Axiom Advocates continue to set the pace at the Scottish Bar
2 November 2016
Axiom Advocates are delighted to announce another outstanding set of rankings in this year’s Chambers UK Bar Guide. Axiom members have obtained 105 rankings and is ranked band 1 in a total of 11 practice areas including their core areas of public law and commercial law. Individual members acheived 48 band 1 rankings across 16 practice areas.
Axiom's stable director Roddy Dunlop QC commented:
"Axiom are delighted by this years chambers uk rankings, which yet again show market leading performances across our core practice areas and beyond. It is highly gratifying to see the hard work of stable members and our excellent clerking team recognised in this way, and the stable looks forward to building on this further in the year to come."
Administrative & Public Law - Scotland (Bar)
Axiom Advocates offers an unrivalled depth of public law expertise and houses high-quality practitioners at every level. Clients comment that it is "without a doubt the top stable in this area," explaining that "you can be assured that their advocates will be at the top of their game. They are academically brilliant and there is a real sense of quality across the board." Members tackle all aspects of administrative and public law, including commercial, EU, planning, procurement, human rights and immigration. A recent highlight was Ross v Lord Advocate, a case concerning the publication of clear guidelines on prosecutions arising from assisted suicide. This matter featured members of Axiom acting for both the petitioner and respondent.
Client service: "The clerking at Axiom is great. They are very responsive, helpful, friendly and accommodating. They are great at coming up with the best lawyer when you're not seeking out someone specific." Practice manager Lesley Flynn leads the team.
David Johnston QC
Strong choice for administrative and public law cases involving novel questions of law. He regularly represents the Scottish government and other public bodies in legislative and regulatory challenges.
Strengths: "Consistently high standard of advice and effective advocacy." "He has a very intellectual approach to matters and really thinks things through."
Recent work: Represented the Scottish Information Commissioner in an appeal examining the scope of the personal data exemption under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
Mark Lindsay QC
Has extensive experience of acting for petitioners and respondents in high-profile public and administrative law challenges. He also advises public bodies on freedom of information responses and the implications of legislative reform.
Strengths: "Has an incredible analytical mind, produces very detailed submissions and is good with the clients." "Great breadth of experience. He is also very easy to deal with. Even when he is on the opposing side, he is very reasonable, approachable and pragmatic."
Recent work: Acted for the Law Society of Scotland in an appeal to the Inner House which considered whether or not the Court of Session had an inherent common law power to grant an English barrister ad hoc rights of audience.
Gerry Moynihan QC
Offers a breadth of administrative and public law expertise, which includes commercial, human rights and regulatory challenges. He is also experienced at acting in public inquiries.
Strengths: "He is very pragmatic in his approach and has the ear of the court." "An astute lawyer with a sharp mind, who has a concise and measured delivery in court and an assured manner with clients."
Recent work: Represented the Scottish government in a case which considered whether the Scotch Whisky Association's challenge to Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2014 was a breach of EU provisions on the free movement of goods.
Ruth Crawford QC
Often seen in challenging and complex judicial reviews and regulatory appeals. She is also frequently instructed to advise public bodies on legislative interpretation.
Strengths: "A wealth of experience - her ability to take the court with her is one of her great strengths." "Very good in court and delivers clear, organised submissions. She has a willingness to roll up her sleeves and can assimilate huge amounts of information. Very good drafting and great turnaround times."
Recent work: Represented the Financial Conduct Authority in a challenge against the sanctions regime applicable to perpetrators of mortgage fraud.
James Mure QC
Predominantly handles public law challenges which turn on the interpretation of EU law. He receives instructions from the Scottish government, local authorities and other clients in the public sector.
Strengths: "Highly intelligent." "He is very strong on technical details. He gives clear opinions and doesn't sit on the fence."
Recent work: Led a challenge brought by Angus Growers against the withdrawal of its recognition as a producer organisation supporting the fruit and vegetable sector and a related claim for damages under Francovich state liability principles.
Anna Poole QC
Represents petitioners, respondents and interested parties in judicial reviews, statutory appeals and regulatory challenges. Her broad, substantive expertise includes planning, community care, devolution and other aspects of local authority law.
Strengths: "She is very thorough and also very good at thinking of how to present to the court, not just legally but also tactically." "She is very well prepared, very clever and also very good at putting arguments across to the bench."
Recent work: Acted for Milton Keynes Council in its judicial review challenging the Scottish ministers' approach to the meaning of ordinary residence and therefore, the liability for the care costs of an individual who had moved from England to Scotland.
Morag Ross QC
Widely regarded as one of the top juniors at the Scottish Bar. She acts in significant public law challenges across a wide range of subjects, including commercial, human rights, EU and planning law.
Strengths: "Very persuasive advocacy. She is more than a safe pair of hands. Extremely bright and able to make very incisive arguments." "Her written advice is extremely well thought out, logically drafted and presented in a way that makes difficult subject matter easily digestible. She is very bright."
Recent work: Represented the Lord Advocate in a judicial review brought by a petitioner seeking publication of a policy outlining the circumstances in which a prosecution will be brought against a person who is involved in assisted suicide.
Acts for petitioners, respondents and interveners in a wide range of judicial reviews and regulatory appeals. He is expert in a number of areas, and especially well regarded for his handling of procurement disputes.
Strengths: "Excellent advocacy, advice and attention to detail." "A thoroughly good lawyer. What I really like is that he is absolutely candid. He knows which points are rubbish and won't try to pull the wool over your eyes."
Recent work: Represented the Equality and Human Rights Commission as interveners in a petition for judicial review concerning the failure of the Scottish ministers to lay regulations under the mental health legislation.
Draws on his deep expertise in human rights law to represent petitioners and respondents in administrative and public law challenges. He is particularly strong in the context of immigration and asylum appeals.
Strengths: "One of the most intelligent advocates at the Bar." "Good presentation. He knows to pick good points, which makes him effective." "He is very thorough, business-like and easy to put before clients, including corporate clients."
