Firm Profile > Davidson Chalmers Stewart > Edinburgh, Scotland

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

Environment Tier 2

With Laura Tainsh in the lead, Davidson Chalmers Stewart's environment practice is particularly rated for its strength in waste management, acting for landfill operators and commercial entities, but it is also well equipped to guide clients from other sectors, including the public sector, through various other environmental and regulatory issues such as permitting, compliance and enforcement. As a noteworthy niche, the team has experience in handling instructions on quarrying operations and the development of former quarry sites.

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‘Very approachable and down to earth – they always advise with a commercial mindset to meet their client’s goals.’

‘Very well connected in the Scottish environmental market, fully engaged in the issues and opportunities facing the waste management sector in particular, and an industry advocate in this regard.’

‘I’ve found the practice to be well versed on all technical matters and details of waste and environmental regulation.’

‘They have a good understanding of the environmental situation relating to legal compliance and how this affects industry.’

‘Straight-talking and not afraid to challenge authorities.’

‘I have established a close working relationship with Laura Tainsh over the years. Not only is she very knowledgeable in her field, she is also a strong ambassador for the wider sector, offering her time and expertise to many different events.’

‘Laura Tainsh has a breadth of knowledge and industry-wide understanding of key issues as well as legal matters, and can provide frank and straightforward advice.’

Key clients

SAICA Natur UK Ltd.

W.H. Malcolm Ltd.

Suez Group


Tartan Leisure Limited

Pelagia UK

Perth and Kinross Council

Brewster Bros. Ltd

Resource Management Association Scotland

The British Millerain Company Limited

Property litigation Tier 2

Davidson Chalmers Stewart has substantial expertise in commercial and residential property development work, which leads to a steady stream of instructions on landlord and tenant disputes, lease notice disputes, dilapidation claims and land sterilisation-related compensation claims, among others. Handling judicial review work constitutes another key area of expertise for the team led by Sheila Webster and including Greg Flett, who both handle the full range of property litigation work.

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Excellent at providing advice in plain English and without getting bogged down in technical detail.

Both Greg Flett and Sheila Webster are easy to deal with and quick to pick up commercial points so as to provide practical advice.

Key clients

Chris Stewart Group

Carpetright plc

Mars Black Sheep Hotels Limited

Mothercare plc

Dandara/ Stoneywood Developments Ltd

Scottish Borders Council

Alba Energy

Tweed Homes Limited

Ury Estate Limited/ FM Group

Natural Assets Investments Limited

Agriculture and estates Tier 3

The rural business team at Davidson Chalmers Stewart has a focus on the regulatory issues related to farm and estate diversification; the practice also works with investors and funders, and advises on renewable energy projects. The team features the 'impressive double act' of team head Andy Drane and director of rural business Louise Jones. Recent work of note has included acting for a group of tenant farmers in a high-profile judicial review relating to the introduction of legislation affecting property rights in farming partnerships, a case which has been the subject of an appeal to the Supreme Court.

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‘Davidson Chalmers Stewart provide a comprehensive agriculture and estates service, truly working together as a team to maintain momentum and keep pressure on other legal firms who may not be as responsive.’

‘Davidson Chalmers Stewart provide a legal service which feels as though one is working with friends. They listen to requirements and, after discussion, will implement the instructions of the client. My opinion is that too many legal practices feel the need to complicate transactions – Davidson Chalmers Stewart will get it done.’

‘The team at Davidson Chalmers is relatively small but this works in the client’s favour as the attention to detail and personal approach is very powerful. You feel “known” to your legal advisers and valued accordingly. High knowledge and experts in their fields.’ 

‘Andy Drane and Louise Jones are an impressive double act, each fully briefed on each other’s workload and hence able to seamlessly step in when one is not available. Advice is concise, clear and readily given, even following short notice instructions.’

‘Louise Jones and Andy Drane are attentive and focused in regard to the work we have been undertaking and their calm and concentrated approach is really helpful when the pressure is on.’

Key clients

John P Gray & Son

Rodger Brothers Partnership

RT Overseas Settlement

Balbie Farm Partnership

Brewster Bros Limited

Wallets Marts PLC

Dunrobin Highland Distillery Limited

Tartan Leisure Limited

Borderlink Broadband Limited

Story Group

Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 3

On 1st May 2019, Davidson Chalmers merged with Glasgow corporate boutique Kergan Stewart to form Davidson Chalmers Stewart. The real estate team is well regarded for its experience in the investment, housebuilding, healthcare and veterinary sectors. It is regularly instructed by English and international law firms to handle Scottish matters. Team head Andrew Chalmers is experienced in acting for large developers and family office investment funds.

