Davidson Chalmers Stewart > Edinburgh, Scotland > Firm Profile

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

Real estate > Environment Tier 2

Davidson Chalmers Stewart, and team head Laura Tainsh in particular, stands out for its expertise in waste management and consequently receives regular instructions from waste operators and commercial entities. These include enforcement actions and Scottish Landfill Tax tribunal cases on the contentious side, and advice on contaminated land alongside various regulatory, compliance and contractual issues in the non-contentious sphere. Due to the firm’s broad commercial property offering, the environmental team is also routinely called upon to assist with environmental due diligence exercises pertaining to project consents and property transactions.

Practice head(s):


‘The team is very knowledgeable, highly motivated and experienced.’

‘The individuals are knowledgeable in their field of expertise. The size of the firm means that there is sufficient breadth of knowledge to handle all aspects.’

‘All individuals I have encountered have been extremely knowledgeable and patient in dealing with us.’

‘Their handling of our contract negotiations with a third party was extremely firm which ultimately resulted in a final agreed contract which was perfectly suited to our needs.’

‘A very well connected environmental practice that can provide practical, “hands-on” advice in addressing environmental matters.’

‘Laura Tainsh is exceptional in the knowledge she has and keeping up to date on various topics.’

‘Laura Tainsh – practical advice and good knowledge of current market practices and trends.’

Key clients

W. H. Malcolm Ltd

SUEZ Group

Pelagia UK

Armstrong Waste Management Limited

Brewster Bros. Ltd

Resource Management Association Scotland (RMAS)

Levenseat Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Suez Group in connection with its operational landfill gas (LFG) facility which is operated by Viridis and the various rights granted to neighbouring biogas schemes to utilise the export connection.
  • Advised Pelagia UK on the interpretation of complex regulatory issues relating to emissions to air from industrial processes in relation to the company’s processing operation at its plant in Aberdeen.
  • Advised the Malcolm group on all regulatory and environmental matters, including negotiation with the regulator.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 2

Handling landlord and tenant disputes and matters at the intersection with construction and planning are the core strengths of Davidson Chalmers Stewart. Dilapidation and repair disputes are typical instructions of the former segment and are routinely handled by team head Sheila Webster (she also acts as arbitrator). The practice's expertise also leads to regular judicial review work - which remains a key focus for the team - and to instructions pertaining to disputes arising from project developments. Clients include property developers, commercial tenants and landlords. Magnus Miller made partner in November 2021 and has a specialism in property-related judicial reviews and CVAs.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


Strong commercial focus. Always thinks about the practical impact on us as a business and not just the legal or process requirements of litigation.

The team is hugely experienced in this area and led by Sheila who is a pioneer in this area of the law.

Sheila Webster is excellent at speaking in plain terms and converting law into actions or decisions.

Sheila Webster is outstanding in her field.

Sheila Webster is awesome!

Key clients

Ogilvie Homes Limited

Motability Operations Limited

CGW Snooker LLP

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

Rock DCM

Natural Assets Investments Limited

Woodland Renewables Limited

Patersons of Greenoakhill Limited

Chris Stewart Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for Motability Operations Limited in a claim relating to reimbursement for delays in works arising out of a Covid-19-related delay.
  • Instructed by Rock DCM as the lead respondent in opposition by an application by Royal London to the Lands Tribunal, seeking to reduce title conditions applying to Argyll Chambers in Glasgow, a well-known building in Glasgow city centre, regarding shared maintenance costs.
  • Acted for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) in defence of a claim brought by its landlord for dilapidations and loss of rent arising from those dilapidations.

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 3

At Davidson Chalmers Stewart, the practice continues to be strong on diversification projects, acting for farmers, large estate owners, investors and major commercial food producers. Led by Andy Drane, the team handles large transactional mandates and has seen an uptick in renewable energy projects and work involving carbon credits. Agricultural litigation and partnership disputes also feature in caseload. Louise Jones is skilled in secured lending matters, whilst Andrew McDonald handles the contentious offering. The team enhanced its offering with the hire of Henrietta Macpherson who joined from Cockburns.