Recent work: Represented one of the respondents in a judicial review challenging the Secretary of State over the Home Department's use of Swedish company Sprakab in assessing the reliability of asylum claims.
Civil Liberties & Human Rights - Scotland (Bar)
Axiom Advocates remains at the forefront of the field of civil liberties and human rights in Scotland. In terms of firepower, the stable is unrivalled in this area and houses many high-calibre practitioners, from juniors through to silks. Its highly skilled members have vast experience of appearing before the Inner and Outer House of the Court of Session, Sheriff Courts, the UK Supreme Court and the ECHR. Its advocates are recognised for their deft handling of highly complex judicial review proceedings, and have recently acted in a number of market-leading cases, such as Gordon Ross v Lord Advocate, a case concerning the lawfulness of assisted suicide. Instructing solicitors describe this stable's advocates as "available, approachable and helpful."
Client service: "The clerks are very polite, willing to help, and they always get back to you quickly." "All the clerks are quick and efficient." Lesley Flynn is the practice manager.
Mark Lindsay QC
A market-leading silk with a well-established practice, he is regularly called upon to challenge the decisions of tribunals, regulatory bodies and local and central government. Given the high calibre of his instructions, he is a regular feature before all levels of domestic court and the ECJ.
Strengths: "He has an incredibly analytical mind, he reliably provides very detailed submissions and he's good with the clients."
Anna Poole QC
Operating at every level of court, from the Sheriff Court to the ECHR, she has been instructed in a number of high-profile, policy-changing matters. Her broad expertise covers areas such as freedom of information, access to justice, prisoners' rights and child protection.
Strengths: "She is very good at putting her case across persuasively, and not the least bit daunted by the highest levels of court." "She's completely up-to-date and knows all the latest cases. She really has the ear of the court."
Recent work: Acted in Carroll v Scottish Borders Council, a case concerning the placement of a wind farm. The matter considered the compatibility of local review decisions with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Morag Ross QC
Routinely assists both respondents and claimants, including public authorities. She is well versed in judicial review proceedings, procurement law, government litigation and complex aspects of EU legislation.
Strengths: "She's meticulous in her preparation and delivery and is always listened to by the Bench." "She's top-drawer: efficient, thorough and able to pick things up at short notice."
Respected junior with a strong track record of assisting local government and other public bodies with administrative appeals and judicial review proceedings. His broad client base includes institutions such as Police Scotland, Glasgow City Council, the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
Recent work: Assisted the Equality and Human Rights Commission with its intervention in LS v Scottish Ministers, a judicial review petition concerning the failure of ministers to lay regulations under the mental health legislation.
Represents a variety of petitioners and respondents, including public bodies, individuals facing deportation and the Scottish government. He demonstrates expertise across diverse areas, such as prison, mental health, energy and planning law, and is dedicated to the protection of vulnerable groups.
Strengths: "You know he'll make a good job of any instruction; he's got good judgement and can formulate arguments excellently." "He clearly knows what he's doing and he's a real pleasure to work with."
Clinical Negligence - Scotland (Bar)
Axiom is a solid stable in the area of clinical negligence with a wealth of advocates who are regularly sought after to act on a range of defence matters on behalf of the MDDUS and NHS Legal Office. Its members are also equipped to handle work for pursuers, including claims made with the help of legal aid.
Client service: "The clerks are very user-friendly and efficient." "They are available, approachable and helpful and their response times are very good." Lesley Flynn is the practice manager at the stable.
Roddy Dunlop QC
Well regarded for his work in defending a variety of medical professionals as well as health boards in claims of negligent care, as such he is regularly engaged by the NHS Central Legal Office.
Strengths: "Very highly respected." "He's popular and well regarded, a fighter."
Recent work: Defended the Scottish Ambulance Service against a claim of causing a heart attack by sending a patient to the wrong facility.
Iain Ferguson QC
An experienced silk who regularly defends hospitals and GPs against a range of claims with particular experience in those relating to neurosurgery and obstetrics.
Strengths: "He's very exacting, very well prepared and precise." "He's outstandingly good."
Recent work: Acted in defence of Lothian Health Board in a case concerning allegations of negligence on the part of neurologists and a neurosurgeon. The pursuer was paralysed following spinal surgery to remove a benign tumour when he was a teenager.
Alastair Duncan QC
Frequently engaged by medical professionals to defend against claims of negligence and also possesses experience in handling inquiries.
Strengths: "Well-respected, steady counsel. Peer respect is very much there."
Recent work: Represented Great Glasgow and Clyde Health Board in an inquiry into the death of an infant.
With an interest in professional liability, Chris is well placed to defend claims against medical and dental professionals such as GPs and surgeons. He is noted for his experience in judicial review proceedings.
Strengths: "He is particularly good at working with the MDDUS." "He is very capable and his eye for detail is phenomenal."
Recent work: Acted in defence of a surgeon against claims of negligent mastectomy and reconstruction surgery.
Commercial Dispute Resolution - Scotland (Bar)
There is broad consensus among market commentators that Axiom remains the foremost stable in Scotland for commercial disputes. Individual members are acknowledged as go-to advocates in a diverse range of specialist fields, including banking, contract, insolvency, construction, IP and real estate. A key recent highlight saw advocates from the stable instructed on both sides of SSE Generation v HOCHTIEF Solutions and HOCHTIEF (UK) Construction, a multimillion-pound dispute relating to the collapse of an intake tunnel at a hydroelectric power station in the Scottish Highlands. The stable's typical client list features leading corporates and financial institutions, as well as local authorities and the Office of the Solicitor to the Advocate General. The stable's advocates are regularly instructed in cutting-edge and high-profile matters before the Court of Session.
Client service: "The clerks are very approachable and knowledgeable on the availability and likely feelings of an advocate towards taking a case." "You can place a lot of trust in the clerks - they have a very commercial approach and appreciate the need for a quick turnaround." "The clerks are accessible and contactable. They bill promptly and are on top of counsel's availability." Lesley Flynn is the practice manager and leads the clerking team.