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‘The practice is truly partner-led and they are incredibly practical and proactive’. 

‘They are very efficient and provide clear advice at competitive rates’. 

‘The team has been consistent and supportive throughout’.      

‘I’ve worked with Andrew Chalmers for many years on Scottish property transactions and he is my “go-to” lawyer for all transactions for several years’. 

‘Andrew is always very responsive and pragmatic’.

‘My clients have been impressed with Andrew Chalmers efficiency and the clarity he provides as many of my clients are not familiar with the Scottish legal system’.

‘Efficient, practical and professional’.   

Key clients

Chris Stewart Group

Peveril Securities Limited

Crosslane Group

Muir Group

Suez Group

Peel Group

Highbridge Properties plc

Ministry of Justice

Pizza Hut

Burger King

Edinburgh Castle Limited

Stonehealth Alpha

Scottish Historic Buildings Trust

Yours Clothing

Stone Acre

Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 3

In May 2019 Davidson Chalmers merged with Glasgow corporate boutique Kergan Stewart to form Davidson Chalmers Stewart. The firm is noted for its advice to SMEs and OMBs, and also acts for a number of large international companies in relation to multijurisdictional transactions, acting for clients in the healthcare, food and drink, energy and waste sectors, amongst others. Head of team Craig Stirling is recommended for his experience in M&A and private equity.

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‘Davidson Chalmers Stewart are, in my experience, a fully professional outfit and at the same time very friendly and approachable. I have been very satisfied with the legal knowledge and attention to detail when dealing with legal contracts and issues.’

‘Davidson Chalmers Stewart are a quality Scottish law firm. Their lawyers are pragmatic deal-doers who get things done. They have a particular strength in property but are very good across general corporate and lending work. In terms of comparison, our feeling is that you get a partner-led approach for a very reasonable price and that partner-led ethos is at the key of their value proposition. They are nice people too.’

‘Quality practical advice from very experienced practitioners.’

‘They provide a very personal and flexible service that can be tailored to your needs on an ongoing basis as projects develop and/or new projects begin. They seem to have less rigidity than other firms and can therefore adapt accordingly and more easily to accommodate budget and time considerations.’

‘Craig Stirling has incredible legal knowledge. He is a great guy also and invests himself on a professional and customer-friendly level. In Craig’s absence I have used others in DCS who all gave great support.’

‘Craig Stirling’s legal knowledge and the way he explains things is a great quality.’

‘Craig Stirling is a no-fuss corporate lawyer who gets to the heart of the matter quickly and looks to find solutions to keep deal momentum and get things done. Nice guy.’

‘Stephen Smith was very knowledgeable in his field and able to offer additional advice through liaison with other colleagues to cover broad spectrums of corporate law. Stephen was able to manage the relationship in a friendly manner that switched to serious at appropriate times so that I always felt trust in what he was doing and the advice he was giving. He was an excellent communicator and never was frustrated by repeated or ‘silly’ questions.’

Key clients

Emerson Electric

Aortech International plc

Kelvin Capital Limited

My1login Limited

Palm Capital

Clyde Munro Dental Group

Full Circle Equity Partners

Box Media



Health Tier 3

Davidson Chalmers Stewart puts particular emphasis on advising medical and dental partnerships on a wide range of matters, most notably in the transactional, corporate and commercial space, while also providing regular assistance with lease agreements and disputes. Corporate lawyer Craig Stirling and commercial property development and construction specialist Andy Drane jointly head the practice.

Practice head(s):


An excellent knowledge base and joined-up thinking.’

‘A very personal service – they take the time to fully understand your needs.’

Key clients

Portman Dental Care

Clyde Munro Dental Group

Family Dental Care East Lothian

Ambicare Health Limited

Anstruther Medical Practice

Airthrey Park Medical Practice

Ardach Medical Practice

Aviemore Medical Practice

Baronscourt Medical Practice

Brown & Brown Limited

Commercial litigation Tier 4

Davidson Chalmers Stewart handles contractual disputes, including breach of warranty claims, contract interpretation disputes and professional fee disputes as well as professional negligence claims against solicitors and engineers. Team head Sheila Webster is best known for her property litigation expertise and Greg Flett for his experience in construction-related disputes.

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Excellent at providing advice in plain English and without getting bogged down in technical detail.

The team is particularly personable and helpful. Sheila Webster in particular is very experienced and knowledgeable.

I have worked with Sheila Webster and Greg Flett. Each of them are particularly personable, down-to-earth and easy to work with.

Both Greg Flett and Sheila Webster are proactive and very quick to pick up commercial points.

