Firm Profile > Davidson Chalmers Stewart > Glasgow, Scotland

Davidson Chalmers Stewart
G2 4SQ

Real estate > Environment Tier 2

Davidson Chalmers Stewart is best known for its strength in waste management and recycling with chartered waste manager Laura Tainsh heading the team. This expertise translates into a steady flow of mandates from waste operators, public sector bodies, construction companies and commercial entities and includes the full contentious and non-contentious spectrum, such as regulatory matters, compliance, landfill tax and enforcement. With the arrival of Chala McKenna, who joined the group in July 2020 and was previously with the industry regulator SEPA, this offering has been expanded to include a wider range of water-related issues. Other recent work includes regulatory advice on air emissions, land contamination and quarrying operations.

Practice head(s):

Laura Tainsh

Other key lawyers:

Chala McKenna; Laura Irvine


‘Easy to deal with. All team members are very helpful. Their knowledge of environment law is very good.’

‘A very well regarded environmental team in Scotland, led by Laura Tainsh.’

‘Laura Tainsh is very well connected, with her finger on the pulse in the waste management sector. She is technically very capable but also very practical with real world experience.’

‘The team works well together, proving seamless support and advice.’

‘Individuals are eager to help, proactive to provide support and well informed.’

‘We work with Laura Tainsh, a partner in the practice. Laura has an unrivalled experience and knowledge of the Scottish waste and recycling industry, policy and regulation. Laura has provided excellent support to our team working on a major UK waste regulation project.’

Key clients

SAICA Natur UK Ltd

W H Malcolm Ltd.

SUEZ Group

Tartan Leisure Ltd

Pelagia (UK) Limited

Robertson Metals Recycling Ltd

Delson Demolition Ltd

Brewster Brothers Ltd

Resource Management Association Scotland (RMAS)

Straid Farms Ltd

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 2

Davidson Chalmers Stewart is a key player for landlord and tenant disputes and has recently handled a number of dilapidation and notice disputes alongside disputes pertaining to subletting application decisions. Both landlords and tenants also routinely seek the team’s assistance with retail CVAs; associate Magnus Miller is a key contact in this space. This focus is shared by team head Sheila Webster, who, as well as being a highly regarded litigator, also receives regular appointments as arbitrator. Other typical work arises from major developments, such as property contract and neighbourly matters, and includes instructions at the intersection with planning, including judicial reviews. Besides the team's wide-ranging expertise, clients also benefit from its Contract Express technology, allowing the speedy creation of standardised documents and thus translating into savings for the client. Greg Flett is another key contact for all forms of property litigation.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Webster

Other key lawyers:

Greg Flett; Magnus Miller


‘Personalised service, knowledge, professionalism.’

‘The team is very well run. They were very good at clarifying the differences between English and Scottish law for us. Since we dealt with the real estate and construction team first before starting litigation, we felt there was a lot of collaboration between the departments which helped the litigation team get up to speed quickly so we could hit the ground running with our claim.’

‘Magnus Miller has very good communication skills.’

‘Sheila Webster and Magnus Miller are both great at what they do and very approachable.’

‘Sheila Webster is always available, responds promptly and provides clear understandable advice no matter how complex type issue.’

‘Strong unique team which punches above its weight. Never hesitate to recommend.’

‘Shelia Webster and Greg Flett are a safe pair of hands, pragmatic and aim to resolve disputes.’

‘Shelia Webster is excellent. She is calm with an air of authority. She gets the job done with minimal fuss.’

Key clients

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

UK Rubber Limited

Springfield Properties plc

Anglian Windows Limited

Scottish Borders Council

Pizza Hut Restaurants (UK) Limited

Motability Operations Limited

Alexander Harley Seeds Limited

Stoneywood Developments (part of the Dandara Group)

Ogilvie Homes Limited

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 3

Davidson Chalmers Stewart has, in recent years, placed a premium on diversification projects but also continues to be engaged in traditional sales and purchases, renewable energy projects, property and partnership disputes, and regulatory issues. The team, led by Andy Drane, acts for a diverse range of farmers, rural businesses, institutional investors, estate owners, and food producers and processors. Rural business directo Louise Jones excels in secured lending matters, the creation and enforcement of title conditions, and agricultural leases.