Garry Borland QC
Regularly cited as a standout advocate for construction and engineering disputes. Also frequently instructed in insolvency, tax and professional liability proceedings, in addition to general commercial matters. He is renowned for his depth of analysis, his grasp of complex technical issues and his attention to detail.
Strengths: "He is an excellent strategist who always strives for the best commercial result for the client." "He identifies the crux of an issue very quickly, communicating well with the client in plain English." "When it comes to thoroughness, he is unrivalled in his willingness to immerse himself in the complexity of cases. He has real clarity of thought and precision of delivery."
Recent work: Representing engineering firm AL Daines in a £26 million dispute arising from the terms of a wind farm contract.
Heriot Currie QC
A senior silk whose immense experience covers all aspects of commercial dispute resolution. He is very well respected within the profession, and is highlighted by solicitors as a go-to advocate for exceptionally complex or novel cases. He maintains a broad practice, but is especially well reputed in the fields of construction and IP.
Strengths: "He is very responsive and willing to work to tight deadlines on complex new instructions." "He is obviously at the top of the Bar, and is very good on his feet."
Roddy Dunlop QC
Noted for the breadth of his expertise, as well as his assertive and persuasive advocacy before the Bench. He receives especially high praise for his handling of media and professional discipline matters. Market commentators also note his success in major banking litigation.
Strengths: "One of the most effective court performers at the Scottish Bar; he has a real skill for compelling and persuasive arguments." "He is very good at drilling down and making complex pictures a lot simpler - he picks up the details of a wide range of disputes very quickly."
Recent work: Successfully defended Glasgow City Council against a multimillion-pound claim relating to one of its contracts.
Jonathan Lake QC
Principally represents clients in real estate, IP and contract litigation. He is also praised for his work in construction and professional negligence matters. Commentators highlight the ease with which he grasps complex issues of law, as well as the strength of his opinion work.
Strengths: "He's commercial and very good at speaking the client's language." "He has a real passion for technical legal issues, and an ability to wrestle with those issues and produce an authoritative opinion." "He is a really accomplished and assured senior who embraces complex arguments and is extremely persuasive on his feet."
Kenneth McBrearty QC
Has a breadth of expertise spanning a wide variety of commercial disputes, including partnership and IP cases. He earns particular recognition for his handling of major real estate and professional negligence matters. Instructing solicitors highlight his client-friendly manner and clear communication style.
Strengths: "He has a nice combination of being very forensic on the detail as well as being personable and relating well to clients." "He is really user-friendly and speaks in a way that clients can understand - he's very clear in terms of expressing what the options are." "He is one of the most pragmatic guys at the Bar, but he doesn't substitute his pragmatism for the quality of his advice - on technical details and the nitty-gritty he is outstanding."
Recent work: Acted for Tor Corporate in a high-value dispute with Sinopec Group Star Petroleum over the management of a drilling rig.
Gerry Moynihan QC
Maintains a strong reputation in the market for his considerable experience in construction, planning, public law and professional liability matters, in addition to purely commercial disputes. He is regarded by instructing solicitors as a client-friendly silk who communicates in a clear and down-to-earth manner.
Strengths: "I'm always impressed by Gerry's ability to take six or seven lever-arch files and absorb the information really quickly when there's a time bar coming up." "He's very good at understanding where the client is coming from, and is commercial in his approach. He also works well in a team setting - he understands what solicitors need from him."
Lord Davidson of Glen Clova QC
Highlighted for his strong tactical sense and formidable cross-examination abilities. His experience covers litigation in the Court of Session and ECJ, as well as the representation of clients in mediations and arbitrations. In addition to his legal work, he is a member of the Labour front bench in the House of Lords.
Strengths: "He has a huge level of experience and insight." "He's someone to use for trickier cases - he's very switched-on and is very good at getting to the nub of a situation very quickly."
Alastair Duncan QC
A leading silk in the field of professional negligence, whose abilities are also in high demand for commercial contract disputes. He is regarded as a strong team player with sound commercial judgement.
Strengths: "Clients like him because in consultations he is able to speak with them directly, in their own terms." "He is able to pick up and run with complex contractual disputes at short notice."
Recent work: Successfully defended IT services company Capgemini against a breach of contract claim.
Mark Lindsay QC
Able to call upon broad commercial litigation experience, including in several major shareholder and contractual disputes. He also possesses considerable experience in public and administrative law, having been a standing junior to the Home Secretary prior to taking silk.
Strengths: "A pleasant, softly spoken and considered man with a fantastic analytical mind." "He has a keen intellect which is displayed in his written opinions and advice at consultations, which clients find easily comprehensible. These abilities are matched by strong advocacy skills." "He is a great all-rounder."
Recent work: Acted for the trustee and general partner of Gyle Shopping Centre in a dispute with Marks & Spencer over the interpretation of the terms of a commercial lease.
James McNeill QC
Senior silk acknowledged as a leading authority on issues relating to trusts and pension schemes. His broader commercial expertise covers tax and contentious insolvency. He also regularly sits as a mediator.
Strengths: "He has an unrivalled knowledge of complex trust and tax issues."
James Mure QC
Acts for clients in major contractual and commercial property disputes. His expertise in these areas is complemented by in-depth knowledge of public law, procurement and planning issues.
Strengths: "He has a very persuasive, eloquent style before the court." "He's highly intelligent and demonstrates meticulous attention to detail, but at the same time he is very engaging, approachable and down-to-earth."
Recent work: Acting for the pursuer in a dilapidations claim relating to a major industrial site in Glasgow.
Roisin Higgins QC
Maintains an impressive reputation as one of the Bar's leading authorities on IP-related issues. She has additional expertise in construction and property disputes. Market commentators highlight her impressive combination of robust advocacy and in-depth intellectual insight.
Strengths: "She takes things away and really mulls them over. When she comes back to you, she has a very well-considered and thorough answer." "She takes a forthright, pragmatic and commercial approach; she's easy to work with and responsive." "She is an advocate who has the ear of the court."
