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Allan Cairns

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Work Department

Real Estate


Allan is a partner in the real estate team, and is involved in a broad range of property related matters including the acquisition and management of shopping centres, investments, landlord and tenant, renewables, property finance and on-shore oil and gas. Recent experience includes acting for a fund in the acquisition and leaseback of large portfolios of care homes and nurseries.


Trained Archibald Campbell & Harley WS, qualifying 2005.  Joined Maclay Murray & Spens LLP in 2005, and partner since 2015.


Alva Academy; Dundee University LLB (Hons) 2002 and Dip LP 2003.

Scotland: Projects, energy and natural resources

Energy (excluding oil and gas)

Within: Energy (excluding oil and gas)

Dentons merged with Maclay Murray & Spens LLP in 2017, with the combined entity now benefiting from both firms' strengths in the area of energy regulation. In addition, the merger means there is now additional resource to assist clients with small to mid-scale projects (particularly in relation to onshore wind, hydro and gas peaking/gas CHP distributed generation). Led by David Cruickshank, the team acts for a wide range of participants in the renewable and alternative energy market, including developers, contractors, landowners, funders, regulators and regulated companies. A highlight in 2017 involved acting for UK Green Investment Bank in its £2.3bn sale by the UK government to Macquarie. In addition, director Carolyn Burns, Cruickshank, Mark Hamilton, senior associate Paul Young and director David McGowan advised Aggreko on its successful joint bid with National Grid to provide a new energy solution for the Shetland Islands. Bill Fowler is knowledgeable about marine renewables, onshore wind and energy from waste/renewable heat projects. Other notable partners are Stuart Fitzsimmons, who advises lenders and developers on renewable energy financing transactions, and real estate partner Allan Cairns. Stewart Maciver and senior associate Gareth Tenner are also recommended.

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Scotland: Real estate

Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow

Within: Next generation lawyers

Allan Cairns - Dentons

Within: Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow

Dentons expanded its coverage of the UK market, when it merged with Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens LLP in 2017. A sizeable number of the Scottish team are dual-qualified in English law and Scottish law, and a significant proportion of the work it handles is written under English law. Colin Keenan has a notable English and Scottish practice, with particular experience of transactions involving shopping centres (acquisitions, disposals and asset management). Simon Etchells advises English and Scottish clients on projects UK-wide involving cinemas, mixed-use and industrial developments. Barry McKeown is at the forefront of the team's advice to clients such as Sigma Capital Group and Gatehouse Bank on the delivery of new PRS housing units across the UK. Also recommended is Allan Cairns, who assisted Alpha Real Capital with the Scottish property aspects of a circa £125m sale and leaseback transaction involving 109 care homes across the UK, including 15 in Scotland.  Gordon Aitken (who co-heads the practice with Etchells) led a team, which included director Susan Gillon and senior associate Sheena Mackintosh, in the advice to Lime Property Fund on its circa £52.8m acquisition of the EcoCampus at Hamilton International Park. The firm has a strong track record in the retail sector; in 2017, a highlight involved acting for Long Row Properties Limited in its £25m acquisition of Debenhams department store in Nottingham. Elsewhere, McKeown and Gillian Downie are key figures in the specialist housebuilder unit which generates work from clients such as Barratt Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon Homes.

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Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland

Within: Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland

Dentons' team acts for clients based in Aberdeen, and the north and north east of Scotland, with its work involving sectors that are the core of the local economy, such as retail, renewable energy, hotels and agriculture. In the housebuilding space, David Rose acts for some of the largest and most active housebuilders - such as Barratt, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon's north Scotland business - and lenders to north east Scotland developers. In addition, as part of a much larger operation, the team is highly active in matters throughout the UK, such as property portfolio transactions. Rose, who has overseen the growth of the firm's Aberdeen-based practice since his arrival from Brodies LLP in 2015, made partner in June 2017. He is supported by Edinburgh-based partners Allan Cairns and Alan Stewart, who commit a significant proportion of time to the Aberdeen practice. In 2017, a highlight involved acting for McLaren (Aberdeen) Limited and McLaren Developments (Aberdeen) Limited in the sale of a portfolio of six student accommodation developments to Hines UK Limited. Another matter involved advising Craig Garbill Renewables LLP on the sale of a wind turbine to Wind Energy Renewables LLP.

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