular in relation to complex litigation with an international element.’

‘Straight speaking, pragmatic, commercial outlook, go out of their way to not only understand the business but understand the complexities and situations of colleagues they have never met and retain that information. Lovely wonderful, down-to-earth human beings who due to our reactive profession are always available at a drop of a hat.

‘Andrew Knight, Trish Walker and Sean Saluja all provide advice and guidance on employment matters that is not only relevant to the business immediate needs but also to assist with future requirements.’

‘The employment law team led by Mandy Laurie are both commercial and pragmatic. Their approach is always considered, advising on the risks for their client but acknowledging that the business needs to be commercial in their approach.’

‘I’ve worked with David Morgan now for three years and he continues to impress with his sage advice and guidance. He is a master in navigating through complex employment challenges to ensure the right outcome for our company, aligned to our values. A class act.’

‘Jen Skeoch has been our main point of contact for a number of years now and she and the team feel like they are part of the company. She understands the challenges we face and is always thinking ahead in terms of solutions or how we can work more effectively.’

Key clients

Whyte & Mackay

ITN (Independent Television News)

Bolt

SSE plc.

Highland Spring

Scottish Football Association

Royal Dutch Shell plc

A. G. Barr p.l.c.

Diageo

Everton FC

Work highlights

  • Appointed to provide employment and industrial relations legal support to Diageo for its workforce in Scotland.
  • Instructed as employment law advisers to Bolt.
  • Represented Royal Dutch Shell defending complex employment tribunal proceedings brought in the UK by a former employee.

Employment > Immigration Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP handles the full remit of corporate and personal immigration with regular instructions in the latter including family migration and intercountry adoption issues. This is not least a reflection of team head Grace McGill's skillset. She is based in Glasgow and supported by Jamie Kerr, who has recently advised on sponsor licences for religious workers and on Brexit-related rights to work matters in the energy sector. Due to the firm's presence in Aberdeen, energy companies and offshore oil and gas businesses form a key part of its corporate client portfolio but it also includes sport associations and professional bodies. Senior associate Nikki Weir is another key contact for sponsor licences and nationality law as well as child migration.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘They are market leaders in relation to both domestic and international immigration advice acting for both individuals and institutions.’

The are friendly and approachable to deal with.’

‘The attention to detail of the team is unrivalled. The work they do is totally customer focused in a very empathetic, kind caring manner.’

‘Jamie Kerr’s and Nikki Weir’s advice has been invaluable in correcting a number of years of poor in-house work.’

‘Grace McGill and her team are unrivalled in this area.’

‘Grace McGill is just world class. Her attention to detail is first class. Putting the client’s needs and wants first is always on Grace’s agenda and getting the best outcome.’

‘Grace McGill is a leading lawyer with compassion to match her expertise and knowledge.’

‘Jamie Kerr is very impressive, a modern and thoughtful lawyer, he is well connected and personable.’

Key clients

Skyrora

Queen’s Park Football Club

Scottish Football Association

Nelms Family (Dundee Football Club)

SSE plc

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Capricorn Energy

Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh

Saba Capital Management

Viewpoint Housing Association Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Skyora, a rocket design and launch company, on a significant number of international transfers.
  • Advising Scottish Football Association around recruitment of coaching staff to the Scottish national women’s football team.
  • Providing SSE with specialist immigration support, Brexit advice and support with right to work queries.

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 1

At Burness Paull LLP, the practice demonstrates a tenacity for fund, leveraged and acquisition finance transactions, counting its expertise in energy, oil and gas, renewables and real estate-related deals as a key distinguisher. Team head Jonathan Heaney is an authority for corporate lending property financing and the team is also home to Dawn Reoch, a specialist in respect of investment grade facilities, general corporate finance, cross-border deals and restructuring work. Other standout partners include energy expert John Kennedy whose workload spans leveraged, housebuilder and upstream oil and gas finance, in addition to Andrew Christie who fronts the dedicated fund finance group, operating across subscription line, NAV and hybrid facilities and GP and management fee facilities. Beyond partner level, director Sophie Coffey is ‘technically excellent advising on Scots law aspects of renewable energy project financings’. Alan Cassels, formerly of Pinsent Masons LLP, joined the team in June 2022.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Heaney

Testimonials

‘The practice at Burness Paull is high quality, offering City service at Scottish rates. This means they’re fantastic value, but they’re also top notch lawyers. We rely on Dawn Reoch to help us with financing deals often at short notice and with little background or briefing. The lawyers are highly responsive and always ready to help us with little advanced warning.’

‘Dawn Reoch is hugely impressive. She’s responsive, laser-focused on the commercial rationale for each deal she’s instructed on, and equally comfortable working with in-house lawyers or with other departments at the client. She’s a real asset to the firm.’

‘A knowledgeable and experienced team, who are always able to offer creative and commercial legal advice, thinking about the bigger picture and the client’s longer term plans, rather than get bogged down in the minutiae.’

‘I spend time working with Sophie Coffey and with Dawn Reoch; both are fiercely intelligent, driven and look after our best interest from a position of knowledge and experience. You can’t ask any more from your legal advisers.’

‘Dawn Reoch is one of the best banking lawyers I have ever worked with.’

‘We work regularly with the Burness Paull banking and finance team on renewable energy projects in Scotland. Their team has a wealth of experience acting on both sponsor and lender mandates. They understand the sector very well (particularly onshore wind and offshore wind), which helps in ensuring their advice is commercial and consistent with latest market practice. Whenever we have worked alongside them, they function effectively as our “Scottish office”, which ensures a seamless service for clients. They are very responsive and approachable.’

‘Sophie Coffey is technically excellent advising on Scots banking and finance law aspects of renewable energy project financings.’

‘John Kennedy – very experienced in all facets of finance-related matters; offers creative but practical solutions to complex problems.’

Key clients

Smart Metering Systems plc

Cazoo

Agilitas Private Equity

Frontier Medical

Hydro International

The Harbro Group

ASCO Group

Springfield Properties

Traditional lenders (incl. Santander UK plc, Royal Bank of Scotland plc Bank of Scotland plc, Clydesdale Bank plc)

Private equity sponsors (incl. Kings Park Capital, Kester Capital, Maven Capital Partners, Three Hills Capital Partners, Bluegem Capital Partners plc, Magnesium Capital, MDP, Lonsdale Capital Partners)

Work highlights

  • Acted for Smart Metering Systems plc in a full refinance of its £420m syndicated revolving credit facility.
  • Advised Brookfield Renewable UK in respect of all aspects of its disposal of six onshore wind farms, as part of a wider disposal together with twelve Irish onshore wind farms, to Danish developer Orsted.
  • Acting for Incremental Group Holdings, backed by Dunedin, in relation to term and revolving acquisition finance facilities in connection with the acquisition of data analytics business Adatis Group.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

Independent firm Burness Paull LLP is famed for its work on big-ticket sale, insolvency and restructuring projects, both locally and nationwide. Michael Thomson possesses ‘extremely strong relationship management skills’, overseeing a team which includes Gary Moffat, a lawyer with close to 30 years of experience who serves as the key contact for contentious affairs. At the more junior end, director Allana Sweeney advises on lending, investment and restructuring options within the distressed M&A sector meanwhile senior associate Sophia Harrison works in close tangent with Moffat, leveraging her qualification as a barrister in England and Wales to support on contentious proceedings. Key sectors for the group include retail, leisure and casual dining.

Practice head(s):

Michael Thomson

Testimonials

‘Michael Thomson as an individual, in addition to his technical skills, has really strong skills in relationship management with clients. He is collaborative in his style which works well in a restructuring environment where we are working to find the best solution in challenging circumstances. In my experience, he treats everyone respectfully and with genuine interest and is a keen leader for diversity and the culture of equality.’

‘Michael Thomson as mentioned above is someone that I would rate highly based on experience. He has been joined this year by Allana Sweeney, who I have worked with previously. She is a great addition to the team and together, Michael and Allana will complement each other well. I would have no hesitation in working with Burness Paull on restructuring and insolvency matters.’

‘Excellent team with a fantastic cross border reputation. Able to provide sound advice across all sizes of case from the routine insolvencies to complex schemes of arrangement.’

‘Michael Thomson is an excellent lawyer, able to quickly grasp the issues and to give the right advice, not just what you want to hear. Gary Moffat has years of experience and his knowledge and ability to apply the law to address the problem is first class. Sophia Harrison’s cross border experience and her sharp legal mind enhances the team’s offering.’

‘Very well joined up across disciplines and dedicated restructuring team are highly responsive.’

‘Michael Thompson – exceptionally good client service levels and technically very good – providing strong legal input with sensible commercial advice.’

‘The team at Burness Paull are highly experienced who work closely both with their clients but also work closely alongside their colleagues in other departments. Advice is always given in a clear and concise manner and the team always make themselves available at short notice which is a key strength.’

‘Michael Thomson (partner) is excellent to deal with and always provides advice in a considered and easy to understand way. He makes himself readily available at short notice and always take time to understand the situation so he is able to provide relevant advice to help deal with the matter in hand.’

Key clients

KPMG/Interpath

Edinburgh Woollen Mill

Pfizer

FRP

Arcadia

Aggreko

Wellcome Trust

The Insolvency Service

Teneo

Dune Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for KPMG in the sale of its restructuring business.
  • Acting for Pfizer in the restructuring and rationalisation of its group.
  • Acting for Macquarie Bank as secured creditor in the administration of Alexander Inglis and Son Limited.