Morag Ross QC
A specialist in public and administrative law, particularly noted for her detailed knowledge of public procurement issues. She is well respected within the legal community for her clear and detailed advice.
Strengths: "She is exceptionally clever, and also very diligent, approachable and good with clients." "She has a very comprehensive knowledge of her subject area and is very respected by the Bench."
Acts for clients across the full spectrum of commercial disputes. She is developing an especially strong reputation in relation to high-value insolvency proceedings. Complex evidential hearings form a major part of her practice.
Strengths: "Almira will fight hard for you. She has a huge brain and is very committed." "She has a keen intellect and isn't afraid of a fight."
Recent work: One of several counsel acting for SSE Generation in a major dispute arising from the collapse of a hydropower tunnel in the Scottish Highlands.
Exceptionally popular among instructing solicitors due to his combination of approachability and rigorous intellectual analysis. Construction and engineering cases are a key area of focus for this bright and hard-working junior.
Strengths: "Martin, perhaps because he used to be a solicitor, understands what we're looking for, offering strategic guidance as well as a clarity of thought around a particular point. He's great with clients too - they always respond well to him. He's very personable and always on top of the detail." "He is extremely sought after for his careful analysis and effective court performance."
Recent work: Defending HOCHTIEF Solutions and HOCHTIEF (UK) Construction against claims brought by SSE Generation in relation to a tunnel collapse at the Glendoe hydroelectric project.
An experienced junior in particularly high demand for insolvency, real estate and company litigation. Sources emphasise his impressive advocacy skills and outstanding grasp of technical points of law.
Strengths: "He is very clever, methodical and good at arguing a point, but very commercial as well." "He is very good at digesting complicated contracts and getting to the nub of an issue where there's a lot of technical input." "He combines commercial acumen with strong advocacy skills to great effect."
Recent work: Representing the Advocate General for HMRC in a dispute with the former Rangers FC over its use of an employee benefit trust scheme.
Meticulous preparation and a robust style of advocacy see Barne instructed on cases ranging from contractual disputes to construction, engineering and commercial property matters. He is regarded as a team player who excels at both written opinions and oral advocacy.
Strengths: "He is very, very thorough in presenting his arguments; he's always incredibly well prepared." "He is extremely hard-working, and is prepared to roll his sleeves up and be part of the team."
Recent work: Instructed on behalf of Aberdeen Asset Management in a complex dispute with the Trustees of Strathclyde Pension Fund. The claimant alleges that Aberdeen Asset Management breached the terms of its discretionary investment mandate by investing in a substantial office property.
Consistently rated by sources as one of the most intellectually able juniors at the Scottish Bar. His key areas of focus are IP and general commercial litigation. In addition, he has also been instructed on complex commercial property and insolvency matters.
Strengths: "You know he will cover everything very accurately - he is immensely intelligent." "He is highly analytical and extremely hard-working. He brings real intellectual firepower and can get to the heart of the matter very quickly." "He is very bright; his great strength lies in legal analysis and opinion work."
Recent work: Acting for the defenders in a complex warranty claim brought by the purchasers of a whisky distillery.
Praised by sources as a multi-talented advocate who relates well to clients and is a strong performer in court. Contractual disputes and insolvency form a large part of her practice.
Strengths: "Where she really stands out is as a court advocate. On her feet, she is superb at guiding a witness through a complicated narrative, as well as keeping the client on track and focused on the evidence."
Recent work: Acted for Marine Harvest (Scotland) in overturning an interim interdict preventing it from releasing a significant quantity of salmon into a loch in north-west Scotland.
A senior junior often instructed as lead counsel. His quick turnaround and team-oriented approach make him a popular choice among instructing solicitors. He has developed a strong reputation in a number of areas, including construction, real estate, IP and professional negligence.
Strengths: "He's strong on his feet in court as well as in his written work." "He is a focused and determined advocate with real punch." "He is good at thinking outside the box."
Recent work: Acted for Glen Clyde in a breach of contract dispute with a Russian importer.
Active in professional negligence cases, as well as contractual, partnership and shareholder disputes. He also represents clients in insolvency and commercial property matters. Market commentators highlight his depth of experience and detailed preparation.
Strengths: "He is very well prepared - he produces logical and coherent notes of argument." "His attention to detail is excellent."
Recent work: Sole counsel for the pursuer in partnership litigation with a mid-tier firm of chartered accountants.
Regularly instructed in relation to insolvency proceedings and professional negligence matters. He continues to develop an impressive following in the market, with sources emphasising his robust court presence and pragmatic advice.
Strengths: "He is very practical in his advice and he's not scared to tell a client if he thinks they're taking an unreasonable approach." "His advice is detailed and precise. He takes a commercial overview and works with the client to achieve their objectives."
Recent work: Instructed by the administrators of Heritable Bank in a dispute with the winding-up board of Landsbanki, Heritable's Icelandic parent company.
Maintains a broad commercial dispute resolution practice, complemented by his strong focus on public law. He is increasingly noted for representation of financial institutions in disputes concerning financial products. Sources note his impressive powers of analysis and ability to engage well with clients.
Strengths: "He is probably the go-to junior in Scotland for swaps and financial services litigation." "He makes himself available at all times and is a trusted name for clients."
Recent work: Representing BAM Properties in a contractual dispute with IVG Glasgow Partnership, concerning the distribution of funds held in a retention account.
An in-demand junior who represents clients in litigation and various forms of ADR. He frequently represents clients in commercial property and professional negligence proceedings, but is equally adept at complex contractual disputes.
Strengths: "His attention to detail is meticulous and he always gives clients clear and well thought-out advice." "He is very good at communicating with the client what the situation is and what their options are."
Recent work: Instructed on behalf of Restaurantdiary.com in its dispute with the former Australia and New Zealand distributor of its restaurant booking software.
Best known for his expertise in the professional liability sphere, defending healthcare, legal and construction professionals - among others - in a wealth of high-stakes proceedings. He also has notable experience in contractual disputes and commercial property litigation.
