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Axiom Advocates ranked band 1 in commercial dispute resolution by Chambers UK Bar Guide 2018

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Axiom Advocates ranked band 1 in commercial dispute resolution by Chambers UK Bar Guide 2018

02 November 2017

THE SET – Commercial Dispute Resolution (Band 1)

Axiom Advocates is widely acknowledged as the leading stable for complex commercial litigation. Advocates here handle a broad range of commercial disputes including cases concerning banking, insurance, insolvency and construction matters. One source says: "They have a quality assurance brand around them and they are the market leaders for commercial and civil litigation." Both corporates and public bodies instruct members at Axiom. Clients include large banks, financial institutions and energy companies, among others. Numerous Axiom counsel recently acted in Scotch Whisky Association v Scottish Ministers, which involved a judicial review of legislation imposing a minimum price for alcohol.

Client service: "The clerks are always there to help. They are very flexible, friendly and efficient. They're always on top of it and are very proactive." "They are generally considered to be the best set of advocates in Scotland and the services Lesley and her team provide are befitting of that." Lesley Flynn is the practice manager and leads the clerking team.


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 has a huge amount of experience and he's excellent in court and in cross examination."

Roddy Dunlop QC
Noted for the breadth of his expertise, as well as his assertive and persuasive advocacy before the Bench. He enjoys a strong track record in complex commercial and contractual litigation as well as in major banking disputes. He also receives especially high praise for his handling of media and professional discipline matters.
Strengths: "If you have something hard, that you really need a fighter on, he is your man." "He's immensely versatile; he's capable of turning his hand to anything. He gets to the point incredibly quickly and has a sensible and pragmatic view."
Recent work: Acted for the defenders in Worbey & Farrell v Campbell, which arose out of a dispute regarding the ownership of a gay dating app.

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.
Strengths: "He has the ear of the court and a wealth of experience. He's technically excellent and extremely impressive with clients."

Kenneth McBrearty QC
Has a breadth of expertise spanning a wide variety of commercial disputes, including partnership and IP cases. He is noted for his handling of major real estate and professional negligence matters. He is particularly experienced litigating in the Court of Session and the Supreme Court.
Strengths: "He's a formidable advocate who has the ability to deliver fast-paced, technically proficient, coherent submissions at the drop of a hat." "He is confident, measured and has a very nice manner in court but is also extremely pleasant to work with." "He's very approachable, down to earth and very straight talking with clients."
Recent work: Acted for the liquidator in Comlex v Allianz Insurance in an action to force the insurers to indemnify under an insurance contract.

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: "He's an exceptional advocate. He doesn't stand on ceremony and he's very user-friendly." "One of the brightest guys at the Bar."

Garry Borland QC
Comes highly recommended for complex, high-value commercial and contractual matters and is regularly cited as a standout advocate for construction and engineering disputes. Also frequently instructed in insolvency, tax and professional liability proceedings. He is renowned for his depth of analysis, his grasp of complex technical issues and his attention to detail.
Strengths: "He's a very smart lawyer and very strong at providing advice."
Recent work: Acted in HOCHTIEF Solutions v Andritz Gouda GmbH, a high-value claim relating to a major tunnel collapse.

Lord Davidson of Glen Clova QC
Highlighted for his strong tactical sense and formidable cross-examination abilities. He is well known for acting in large international disputes covering a range of commercial matters. His experience covers litigation in the Court of Session and ECJ, as well as the representation of clients in mediations and arbitrations.
Strengths: "His advocacy is absolutely outstanding and he's versatile. He is as much at home speaking before clients as before a judge." "His strategic advice as to how to approach the preparation was very helpful and he was extremely quick to understand our issues."

Alastair Duncan QC
A leading silk in the field of professional negligence, whose abilities are also in high demand for commercial contract disputes. He also handles partnership and IT litigation, as well as disputes affecting sports clients. He is regarded as a strong team player with sound commercial judgement.
Strengths: "He's very commercial and pragmatic and he sees the bigger picture." "He's very easy to deal with and he's a very good advocate."
Recent work: Represented Levy & McRae in a high-profile professional negligence and breach of trust case.