Finance > Investment funds Tier 1

Home to a dedicated funds team, Burness Paull LLP excels on structuring, formation, regulatory and finance matters, directing the bulk of its emphasis towards investor representation, both domestic and international. Paula Kennedy heads the practice and serves as one of the market’s foremost experts in the operation and formation of Scottish limited partnerships within the context of private fund structures. The team excels in its handling of primary investments and secondary deals, in addition to co-investments, and is also home to Andrew Christie, a fund finance authority who acts on NAV, hybrid facility, subscription line, GP and management fee facilities, demonstrating a particular tenacity for security structures. At the more junior end of the partnership spectrum, Ruaridh Cole is particularly accomplished on fund structing matters, often serving as advisor to leading asset managers.

Practice head(s):

Paula Kennedy

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Burness have an unrivalled knowledge of investment funds in Scotland. They are user friendly and responsive.’

‘They are pragmatic, which cannot be said for all of their competitors.’

‘Andrew Christie and Ruaridh Cole are excellent.’

‘Excellent commercial team. Knowledgeable about the subject matter and very reliable.’

‘Andrew Christie is exceptional.’

‘This is the firm that I call first if I want no-nonsense, clear feedback and opinions without multiple carve outs and caveats. They provide consistently error-free work, outstripping the magic circle and US firms for their client-focused service, consistently well-staffed teams and quality technical resources. Excellent firm.’

‘For investments funds, Ruaridh Cole is an excellent source of knowledge and a genuine sounding block on more complicated questions and scenarios.’

Key clients

European Investment Fund

Greystar

Livingbridge EP LLP

Vitruvian Partners

L Catterton

EIG Global Energy Partners

Carlyle

The Pension SuperFund

Kirkland & Ellis

Proskauer Rose

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice

Work highlights

  • Advised the European Investment Fund in relation to two rounds of investment in Yield Lab Europe, a pan-Europe agri-tech fund with an impact focus.
  • Acted for Greystar in connection with Scots law matters on a number of its UK and European ventures. This included work on the set up of Scottish limited partnerships forming part of Greystar investment structures.
  • Advising Livingbridge as their lead counsel on their latest subscription line facility with Investec Bank and on facilities with Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets for their Enterprise 2 and Enterprise 3 structures as well as Fund 6.

Public sector > Local government Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP has strengthened its local government offering with the addition of Richard Lockhart to its rank, joining from Scottish Futures Trust at the beginning of the year. The team continues to have strength representing local authorities, public agencies and organisations across a variety of matters, including corporate restructurings, governance structures and property issues. Practice head Graeme Palmer has expertise in public procurement matters. Other key members of the team include Hazel Moffat, who handles work in the contentious space, and senior associate Emma Maxwell, who specialises in charity law matters pertaining to local government clients.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Palmer

Key clients

Glasgow City Council

East Dunbartonshire Council

Fife Cultural Trust

Perth & Kinross Council

Renfrewshire Council

Fife Sports & Leisure Trust

South Lanarkshire Council

Aberdeen City Council

North Ayrshire Council

Fusion Assets

Work highlights

  • Acting for North Ayrshire Council in relation to the £251.5m Ayrshire Growth Deal (funded jointly by the UK Treasury and Scottish Government) in relation to a significant development of the Irvine Harbour area.
  • Acting for Fusion Assets, a wholly-owned subsidiary of North Lanarkshire Council, in relation to procurement aspects of a joint venture to be established for the development of industrial units.
  • Acting for Perth & Kinross Council on two significant value DBDA projects with hub East Central Scotland.

Real estate > Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP, famed for its ‘culture of excellence’, operates across investment, development, regeneration, finance and corporate occupier affairs, demonstrating particular expertise in respect of residential, build-to-rent (BTR), retail, healthcare, leisure, industrial and hospitality assets. Scott Peterkin fronts the practice and hones his focus on property development work within the housebuilding sector; he is supported by Richard Rennie who leverages his dual qualification in England and Scotland to support on the Scottish aspects of national and international deals, as well as Nick Naddell whose workload spans investment deals, funding packages and landlord and tenant work. Graeme Bradshaw is also integral to the offering and is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in Commercial Leasing Law, a distinction held by less than a handful of active lawyers in the market.

Practice head(s):

Scott Peterkin

Other key lawyers:

Richard Rennie; Nick Naddell; Graeme Bradshaw; Steven McKinlay; Peter Chambers

Testimonials

‘Graham Bradshaw is a straightforward individual who is is able to deal with a broad base of individuals without making them feel uncomfortable in any way. He is competent, diligent, respectful and faithful to clients and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Wide range of expertise within the firm that can be called upon at any time – will always give you as the client the correct balance between legal opinion and common sense view for a particular situation.’

‘Burness Paul have provided us with exceptional support in connection with a material cross border transaction. We were able to rely them to deliver excellent advice within the very challenging deadlines set by the client.’

‘Steven Mckinlay is pragmatic, commercial and good at unravelling complex legal issues.’

‘Mark Patterson manages all our work. He is an astute, no-nonsense, proactive and efficient real estate lawyer, who is always available and always pushes ‘the extra mile’ to achieve a satisfactory conclusion to transactions.’

‘There is a noticeable culture of excellence and client focus which permeates throughout the entire firm and which sets them apart from their competitors. Their knowledge of the market coupled with their industry-leading specialists make them a compelling proposition for any construction-related legal work.’

‘Scott Peterkin is extremely proactive and always seeks solutions to any issues that arise. His personable approach coupled with his knowledge, thoroughness and attention to detail instils confidence in his client and demands respect from his opposition. He offers an insightful view of the market and applies this to good effect. Scott offers a proactive approach to problems and works tirelessly to achieve the desired outcome. He provides expert support, guidance and reassurance during the most difficult negotiations.’

Key clients

LSPIM/ Regional REIT (London & Scottish)

Eagle Street Partners

Miller Homes

Cazoo (new client win in 2021)

Regus

Springfield Properties

CALA Homes

Taylor Wimpey (3 yr panel appointment renewal in 2021)

Realty Income Inc.

Clearbell Property Partners

Cemex UK

Vodafone

Work highlights

  • Acted for Regional REIT Limited on their acquisition from Squarestone LLP of 31 multi let assets for a price of £236m. The portfolio is located in across Scotland, England and Wales.
  • Acted for Buccleuch Property and Cruden Homes (East) in relation to their winning bid to City of Edinburgh Council to develop the Council’s major Fountainbridge site.
  • Acted for HIG Capital (a leading global alternative investment firm), alongside Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP, on the c.£325m acquisition of the UK plumbing and heating division of Travis Perkins plc involving a portfolio of around 350 properties across the UK and Ireland.

Real estate > Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 1

Key strengths of Burness Paull LLP’s national offering include development and regeneration, investment, corporate occupier, BTR, finance and English real estate projects. In Aberdeen, Richard Goodfellow leads the firm’s housebuilding practice though is likewise accomplished when it comes to commercial development schemes; he is based alongside John Strachan, a lawyer with extensive experience in supporting funders on development transactions and developers in respect of affordable housing projects.

Practice head(s):

Scott Peterkin

Testimonials

‘Very responsive. Very committed to the deals.’

Key clients

Robertson Homes

CALA Homes

Countesswells Development Limited

Duke of Fife

First Endeavour

Stuart Milne Group

Baker Hughes

CALA Homes

Cognito Oak LLP

Impact Healthcare REIT

TGI Fridays

Work highlights

  • Advising First Endeavour in the acquisition and sale to Aberdeen City Council of the former Aberdeen Market and BHS site. The site is intended to be re-developed as a new £75m mixed-use leisure and market facility.
  • Acted for Grieg Seafood ASA in connection with the sale of its Scottish business, Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK Limited to Scottish Sea Farms Limited. Grieg Seafood ASA operate 21 marine farms, a fresh water hatchery and a processing facility across Shetland and the Isle of Skye.
  • Acting for Cognito Oak LLP on the land sale contract and various development arrangements for a major land sale to Aberdeen City Council in relation to the proposed development of 536 affordable homes and community facilities at Bridge of Don, Aberdeen.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP covers a wide range of property-related disputes, making the team led by commercial litigator and accredited mediator Alan McMillan an attractive choice for a wide range of clients. Typical instructions include commercial lease disputes, dilapidations claims and other landlord and tenant issues – where the practice acts for both landlords and tenants – alongside land purchase and land access disputes. Director Stephen Farrell is another key contact for property litigation and complements the team’s offering with a specialism in the telecommunications sector.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘This team have for well over a decade been my “go-to” team in Scotland for real estate disputes. They take the time to build personal relationships and have a collaborative ethos.’

‘The practice has a really strong real estate team with years of experience. They keep up to date with changing legislation and guidance and are always on hand to offer advice.’

‘They are strategic in their thinking, helping mould the arguments and, thereby, the outcomes. They are highly responsive and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Very attentive, great lawyers and personable. Able to summarise complex matters clearly.’

‘The team were very knowledgeable, professional and provided great advice throughout.’

‘They provided fantastic advice and were very knowledgeable throughout the whole process. All queries and questions were answered thoroughly and they provided fantastic advice throughout.’