Strengths: "He's someone who'll pick up the phone when you call him and is always happy to talk through any issues you might have." "He is easy to work with and just very, very bright."
Recent work: Defended ACE Winches against a EUR9 million claim resulting from its provision of an allegedly defective winch product to Open Hydro.
A recent call to the Bar and a former solicitor at a well-known firm, whose reputation in insolvency and commercial property litigation continues to grow. He is recommended by several market sources as an advocate to watch, with his client-handling skills singled out for particular praise.
Strengths: "He is an excellent technical lawyer." "He is a bright and diligent advocate with a growing practice." "He is definitely a star of the future
Company - Scotland (Bar)
Axiom Advocates remains the leading Scottish stable for commercial matters, and is known for handling the full spectrum of both company law disputes and non-contentious company matters. The advocates are also highly regarded for their advisory work concerning directors' duties, and the stable has a number of members who are past and present Standing Juniors to the United Kingdom government.
Client service: "The leaders in the field." The commercial clerking team is led by Colleen Adams.
Heriot Currie QC
A respected commercial silk, with a recognised expertise in handling company cases concerning breach of fiduciary duty. His broad practice also includes disputes related to construction, intellectual property and professional negligence, among other commercial matters.
Strengths: "He is very experienced and an English barrister down south. He has a quality practice."
Held in high regard for his commercial litigation practice, he is regularly instructed by the Secretary of State to handle director disqualification claims. Instructing solicitors appreciate that he is "very easy to work with," reporting that "he works collaboratively with you as a team." He complements his company practice with additional expertise in property and insolvency matters.
Strengths: "He is very user-friendly, he makes himself available and he's very good with clients. I would say he's a very safe pair of hands; if I instruct David I know I'm going to get a very good job done."
Recent work: Acted for respondent Hornbuckle Mitchell Trustees in Gray and others v Braid Group, a case concerning an unfair prejudice action.
Construction - Scotland (Bar)
Axiom Advocates is regarded as the pre-eminent construction stable at the Scottish Bar. Its practitioners are routinely instructed in the country's most prestigious construction disputes and related arbitration proceedings. The stable frequently offers specialist counsel across major infrastructure, energy and engineering projects, demonstrating particular insight into professional negligence and construction defect claims. One market commentator remarks that Axiom is "widely considered to be the most commercial stable in Scotland."
Client service: Practice manager Lesley Flynn leads the clerking team. "The clerks are always very helpful and respond to queries quickly. Every clerk within the stable can be relied on to effectively assist." "A highly responsive team."
Garry Borland QC
Recognised advocate with a broad-based practice running the full gamut of construction and engineering matters. He regularly represents clients in complex, high-profile disputes, such as expense and defect claims.
Strengths: "He masters the detail, but also has a strategic and commercial approach." "He brings the full weight of experience to his cases, and he has a speed and accuracy of analysis that few can match."
Recent work: Acted for the main contractor, Lend Lease Construction, in a number of complex, multimillion-pound claims brought by a sub-contractor. The set of claims all related to the construction of the Hydro arena, a new concert venue in Glasgow.
Heriot Currie QC
Hugely experienced senior counsel with an internationally recognised practice. He habitually handles the most complex, significant disputes in the construction industry, and is lauded for his deft handling of technically complex PFI contracts.
Strengths: "He's hugely impressive in court and has great gravitas, being one of the most senior QCs." "He is very straightforward and effective."
Recent work: Acted in Prospect Healthcare v Keir Build and Carillion Construction in a claim arising from allegations of defectively manufactured products. The £11 million claim concerned the embrittlement of plastic pipework in a hospital.
Jonathan Lake QC
A leading silk in the Scottish construction market who can boast a history of appearances in the country's most sophisticated and high-profile cases. He represents a diverse array of clients in major instances of litigation and arbitration, and demonstrates notable skill in matters containing professional negligence elements. Sources further praise his strong grasp of technically complex contractual issues.
Strengths: "Very good at looking at things commercially and has a keen eye for detail." "He's excellent, very down-to-earth and able to explain things with absolute clarity."
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in SGL Carbon Fiber vs Stork Technical Services (RBG), a complex arbitration arising from a multimillion-pound engineering contract dispute.
Widely respected advocate who is recognised for his commercial nous. A regular feature at the Court of Session, he is frequently instructed by top-flight industry players in all manner of construction disputes.
Strengths: "He is very knowledgeable, he understands the construction world and he provides reliable and consistent advice from the outset." "One of the most impressive juniors at the Scottish Bar."
Recent work: Acted as sole counsel in Huntaven Properties v Hunter Construction, a multimillion-pound claim relating to defective concrete at a pipe storage yard in Aberdeenshire.
Former solicitor and leading junior in the sector, he is regularly instructed by contractors and developers in heavyweight construction disputes. He demonstrates particular ability in professional negligence-related matters.
Strengths: "Very user-friendly and he always has a clear idea on strategy." "He's highly intelligent, good on his feet and excellent on complex legal issues."
Recent work: Acted for the defence in Dumfries & Galloway v Kier Construction, a £12 million claim regarding alleged design and workmanship failures in the construction of a leisure centre complex.
Well-regarded advocate with an impressively broad practice encompassing the professional negligence, insolvency and administrative elements of construction law. He is often instructed in multimillion-pound disputes and matters of significant prestige.
Strengths: "He's got a wonderful eye for detail and will pull out all the stops to deliver in tight timescales." "Can cut through a lot of information to get to the crux of an issue very quickly."
Recent work: Appeared in SSE Generation v HOCHTIEF, an immensely large-scale and high-value case concerning the collapse of a tunnel which had formed part of an hydro-electric scheme built by the defenders.
Experienced practitioner in the field of construction who offers particular expertise in matters with a professional negligence overlap. As director of the Scottish Arbitration Centre, and as a former solicitor, he is also well-versed in all forms of ADR.