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. Interviewees appreciate his approachable and calm style in overseeing high pressured litigation.
Strengths: "He's very engaging, down-to-earth and always provides short and succinct advice." "He's unflappable, calm and steely when he needs to be."
Recent work: Acted in Energy Assets v SMS Meter Assets in the Court of Session, which concerned the sums payable in respect of metering assets and the appropriate measure of valuation.

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 and as a judge in the Court of Appeal in Jersey and Guernsey.
Strengths: "He's very commercial and calm under pressure." "An extremely respected and longstanding member of the Faculty of Advocates."

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. Clients typically include local authorities, public bodies and the government.
Strengths: "He's one of the best advocates in Scotland in terms of his manner in court." "He's highly intelligent and has a very assured manner with clients."
Recent work: Represented Pirtek against Lindsay Hydraulics in a dispute concerning the breach of a franchise agreement.

Roisin Higgins QC
Maintains an impressive reputation as one of the Bar's leading authorities on IP-related issues. She has additional expertise in commercial contract, construction and property disputes. Market commentators highlight her impressive combination of robust advocacy and in-depth intellectual insight, as well as her helpful and diplomatic style with clients.
Strengths: "She is very commercial and gets on well with clients. She's the master of amassing lots of information quickly." "She's excellent technically, a great drafter and very good on her feet."

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. Sources are particularly impressed with her ability to handle complex and technical litigation.
Strengths: "She's very user-friendly and clear with clients, and she's very effective in court."
Recent work: Acted in Scotch Whisky Association v Scottish Ministers, concerning a judicial review of the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012.

Ruth Crawford QC
Highly rated for her work in public law and planning litigation, she is also recommended for handling difficult commercial and contractual disputes. Commentators value her accessible and user-friendly manner.
Strengths: "She is very commercial and readily contactable. Her cross examination was also particularly effective." "She sets out her stall very well and doesn't get flustered under pressure."
Recent work: Acted for Highland Council who are being sued for damages by HWE, allegedly arising from the termination of a call-off contract for the supply of waste energy.

Jonathan Barne QC
Meticulous preparation and a robust style of advocacy see Barne instructed in cases ranging from contractual disputes to construction, engineering and commercial property matters. Clients typically include major energy companies, large financial institutions and the Scottish government. He is regarded as a team player who excels at providing both written opinions and oral advocacy.
Strengths: "He is very good at dealing with the technical side of things as well as the law. He is also a team player, he understands the clients and gets into their mindset." "He was very user-friendly and down to earth, and he got to grips with the commercial issues."
Recent work: Acted for SSE Generation in a dispute with HOCHTIEF Solutions arising from the collapse of a hydro-electric scheme tunnel.

David Thomson QC
An experienced junior in particularly high demand for insolvency, real estate and company litigation. He is recommended for especially difficult and complex commercial and contractual claims. Sources emphasise his impressive advocacy skills and outstanding grasp of technical points of law in addition to his pragmatic counsel and handling of cases.
Strengths: "He has a very good ear with the court and he always comes back with very clear and sound advice." "He's very good with clients, particularly with those who have difficult and complicated claims. He's good at explaining what the issues are and at coming up with commercial, pragmatic solutions."
Recent work: Represented Crosslands Properties in a dispute with Apcoa Parking concerning the contract for the construction of a multi-storey car park.

Almira Delibegović-Broome QC
Acts for clients across the full spectrum of commercial disputes. She is developing an especially strong reputation in relation to high-value insolvency and company proceedings. Complex evidential hearings form a major part of her practice. She is frequently instructed by Scotland's leading law firms in major, high-profile commercial disputes and has appeared both before the UK Supreme Court and the Scottish Appeal Court.
Strengths: "She's a real fighter and she understood the client and worked well as part of a team." "She was very personable and quick to grasp the details."
Recent work: Acted for SSE Generation against HOCHTIEF Solutions in the complex and high-profile dispute concerning the collapse of a hydro-electric scheme tunnel.