Practice head(s):

Andy Drane

Other key lawyers:

Louise Jones


‘An excellent team, with Andrew Drane at the head.’

‘Sound practical advice promptly provided and based upon an in-depth knowledge of the law. An enormous help in every way and reasonable, flexible arrangements in regard to fees. A delight to work with.’

Key clients

Alex Brewster & Sons Limited

Balbie Farm

Breacais Ard Common Graziers, Skye

Caverton Mains Farm

John P Gray & Sons, Auchrennie Farm

Kenneth Greenland, Cambusmore Estate

Leo Group

Mar Estate Trustees

McMaster Consortium

RT Overseas Settlement, Torbreck Estate

Real estate > Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 3

Davidson Chalmers Stewart handles transactional matters in the residential and commercial development, investment and commercial leasing spheres. It has experience in the housebuilding sector, where it handles contracts and land acquisition work; and in the healthcare sector, where it deals with primary care property and development work. Andrew Chalmers heads the practice and works with a broad range of clients, from family offices to multinationals.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Chalmers

Other key lawyers:

Gavin Maclean; Bruce Lancaster


‘I feel that this firm understand our business and are always keen to offer advice on how we can do things better or differently’.

‘I’ve worked with Andrew Chalmers for years; he epitomises what one wants from a trusted advisor’.

‘We have a very open and honest relationship, which I believe supports us to get transactions completed with the minimal amount of fuss’.

‘They are incredibly responsive, hard working and continually go the extra mile for me, even when we have challenges from solicitors on the other side’.

‘Their professionalism is outstanding and they always keep me updated and give me the best advice for me to make key decisions’.

‘The team that we work with are very responsive, pragmatic and efficient’.

‘They are quick to identify any issues that arise during the course of a transaction and unlike many firms they provide suggestions to resolve problems rather than just a list of options’.

‘They stick their necks out to provide commercial advice’.

Key clients

Chris Stewart Group

Scarborough Muir Group

Crosslane Group

Peveril Securities Limited

Muir Group

Peel Group

Suez Group

Computacenter plc

Thermo Fisher Inc.

Cummins Inc.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 3

The corporate team at Davidson Chalmers Stewart is particularly active in the healthcare, tech and renewables sectors; handling M&A, and private equity work for investors and investee companies. Craig Stirling heads the team and is well versed in debt and equity funding, group reorganisations, commercial contracts and in providing advice to business start-ups. Alan Stewart is recommended for funding work, and acquisitions and disposals.

Practice head(s):

Craig Stirling

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Duncan; David Allan; Catherine Feechan; Fiona Piper; Stephen Smith; Alan Stewart


‘The team provides exceptional client service and they respond very quickly and with sensible, practical advice that deals with the commercial issues’.

‘They are a very close-knit team and keep themselves fully informed of our situation’.

‘We place huge time pressures on the team, who always step up to our demands and never let us down’.

‘They are really nice people to deal with, exactly the sort of advisers you want on the team’.

‘Alan Stewart is a vastly experienced senior partner who gets his sleeves rolled up and works alongside us, providing wise counsel and advice in a very practical manner’.

‘Stephen Smith is the partner we deal with day to day and is very proactive in driving through deals to what are often very tight deadlines’.

‘Alan Stewart has advised us for many years and has an excellent understanding of both our business and our business sector’.

‘DCS are big enough to provide legal services across all aspects of corporate and commercial law, but are small enough that we always engage with partner-level staff’.