Strengths: "Extremely switched-on, with a keen eye for detail and considerable construction expertise." "Brilliant legal mind, very thorough and able to pick up on the smallest of details."
Recent work: Instructed in Bouygues E&S Contracting v Vital Energi Utilities, a high-value claim concerning the termination of mechanical and electrical subcontracts.
An in-demand advocate who regularly appears on behalf of contractors, subcontractors, employers and professional individuals. He exhibits aptitude across various forms of ADR and has broad experience in judicial review proceedings.
Strengths: "You know you've got a good advocate when Alasdair's on board." "He provides extremely thorough interrogation of details and demonstrates capability across all areas of construction law."
Recent work: Acted in Stewart Milne Westhill v Halliday Fraser Munro, a high-value claim regarding design defects in a multi-use development in Aberdeen which had caused flooding.
Intellectual Property - Scotland (Bar)
Axiom Advocates remains the benchmark for intellectual property work at the Scottish Bar, given its unrivalled team of pre-eminent advocates who routinely attract instructions in the most sophisticated, high-value matters. Its esteemed members demonstrate expertise across such areas as patent infringement and trade mark disputes. The skilled advocates at Axiom remain a popular choice for a diverse client base, which comprises manufacturers, government entities and multinational corporations, among others. The stable is highly respected by market commentators, who particularly highlight its proactive and commercial approach.
Client service: “The clerks are very professional and very thorough.” Lesley Flynn leads the clerking team.
Heriot Currie QC
A distinguished presence at the Scottish Bar, he is noted for his vast experience and gravitas in court. He regularly handles a broad range of high-value disputes, with particular strength in complex patent infringement claims.
Strengths: “He's the man you want for complicated, high-value disputes. He is very experienced, eminent and widely respected by judges, given his seniority.” “Remains one of the leading silks in IP and for commercial matters generally.”
Jonathan Lake QC
Highly sought after for his proficiency across an array of IP matters, he exhibits considerable knowledge and expertise in the field. He is regularly instructed on behalf of large corporate clients and is praised for his strategic approach to complex cases.
Strengths: “A go-to advocate for IP disputes. He is excellent, very commercial, sensible and extremely bright. He's amazingly sharp and delivers wonderful arguments, both in writing and in court.” “Jonathan is an excellent senior counsel who has a detailed, in-depth knowledge of his cases and broad IP knowledge which is second to none. He never loses sight of the bigger commercial picture .”
Roisin Higgins QC
Newly minted silk who is widely respected for her broad expertise and adroit handling of complex IP disputes. Her areas of skill include passing-off, copyright and trade secret matters.
Strengths: “Huge amount of IP experience across the board, she produces good written work and is excellent on her feet.” “Very commercial, she has a good sense of the wider context of her advice and is extraordinarily knowledgeable.”
Well-regarded junior counsel known for his technical expertise and breadth of knowledge. He is regularly called on to handle a wide range of IP disputes, including patent, copyright and restrictive covenant matters.
Strengths: “His real skill is his attention to detail. He is very bright and very thorough in his preparations.” “He has an ability to really understand detailed technical information and to form a clear view of how to proceed. He is very bright, clear and persuasive.”
Recent work: Acted for the defence in Clark v TripAdvisor LLC, successfully resisting an application by two hoteliers for disclosure of details of the authors of allegedly defamatory reviews of their B&B.
Dual-qualified English advocate with extensive experience dealing with sophisticated IP disputes. She is recognised for her adept handling of a range of matters, such as patent and trade secret litigation.
Strengths: “The best IP junior in Scotland. Kathryn brings experience and expertise from the London Bar.” “She's great, client-friendly and really willing to roll her sleeves up.”
Skilled practitioner whose broad expertise in the field covers such matters as passing-off, copyright infringements and trade mark issues. He is a regular feature in high-profile IP disputes.
Strengths: “He has built up a specialism in the space. He is very personable and impressive in court.”
Recent work: Instructed by the Football Association in brand protection and enforcement proceedings against various pubs which were streaming live matches from abroad to avoid payment.
Professional Discipline - Scotland (Bar)
Axiom Advocates is the dominant Scottish professional discipline stable, offering an impressive collection of leading silks and juniors. Members regularly appear in cases either acting for the leading regulators or appearing against them on behalf of professional individuals. Specific expertise in medical, legal and financial professional discipline disputes is noted by the stable's outstanding collection of prominent clients, who describe the stable as having "the best advocates across the board, and the most big hitters."
Client service: "The clerks are very responsive and make an effort to understand the particular work and needs of the client. If counsel are unavailable, they can make helpful suggestions for people with that experience." Lesley Flynn is the practice manager.
Alastair Duncan QC
Both prosecutes and defends in disciplinary hearings, and has particular strength in cases involving the legal profession. His broad practice includes commercial and general professional liability.
Strengths: "Head and shoulders above everyone else. He consistently delivers. Never ever failed to do what I've asked." "He presents his arguments in a well-structured and logical way; he has the ear of the court."
Roddy Dunlop QC
A hugely impressive silk with a full command of regulatory and legislative considerations required for complex professional discipline litigation. He regularly appears in the appellate courts and represents both regulatory bodies and professionals.
Strengths: "Very highly regarded, the go-to individual for this area of law." "He knows regulatory law inside-out, backwards and forwards." "The leading silk in this field. Skilled, excellent on his feet and persuasive."
Recent work: Has been acting for the GPhC in K v General Pharmaceutical Council, a case proceeding to the Supreme Court.
Mark Lindsay QC
An accomplished advocate particularly well known for his work in the professional discipline and public law spaces. As a former solicitor, he brings a wealth of litigation experience and understanding of the commercial realities of professional discipline.
Strengths: "Technically very good and excellent on his feet."
Recent work: Acted for the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) in the case of Bartos v SLCC, concerning the circumstances in which an advocate is obliged to seek the client's instruction before moving for an action to be dismissed.
Morag Ross QC
A well-respected and talented civil and public law practitioner with recognised expertise in professional discipline. She has experience representing a broad range of regulatory bodies and professionals.
