Stronachs LLP > Aberdeen, United Kingdom > Firm Profile

Stronachs LLP
AB10 1YL
United Kingdom

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 2

The corporate team at Stronachs LLP has a strong reputation for M&A, private equity and other corporate transactions, with specialist expertise in the energy sector, both oil and gas and renewables, as well as other key sectors such as transport, technology, and food and drink. Ross Gardner heads the team and brings more than two decades of experience across all aspects of corporate and commercial law, with particular expertise in acting for owner managed businesses in sales, acquisitions and MBOs, while Neil Forbes is renowned for his expertise in M&A and general corporate matters. Malcolm Donald left the firm in November 2022 to join Burges Salmon LLP.

Practice head(s):

Ross Gardner

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Global Energy Group

Envoy & Partners Limited

Dingbro Limited

Enquest PLC

Xodus Group Limited

Peterson (UK) Limited

Omega Well Intervention Limited

Sulmara Subsea International Limited

Verlume Engineering Limited

ESWL Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Andrew and Marion Buchan on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Hiretech Limited to Ashtead Technology Limited.
  • Acting on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of WGC (Holdings) Limited.
  • Acting for Enquest PLC on all Scots law aspects of their retail bonds issue and high yields bonds issue, including providing Scots law legal opinions, drafting disclosures, reviewing transaction documents including Trust Deed, advising on Scots law security documents.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and executries Tier 3

With a strong presence in Aberdeen and Inverness, Stronachs LLP routinely assists wealthy individuals, particularly business owners and farmers, with complex capital tax issues and the establishment of family investment companies. Under the leadership of Jaclyn Russell, who has particular expertise in advising landed estate owners on succession planning, the team also advises on the formation and administration of charitable entities. Senior associate Karen Oliver is noted for her expertise in high-value trusts, including personal injury and charitable trusts.

Practice head(s):

Jaclyn Russell

Other key lawyers:


‘The Stronachs team provides a friendly, reliable service. They are well informed and act in a timely manner. Their work is well documented.’

‘Karen Oliver worked professionally and kept me informed of the progress. Other partners were available as and when required to witness and authorise documents.’

‘Stronachs LLP is a people business. They put clients first and can be trusted to provide a good service. Key attributes are: trusted adviser status, professional in all that they do and reliable.’

‘I referred a client to Karen Oliver to set up a new family trust. Karen communicated well and kept me updated from her side which made the process run smoothly. I have complete trust in her and Stronachs.’

‘Stronachs LLP has always provided first-class service when we have required legal advice.’

Work highlights

  • Provided estate planning advice to three generations of an ultra-high-net-worth business-owning family. This included advice on business succession and the maximisation of available inheritance tax reliefs.
  • Advised a local entrepreneur on his estate planning arrangements, balancing the needs of his family with his overall philanthropic aims; assisted him with the creation of a new charity to support various local projects; and provided advice on distributions from an existing family trust.
  • Dealt with the administration of a contentious and high-value estate, involving a fully discretionary will with accompanying letter of wishes. This involved working with the executors and the family to achieve the most tax-efficient means of distributing the estate, while still fulfilling the deceased’s overall aims. The team achieved a saving of £800,000 in inheritance tax as a result.

Projects, energy and natural resources > Oil and gas Tier 3

Stronachs LLP is notable for its strength advising on domestic and international upstream acquisitions and disposals, field developments and the energy transition. James Downie, who is dual-qualified in England and Wales, and Scotland, was appointed as team head this year, and is particularly sought after by UK companies for his expertise regarding decommissioning. He is supported by James Muir, who focuses heavily on transactional and projects work, both in the UK and internationally.

Practice head(s):

James Downie

Other key lawyers:


‘Good-quality local team in Aberdeen, close to the clients and the local market, but also able to provide great support on international matters.’

‘James Muir is absolutely fantastic and provides quality support and advice to businesses during some challenging times.’

‘James Downie leads a solid team.’

‘There has been great interaction between the firm’s offering in the energy space alongside their offering in dispute resolution, with the combined service delivery of those two being seamlessly delivered.’

‘James Downie is incredibly knowledgeable and maintains a specialism on decommissioning matters. His mix of specialist legal input delivered in a pragmatic and common-sense way is very welcome.’