Key clients

Emerson Electric

RUA Life Sciences PLC (previously Aortech International plc)

Kelvin Capital Limited

Angel Trains Group

Palm Capital

Hampidjan HF

Full Circle Equity Partners

Boxspring Media



Public sector > Health Tier 3

Providing medical and dental partnerships with wide-ranging support constitutes the key element of Davidson Chalmers Stewart's practice. Reflecting the expertise of co-practice heads Craig Stirling (corporate and commercial) and Andy Drane (property and regulatory), much of its works falls into the transactional, corporate, commercial and property sphere it but also includes advice on funding and disputes. Care home operators, veterinary practices and medical professionals are also among its clients.

Practice head(s):

Craig Stirling; Andy Drane


‘The team I deal with a DCS is knowledgeable in the medical and dental sector space.’

‘Specialists in their field and they give great advice to their clients.’

‘The team was small, coordinated and very knowledgeable. Lead by Craig Stirling, his associates in the property side of the transaction were also very efficient and a pleasure to deal with. It was clear that they all communicated very well.’

‘We worked very closely with Craig Stirling on a dental practice disposal to a large corporate. He was knowledgeable, experienced, professional, reassuring and calming where needed and a pleasure to work with. It was obvious that he considered all aspects of the transaction and had our best long term interests at the centre of his decision making. He was efficient in dealing with all our issues. We consider ourselves very lucky to have had him in our corner.’

‘The team has a client-centred expertise in the healthcare sector. They understand (as a whole team) the nuances of the healthcare sector and add significant value to every engagement they take on for our dental clients.’

‘Craig Stirling is a highly approachable and commercially astute legal adviser who can de-mystify the complexities of law for our clients and allow a pragmatic solution in their best interests.’

‘Andy Drane was very good and reassuring that we were making the right decision.’

Key clients

Portman Dental Care

Clyde Munro Dental Group

Edinburgh Orthodontics Limited

Aviemore Medical Practice

Ladywell Medical Centre (East) and Ladywell Medical Centre (West)

Family Dental Care

Direct Healthcare Group

Baronscourt Medical Practice

RUA Life Sciences PLC (previously Aortech International plc)

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation Tier 4

Davidson Chalmers Stewart has seen an increase in contractual disputes, such as breach of warranty claims, contract interpretation disputes and family business disputes alongside insolvency-related and professional fee litigation, and continues to handle professional negligence claims against solicitors, accountants and engineers. With Sheila Webster heading the team, the practice has particular clout in the real estate space, and with Greg Flett in construction-related disputes. Webster is also a qualified mediator and regularly sits as arbitrator.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Webster

Other key lawyers:

Greg Flett; Laura Irvine


‘The individuals are personable and approachable. The issues are clearly understood and advice is able to be conveyed effectively and comprehensibly. Greg Flett has been impressive.’

‘They are exceptionally easy to deal with, responsive and experts in their areas.’

‘Greg Flett stands out as an innovator. He is a superb communicator and a committed lawyer.’

‘From my experience to date they have an experienced team who were also well used to instructing and working with outside counsel.’

‘A small, nice, friendly and unique team. Nothing is too much bother. Personal service at the right level. No perception of pushed down the line to a cheaper member of the team.

‘Sheila Webster is great at explaining legal concepts in a simple and clear way. She also is not afraid to state an opinion and not present a range of options without indicating which ones she thinks are strongest.’

‘Greg Flett and Sheila Webster are knowledgeable and trusted advisors for clients. We value their input.’

‘Greg Flett and Sheila Webster are down to earth and personable – more so than many others.’

Key clients

Mars Black Sheep Hotels Limited

Alba Energy Limited

Springfield Properties plc

Robert Kidd / A&E Investments

Scottish Borders Council

Pegasus Fire Protection Limited

Pizza Hut Restaurants (UK) Limited

Motability Operations Limited

Natural Assets Limited

Brown Bros. (Peebles) Limited

Real estate > Construction Tier 4

Acting for a large number of developers, Davidson Chalmers Stewart has particular expertise in leisure, mixed-use, office and commercial developments and frequently acts in conjunction with other practice groups to advise on associated planning, property and environmental matters. Infrastructure companies, most notably in the waste and renewables sectors, also receive advice on energy projects. This offering is complemented by solid contentious capabilities, covering litigation, arbitration and adjudication. Team head Simone Young handles all aspects of non-contentious construction.