Practice head(s):

Andy Drane


‘Davidson Chalmers Stewart carefully builds relationships with their clients to understand their requirements. For those estates looking to diversify, they understand many of the issues, and have the breadth of capability and vision to aid the client through to successful delivery.’

‘Andy Drane has very methodically pulled together the various strands for the opportunities that have arisen on the estate and where possible has connected potential interested parties looking to develop projects with the estate.’

Key clients

Alex Brewster & Sons Limited

Afp Assets Limited

Cambusmore Estates Limited

Charlesfield Farms Limited

John Stewart Duncan & Two Other Tenant Farmers

John P Gray & Son

Kenneth Greenland

Mcmaster Consortium Of Farmers

Rt Overseas Settlement

Woodland Renewables Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Cambusmore Estates Limited and others on the sale of Cambusmore Estate, By Dornoch.
  • Advised a consortium of Tenant farmers in seeking judicial review of legislation introduced by the Scottish Parliament and seeking compensation at the Supreme Court.
  • Advised Kenneth Greenland in connection with the grant of rights to five renewables developments in the far North East of Scotland.

Public sector > Health Tier 3

General medical and dental practices continue to instruct Davidson Chalmers Stewart on corporate and commercial needs, including sales and acquisitions, as well as transactional matters. Contractual issues, surgery developments and regulatory work also feature in the caseload, with practice head Craig Stirling advising on partnerships and co-head Andy Drane on property. The team also represents a significant number of care sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Craig Stirling; Andy Drane


‘Expert knowledge in General Practice.’

‘Timely reminders when I need to input to their process, flexibility to wait when I’m busy.’

‘Timely delivery of the final product.’

Key clients

Portman Dental Care

Clyde Munro Dental Group=

Edinburgh Orthodontics Limited

Tepnel Pharma Services Limited

Samarkand Holdings Limited

Association for Real Care Limited (ARC)

Direct Healthcare Group

Aviemore Medical Practice

Baronscourt Medical Practice

RUA Life Sciences PLC

Work highlights

  • Advising on The Scottish Government’s flagship policy to support NHS Primary Care providers in Scotland is to provide interest free evergreen loans.
  • Acted on the consolidation of almost 30 dental practices in 2021.
  • Advised RUA Life Sciences PLC in connection with a complex share rationalisation to allow further investment and expansion of its business.

Real estate > Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 3

Davidson Chalmers Stewart is geared to support on development, investment and commercial leasing mandates in sectors including healthcare, housebuilding, student and commercial. Practice head Andrew Chalmers caters to developers and family office investment funds, among other clients, meanwhile Gavin Maclean  is a go-to for several retail and leisure entities. Elsewhere, Bruce Lancaster  provides the team with notable forward funding agreement knowhow.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Chalmers

Other key lawyers:

Gavin Maclean; Bruce Lancaster; Nicola Scott; Lizzy Enayati


‘Great support and advice. Understand the way I work and what we need to do to get transactions to a close at pace.’

‘Lizzy Enayati, is great to work with. She gives me the right advice and is always professional too.’

‘The team at DCS are incredibly knowledgeable on all aspects of property including acquisition , leasing , purchase , funding , trust / shareholder options inc tax implications – so give great comfort to the client that everything relating to the property is being thoroughly covered’

‘Andrew Chalmers is very knowledgeable and directs you to the right expertise in the company. Lizzy Enayati is thorough and dependable.’