Key clients


Alba Energy Limited

Mars Black Sheep Hotels Limited

Tweed Homes Limited

Centenary 6 Limited

Chris Stewart Group

Pegasus Fire Protection Company Limited

Knight Frank

Pizza Hut Restaurants (U.K.) Limited

Natural Assets Investments Limited

Construction Tier 4

Frequently acting for private development companies, Davidson Chalmers Stewart handles various contentious and non-contentious construction law matters; in the non-contentious space, this includes drafting and negotiating the construction aspects of agreements for lease, development agreements, building and engineering contracts and collateral warranties as well as transactional support for which team head Simone Young is the key contact. Much of its work arises from residential, commercial and leisure sector developments but the team also offers support with waste and renewable energy sector developments.

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Simone Young provided a pragmatic and business-focused service and was highly responsive. She dealt with all our questions and issues and delivered on time. Their fees were reasonable and we were very happy with the service.

Key clients

Chris Stewart Group

Tartan Leisure Limited

Peveril Securities Limited

Motability Operations Limited

Mars Black Sheep Hotels Limited

Edinburgh Castle Limited

Crosslane Group

HB Villages Developments Ltd

Cumbrae Property Limited

Scarborough Hermiston Limited

Energy (excluding oil and gas) Tier 4

Davidson Chalmers Stewart handles contentious and non-contentious issues for developers in relation to property, commercial, corporate and regulatory issues. It also deals with planning, environmental and specialist rural business issues, such as crofting. Clients include investors and funders of renewable energy schemes. Laura Tainsh leads the team.

Practice head(s):


‘Extremely professional’.

‘Jaqueline Cook is an outstanding asset to Davidson Chalmers Stewart; she paid our case particular attention and gave in-depth advice’.

‘Small enough to give a personalised service but experienced enough to give good comfort that they know what they’re doing’.         

‘Laura Tainsh has a very solid understanding of renewables as a whole and has led her colleagues very effectively in the work I need DCS to do for us’.

‘They have a great range of knowledgeable people old and young who check all the facts and always have a solution compared with some firms who don’t search for that solution’.            

‘Laura Tainsh stands out as a person who goes a long way to get the result we look for’.

‘Very confident, even forceful in putting their points across’.     

‘Jaqueline Cook provided us with strong advice and moral support’.

Key clients

Peel Energy

Ripple Energy

ABO Wind AG / ABO Wind UK


SUEZ Recycling and Recovery

Dell Wind Farm Limited (a joint venture between ESB and Coriolis Energy)

Shin-Etsu Handotai Europe Ltd

Mackintosh Family


Pogbie Farms

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
Commercial real estate Andrew Chalmers
Commercial real estate Gavin Maclean
Corporate and commercial Craig Stirling
Corporate and commercial Stuart Duncan
Dispute resolution Sheila Webster
Dispute resolution Greg Flett
Employment Alan Strain
Energy including renewables Laura Tainsh
Environment and waste Laura Tainsh
Planning Jacqueline Cook
Residential development Caroline Court
Residential development Bruce Lancaster
Construction Simone Young
Health Craig Stirling
Health Andy Drane
Agriculture and estates Louise Jones
Projects Andy Drane
Photo Name Position Profile
 Andrew Chalmers  photo Andrew Chalmers Managing Partner of Davidson Chalmers Stewart and head of the commercial property…
 Caroline Court  photo Caroline Court Partner in the commercial property department and head of residential development. Many…
 Andy Drane  photo Andy Drane One of the lead partners in the Davidson Chalmers Stewart specialist healthcare…
 Stuart Duncan  photo Stuart Duncan Partner in the corporate department. Extensive experience from many years of dealing…
 Greg Flett  photo Greg Flett Experienced in acting for a wide range of business, from SMEs to…
 Bruce Lancaster  photo Bruce Lancaster Partner within the firm’s commercial property department, with particular emphasis on development…
 Gavin Maclean  photo Gavin Maclean Accredited by the Law Society of Scotland in 2005 as a specialist…
 Craig Stirling  photo Craig Stirling Partner and head of the firm’s corporate department, dealing with a wide…
 Alan Strain  photo Alan Strain Consultant in the Employment and HR team. Significant experience in all aspects…
 Laura Tainsh  photo Laura Tainsh Partner in the environmental, waste and renewables team. Deals with a wide…
 Sheila Webster  photo Sheila Webster Head of dispute resolution, with responsibility for the development of the dispute…
 Simone Young  photo Simone Young Heads up Davidson Chalmers Stewart’s construction team and has, since qualifying as…
Number of UK partners : 16
Number of other UK fee-earners : 26