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Shepherd and Wedderburn

Work 0131 228 9900
Fax 0131 228 1222
551970 EDINBURGH-53

Elaine Brailsford

Work 0131 473 5287
Shepherd and Wedderburn

Work Department

Commercial, Finance and Insolvency Disputes


Elaine is a partner in commercial litigation, primarily focusing on commercial, financial and property related disputes. She has vast experience in the Court of Session, Sheriff Courts, Land Court and Lands Tribunal, and works closely with our real estate and banking teams. Elaine's work includes groundbreaking property litigation, including the cases on dilapidations and extraordinary repairs under a commercial lease, and a recent case for damages in relation to the encroachment by a major house builder into neighbouring land; a major litigation involving breach of warranty claims in a sale of a business, and the resulting professional negligence claim against solicitors; leading the team involved in complex pension litigation in relation to equalisation of rights; and a long running case involving an oil rig where claims exceed $65m, acting with our banking team she brought the first case of its kind in Scotland where an administration order was made in respect of a non-UK company with heritable assets in Scotland.


Trained Campbell Smith & Co; qualified 1982; partner, Tods Murray LLP 1989-2014; partner, Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP 2014 to date.


Law Society of Scotland


The Nicolson Institute; University of Aberdeen (1979 LLB).

Scotland: Crime, fraud and licensing


Within: Licensing

Shepherd and Wedderburn‚Äôs team predominantly handles licensing matters arising out of its real estate and construction practice. Its clients include several major players in the retail and leisure sectors, including major store, hotel and restaurant operators. Highlights for Hugh Smith included successfully advising Sainsbury‚Äôs on problematic licensing issues in relation to planning and building documentation, which impacted its ability to sell alcohol ‚Äď in addition to representing the client against an NHS objection to a planned increase in the capacity of a kiosk in one of its Edinburgh stores. On the transactional side, associate Lynn Simpson supported the real estate team in advising the Richmond Park Hotel on the premises license transfer in conjunction with the hotel‚Äôs sale. Elaine Brailsford¬†successfully achieved a major variation of a Premises License before the Licensing Board for a restaurant owned by MD Milne, despite the premises being located within a designated overprovision area.

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Scotland: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation

Within: Commercial litigation

Shepherd and Wedderburn's practice is characterised by its size, prominence in complex disputes and breadth of expertise across all forms of dispute resolution. Iain Drummond, a seasoned expert in construction/engineering and projects disputes, appears regularly at the Court of Session as a solicitor advocate, and also has an active adjudication and mediation practice. John MacKenzie and senior associate Kevin Clancy are also solicitor advocates. Alastair Frood leads the banking and finance litigation practice, and also undertakes matters involving professional negligence, insurance litigation and charity-related disputes (among other areas); Frood's experience includes multi-party mediations, expert determination and Sheriff Court/Court of Session proceedings. Also recommended for banking and finance litigation is team head Gillian Carty, who is also a particularly strong choice for insolvency litigation (she is a licensed insolvency practitioner and accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as an accredited specialist in insolvency law). Illustrative of the firm's work, in 2017, MacKenzie represented Ernst & Young as the liquidator of three offshore companies in a professional negligence claim over a $300m suspected fraud. Barbara Bolton and others defended Mercer Limited against four separate pension scheme claims, while Patricia Hawthorn was the lead partner acting for Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind in judicial review proceedings brought by the RSPB. Elaine Brailsford and David Anderson are recommended.

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Debt recovery

Within: Debt recovery

Shepherd and Wedderburn covers a wide range of matters in the real estate sector, such as debts arising from leases, timeshare management charges and recoveries of service charges, among others. Practice head Elaine Brailsford is particularly knowledgeable about property-related debt claims. Other strengths include financial services and social housing sector matters; the latter is a particular growth area, with the firm assisting social landlords with the recovery of rent and factoring charges. In addition to Brailsford, clients count on the experience of Alistair Frood, Gillian Carty and Stephen Humphrey. In 2017, the firm won the tender to handle debt recovery work for City of Edinburgh Council.

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Scotland: Private client

Contentious trusts and probate

Within: Contentious trusts and probate

Shepherd and Wedderburn offers ‚Äėan outstanding level of service‚Äô to clients engaged in trust and probate disputes. ‚ÄėIncisive‚Äô Christopher McGill¬†‚Äėclearly has a strong breadth of knowledge and an impressive level of professionalism‚Äô and co-leads the practice alongside the head of commercial disputes, Guy Harvey. The group acts for private individuals and trustees, as well as institutional clients in a wide range of disputes and associated professional negligence actions and contentious private tax matters. Alastair Frood¬†is advising siblings on the interpretation of a clause in their late father‚Äôs will, in relation to the wishes of another sibling, the eldest son who inherited the estate, to sell the property for development. Elaine Brailsford¬†is acting on behalf of a partner in a farming business in a complex family dispute.

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Scotland: Real estate

Property litigation

Within: Property litigation

Shepherd and Wedderburn's Colin Archibald and Elaine Brailsford jointly have more than 50 years of experience handling the full spectrum of complex property disputes, a number of which have been among the most significant in Scotland. Archibald and Brailsford work alongside other notable individuals in the group, such as associates Daniel Bain and Stephanie Hepburn  A recent highlight involved Archibald and Bain acting for Tarmac in two interrelated litigations arising from a leasing dispute between the client and the executor of its former landlord of quarry subjects in the Scottish Borders. In another matter, Archibald, Bain and associate Fraser Mitchell are advising Taylor Wimpey Developments Limited on a dispute with West Lothian Council over an alleged statutory nuisance near a development site at Winchburgh in West Lothian. Elsewhere, market conditions have led to other growth areas of work, such as 'keep open' disputes between commercial landlords and tenants, and also dilapidations cases. In addition, telecoms sector property work is an emerging area of the practice, particularly in cases involving issues under the Electronic Communications Code. 

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