Key clients

Chris Stewart Group

Scarborough Muir Group

Muir Group

Peel Group

Suez Group

Computacenter plc

Thermo Fisher Inc.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Smiths Group plc

Black Sheep Coffee

Work highlights

  • Advised Tartan Leisure Limited on the Forward sale and leaseback to BAE Pension Fund Trustees of the freehold interest of the Wavegarden development at Ratho near Edinburgh in a deal value of c£27m.
  • Advised Stamford Property Limited on acquisition of Elgin House, Haymarket, Edinburgh, with a deal value in excess of £20m, to facilitate a mixed-use development with an end value of in excess of £120m.
  • Advised Chris Stewart Group on sale of Marriott hotel scheme at Baxter’s Place, Edinburgh for in excess of £40m.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 4

Davidson Chalmers Stewart is home to both M&A and private equity prowess, acting across an array of healthcare, renewables, waste and technology-related deals. Craig Stirling  serves as practice head, catering to a client roster which ranges from start-ups through to multinational corporates; he is especially accomplished in commercial contract, partnership advice, reorganisations and funding mandates, while Stephen Smith is a key contact for company and business transactions, shareholder agreements and share option schemes.

Practice head(s):

Craig Stirling

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Smith; Arveen Arabshahi; Vicky Ward


‘Excellent support, always works in a timely manner with precision to support our transactions to close.’

‘Vicky Ward, is excellent. She understands our business and works later often to support our transactions to close. Vicky is always professional and incredibly supportive.’

‘After working with a number of law firms, both in private practice and in-house, DCS stands out for me as being down-to-earth, commercially aware, and completely genuine – while at the same time providing technical legal expertise which was always on point. This combination can be hard to come by in the legal profession. I engaged DCS (Stephen Smith) primarily for their corporate law expertise.’

‘I worked with Stephen Smith, Partner at DCS, assisted by Vicky Ward, Solicitor at DCS. I found it very easy to have a comfortable working relationship with Stephen, and he had become my sounding board on all things legal for the business. As sole legal counsel, I really have relied on him since I started here, as I have considered him part of a wider legal team. While conveying the legal expertise, he maintains a sense of humour and friendly and approachable manner, which has made him a pleasure to work with particularly in these challenging times. He was responsive and quick to engage.’

Key clients

Emerson Electric

RUA Life Sciences PLC

Kelvin Capital Limited

Angel Trains Group

Palm Capital

Hampidjan HF

Full Circle Equity Partners



Work highlights

  • Acted for CSG Hotels and Apartments Limited on the £45m share sale of CSG Baxter’s Place Limited (owner/operator of the Courtyard by Marriott, Edinburgh) to HICP Holdings Limited, part of the Marathon Hotels Group.
  • Continued to support existing client Wavegarden on the development of a world class inland artificial surf wavegarden.
  • Acted for longstanding client Kelvin Capital Limited on 7 completed private equity investments over the course of the year with a total investment value of circa £30m in a diverse range of early-stage Scottish growth companies. The pipeline of deals for this client in 2022 remains very strong.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation Tier 4

Davidson Chalmers Stewart retains its strength in large contractual disputes and high-profile professional negligence matters across the healthcare space. Overseen from Edinburgh by seasoned mediator and arbitrator Sheila Webster, who is rated by peers and clients, the group also advises on construction disputes. New partner Magnus Miller covers contentious insolvency and real estate disputes. The team continues to be instructed by leading financial institutions and energy companies.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Webster

Other key lawyers:


‘They have strength in depth in the areas in which they practice. They are responsive and give expert advice in a clear, unambiguous and understandable way.’

Sheila Webster is excellent at explaining issues in an understandable and commercial way.’

Strong commercial focus. Always thinks about the practical impact on us as a business and not just the legal or process requirements of litigation. Sheila Webster is excellent at speaking in plain terms and converting law into actions or decisions.’

They have excellent attention to detail, a broad depth of experience and an approachable manner. Sheila Webster is outstanding in her field. She is knowledgeable but approachable in her manner. She has a litigation brain.’

Highly personable and technically capable. A pleasure to deal with.’

Sheila Webster has a wealth of experience which is rarely matched in Scotland.