Strengths: "Technically excellent and concise, to the point and well argued. Good in a consultation situation." "Excellent, detailed approach; fabulous on her feet; authoritative and persuasive."
Has a broad professional discipline practice, receiving instructions from solicitors, architects, doctors, pharmacists, accountants and their regulatory bodies. He is an experienced civil litigator and also handles product liability cases.
Strengths: "Sensible chap and an excellent orator."
Recent work: Instructed in an appeal to the Inner House of the Court of Session in the case of McSparran McCormick v SLCC. The case concerned the scope of a solicitor's duty to desist from making disrespectful comments in correspondence.
Professional Negligence - Scotland (Bar)
Axiom Advocates is the dominant stable for professional negligence disputes in Scotland, offering a number of the most prominent advocates in the area. Its members enjoy a remarkable reputation for cases involving professionals such as solicitors, surveyors, accountants and financial advisers. They have a particularly strong reputation in cases relating to property transactions. Recent matters in which members have played prominent roles include a case stemming from the well-publicised Edinburgh trams project, City of Edinburgh Council v DLA Piper.
Client service: "The clerking is very, very good. They get back to you very quickly and efficiently." "The clerks are all great at recommending somebody who focuses on a particular area." The team is led by Lesley Flynn.
Alastair Duncan QC
Recommended for his expertise in handling professional negligence matters pertaining to the legal sector, while also offering experience in matters concerning the surveying and insurance spheres, among others.
Strengths: "To my mind, he is the single outstanding silk dealing with professional negligence. He is head and shoulders above everyone else. He consistently delivers." "A joy to instruct. He is down-to-earth, has a very good analytical mind and a real grasp of the relevant factual and legal issues."
Recent work: Instructed in McManus v City Link Development Company, representing engineering firm Scott Wilson in connection with a number of cases concerning land contamination.
Roddy Dunlop QC
Continues to excel in the professional negligence sphere, handling matters relating to the legal profession. He handles such cases as part of a far broader practice that encompasses commercial disputes and clinical liability matters.
Strengths: "Roddy is very to the point, concise, very good at drilling down and making a complex picture a lot simpler." "A great court advocate who will fight your corner when you need him to. He is skilled at boiling difficult cases down to key issues and he has very strong tactical awareness."
Recent work: Acted in Singh v Napier, successfully defending a senior counsel in connection with claims of discrimination and professional negligence by a former client.
Iain Ferguson QC
Handles professional negligence litigation as part of a broader practice that also encompasses clinical negligence matters.
Strengths: "He has a forensic brain and is incredible on the details. He's somebody you can absolutely rely on to deliver the job and is a real team player. There is no question too small to take to him."
Recent work: Acted in AC&H (219) Ltd v DI Burchill & Partners, defending a quantity surveyor against allegations of negligence with respect to the design and build contract for a building conversion.
Jonathan Lake QC
Offers a highly respected professional negligence practice as part of a broader commercial disputes practice.
Strengths: "A genuinely top-class senior. He is superb on his feet and excels in complex matters."
Kenneth McBrearty QC
He regularly acts in professional negligence cases involving surveyors, legal professionals and financial advisers, among others.
Strengths: "He cuts through the complexities of any dispute with ease to give clients commercially astute and usable advice." "A high-quality silk whose expertise in professional negligence matters shines through. Great with clients, really user-friendly and a tenacious fighter in court."
Recent work: Instructed by the Royal Bank of Scotland in RBS v DM Hall LLP, bringing a claim of overvaluation of a rural property against a surveyor.
Well regarded for his professional negligence expertise, he handles claims involving legal and construction professionals, among others.
Strengths: "Jonathan is very, very thorough in presenting arguments. He is always incredibly well prepared." "An experienced and able junior."
Recent work: Acted for the third and fourth defenders in Pentland Clark (Judicial Factor) v Maclehose and Others, a professional negligence case alleging fraud and negligence by the executors of a deceased's estate.
Handles commercial litigation with a strong focus on professional negligence matters.
He is particularly noted for his work in the construction space, often acting in matters involving architects, engineers or other construction professionals.
Strengths: "Excellent for construction work." "Martin is one of the most sought-after advocates at the Scottish Bar. His clarity of thought, reading of the court and performance on his feet put him at the very top of the pile in the Scottish Junior Bar."
Recent work: Instructed in Mr and Mrs Lewis v Kearney Donald Partnership, defending a firm of architects against multimillion-pound professional negligence claims.
Focuses on professional negligence issues in the construction sector. He is recognised for his experience and his client-friendly approach.
Strengths: "An excellent and experienced junior for professional negligence, particularly in the construction industry." "Bright, approachable and alive to a client's commercial drivers."
Recent work: Represented Agro Invest Overseas in bringing complex claims of negligence relating to the design and construction of a property against its architects and builders.
Focuses on professional negligence in the construction sector. He also handles a broad range of other construction and property-related disputes.
Strengths: "A highly rated junior, valued for his specialist construction law experience, his easy manner and his thorough but pragmatic approach." "Alasdair is very thorough, considered and highly experienced in professional negligence claims."
Handles professional negligence claims as part of a broader commercial disputes practice. He is experienced in cases involving solicitors and surveyors, among other professionals.
Strengths: "A top-ranking junior in professional negligence matters. He has already gained great experience across all types of professional negligence cases."
Recent work: Successfully defended Royal & Sun Alliance and Burness Paul against claims of negligence, breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty following the failure of a complex investment scheme.
Enjoys a burgeoning reputation at the Scottish Junior Bar, handling a broad range of complex commercial disputes. His professional negligence practice is particularly focused on matters involving construction professionals.
Strengths: "Gavin is an extremely accomplished advocate, especially in matters of professional negligence and construction. Excellent under pressure and working within tight time limits."
Recent work: Instructed in City of Edinburgh Council v DLA Piper, defending a law firm against claims of negligence with respect to the Edinburgh trams project.