Key clients

TotalEnergies UK

Harbour Energy

Ithaca Energy

Black Sea Oil & Gas

Dana Petroleum

Work highlights

  • Advised Harbour Energy plc on a suite of logistics contracts.
  • Advise Black Sea Oil & Gas on the Midia Gas Development Project – which has involved ongoing construction of the onshore/offshore facilities, the completion of the installation of the Ana gas production platform in the Black Sea (the first offshore platform built and installed in Romania in the past 30 years) and drilling of production wells. |

Real estate > Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 3

Stronachs LLP runs a workload spanning acquisitions, disposals, leasing, finance, development and investment endeavours. The Aberdeen-based team includes Liz Stewart, an expert in development-related land purchases, renewable energy projects and option agreements, and Emma Stephen, who handles title and development transactions for residential property developers, compulsory purchase matters and environmentally contaminated sites.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Campbell

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Global Energy Group

Strathdee Properties Limited

Peterson (UK) Limited

Spex Services Limited

Xodus Group Limited

DOF Subsea UK Limited

Morlich Homes Limited

Work highlights

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation Tier 4

Based in Aberdeen, Stronachs LLP acts for domestic and international clients across the oil and gas, energy and construction sectors on a range of commercial disputes, from contractual issues and warranty claims to shareholder disputes and damages actions, and continues to be increasingly active in property, construction and insolvency-related litigation. Practice leader Robert McDiarmid handles commercial disputes in the energy and construction industries, while the Inverness-based Colin Sandilands has notable experience in property-related claims. Deborah Law, who was promoted to partner in June 2022, is another key contact in the group.

Practice head(s):

Robert McDiarmid

Other key lawyers:

Colin Sandilands; Deborah Law; Claire Stewart


‘This is a friendly approachable firm, where they all seem to work as a team and always get someone to answer your queries.’

‘Robert McDiarmid and the team handled our case with great efficiency, always providing good clear information and providing answers to any questions.’

‘The team at Stronachs has a deep understanding of the legal landscape in their chosen area of expertise.’

‘Easy to talk to and no jargon.’

‘Robert McDiarmid and Claire Stewart are lovely individuals to deal with. Robert has a particularly deep understanding of legal process and always takes a very balanced viewpoint on litigation. This comes with an ability to accurately predict reactions from the other side of the case. Both are very responsive, caring, and we really feel that we have people that care about our best interests.’

‘I have consistently been impressed by the thoroughness of Stronachs’ investigation and preparation of disputes, some of which are extremely complex, both factually and legally.’

‘Robert McDiarmid has shown a detailed and thorough hands-on understanding of very complex cases, and his grasp of the issues is consistently impressive. He is also inventive in finding promising new angles to consider.’

‘Colin Sandilands was exceptionally good at distilling what was important in order to defend our position. He dealt with the situation with an extremely measured and even-handed approach.’

Key clients

Weatherford International plc

Global Energy Group


Marshall Errock Construction Limited

Peterson (UK) Limited

Inverness Glass Co Ltd

Glen Mhor Limited

Subsea Tooling Services UK Limited

Xodus Group Limited

AMS Global Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Weatherford International plc and its subsidiaries in a commercial and intellectual property dispute.
  • Represented a shareholder, who has raised a petition at the Court of Session for orders under s. 994 of the Companies Act 2006 (unfair prejudice shareholder petition). The petition seeks orders for the compulsory sale of another shareholder’s shares in a private limited company to the client, owing to allegedly unfairly prejudicial conduct in the running of the company’s affairs by the other shareholder and director.
  • Represented Marshall Errock Construction Limited in relation to a multi-adjudication and dispute with its main contractor.

Stronachs LLP is one of the largest, independently managed law firms based in the North and North East of Scotland, with offices in Aberdeen and Inverness.

The firm:  The firm is a full service law firm and whilst the majority of its activity involves servicing its commercial clients, a substantial part of its business remains the provision of services to individuals including private client, property and family law services.  The firm’s full service approach is not detrimental to the expertise it has in many areas of practice and the firm continues to service clients with varied and complex needs. The firm is committed to finding practical, cost effective solutions to legal issues, with the achievement of the client’s commercial or personal objective paramount and the legal process simply a means of achieving that.  The firm is renowned for acting for business owners in their business and personal affairs.

Types of work undertaken:  The firm advises its commercial clients across a variety of sectors and has significant experience and expertise in areas including energy (renewables and oil and gas), food and drink, fishing, agriculture/rural, property development, construction and technology.  The firm’s corporate team acts in mergers and acquisitions (where it is well known for acting for owner-managed businesses) and a broad range of other corporate transactions including re-organisations, start-ups, equity investments and joint ventures. The firm’s restructuring group advises clients on a broad range of insolvency matters.  Its energy team acts for clients in the upstream, midstream and renewables sectors in the UK and overseas. The firm’s commercial property team has expertise covering everything from acquisitions, commercial leasing, sales development and construction work.  The dispute resolution team advises on a broad range of matters from international arbitration, contractual disputes and intellectual property disputes to straightforward debt collection.  The team includes a solicitor advocate entitled to plead cases at the Court of Session.  The firm’s rural team advises clients on a wide range of rural and agricultural matters including farm acquisitions and disposals. The firm has a highly regarded private client team which provides a full range of private client services primarily for high-net worth individual and individuals with businesses, land and/or farming interests.