Key clients

John Stewart Duncan / Tenant Farmers

Springfield Properties plc

Robert Kidd / A&E Investments

Pegasus Fire Protection Limited

Motability Operations Limited

Natural Assets Investments Limited

Brown Bros. (Peebles) Limited

Patersons of Greenoakhill Limited

Radisson Hotels UK Limited

Allan Watt

Work highlights

  • Acting for Natural Assets Investments Limited in defending a multi-million pound guarantee claim by HIE following the closure of the Cairngorm Mountain Funicular.
  • Acted for Motability in a claim relating to reimbursement for delays in works arising out of Covid-related delay.
  • Acted for A&E Investments and Robert Kidd in the high-profile pursuit of a well-known Scottish law firm and advocate for recovery of fees arising out of an illegal success fee arrangement.

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

Davidson Chalmers Stewart hones its focus on renewable development and redevelopment affairs in addition to transactions pertaining to projects and alternative energy businesses. Steven McAllister is particularly well versed in onshore wind, hydro, battery storage and solar PV schemes, serving as practice co-head alongside Andy Drane. Nicola Scott, a specialist in the property and finance aspects of energy projects, joined the team from Brodies LLP in October 2021.

Practice head(s):

Andy Drane; Steven McAllister

Other key lawyers:


‘Really on the ball and quick; knowledgable and accepting of outside help.’

‘Friendly and helpful.’

‘Steven McAllister is efficient and organised.’

‘The team are up to date on the technologies at play as we move towards the decarbonisation of the energy supply chain.’

Key clients

Abo Wind Ag

Alba Energy Limited

Blain Farming

Tinwald Power Limited

Kelvin Capital

Peel Energy

Ripple Energy Limited

Suez Recycling And Recovery Uk Limited

The Farm Energy Company Limited

Wkn Gmbh

Work highlights

  • Advised Peel Energy in connection with its 50MW onshore wind development on the Island of Yell in the Shetland Islands.
  • Advised The Farm Energy Company in connection with its private wire development on a brownfield site on the Ardeer Peninsula in North Ayrshire.
  • Advised Kenneth Greenland in connection with granting rights of access to multiple wind farm developers over the Cambusavie Bends on the A9 north of Inverness.

Real estate > Construction Tier 4

Davidson Chalmers Stewart's multidisciplinary approach is based on a close cooperation between its construction, real estate and corporate practices. This is particularly attractive for developer and commercial tenant clients who not only require assistance with residential, mixed-use and refurbishment projects but also with associated transactions, leases and loan facilities. Its offering includes assistance with construction disputes which is taken up by developers and contractors. Director Simone Young heads the practice and mainly deals with non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘They are excellent communicators and they pick up on their colleagues’ brief when one of the team is unavailable.’

‘They have a great team ethic which is all about supporting the client first.’

‘Very patient, never make you feel like you’re a nuisance or in the way.’

‘Great communicators.’

‘They look for solutions rather than problems.’

Key clients

Tartan Leisure Limited

Lateral City Limited

Chris Stewart Group

Royal Bank of Scotland plc

Peveril Securities Limited

Scarborough Hermiston Limited

Artfarm Property Limited

Pegasus Fire Protection Company Limited

AC Whillans Racing

Geo Oliver & Son Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Tartan Leisure Limited in connection with the design and construction of an inland, artificial surf wavegarden with associated leisure and accommodation facilities in a disused quarry in West Lothian.
  • Advised Artfarm Property Limited in connection with the extensive refurbishment of an existing category B listed hotel, mews and dairy buildings at Braemar, to include the construction of a new build leisure complex and restaurant.
  • Advised the Chris Stewart Group in connection with the design and construction of a mixed-use development at George Street, Glasgow.

Real estate > Planning Tier 4

Davidson Chalmers Stewart‘s multidisciplinary approach translates into particular expertise in handling matters at the intersection with environmental and commercial property law alongside instructions in the renewable energy sector. Other regular work pertains to redevelopment, residential and repurpose projects and includes the assistance with planning agreements and obligations alongside associated contentious matters. Director Jacqueline Cook heads the practice from Edinburgh and acts in both contentious and non-contentious spaces.

Practice head(s):


‘Clear & prompt communication. Directed to the key person to deal with from the beginning.’