‘Alan McMillan has a can-do attitude, is so clever with an encyclopedic knowledge and an absolute pleasure to work with. Nothing is too much trouble for him.’ 

‘Stephen Farrell – superb knowledge and excellent commerciality. This combined with friendly, common-sense approach is invaluable.’ 

Key clients

Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited

Taylor Wimpey

Mars Pension Trustees Limited

Quale Homes

Britannia Invest A/S

Scotco/Euro Garages (KFC)

Vodafone

NFU Mutual

PizzaExpress

Carpediem

Work highlights

  • Acting for Carpediem Investors in defence of a claim by their tenant in large premises seeking to enforce demolition of much of the structure, negating the repairing obligation and a related high-value dilapidations claim.
  • Acting for Vodafone in a variety of different commercial property disputes including commercial rent disputes and leasing disputes relating to retail stores.
  • Acting for Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited in an Electronic Communications Code case against Marks & Spencer – the first such case in Scotland about a commercial, city centre, rooftop mobile phone mast.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP’s IP team is widely regarded for the strength and depth of its contentious offering, as well as its sizeable roster of blue-chip companies. Leveraging his deep expertise in IT and telecoms law, the ‘remarkable’ contentious practice chair Colin Hulme is a key port of call for many of the firm’s most high-profile corporate clients, handling litigation on behalf of world-leading pharmaceutical companies, game developers, and music rights organisations. Non-contentious lead Colin Miller concentrates on IP licensing, research and development, and collaboration agreements for various life sciences and manufacturing companies, while in Edinburgh, David Goodbrand helms both the data privacy and the fintech teams, advising widely on commercialisation strategies, data transfers, and media rights. Senior associate Megan Briggs is recommended for her broad capabilities in trademark and copyright proceedings, traversing the worlds of consumer goods, textiles, image licensing, and music royalties. Rebecca Ablett’s diverse focus encompasses broadcasting rights and food and beverages. All named lawyers are based in Glasgow unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Colin Hulme; Colin Miller; David Goodbrand; Callum Sinclair

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Burness Paul protects my IP with the same level of care and attention that their far larger clients receive, and that means everything to a smaller business.’

‘Colin Hulme has the complete trust of all my staff and shareholders for the quality of his work in protection of our IP interests. Colin Hulme is a remarkable individual and a credit to Burness Paul to the extent that we would not seek legal service elsewhere.’

‘The team were quickly able to understand our structure and complex intra-group IP licensing needs. Drafts were produced and turned around quickly and they worked well under pressure and made themselves available for update calls.’

‘Highly competent in intellectual property matters. Easy to get hold. Provides strategic and commercially savvy advise for complex legal issues.’

‘Megan Briggs and Colin Hulme: Smart and always available to help. Both take a holistic approach to advising on matters while taking into account the clients commercial outcomes. I highly recommend both!’

‘Technically very strong on IP matters, with a clear commercial focus and a deft touch for managing client relationships. Experts in their field and easy to work with.’

‘Colin Hulme and Megan Briggs provide valuable insight on copyright infringement matters which is both creative and commercially sound, with an eye on how to challenge or reinvigorate established thinking in order to get the best outcome for their clients.’

‘Unrivalled knowledge of Scottish IP law blended with a keen understanding of clients commercial objectives.’

Key clients

Harris Tweed Authority

Sky UK Limited

PPL PRS Limited

ImageRights

Rapscallion

ScottishPower

Cazoo

Bolt

Zoopla

RUA Lifesciences

Work highlights

  • Performing a general counsel role for the Harris Tweed Authority, advising on the strategic direction of the development of the Harris Tweed® portfolio of registered marks as well as enforcement of those marks.
  • Advised RUA Lifesciences PLC on proposed patent licensing arrangements for its technology for coating heart valves and other vascular devices with revolutionary polymer material which improves biostability, durability and avoiding invasive surgery.
  • Advised Hymans Robertson LLP on its joint venture with Canadian actuarial and consulting firm Eckler Ltd.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > IT and telecoms Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP‘s sizeable cross-departmental practice regularly handles corporate, commercial, and contentious matters on behalf of a sterling roster of corporate and public sector clients. Glasgow-based practice chair Callum Sinclair is a highly experienced counsel to companies in the financial, public, and utilities sectors, working with some of the market’s leading players on deals and advisory mandates. Data privacy specialist David Goodbrand is well regarded by various energy and fintech players for his capabilities in digital transformation, outsourcing, and cloud transactions. Senior associate Murray Cree is recommended for his expertise in financial legislation. All named lawyers are based in Edinburgh unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Callum Sinclair

Other key lawyers:

David Goodbrand; Murray Cree; Linzi Chalmers

Testimonials

 ‘I have been extremely impressed with the quality of support received and would highly recommend their services.’

‘Both David Goodbrand and Murray Cree are highly knowledgeable, skilled and personable individuals who provided proactive advice and clear guidance throughout the various contract negotiations we were involved with.’

‘Their responsiveness and availability are of particular value to us, as we often instruct them on matters with challenging deadlines.’

‘Murray Cree was able to manage a variety of different pieces of work, all of which had very challenging deadlines. Despite the complexity of the contracting arrangements, he never lost focus on the bigger commercial picture and is skilled at reducing the complexities to those key issues with the biggest risk/value for his clients.’ 

‘David has a very pragmatic, focused approach and is a pleasure to deal with.’

‘They’ve got a raft of experience from some serious clients but remain very accessible, personable and client-focused.’

‘The team’s willingness to engage across the tech community to assist and support businesses on their growth journey from a place of genuine interest and support is an exemplar for other firms. They also bring huge experience to the start-up community, through their work with established, household technology clients. Their passion for the sector combined with this variety of experience and expertise, makes BP the standout firm in the sector.’

‘The variety of experience and the expertise within their team I believe makes them stand out in the market against competitors. We deal regularly with Callum Sinclair and Linzi Chalmers both of whom are exceptional.’

Key clients

Abrdn

Cazoo

ScottishPower

Cairn / Capricorn Energy

Lothian Pension Fund

Scottish Futures Trust

Hymans Robertson

Access Group

Aberdeen Football Club

Exception

Work highlights

  • Leading commercial contracts aspects of a complex acquisition by abrdn plc of Exo Investing Limited, Nucoro’s AI powered wealth management platform.
  • Following a recent tender win and appointment to their UK legal panel, advising Cazoo on a range of technology and data matters.
  • Advising Scottish Power on a number of IT and technology projects.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Media and entertainment Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP works with some of the most high-profile media organisations and public figures on a litany of commercial and contentious mandates, ranging from counter-infringement enforcement programmes to media law disputes. Practice head Grant Stevenson is highly experienced in corporate finance transactions, leading a multitude of high-profile acquisitions and investments for high-profile Scottish media companies. ‘Sharp negotiatorKirsteen MacDonald exclusively handles media sector disputes, spearheading high-profile defamation actions, leading judicial reviews on behalf of public broadcasters, and working on reputation management issues for production companies and governing bodies. IP partner Colin Hulme is noted for his prolific rights enforcement practice. The ‘dedicated and thorough‘ associate Rebecca Ablett is also recommended. All named lawyers are based in Glasgow.

Practice head(s):

Grant Stevenson

Testimonials

‘Burness Paull were able to reach out very quickly to experts in their field at very short notice for a proof and also had someone capable of running with the case on the team when the senior advocate was dealing with a family emergency. They got to grips with a very complex case under pressure and were able to summarise it very simply in court. They were available round the clock to deal with any problems arising and were thoroughly professional in everything they did.’

‘Kirsteen MacDonald is bright, sharp and a good negotiator.’

‘Rebecca Ablett is dedicated, clever and thorough.’

Key clients

STV Group plc

Neptune Street Film Ltd

Comcast Corporation

Sky Limited

PPL PRS Limited

PicRights

Rockstar Games

Independent Television News Ltd

BBC Scotland

Hachette (part of the Lagardère global publishing group)

Work highlights

  • Advising STV Group on the acquisition and investment into Hello Mary Productions, and the sale of STV’s external lottery management business.
  • Managing Sky’s enforcement programme across Scotland. This involves raising copyright infringement proceedings to prevent unauthorised broadcasts of Sky’s sporting events in licensed premises throughout Scotland.
  • Advising BBC Scotland on all media law matters including contempt, defamation, privacy and contentious copyright.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate tax Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP operates across a broad variety of mandates including the tax aspects of corporate, real estate, private equity and international transactions. Ronnie Brown heads the practice and notably serves as advisor to a number of accountancy and law firms in both London and Scotland, especially in respect of LBTT; his team is also geared to support owner-managed businesses (OMBs) and individuals and routinely advises on employment-related tax matters, recently serving a number of public and private sector clients on the new off-payroll working rules. Director Nicola Williams is a new arrival from Dickson Minto WS and joins with a track record in advising on the tax aspects of share schemes, M&A, angel investment and private equity.    

Practice head(s):

Ronnie Brown

Other key lawyers:

Claire Macpherson; Nicola Williams

Testimonials

‘Burness Paull are always approachable, responsive and willing to take the time to explain and ensure that you understand the situation fully.’

‘Everyone at Burness Paull represents the firm to the highest standards.’