Practice head(s):

Simone Young

Other key lawyers:

Bruce Lancaster; Greg Flett


‘The construction and real estate team are very great. It was the first time we used Scottish solicitors and I would recommend them. The collaboration between them all was very beneficial to our matter and in getting the documents in order and ready for signature.’

‘Great knowledge and experience of construction contract law. Guided me through the whole process to a successful conclusion.’

‘Simone Young’s knowledge of sector and construction contract law was evident from our first call. Simone seamlessly guided both myself and our business through the process and was key in ensuring our best interests were protected through the favourable terms we ultimately agreed with our landlord. I honestly cannot speak highly enough of Simone and the wider team at Davidson Chalmers Stewart, hence why we have utilised their services exclusively over the course of the last 15 years.’

Key clients

Tartan Leisure Limited

Lateral City Limited

Chris Stewart Group

Motability Operations Limited

Royal Bank of Scotland plc

Peveril Securities Limited

Crosslane Group

Scarborough Hermiston Limited

Mars Black Sheep Hotels Limited

Pegasus Fire & Protection

Projects, energy and natural resources > Energy (excluding oil and gas) Tier 4

Davidson Chalmers Stewart handles a range of renewables matters, including development, disposal of projects and investment into alternative energy businesses. It handles both contentious and non-contentious mandates for developer clients, including those relating to property, commercial, corporate, and regulatory issues. Andy Drane jointly leads the team with Laura Tainsh, who is recommended for advice on environmental, crofting and general strategic decisions.

Practice head(s):

Andy Drane; Laura Tainsh

Other key lawyers:

Jacqueline Cook; Louise Jones


‘Great access to the most skilled people.’

‘Pragmatic approach on all areas.’

‘Laura Tainsh has an excellent understanding of the entire renewables sector and is definitely a safe pair of hands and extremely practical.’

‘The team are pragmatic and highly commercial.’

‘The team are prepared to be direct and also to enter into the ethical and moral aspects of a situation, not just the strictly legal.’

Key clients

Alba Energy Limited

Dynamic ePower/Hamilton March Group

ESB Asset Development UK Limited

Elgin Energy ES Co Limited

Kelvin Capital

Peel Energy

Ripple Energy

Shin-Etsu Handotai Europe Limited

Suez Recycling and Recovery UK Limited

WKN Gmbh

Real estate > Planning Tier 4

Davidson Chalmers Stewart has a focus on renewable energy on one hand, and on mixed-use and residential developments on the other, which attracts an array of clients including developers, energy companies and landowners. Much of its work includes matters at various interfaces, most notably environmental, but also property, construction and agriculture. In the contentious space, the team benefits from the firm’s strong litigation practice leading to regular involvement in judicial reviews and planning objections. Jacqueline Cook heads up the team and handles all aspects of contentious and non-contentious planning law.

Practice head(s):

Jacqueline Cook

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Court


‘They are highly professional, approachable and flexible.’

‘Jackie Cook is a highly skilled lawyer with exceptional knowledge of planning and environmental law.’

‘We engaged Davidson Chalmers Stewart to assist with a specific process which we had no previous knowledge or experience of. From the initial introductory meeting, it became clear that they were willing to allocate the necessary resource with the relevant expertise to take our case forward. As a lay client, the most important element was understanding the legal process so we could give informed instructions – they ensured that at all stages this was the case. Our process began in early 2020, and continued through the Covid pandemic with no obvious disruption. As a team they expressed a genuine interest and understanding of our issues, and demonstrated a determination to utilize the full extent of their capabilities to achieve our objective.’

‘The team allowed us to feel at ease in an unfamiliar environment – all were personable, approachable and willing to listen to our opinions. Jacqueline Cook took over for our second stage process where it became clear that her planning law experience would become invaluable to our chances of success, all the time maintaining strong communication lines throughout.’

‘Approachable and friendly.’

‘Jacqueline Cook is involved and engaged.’