‘Approach to billing and relationship with us as a client was spelled out clearly from the beginning.’

‘Jacqueline Cook: Straight talking, action orientated and it was clear she knew her subject matter well.’

‘Jacqueline Cook delivered when she said she would and was patient with us to outline options open to us. Would definitely recommend her in the future.’

Key clients

Peel Energy

Tartan Leisure Ltd

Ogilvie Homes Ltd

JW Muir Group PLC (including Muir Homes Ltd, Hermiston Securities Ltd)

Story Homes Ltd

Pizza Hut (UK) Limited

M & J Ballantyne

RT Overseas Settlement


Work highlights

  • Advised Ogilvie Homes Limited on its successful appeal to the Inner House of the Court of Session against the Scottish Ministers’ repeated refusal of their housing proposals.
  • Continuing to advise Tartan Leisure Limited on its Wavegarden leisure scheme that will deliver Scotland’s first artificial, inland surfing lagoon. This includes planning advice on consenting strategy, applications, EIA and planning obligations.
  • Advising Peel Energy on all its renewable energy projects in Scotland. Currently, this includes advice on contracts with third parties to ensure the satisfaction of pre-commencement planning conditions and enable development to begin.

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 (www.globalaw.net), 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.

Managing partner Andrew Chalmersandrew.chalmers@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Commercial real estate Andrew Chalmersandrew.chalmers@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Commercial real estate Gavin Macleangavin.maclean@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Corporate and commercial Craig Stirlingcraig.stirling@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Dispute resolution Sheila Webstersheila.webster@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Energy including renewables Steven McAllistersteven.mcallister@dcslegal.com0141 348 7818
Environment and waste Laura Tainshlaura.tainsh@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Planning Jacqueline Cookjacqueline.cook@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Residential development Caroline Courtcaroline.court@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Residential development Bruce Lancasterbruce.lancaster@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Construction Simone Youngsimone.young@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Health Craig Stirlingcraig.stirling@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Health Andy Draneandy.drane@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Agriculture and estates Louise Joneslouise.jones@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Projects Andy Draneandy.drane@dcslegal.com0131 625 9191
Commercial real estate Nicola Scottnicola.scott@dcslegal.com07535 593 219
Corporate and commercial Stephen Smithstephen.smith@dcslegal.com07584 900 523
Arveen Arabshahi photo Arveen ArabshahiArveen is a partner in Davidson Chalmers Stewart’s Corporate team.  He advises…
Andrew Chalmers photo Andrew ChalmersManaging Partner of Davidson Chalmers Stewart and head of the commercial property…
Caroline Court photo Caroline CourtPartner in the commercial property department and head of residential development. Many…
Andy Drane photo Andy DraneOne of the lead partners in the Davidson Chalmers Stewart specialist healthcare…
Stuart Duncan photo Stuart DuncanPartner in the corporate department. Extensive experience from many years of dealing…
Lizzy Enayati photo Lizzy EnayatiQualified as a Solicitor in 2006 and joined Davidson Chalmers Stewart in…
Bruce Lancaster photo Bruce LancasterPartner within the firm’s commercial property department, with particular emphasis on development…
Stephanie Mackenzie photo Stephanie MackenzieDirector in the Residential Development team.  Deals with acqusitions of sites for…
Gavin Maclean photo Gavin MacleanAccredited by the Law Society of Scotland in 2005 as a specialist…
Henrietta Macpherson photo Henrietta MacphersonDirector in Enviromental, Waste and Renewables team. with focus on rual business. …
Craig Stirling photo Craig StirlingPartner and head of the firm’s corporate department, dealing with a wide…
Laura Tainsh photo Laura TainshPartner in the environmental, waste and renewables team. Deals with a wide…
Sheila Webster photo Sheila WebsterHead of dispute resolution, with responsibility for the development of the dispute…
Simone Young photo Simone YoungHeads up Davidson Chalmers Stewart’s construction team and has, since qualifying as…
Number of UK partners : 18
Number of other UK fee-earners : 33