Key clients

The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited

Access UK Ltd

Maven Capital

Kings Park Capital

Brookfield Renewable UK Limited (“BRUK”)

Lonsdale Capital Partners L.P.

Kester Capital

UPM-Kymmene Oyj

Cruden Homes

London & Scottish Property Investment Management

Savannah Energy PLC

Work highlights

  • Advised London based private equity firm Lonsdale Capital Partners L.P. in the sale of Cross Rental Services. The team provided general tax advisory services in relation to the sale, including negotiation of tax indemnities and warranties.
  • Advising a Finnish listed company (UPM-Kymmene Oyj) on the disposal of a UK-based asset to a buyer based in Turkey. The group provided detailed tax structuring and transactional advice.
  • Providing tax advice to Access UK Ltd in relation to their ongoing expansion.

Corporate and commercial > EU and competition Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP is particularly knowledgeable of matters in the technology, food and drink, public, oil and gas, energy and renewable energy sectors. Colin Miller demonstrates a track record in cartel, merger clearance and abuse of a dominant position proceedings, serving as practice co-head alongside Graeme Palmer, an expert in procurement and subsidy control. Beyond partner-level, director Ruth McNaught is an up-and-coming name for state aid, regulatory compliance and publicly procured contractual affairs. The practice is well placed to support on matters of UK, EU and international significance, leveraging its membership with Lex Mundi to oversee matters of a cross-border nature.

Practice head(s):

Colin Miller; Graeme Palmer

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Independent Television News (ITN)

Elite Sports Group

ROC Health Services

Tillicoultry Quarries

Highland Spring

Scottish Enterprise

Ross Safety and Survival

Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK

Energia Group NI Holdings (formerly Viridian Group)

Wave Energy Scotland

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

ScottishPower

South Lanarkshire Council

North Ayrshire Council

Banner Group Limited

Scottish Futures Trust

Work highlights

  • Acting for Elite Sports Group on a CMA investigation into an alleged price-fixing cartel in relation to the sale of Rangers Football Club strips.
  • Acting for Grieg Seafood Hjaltland, a Norwegian Atlantic salmon producer in relation to the sale of its business to Scottish Sea Farms. The team successfully secured a merger clearance after persuading the CMA that there were no serious competition law issues.
  • Acted for Banner Group Limited in court proceedings against the Scottish Ministers in respect of procurement of a circa £80m framework agreement.

Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: fraud Tier 2

Embedded in the firm’s full-service offering, Burness Paull LLP is well equipped to guide clients through a wide range of regulatory, financial and corporate crime issues, including investigations and compliance. Thanks to its presence in Aberdeen – team head Lynne Gray (corporate crime and health & safety) is also based there -, the team is frequently instructed by energy sector players but is equally active in advising private equity firms and clients from the engineering, healthcare and retail sectors. Providing dawn raid support complements its wide-ranging offering.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Timely and clear recommendations received.’

‘Lynne Moss is responsive to time-sensitive enquiries and ensured that her team covered well when she was unavailable.’

Work highlights

  • Advising an energy services company in relation to an investigation conducted by HM Revenue and Customs into potential customs and export and sanctions breaches.
  • Advising a listed company in a fraud investigation by the Metropolitan Police.
  • Advising a subsea company on Russian and Iranian sanctions and the application of UK Dual Use Regulations, which have come into force post-Brexit.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP is well known for its strength in the automotive sector, advising leading industry names in big-ticket commercial litigation matters. Led out of its Glasgow base by Gary Moffat, the group handles both domestic and cross-border disputes, as well as London High Court cases – Jody Crockett is the main contact here. The core team comprises Joanna Fulton who focuses on product liability matters and Alan McMillan in Edinburgh who handles commercial property work. Large insolvency litigation also features in the caseload.

Practice head(s):

Gary Moffat

Testimonials

Joanna Fulton is very committed, clever and commercial.

All members of commercial litigation team at Burness Paull demonstrate a level of competence and business understanding that provides reassurance that any matter being discussed is being handled accordingly.

Joanna Fulton is very experienced, knowledgeable and receptive to feedback.’

‘We have worked alongside Burness Paul on a Scottish law dispute arising out of a fund partnership. The team, lead by Joanna Fulton, is responsive and proactive, as well as being extremely knowledgeable and very pleasant to work with. They put forward good commercial ideas and are not simply “local counsel” but are strategic partners.’

Joanna Fulton has an excellent grasp of the issues that matter to the client. She leads her team of associates and trainees very well. The whole team works together to drive matters forward in an impressive way. Joanna’s advice is sound, commercial and no-nonsense.’

Gary Moffat is extremely approachable and down to earth but constantly displays a deep understanding of the law. I have dealt with many lawyers over many years and Gary is at the top.’

The partner in charge (Gary Moffat) engaged fully and generated a detailed knowledge of the case.’

‘Gary Moffat ensured he was able to provide clear advice throughout including on the more complex and technically detailed aspects.’ 

Key clients

Vodafone

William Grant & Sons

Van Oord UK Limited

Stewart Milne Group

Scottish Football Association

EnQuest

Elite Sports Group Limited

Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited

Westcrowns Group

Sir Alex Ferguson

BBC

Work highlights

  • Acted for Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited in a case against Marks & Spencer in one of the leading, pathfinding, cases in Scotland under the new Electronic Communications Code – relating to a mobile mast site on the flagship M&S store on Princes Street, Edinburgh.
  • Acting for EnQuest in a high value, complex English law governed dispute arising out one of the largest oil and gas processing plants in Europe.
  • Acting for renowned housebuilder, Stewart Milne Group, defending a high-value, business-critical commercial action bonus claim by a former high-ranking executive.

Employment > Health and safety Tier 2

Led from its Aberdeen office by Lynne Gray, Burness Paull LLP‘s health and safety and crisis response team has a strong profile for offshore energy work, guiding oil and gas but also renewable energy companies through HSE, Offshore Safety Directive Regulator (OSDR) and police investigations and prosecutions, including those arising from offshore helicopter accidents. Together with director Lynne Moss, Gray also routinely provides ESG, compliance and risk management advice. Other prominent sectors include food and drink and transport.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Their knowledge and experience in this field has been invaluable and we would highly recommend the team for their pragmatic and clear advice.’

We value their flexibility and responsiveness, often working out of hours to meet the needs of our business.’

‘Lynne Gray is very client focused, providing clear, pragmatic advice on HSE issues.’

‘Lynne Gray has provided us with excellent advice for a number of years and we would highly recommend Lynne for her experience in advising oil and gas companies in relation to HSE matters.

‘Lynne Moss is very knowledgeable and provides clear guidance on HSE-related matters.

Key clients

Repsol Sinopec

Arnold Clark

Apache

Royal Rosyth Dockyard

Work highlights

  • Represented an oil and gas company at a criminal prosecution following an offshore environmental incident in 2014.
  • Advising an oil and gas company following a fire on an offshore installation.
  • Advising a large independent retail and distribution company on managing asbestos risks across their significant portfolio of assets.

Employment > Pensions Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP has a strong profile assisting corporates with the pensions aspects of M&A, private equity investments and refinancing. Sarah Phillips is a key contact in this space and is often supported by senior associate Liam Young. Besides corporate support work, the team led by the Glasgow-based Margaret Meehan is also well placed to advise trustee client boards on the implementation of derisking strategies, liability management and governance. Deborah Adam is rated for her financial services industry expertise.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘I find their strength lies in the delivery of advice and that this is generally relevant and pragmatic.’

‘The firm is superb at pensions work. It is a niche area and specialists like this are hard to find.’

‘The team are all very practical and present the advice very clearly and in a way it can be easily communicated to the business.’

‘Excellent technical knowledge coupled with the ability to make complex areas understandable for trustees without a legal background.’

‘I particularly value the support our firm receives from Deborah Adam and her team. She has great industry knowledge, her team’s advice is always written in ‘plain English’ and her team’s availability is excellent.’

‘Margaret Meehan has a fantastic knowledge of her subject, but her warmth, personality and down-to-earth approach means that she quickly gains the trust and confidence of senior stakeholders.’

‘Liam Young is incredibly smart and quick.’

‘Sarah Phillips is very responsive, knowledgeable and commercial and explains the key issues and risks clearly. Our go-to pensions expert.’

Key clients

The Pension SuperFund

Trustees of each of the Beckman Coulter Pension Plan; the Jacobs Manufacturing Company Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme; the Leica Pension Scheme; and the Willett International Limited Pension and Death Benefits Plan

Scottish Widows

Trustee of the Aegon UK Staff Retirement and Death Benefit Scheme

Melbourne Bidco Limited

PAI Partners SAS

UPM-Kymmene Oyj

International Paper Company

Subsea 7 S.A

The Trustees of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise Superannuation Scheme

Work highlights

  • Avised Melbourne Bidco Limited on the pensions aspects of its acquisition of Travis Perkins Plc’s plumbing and heating business.
  • The team has been advising PAI Partners on the pensions aspects of the purchase of PepsiCo, Inc.’s European juice businesses following the acquisition of those juice brands in North America.
  • Advised International Paper Company on the UK pensions aspects of the hive-off of its printing paper business into a new standalone corporate group, Sylvamo.