Key clients

Peel Energy

Tartan Leisure Ltd

Chris Stewart Group

Ogilvie Homes Ltd

UK Rubber Ltd

Story Homes Ltd

J W Muir Group PLC (incl. Muir Homes Ltd, Hermiston Securities Ltd)

Strawson Property

RT Overseas Settlement

M & J Ballantyne

The firm: Davidson Chalmers Stewart is an independent, commercial law firm, focused on the needs of business clients across Scotland and beyond. Operating from offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the firm is recognised for providing clear, practical and commercial advice to a broad range of clients from start-ups and established SMEs to listed companies.

In a market dominated by a handful of large firms, Davidson Chalmers Stewart is well known for its unwavering commitment to client service with a partner-led approach. The firm’s expert teams focus on finding pragmatic solutions, combined with transparent pricing, to help clients achieve their business objectives.

The firm regularly advises on the Scottish aspects of UK and multinational deals, including inward investment, often working in partnership with advisors from other jurisdictions.

With a worldwide reach through partners in the Globalaw legal network (, clients can access a range of international advice through known and trusted law firms.

Principal areas of work
Agriculture and rural business: Advising landowners, estates, farmers, developers and tenants in the acquisition, disposal, use and diversification of rural businesses and landholdings.

Commercial real estate: Working with investors, landlords, tenants and developers of all sizes across all sectors of the Scottish market.

Construction: Providing specialist advice to developers, funders, investors, contractors and professional teams on contentious and non-contentious matters.

Corporate: A full range of corporate and commercial legal services across all business sectors including mergers and acquisitions and MBOs/MBIs; private equity; IPOs, takeovers and other listed company work; corporate reorganisations and restructurings; regulatory and compliance; general advisory.

Data protection and information law: Providing contentious and non-contentious data protection, freedom of information and cyber security advice to a diverse range of clients.

Dispute resolution: Offering a wide range of commercial litigation and mediation services with a particularly strong reputation for outstanding service in property litigation.

Employment: Advising and representing employers on all issues such as disciplinary, discrimination, unfair dismissal, TUPE and Tribunals.

Environment and waste: Providing advice to clients in a variety of sectors on a range of environmental compliance, consenting, operational and enforcement issues including defending prosecutions.

Health: Delivering specialist advice to clients across the healthcare sector, with particular strengths in advising GP, Dental and Veterinary practices as well as care homes.

Planning: Providing a full range of advice for all types of commercial development including roads and compulsory purchase.

Regulatory law: Assisting and representing clients through investigations/ prosecutions by a range of regulating bodies including Police Scotland, FSS, FCA, HSE, SEPA, ICO, the Care Inspectorate and professional regulators.

Renewable energy: Advising landowners, operators and communities on wind energy, hydro, solar PV, biomass, anaerobic digestion and energy from waste.

Residential development: Advising on all aspects of land purchase and sale, including planning, and associated environmental and infrastructure issues. This area has a dedicated plot sales team.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Andrew Chalmers 0131 625 9191
Commercial real estate Andrew Chalmers 0131 625 9191
Commercial real estate Gavin Maclean 0131 625 9191
Corporate and commercial Craig Stirling 0131 625 9191
Corporate and commercial Stuart Duncan 0131 625 9191
Dispute resolution Sheila Webster 0131 625 9191
Dispute resolution Greg Flett 0131 625 9191
Employment Alan Strain 0131 625 9191
Energy including renewables Laura Tainsh 0131 625 9191
Environment and waste Laura Tainsh 0131 625 9191
Planning Jacqueline Cook 0131 625 9191
Residential development Caroline Court 0131 625 9191
Residential development Bruce Lancaster 0131 625 9191
Construction Simone Young 0131 625 9191
Health Craig Stirling 0131 625 9191
Health Andy Drane 0131 625 9191
Agriculture and estates Louise Jones 0131 625 9191
Projects Andy Drane 0131 625 9191
Number of UK partners : 16
Number of other UK fee-earners : 26