Handles a broad range of commercial litigation and is recommended for his handling of negligence claims pertaining to the legal profession.
Strengths: "David is approachable and easy to work with and always provides clear, pragmatic and robust advice."
Recent work: Acted in Alistair Greig v KWAD Solicitors, a claim of negligence brought against solicitors. The case involved questions of the scope of the solicitors' duty.
Public Procurement - Scotland (Bar)
Axiom Advocates has an impeccable reputation as "the pre-eminent procurement chambers in Scotland," with its barristers seen regularly in the Court of Session on both sides of major public procurement disputes. The stable's advocates offer expert knowledge in a wide variety of sectors, acting on cases related to major infrastructure, public services and development contracts. They also provide extensive advisory services to both pursuers and defenders.
Client service: "The clerks are great at confirming the availability of the advocates." Practice manager Lesley Flynn leads the clerking team.
Roddy Dunlop QC
A widely respected silk who regularly acts for both defenders and pursuers on significant procurement matters.
Strengths: "He's very direct in his advice, and has the skill to help clients to understand the reason and rationale behind it. Well respected in court."
Recent work: Acted for petitioner Kenman Holdings in a procurement claim relating to the development of Lews Castle, Stornoway.
Ruth Crawford QC
Well known for the strength of her advisory practice, Ruth Crawford QC also regularly appears in the Scottish courts at all levels. Her broad public law expertise includes significant public procurement work that covers a wide range of areas, including IT, transport and infrastructure.
Strengths: "Very impressive and analytical. She knows how to cut to the chase." "She is accommodating and collaborative in her approach."
Recent work: Instructed by defendants Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in a judicial review brought by Kenman Holdings following the procurement of a private sector development partner.
James Mure QC
A go-to silk for cases concerning planning, environmental and constitutional concerns. He is regularly instructed by the Scottish government, local authorities and other public bodies.
Strengths: "A very polished advocate."
Recent work: Acted for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in defending a challenge to the procurement of a supply of smoke detectors under a framework agreement.
Morag Ross QC
A highly respected junior at the Scottish Bar who is also standing junior counsel to the Scottish government. She advises on a wide range of public law issues and has significant experience of handling procurement challenges, particularly those involving government bodies.
Strengths: "She has a fantastic level of experience. She is probably the one with the most procurement knowledge in all of Scotland." "Morag is a leading junior who is well known and respected in the procurement industry."
Talented junior John MacGregor has a solid practice covering commercial litigation, administrative and public law. He has played a role in a number of high-profile public procurement cases in Scotland and internationally, and he is also standing junior counsel to the UK government.
Strengths: "John would always be my number one pick for a Scottish procurement advocate. He is incredibly approachable and well liked by clients. He complements his comprehensive procurement knowledge with a sound understanding of all public law matters." "He is excellent, really knowledgeable and bright, and he cuts right through to the issue with real precision."
Recent work: Acted for the Galloway Group as petitioner in a judicial review in the High Court of Montserrat successfully challenging the procurement of services to dredge Plymouth Harbour.
Restructuring/Insolvency - Scotland (Bar)
Axiom Advocates is the leading restructuring and insolvency stable in Scotland, and has some of the most qualified experts in the field. Its members are frequently instructed in the most significant and high-profile cases, and have wide expertise in relation to both corporate and personal insolvency. They can provide advice and representation on a broad range of contentious and non-contentious matters.
Client service: "The clerks, led by practice manager Lesley Flynn, are first-class: you can ask for any particular advocate and if they are not available, the clerks will come back with meaningful suggestions."
Garry Borland QC
Has a broad practice dealing with all areas of commercial law, and detailed knowledge of restructuring and insolvency. Also well respected for his grasp of construction, property and company disputes.
Strengths: "One of the most technically gifted advocates around. His eye for detail and clarity of delivery is superb." "Super-bright, extremely thorough and organised."
Experienced junior who has a robust commercial practice and is regularly instructed in complex insolvency disputes. She also has wider experience in corporate finance, tax and commercial contracts.
Strengths: "Extremely capable and absolutely top-notch." "She has a keen intellect and is not afraid of a fight."
Focuses his practice on commercial disputes, including significant insolvency cases. Previously worked as a solicitor before being called to the Bar.
Strengths: "A gifted advocate who is good with technical matters." "He is extraordinarily hard-working and incredibly client-centric."
Highly regarded advocate who has also been appointed standing junior to the Scottish Government Legal Directorate. She handles a broad spectrum of issues relating to administrations, liquidations and sequestrations, and regularly acts on behalf of insolvency practitioners, banks and financial institutions.
Strengths: "Good all-round advocate who is commercial and provides sound advice." "She is very user-friendly, and someone who can get to the crux of the issue."
Recent work: Acted on behalf of joint administrators of three group companies with the objective of reducing the transfers of various properties with a cumulative value of approximately £2.4 million.
Practises exclusively in commercial litigation with a strong focus on restructuring and insolvency. He is very highly thought of for his technical knowledge and advocacy skills.
Strengths: "An experienced, knowledgeable and determined counsel with a good knowledge of insolvency law." "Offers clear, practical and commercial advice while still maintaining a strong grasp of all technical aspects of the file."
Recent work: Instructed in an ongoing dispute regarding the insolvency of the Letham Grange hotel and golf resort.
A commercial advocate principally focused on insolvency litigation, Euan Duthie is regularly instructed on behalf of insolvency practitioners in relation to administrations and also has particular insight into directors' disqualifications proceedings.
Strengths: "He is really good at picking things up at short notice and turning them around, and he is very good on his feet."
Recent work: Appointed as junior counsel to the administrators of Heritable Bank plc in a dispute concerning the winding-up of the board at its Icelandic parent company.
A highly capable junior advising on all areas of insolvency and bankruptcy, who has a growing reputation at the Bar. She receives excellent feedback for her approach to cases as well as her technical command of insolvency law.
Strengths: "A bright star among junior counsel on the insolvency scene in Scotland." "Always provides proactive, pragmatic, commercial advice.&
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