Insurance > Professional negligence Tier 2

Now under the leadership of experienced practitioner Ashley Jones (formerly Mawby), the practice at Burness Paull LLP handles professional negligence matters across the construction and financial services sectors, which continues to be its main areas of focus. The team leverages its regulatory practice to assist on liability disputes for solicitors, surveyors, accountants and construction professionals. Chris Mackay advises on public sector projects.

Practice head(s):

Ashley Jones

Other key lawyers:

Chris MacKay

Testimonials

‘They have dealt with the matters very efficiently and their advice and updates are very clear, focused and to the point, which is really appreciated in a busy in-house role.’

‘Ashley Jones is clearly very experienced in the professional negligence sector, and I have total confidence in her work.’

‘I really appreciate how conscious Ashley is about costs, given the relatively low value nature of the matters I am currently instructing her on.’

‘Chris Mackay is very experienced, a wise head, tremendous engagement in cases.’

Key clients

Westcrowns Limited

Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners

Work highlights

  • Acting for The Westcrowns Group in a £1m+ action against one of its former directors.
  • Acting for the Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners in a Court of Session professional negligence action.

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

Showcasing strength in servicing corporate and commercial law aspects for charities, Burness Paull LLP acts for an impressive roster of clients comprising of household names and grass-roots organisations. Under the leadership of Graeme Palmer, the group has seen an increase in activity in the education sector, advising higher education institutions and public sector projects on legal structures and regulatory issues. Senior associate Emma Maxwell is known for work around transfer of operations in the sector. The team works closely with its real estate practice group.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Palmer

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘For charities and voluntary organisations in Scotland, Burness Paull are a long established leading firm, providing support and expertise. They have been a consistent partner in the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ free legal advice service and have also created template constitutions for charitable legal structures in Scotland. These have been invaluable for organisations setting up as charities across Scotland.’

‘Emma Maxwell is an extremely knowledgeable and approachable professional who is always willing to provide support to the charitable sector in Scotland. She is easy to work with and has a good understanding of the every day workings of all aspects of the sector.

‘Very good charity-specific knowledge and good, practical advice given, particularly in being able to deal with our charity’s relatively unusual structure. Quick responses to queries. The team is all really personable and lovely to work with.’

‘Big thanks to Emma Maxwell who has steered us through a number of changes in the year, responding quickly to queries with good, structured, relevant and practical advice. She has linked in to other relevant networks when needed (on matters she is unable to advise on) on a timely basis, which was much appreciated and ultimately hugely helpful.’

‘Everyone that we deal with past and present have/are always available to us when we need them. Every step of any activity is managed extremely professionally, and good guidance and support always available.’

‘No challenge is too big for the team that we deal with.’

Key clients

Cornerstone

Sanctuary Housing Scotland Housing Association Limited

Health and Social Care Alliance

Govanhill Baths Building Preservation Trust

Glasgow Science Centre

Y People

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

Development Trusts Association for Scotland

Beatson Institute for Cancer Research

Thistle Foundation

Street Soccer (Scotland) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association on its acquisition of Thistle Housing Association Limited.
  • Advised Glasgow Science Centre on property arrangements during COP 26.
  • Advised Cornerstone on industrial relations and trade union law.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP’s private client team is led out of Aberdeen by Colin McKenzie and handles contentious wills, trusts and succession planning matters for beneficiaries, fiduciaries and executors. The group also leverages a strong disputes practice headed by Gary Moffat. Accredited specialist Claire Macpherson is based in Glasgow and is skilled in the international aspects of estates and inheritance tax.

Practice head(s):

Colin McKenzie

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Claire Macpherson has a very sound knowledge of complex trusts for high-net-worth clients.’

‘Colin McKenzie is someone trusted by clients and their advisors to handle very complex arrangements and bring parties together.’

‘The Burness Paull private capital team are high quality advisors to wealthy individuals and trusts. Their support for complex and often difficult decision making and clear advice, often navigating conflict stands out.’

Work highlights

  • Instructed to provide a report to the US court-appointed trustee of a US trust which had a Scottish-based beneficiary.
  • Contacted by the London office of an international law firm to advise the ultimate client, a global tech giant, through its overseas subsidiary, in relation to Scottish succession law.
  • Acting in a dispute regarding the capital beneficiaries of a long running Liferent Trust. Our clients are a charitable trust who may have had an entitlement to funds bequeathed to trust over 40 years ago by a notable former Scottish football manager.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and executries Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP continues to be instructed by a steady roster of high-net-worth clients and individuals across the domestic tax, trusts and estate succession planning areas, and is led by the Aberdeen-based Colin McKenzie, who is well respected in the market. The group is active in cross-border domicile issues as well as succession laws. Glasgow-base  led the private client practice at Gilson Gray.

Practice head(s):

Colin McKenzie

Other key lawyers:

Fiona Clarke; Claire Macpherson; Euan Fleming

Testimonials

‘The firm are very experienced in the high-net-worth/complex space, where they have provided extremely crucial advice to family business owners and entrepreneurs who have been gearing up for sale and require the best possible structuring advice.’

‘Fiona Clarke provided my husband and I with our own wills, I had spoken with several different firms that I felt did not provide the most appropriate will structuring for our needs. Fiona understood our split family requirements and took the time to sit down with us and fully explain the various options that we had.’

‘Colin McKenzie – Coming from a commercial background Colin has a sense of urgency often lacking in other Private Client solicitors. Colin puts clients at ease and always comes across as a very practical adviser.’

Fiona Clarke – Great manner with clients and can be trusted to produce high quality advice in good time.

‘My experience is that the team works collaboratively to achieve the best outcome for clients.’

‘Fiona Clarke has the rare skill of being able to explain complex matters in simple terms for clients.’

‘Long term working relationship particularly with Colin McKenzie. They have in depth knowledge of our history and circumstances. Provided essential planning advice and assistance with recent extensive employee share schemes.’

‘My main contact is with Fiona Clarke, who has not only demonstrated a very high level of technical ability (which if I recall was acknowledged in an award when passing her exams), but also very strong client communication skills.’

Key clients

CHAP (Holdings)

Esson Properties

Halliburton

Malcolm Allan Housebuilders

National Oilwell Varco

Petrofac Group

Scotia Homes

Stena Drilling

Transocean Group

Wood Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised a high-net-worth couple on the creation of a family investment company (FIC) for inheritance tax mitigation purposes and to pass value to grandchildren whilst retaining control.
  • Advised the founding shareholders of a multinational IT business in relation to their succession planning.
  • Advised a listed multi-national oil and energy company in relation to several death in service cases.

Projects, energy and natural resources > Energy (excluding oil and gas) Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP, hailed as a ‘well-resourced practice with in-depth local and national expertise’, is acclaimed for its projects, regulatory, finance and energy transition expertise. Bob Ruddiman leads the department which, in addition to traditional energy, has accumulated significant exposure to new technologies such as floating offshore wind and battery storage. Peter Ward’s complete commitment to energy work has allowed him to develop expertise on a number of fronts including onshore wind, solar and marine projects, regulatory patters and M&A. Neil Bruce takes lead on the real estate aspects of major energy schemes meanwhile Sophie Coffey is a director with specialist knowledge of renewables finance.

Practice head(s):

Bob Ruddiman

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘I have worked with Burness Paull on a number of renewable energy projects. They have specialist knowledge and expertise in this area and understand the interests of both landowner and developer. This means that they are supportive of collaborative solutions to practical issues which delivers a document that is balanced and appropriate for property specific issues.’

‘Burness Paull allow their team to be specialists in their chosen fields which means that they can offer genuine legal experts. They are positive, friendly and approachable and fun to work with.’

‘Excellent renewable energy team, with strong partners in property, regulatory and banking in particular.’

‘Peter Ward’s knowledge of the corporate and regulatory side of the renewable energy market is encyclopaedic and he shares it with great clarity.’

‘Neil Bruce has great all-round knowledge of the renewable energy market outside of his property specialism and he is increasingly becoming an industry heavyweight in Scotland.’

‘The team are highly responsive and understand bankability issues in an energy sector context.

‘Neil Bruce and his team know the Scottish renewables market well – both the key players and the projects. They are friendly and approachable, and do a great job of communicating legal difficulties to commercial clients in a manner which is clear to understand.’

‘A well-resourced practice, with in-depth local and national expertise.’

Key clients

EDF Energy Renewables

Green Investment Group

Statkraft UK

Ventient Energy

Invenergy Wind Europe

Brockwell Energy

Orsted

Fred Olsen Renewables

BayWa r.e. UK

Brookfield Renewables

Work highlights

  • Advised Brookfield in respect of all aspects of its disposal of six onshore wind farms, as part of a wider disposal together with twelve Irish onshore wind farms, to Danish developer Orsted in a £575m transaction.
  • Advising the University of St Andrews with regards to the joint venture arrangements, development, construction and offtake of electricity from the proposal solar PV project, being developed on University land.
  • Advised Brockwell Energy in relation to the development and project financing of their 240,000 tonne Energy from Waste Centre at Westfield.

Projects, energy and natural resources > Oil and gas Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP is geared to support on a broad breadth of oil and gas affairs, including regulatory, disputes, technology, health and safety, employment, IP and environmental mandates. Practice head Bob Ruddiman demonstrates a track record which spans matters in the UK, North America, Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia; he is supported by consultant Brian Hemming, a lawyer active on field interest transactions, projects and upstream joint venture agreements. Director David Smith is also an integral member of the team, steering clients through asset transactions, joint venture and decommissioning security agreements, and project and infrastructure negotiations.