The firm has a diverse client base ranging from FTSE 100-listed companies to owner-managed private companies and also high-net-worth private individuals.  Examples of companies for whom the firm acts includes Global Energy Group, RockRose Energy, Walker’s Shortbread Ltd, Black Sea Oil and Gas SRL, Envoy & Partners Limited, Peterson (UK) Limited and Dana Petroleum plc.

The firm has considerable experience of international work, particularly through its energy related clients.  The firm has advised on transactions in Australia, Trinidad, Singapore, the Middle East, Poland, Norway, Mexico, the US and Romania.

Other offices: Inverness

Department Name Email Telephone
Partner, Head of Agricultural David Marshall 01224 845945
Partner, Head of Commercial Property Duncan Campbell 01224 845893
Partner, Head of Corporate Ross Gardner 01224 845879
Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution Robert McDiarmid 01224 845951
Partner, Head of Employment David Chalmers 01224 845817
Partner, Head of Energy (oil : gas) James Muir 01224 845887
Partner, Head of Private Client (Tax, Trusts & Executries) Jaclyn Russell 01224 845858
Photo Name Position Profile
James Muir photo James Muir James is a Partner in the Energy team with more than 16…
Photo Name Position Profile
Kirsten Anderson photo Kirsten Anderson Kirsten is a Partner of the Firm who advises on all aspects…
Callum Armstrong photo Callum Armstrong Callum is a Partner who has more than 10 years’ experience in…
Duncan Campbell photo Duncan Campbell Partner and head of commercial property with over 20 years’ experience. Experienced…
David Chalmers photo David Chalmers Partner in the Employment Team with more than 28 years’ experience of…
Anya Duncan photo Anya Duncan Partner in the Employment Team with more than 17 years’ experience of…
Neil Forbes photo Neil Forbes Neil is a Partner in the Firm’s corporate team with over 25…
Ross Gardner photo Ross Gardner Partner in the Corporate Department since joining Stronachs in November 2015, Ross…
Deborah Law photo Deborah Law Deborah is a partner and has over 10 years’ experience in dispute…
Raiya Law photo Raiya Law Raiya is an Associate in the Private Client department and advises clients…
Paula Lukins photo Paula Lukins Paula is an Associate in the Private Client department and provides advise…
David Marshall photo David Marshall David is a Partner with considerable experience working within the rural and renewable energy…
Robert McDiarmid photo Robert McDiarmid Robert is a Partner and Head of the Dispute Resolution Team. Robert advises…
Ewan Neilson photo Ewan Neilson Consultant and specialist in energy work and corporate/corporate finance and included within…
Annika Neukirch photo Annika Neukirch Annika is a Senior Associate in the Employment Team with experience of…
Patrick Norris photo Patrick Norris Patrick is an Associate who has more than 6 years’ experience in…
Karen Oliver photo Karen Oliver Karen joined the firm in 2009 and advises clients on all aspects…
David Rennie photo David Rennie Consultant, with over 40 years’ corporate experience.  Specialising in acquisitions/disposals, equity investment…
Jaclyn Russell photo Jaclyn Russell Jaclyn is a Partner and Head of the Private Client team. She…
Michelle Sharp photo Michelle Sharp Michelle is a Senior Associate and has more than 12 years experience…
Liz Stewart photo Liz Stewart Partner in commercial property team.  Liz has over 20 years’ experience in…
Jonathan Wemyss photo Jonathan Wemyss Jonathan is an Associate in the Dispute Resolution team with more than…
Number of UK partners : 15
Number of other UK fee-earners : 35
Chartered Insitute of Arbitrators
Employment Lawyers Association (UK)
Law Society of England and Wales
Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)


Stronachs LLP promote an inclusive culture where diversity is valued. We are committed to promoting equal opportunities in employment and ensuring that everyone receives equal treatment regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.


  • Our Third Sector committee work with and support local organisations through AVCO
  • We are on the panel of Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)
  • We offer a programme of work experience accessible by schools in the community
  • We partner with schools in the community to provide an insight into our organisation
  • Many of our partners and staff volunteer to sit on the Board of a variety of charities
  • We have close links with local universities, providing tutoring, support and sponsorship of annual law review
  • We support and sponsor many local initiatives/clubs/events


Stronachs engages with staff to decide upon a chosen cause and makes a firm commitment to fundraise and provide support. An internal committee meet with the charity representatives and coordinate numerous fundraising events with proactive support from the firm. Stronachs are very proud of what has been achieved over the decades and the charity partnerships that have been forged.


The firm is committed to implementing the following environmental objectives:-

  • Reduce the carbon footprint of the firm
  • Reduce the amount of waste going to landfill Seek ways to incorporate environmental opportunities within our daily work
  • Aspire to best environmental practice
  • Reduce energy use within the firm’s offices
  • Source goods and services from local suppliers