Practice head(s):

Bob Ruddiman

Other key lawyers:

Brian Hemming; David Smith; Laura Fraser

Testimonials

‘Very experienced in all types of Oil and Gas transactions and very customer focused.’

‘Brian Hemming and David Smith provide excellent service. They are both very personable and aligned with their customer requirements. Legal drafting is provided to a high standard and in a timely fashion.’

‘Strong across upstream oil and gas and corporate matters – know the local market well.’

‘Bob Ruddiman is a fantastic leader and well respected expert. Very valuable counsel and strategic guidance.’

‘David Smith – quality senior associate. Very sharp, commercial and helpful.’

‘The team’s knowledge and understanding of our business is second to none – the midstream oil and gas sector is a limited market that is not universally well understood by the UK legal market. The Burness Paull team uses its extensive upstream experience and is able to apply that to provide efficient and effective advice and relevant direction to us as a midstream player.’

‘David Smith stands out for his ability to build strong relationships with key client contacts which builds a high level of trust. We know when we ask David to handle something for us it will be done efficiently and to a high standard.’

‘Bob Ruddiman has an exceptional knowledge of the UK energy market and uses that knowledge to identify possible opportunities for us and to discuss existing work on an informed basis. His knowledge and level of understanding instils great confidence that his team will get the job done to a high standard.’

Key clients

Harbour Energy

Ancala Midstream

Tailwind Energy

Kellas Midstream

Neptune Energy

Anasuria Hibiscus

National Oilwell Varco

Savannah Petroleum

i3 Energy

NZTC (Net Zero Technology Centre)

Work highlights

  • Advising Savannah Energy PLC on it’s $65m equity fundraising, and the capital markets aspects of its up to $700m reverse takeover acquisitions of ExxonMobil and Petronas’s oil businesses in Chad and Cameroon.
  • Advising i3 Energy plc on its secondary placing of new shares to raise £40m if capital in order to fund i3’s acquisition of petroleum and infrastructure assets in Alberta, Canada.
  • Acting for EnQuest in a high value, complex English law-governed dispute arising out one of the largest oil and gas processing plants in Europe.

Projects, energy and natural resources > Projects Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP has been engaged on several high-end West- and South-hub projects of late and is headed by Chris Mackay, a public sector specialist with a track record in hospital and education schemes; he is also famed for his expertise of ports, harbours, airports and rails and is supported by Gavin Paton, an expert in secondary market project finance deals, as well as James Forbes who provides the group’s construction knowhow. Chris Horsley, who recently made director, is a standout name at the junior-end, having developed specific expertise in PFI/PPP, healthcare, education and transport matters.

Practice head(s):

Chris Mackay

Testimonials

‘Good grasp of technology and able to bring in experts in the key fields to assist.’

‘Chris MacKay and the team work well together as a team and are able to convey information very well, and communicate with us regularly to keep us fully informed.’

Key clients

NHS Lothian

Perth & Kinross Council

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

hub West Scotland Limited

Hub Community Foundation

Scottish Futures Trust Limited

Scot Roads Partnership Project Limited

Scottish Enterprise

University of St Andrews

Scrabster Harbour Trust

Galliford Try Construction (UK) Limited

Graham Construction

Ancala Water Services

Van Oord

Highland Spring Limited

Galliford Try FM

Port of Cromarty Firth

Work highlights

  • Advising hub West Scotland Limited on a DBDA project to develop the largest health centre in Scotland – a new £50m North East Health Hub near Parkhead, Glasgow.
  • Advising Perth & Kinross Council on two significant DBDA projects with hub East Central Scotland, including the new £62m Perth High School and a £25m refurb of Blairgowrie Recreation Centre.
  • Advising Highlands & Islands Enterprise on the procurement and construction of the Life Sciences Innovation Centre, consisting of a teaching and research facility for the University of the Highlands and Islands and commercial space for Highlands & Islands Enterprise.

Public sector > Health Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP is known for its handling of large-scale projects in the healthcare space, advising across the construction, real estate and IP areas for both public and private sector clients, including NHS Lothian. The team has a strong care-home sector sub-group advising on property acquisitions and disposals and has seen an increase in Medtech instructions. Edinburgh based practice head Chris Mackay advises on PFI/PPP matters whilst contentious mandates, including high-profile product liability disputes, are handled by Joanna Fulton. Chris Horsley remains a core member of the group handling commercial contracts.

Practice head(s):

Chris Mackay

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

NHS Lothian

Hub West Scotland Limited

Hamberley Care Homes

Lenus Health

Scottish Enterprise

Smith & Nephew

Medtronic

Cello Health

Impact Healthcare REIT plc

Merck

Work highlights

  • Advised NHS Lothian on the urgent delivery of a number of mass vaccine centres in various locations in the Lothian area.
  • Acted for Waterland on the Scots law aspects of the acquisition of Priory Group, the leading provider of behavioural healthcare services in the UK, from Acadia Healthcare Company Inc.
  • Act for Scottish Enterprise on a range of transactions in the healthcare and life sciences sectors.

Public sector > Parliamentary and public affairs Tier 2

At Burness Paull LLP, the practice is singled out for its ‘extensive experience within the sector’ and is well-placed to handle a range of parliamentary issues and sensitive public inquiries for Scottish governmental bodies. Hazel Moffat leads the group which is made includes the ‘exceptional’ Fiona Killen who is the key name for drafting legislation, judicial review, and contentious public law matters. The team also advises on statutory interpretation.

Practice head(s):

Hazel Moffat

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Burness Paull are extremely approachable and have the knack of being able to explain complex legal concepts in lay terms.’

‘The advice they give is considered and relevant.’

‘The format for instruction is clear and very well structured.’

‘The added extras, such as newsletters, workshops and webinars are informative and relevant.’

‘Fiona Killen is exceptionally knowledgeable about the the public sector and administrative law. What makes her stand out is her underlying knowledge about the context and development of public law.’

‘Fiona Killen is an exceptional networker and generous with sharing her contacts.’ 

‘Fiona Killen is hugely experienced in public law matters, particularly issues around the devolution settlement and the limits of the Scottish Parliament’s competence.’

Hazel Moffat possesses a high level of individual knowledge and experience in the sector which is very beneficial to our organisation.’

Key clients

First Division Association and various current and former individual members

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Audit Scotland

Scottish Funding Council

Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Odfjell Drilling (UK) Ltd

University of the West of Scotland

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise

Association of Scottish Self-Caterers

Work highlights

  • Acted for certain witnesses to the Scottish Parliament’s high profile Inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints.
  • Represented Highland and Islands Enterprise in a judicial review raised by an individual challenging a funding decision made by HIE to a third party, from a fund created during the pandemic to support businesses.
  • Advised the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers on the legality of draft secondary legislation proposed by the Scottish Government and being considered by the Scottish Parliament which would bring in the first licensing regime of its kind of short term lets in Europe.

Real estate > Construction Tier 2

With Fenella Mason heading up Burness Paull LLP's construction law practice, it has a strong profile for contentious work. This has recently included an increasing number of instructions from contractors, but the team is also regularly retained to assist with non-contentious matters pertaining to residential, redevelopment, infrastructure and energy projects. Gavin Paton, whose expertise extends to procurement law, and James Forbes, who is part of the firm's renewable energy group, are the key contacts in the non-contentious arena. Besides contractors, the team also receives a steady flow of mandates from developers, most notably those in the ports and harbour, energy and education sectors.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘An attentive firm that seek to understand the risk profile of projects in order that solutions can be developed and the legal structure can be shaped to suit.’

‘Very strong understanding of various forms of contracts to suit a variety of sectors which ultimately promotes developing an appropriate solution for each project.’

‘They are very personable people which generally improves the working environment. Everyone is accessible and they are all very well versed in the current law.’

‘They work extremely well as a team and are very good at engaging with clients and advisors.’

‘James Forbes has a very strong understanding of the commercial market, which allows project risks to be appraised against market challenges. High level of dedication to work with clients and project teams to develop solutions and ensure that project risks are properly understood.’

‘Fenella Mason is a very competent legal operator with considerable ability to project manage complex legal cases.’

‘Caroline Maciver has a good technical brain and is able to marshall complex data as well as being easy to work with.’

‘Chris Mackay is very thoughtful and does not rush decision making. Takes clients wishes onboard.’

Key clients

Glyndebourne Productions Limited

Cognito Oak LLP (Henry Boot Developments/Wraith Real Estate JV)

Orsted

Brookfield Renewables

Galliford Try

Ferrovial Construction UK Limited

Mercury Engineering

University of St Andrews

Van Oord UK Limited

Fraserburgh Harbour

Amey plc

Graham

EDF Energy

Port of Cromarty Firth

CA Ventures

Pencloe Wind Energy Limited

Highland Spring Limited

Hub West Scotland Limited

Cruden Group

Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners

Work highlights

  • Advising Cognito Oak LLP on the proposed development of over 500 homes and community facilities at Cloverhill, Aberdeen, with a construction value in excess of £100m.
  • Advising Highland Spring Limited on the design, construction and commissioning of a new rail freight facility in Perthshire to improve its logistical capability and sustainable transport of goods.
  • Advising hub West Scotland Limited on the delivery of infrastructure projects in Greater Glasgow, including the construction of a new North East Health Hub, a refurbishment of the Paisley Learning and Cultural Hub and the construction of the Carntyne Primary School Extension.

Real estate > Social housing Tier 2

Development-driven matters constitute the cornerstone of Burness Paull LLP's social housing work and typically involve land and financing transactions, construction agreements and procurement issues; the last-mentioned segment is often handled in conjunction with the firm's public law and regulatory colleagues. The team's investment and regeneration expertise was further strengthen by the arrival Richard Lockhart in January 2022 from Scottish Futures Trust. Together with Louise Chambers, another contact for the sale and development of land, he forms part of the team led by commercial real estate expert Peter Chambers. Clients include developers alongside social and affordable housing providers.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘Wide range of expertise within the firm that can be called upon at any time – will always give you as the client the correct balance between legal opinion and common sense view for a particular situation.’

‘Great knowledge of all aspects of affordable housing.’

‘Burness Paull have extensive knowledge of the community-based housing sector in Glasgow. The firm has provided advice and practical assistance on a range of issues including governance, procurement and regulation.’

‘Good attention to detail, they understand the requirements of our business and think of ways around problems/find solutions which is always welcome.’

‘The transactions can often be complex and I trust the team to do a good job.’

‘The team has an excellent reputation for delivering a high level of service and for the in-depth knowledge and experience they have of the Scottish housing sector and environment.’

‘Peter Chambers’ considerable experience means that he can apply knowledge and solutions to any problem. He is a pleasure to work with because of his calm and confident manner.’

‘Louise Chambers is proactive and always ensures deadlines are met.’

Key clients

Sanctuary Housing Association

Scottish Futures Trust Investment Limited

Cruden Group

Springfield Properties plc

Hillcrest Housing Association Limited

Link Group Limited

Miller Homes Limited

Castlehill Housing Association Limited

First Endeavour LLP

Taylor Wimpey UK Limited

Milbank Housing Association Limited

Cognito Oak LLP

Stewart Milne Group Limited

Elsick Development Company Limited

BDW Trading Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Cognito Oak LLP on a major land sale to Aberdeen City Council in relation to the proposed development of 536 affordable homes and community facilities at Cloverhill, Aberdeen.
  • Advising Buccleuch Property and Cruden Homes (East) in relation to their winning bid to City of Edinburgh Council to develop the council’s Fountainbridge site, including 113 affordable homes.
  • Advising Link Group Limited in relation to its multi-million pound funding deal from Scottish Widows.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Sport Tier 2

Fielding a sizeable cross-disciplinary team working across multiple sites, Burness Paull LLP is well placed to advise a wide range of leading clubs, governing bodies, and athletes on the full gamut of business-critical concerns. Edinburgh-based practice chair Stephen Farrell is a dual-qualified (English and Scottish) legal director who handles a number of sporting disputes in Scotland, with significant experience in transferrable arbitration. Neil Smith, in Aberdeen, focuses primarily on dispute resolution, while Glasgow-based senior associate Megan Briggs handles sports law matters from the contentious IP and tech team, with key workflows including trademark disputes and passing off issues. The ‘exceptionalMandy Laurie is recommended for employment law matters.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Farrell

Testimonials

‘Mandy Laurie is exceptional. She has worked through some very difficult situations for us in a very pragmatic and commercial way.’

Key clients

Scottish FA

Scottish Rugby Union plc

Scottish Squash Limited

Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL)

Aberdeen FC

Sir Alex Ferguson/ACF Sports Promotions

PicRights

Elite Sports Group Limited

Sky Limited (Sky Sports)

Neptune Street Films Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Elite Sports Group Ltd (“Elite”) in their multi-million pound dispute with Rangers FC regarding their kit, merchandising and sponsorship agreements.
  • Acted for the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) enforcing their intellectual property rights.
  • Acted for Neptune Street Films Limited in the production of Sir Alex Ferguson documentary/film “Never Give In” including advice on defamation/libel and privacy.

Scotland > Transport Tier 2

Thanks to projects and construction expert Chris Mackay's specialism in ports and harbours, Burness Paull LLP's team continues to receive sector-specific contentious and non-contentious instructions - including those involving maritime incidents - from marine contractors, transport insurers, port operators and other marine players. Matters at the intersection with health and safety are typically handled with the relevant team in Aberdeen, while the group's cooperation with its planning and construction law colleagues benefits clients requiring assistance with road and rail project-related matters at these intersections.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Good knowledge of the industry and access to relevant experts to assist when required.’

‘The support and advice provided resulted in a successful outcome for the business.’

‘The team are very knowledgeable concerning civil engineering and thus can quickly understand problems and offer good advice.’

‘They are also very collaborative and friendly, with invoicing being carried out on time.’

‘Chris Mackay communicates very well; accessible when required and gives regular updates as to the ongoing progress in the dispute.’

Key clients

Scot Roads Partnership Project Limited

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

Arnold Clark Automobiles Limited

Bolt

Work highlights

  • Continues to provide project contractual support to Port of Cromarty Forth in connection with the £31m Phase 4 development of Invergordon Service Base.
  • Advising Highland Spring Limited on the design, construction and commissioning of a new rail freight facility, including a rail mounted gantry crane adjacent to Highland Spring’s bottling plant in Blackford, Perthshire.
  • Advising Scot Roads Partnership Project Limited on the delivery of a high-value improvement to the main trunk road in Scotland. Advice includes resolving remaining construction phase disputes, defects issues and final payments – with active court actions being raised in relation to key topics such as final completion.

Insurance > Personal injury: defender Tier 3

Burness Paull LLP is ‘very experienced, knowledgeable and an approachable team’, according to clients and regularly handles complex personal injury litigation across the energy, maritime and construction sectors. Overseen by Andrew Forsyth in Edinburgh, the practice advises on industrial disease, including asbestos, employer and occupier liability claims. The team is also well placed to advise on occupational disease claims, including noise and vibration cases. Neil Smith is the key contact in Aberdeen. Director Lynne Moss represents clients in health and safety prosecutions and fatal claims.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Forsyth

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team display a good understanding of the industry, risks associated within the industry and the insurance and risk management business.’

‘Andrew Forsyth provides the appropriate advice to ensure that the business can assess the appropriate outcomes of any personal injury claim to ensure that the business is suitably supported.’

‘The practice has set itself up to respond to the bespoke needs of clients. Focussed on servicing clients as opposed to chasing Insurer panel income is what makes Burness Paull different. This aligns well with the values of my own firm and is why we have chosen to collaborate with them.’

‘Andrew Forsyth is a personable, humble, professional and a highly likeable individual. He, and Burness Paull generally, have been an absolute pleasure to work with.’

‘The practice is very client focused and they are always prepared to tailor their services to meet their clients needs. They always deal with matters promptly and efficiently.’

‘The Team at Burness Paull have served our needs for a few year now and we have absolutely no problems with them at all. Nothing is too much trouble for them they go above and beyond to get the best results for us and take the time to explain any complex issues that we are struggling with.’

‘I mainly deal with Andrew Forsyth and I have a great working relationship with him. He keeps me up-to-date on all the files that he is dealing with on our behalf, nothing is too much trouble for him, he provides any training that I or the team need and goes above and beyond. He is friendly helpful and professional.’

‘Andrew Forsyth – is knowledgeable, in a highly specialised area, is approachable and very pragmatic in his way of dealing with claims – understands areas of importance to the client and high levels of service expected.’

Key clients

Kier Construction

Subsea 7

North of England P&I Association

Thomas Miller Claims Management

Resolute Management

Halliburton

Stena Drilling

Sunderland Marine

R&Q

Standard Club

Work highlights

  • Nominated by Subsea 7, a subsea engineering, construction and services company serving the offshore energy industry, to defend its personal injury claims in Scotland.
  • Nominated by Halliburton, a services company serving the energy industry, to defend its personal injury claims in Scotland.
  • Nominated by Resolute Management, an insurance company, to defend its asbestos and noise related claims in Scotland.

Public sector > Education Tier 3

Burness Paull LLP is skilled at advising both regional and Scottish higher education institutions and was recently appointed to the APUC framework. The team handles transactional mandates for leading universities including joint ventures and spinouts as well as employment-related issues, leveraging its firm-wide capability – Morag Hutchison is a key name here. Practice head Fiona Killen has demonstrable strength in education governance work and data protection matters and is supported by Hazel Moffat, who handles compliance with regulatory matters for education bodies. Elsewhere, Richard Lockhart joined the partnership from the Scottish Futures Trust.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Killen

Testimonials

‘Fiona Killen is an expert in education law in Scotland; including niche aspects.’

‘Burness Paull is an excellent company to work with. Comprehensive advice is provided promptly and in a way that is easy to understand. The partner’s understanding and experience of the sector we work in is first class and input from some of the other partners e.g. employment law, has been very helpful. All staff we deal with are very professional and friendly.’

Working with Hazel Moffat is a pleasure. Nothing is too much trouble – even ensuring she is contactable out of normal working hours when there are important and specific issues to be dealt with. She is a good communicator and makes everything easy to understand. Advice is provided promptly and she often provides a new perspective on issues which is refreshing. Her experience of the further and higher education sectors is invaluable.’

Key clients

Scottish Funding Council

University of the West of Scotland

University of St Andrews

Robert Gordon’s College

North East Scotland College

Hub West Scotland Ltd

Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges

Harlow College

The UNITE UK student Accommodation Fund

Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Work highlights

  • Sole providers of legal services to the Scottish Funding Council.
  • Provided strategic advice to the University of the West of Scotland on constitutional and governance matters.
  • Advised the University of St. Andrews in relation to the ongoing joint venture that they have with a consortium of landowners for the development of St. Andrews West.

Real estate > Planning Tier 3

As a reflection of team head and solicitor advocate Alasdair Sutherland‘s expertise in the contentious space, Burness Paull LLP routinely assists clients – many of which stem from the housebuilding sector, and to a lesser extent from the energy sector, – with planning appeals, appeals against the refusal of planning permissions, SEPA objections and enforcement actions. Its non-contentious work frequently has a transactional angle and involves section 75 agreements.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘Friendly, approachable, prompt and knowledgeable.’

‘Easy to speak with, with a good ability to explain things in a way that is easy to understand. All members are approachable and knowledgeable and provide sound advice.’

‘A very well-resourced team with a good breadth and depth of knowledge. Quick to respond to unexpected scenarios.’

‘The planning team have a good ability to simplify complex matters and will offer clear advice which looks to resolve matters in the most efficient manner.’

‘Well led by Alasdair Sutherland, who has a calm approach to the issues he is required to face. He has a great talent for taking the heat out of a client’s often exasperated position by adopting a level-headed approach to the issue at hand.’

‘Both Alasdair Sutherland and Emma Dewar have provided excellent guidance across a wide spectrum of instructions, from planning enforcement notices and challenges to planning appeals, Section 75 and unilateral agreements.’

‘Emma Dewar is highly competent and experienced.’

‘Steven Stuart is a strong member of the Burness Paull team and has proved himself very capable working alongside our planning consultants.’

Key clients

Taylor Wimpey

Barratt Homes

Cruden Homes

Guild Homes

Scotia Homes

GB Grove Limited

Carmichael Homes

ScottishPower Renewables

Brockwell Energy

Brookfield

Work highlights

  • Advising Springfield Properties plc on the section 75 planning agreement for the proposed new village development comprising over 3,000 houses, a new village centre, new schools, a business park and leisure facilities at Durieshill, near Stirling.
  • Advising Barratt Homes West Scotland in successfully defending a Court of Session challenge raised by West Dunbartonshire Council to the grant of planning permission on appeal by a Scottish Government Reporter for Barratt’s 99 house development on a greenfield site in Clydebank.
  • Advising Ogilvie Homes in a planning appeal against the planning authority’s refusal of planning permission for a major residential development at East Whitburn, West Lothian.

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 4

At Burness Paull LLP, the agriculture practice is active in the purchase and sale of large farms and estates and diversification projects. The team advises on commercial property transactions across Scotland and acquisitions. Director Colin Brown in Edinburgh is noted for his experience with crofting.

Other key lawyers:

Private client > Family

Burness Paull LLP has been bolstered with the arrival of senior solicitors and accredited mediators Richard Smith and Jennifer Wilkie who will lead the newly formed family practice after joining from Brodies. The group handles complex child-related issues covering residency matters, surrogacy and adoption. Nilah Ulhaq is also a key member of the team.

The firm:
Proudly based in Scotland, Burness Paull is a full-service, independent law firm working with leading organisations across the UK and internationally. Burness Paull is the exclusive UK member of Lex Mundi – the world’s leading network of independent law firms – and has worked in over 60 jurisdictions in the last three years. In 2022, Burness Paull topped the corporate legal deals table in Scotland for the sixth year running.
www.burnesspaull.com

Principal areas of work
Corporate/M&A:
Burness Paull has the largest specialist deals teams in Scotland. The firm has continued to prove its market-leading position in Scotland and expand its global reach – with a significant proportion of work done worldwide for UK-based clients as well as international investors acquiring companies and equity stakes in the UK.

Energy: Burness Paull’s energy practice is built on our deep experience of advising on the legal and commercial issues of global oil and gas and renewable energy projects. We bring experience from both sides of the fence, as advisors in private practice able to count upon experienced former in-house professionals from operators, developers and service providers. The firm’s energy lawyers have advised on high-value deals from Norway to Nigeria and have worked in over 100 jurisdictions.

Property: The firm’s tier one-ranked real estate team is one of the largest in Scotland, with specialist expertise in retail, leisure and hospitality, investment, housebuilding, development, renewables, public sector, agriculture and estates, and real estate finance. Combined with planning, it has delivered a number of innovative projects and has a depth of experience in acquisitions, disposals, finance and development, including investment portfolios and UK-wide financing.

Construction: With one of the largest construction law teams in Scotland, Burness Paull offers a truly integrated service in both contentious and non-contentious matters. The team provides advice across the whole spectrum of construction and engineering, from offshore engineering contracts and major public sector infrastructure projects, through to traditional mixed-use commercial developments.

Planning: The firm’s planning team, works across private and public sectors on a full spectrum of developments: conventional energy, renewable energy, regeneration, retail and residential. Its work includes planning appraisals, representation on development plans, community consultations, submission of applications, discussions with planning authorities and consultees, negotiation of planning agreements, preparation and submission of appeals and reviews, appearances at public inquiries and hearings and compulsory purchase orders.

Banking: Burness Paull’s banking team is recognised for its exceptional track record of leading complex transactions and the delivery of practical solutions and advice. It acts for international and domestic financial institutions, private equity houses and corporate borrowers. Many of the team have City or in-house experience and all have exemplary credentials in a range of financings, including oil and gas, renewables, acquisition, asset-backed and real estate, as well as restructurings and securitisations.

Funds: The firm’s 20+ strong team is Scotland’s leading private funds practice. Its client base is made up of City and international law firms and domestic, European and North American fund managers. While the team has built its market-leading reputation on the sponsor side, the last three years have seen the growth and development of a significant investor-side practice.

Commercial dispute resolution: Burness Paull’s dispute resolution team is one of the strongest commercial litigation teams in Scotland. It handles high-value, complex cases for international businesses, global conglomerates, government agencies and high-profile individuals. Each of the team’s partners are specialists in their respective fields of intellectual property, property litigation, product liability, insolvency, reputation management, and marine and offshore. The IP team was named Scottish Patent Contentious Firm of the Year and also IP Transactions & Advisory Firm of the Year at the Managing IP Awards in 2022.

Health and safety: The firm’s health and safety practice provides strategic advice across energy, food and drink, shipping, marine and subsea, aviation, manufacturing and construction, and pharmaceuticals. It supports clients through every stage of H&S litigation, from emergency healthcare response and incident investigation through to representation at inquiries or criminal prosecutions. The team also advises on financial crime and is highly-experienced in representing clients in FAIs.

Employment: Burness Paull’s award-winning employment practice is the largest dedicated team in Scotland, advising some of the  best-known employers across the UK. The market-leading contentious employment litigation practice includes a number of highly experienced litigators and solicitor advocates, and is fully capable of advising in relation to English employment law matters.

Pensions: The firm’s impressive pensions practice advises on M&A, corporate restructuring, alternative funding arrangements and insolvency. It also advises trustees and local authorities on all aspects of running pension funds, and insurance companies on the pension products they provide to the market. Comprising lawyers dual-qualified in English and Scots law, the firm has the only pensions team with a full-time presence in Aberdeen.

Technology and commercial: Burness Paull’s tech and commercial team has market-leading expertise across a range of specialist tech areas, including outsourcing, procurement, complex commercial contracts, and the use of information. The team includes commercial lawyers with specialisms in IT, IP, information law, FinTech and financial services regulation.

Immigration: Burness Paull’s immigration team is the market leader in Scotland, acting for public and private sector clients and individuals. The highly specialised team advises on the full spectrum of immigration issues, including the sponsoring of foreign workers and international migrants, relocation to the UK for investment or business start-up purposes, settlement applications, complex family migration cases, and immigration litigation.

Public Law and Regulatory: Burness Paull has one of the strongest, dedicated teams of lawyers who focus purely on matters relating to government, the public sector and their relationship to business and society. The team acts for a wide range of private sector companies in respect of their interactions with state bodies and have represented a number of key individuals and groups across all manner of public law challenges, including statutory appeals, judicial review, tribunals, disciplinary proceedings, inquiries, investigations and procurement challenges.

Family and Divorce: Burness Paull employs Scotland’s leading family law experts who advise on a range of matters, including divorce and separation agreements, child-related issues arising between separated couples, cohabitation agreements and separation, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, international and cross-border issues, and adoption.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Chair Peter Lawson
Managing Partner Tamar Tammes
Banking and Funds Paula Kennedy
Construction and Projects Fenella Mason
Corporate Finance Mark Ellis
Dispute Resolution Gary Moffat
Employment Mandy Laurie
Energy Bob Ruddiman
Health, Safety and Environmental Lynne Gray
Pensions Sarah Phillips
Planning Alasdair Sutherland
Private Capital Colin McKenzie
Real Estate Scott Peterkin
Public Law Hazel Moffat
Tax Ronnie Brown
Technology and Commercial Callum Sinclair
Family Law Richard Smith
Immigration Grace McGill
Number of UK partners : 86
Number of other UK fee-earners : 231
Mandarin
French
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