Gavin Walker QC
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. Sources are quick to praise his pragmatic and proactive style as counsel.
Strengths: "He got to grips with the legal issues quickly. He was practical, commercial and had a good manner with the client." "He's one of those advocates you hate to litigate against; he's absolutely fierce in litigation."
Recent work: Acted for Cross Healthcare in its professional negligence claim against DWF, arising from the drafting of a commercial exclusive supply agreement.

Martin Richardson QC
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: "He is a fantastic support and has fantastic recollection of the facts and tremendous command of the documents." "He is highly thought of as being user-friendly with clients and very practical. We knew he'd have the intellectual clout to help us."
Recent work: Acted for Richard Bishop in an action against 3i, which concerned the claimant's treatment as a 'competing leaver' in terms of private equity limited partnerships.


Paul O'Brien
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. Numerous commentators appreciate his detail-focused and strategic approach.
Strengths: "He is fantastically bright and is always ten steps ahead of the opposition." "He's extremely thorough and he's on top of the detail. His analysis of the law is spot-on."
Recent work: Assisted in SSE Generation v HOCHTIEF Solutions, a six-month proof arising from the collapse of a hydro-electric scheme tunnel.

Susan Ower
Praised by sources as a multi-talented advocate who relates well to clients and is a strong performer in court. She has substantial experience handling complex and high profile commercial contract disputes, and is highly rated for her insolvency practice.
Strengths: "She's really good at working as a team and has been very sound in terms of the practical and strategic advice she's given." "She always provides short and succinct advice. She is very engaging and always comes back with quick responses."
Recent work: Acted in New Islington v The City of Edinburgh Council, which concerned the rights of the defendant in relation to land purchased for the Edinburgh tram project.

Jonathan Brown
Active in professional negligence cases, as well as contractual, partnership and shareholder disputes. He also represents clients in insolvency and commercial property matters. He impresses interviewees with the depth of his experience in a variety of complex commercial disputes.
Strengths: "He has the ear of the court and has the ability to grasp big, complex cases and present them to the court." "He is tenacious in his approach and gives straightforward advice."
Recent work: Acted in Glenapp Estates v Mathers Dairy Utensils, which involved a complex dispute and loss claim arising from the defective automated dairy farm installation.

Euan Duthie
Has significant advocacy and advisory experience in a broad range of commercial litigation, especially in cases concerning complex contractual and shareholder disputes. He is also 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 careful and searching in his approach to legal cases, and he is a very good people person too." "He's very responsive, has an eye for detail and is tactically very good."
Recent work: Defended Halliday Fraser Munro against an action for damages arising from a breach of contract.

John MacGregor
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, the court and senior counsel.
Strengths: "He is excellent. He is very authoritative, he absorbs papers quickly and clients like him." "He's a real safe pair of hands and his overall strategy is good. You can put him with any senior and be guaranteed you'll get a good pairing."
Recent work: Represented HMRC in Lord Nickson v HMRC and successfully resisted an application for rectification of a deed of appointment.

Ross McClelland
A well regarded junior recommended for a wide spread of commercial disputes, including contractual, commercial property and professional negligence matters. He has experience acting as sole advocate in both the Court of Session and the Glasgow Sheriff Court. Sources value his detailed and technical approach to complex cases as well as his user-friendliness.
Strengths: "He's bright, user-friendly and clear thinking." "A very clever and knowledgeable guy."
Recent work: Played a key role in the Edinburgh Tram Enquiry, which was set up by the Scottish Ministers.

Chris Paterson
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. Several commentators highlighted his tenacious advocacy style and strong work ethic.
Strengths: "He is meticulous and a real fighter. He will fight every point for his client." "He's very organised and always available. He's a clear thinker and is user friendly."
Recent work: Acted for Royal & Sun Alliance in resisting the implementation of a performance bond by Fife Council.

David Massaro
Recommended by multiple sources as an advocate with a growing practice, he brings significant know-how to contractual, commercial property and insolvency disputes. Numerous commentators highlight his technical ability and his attention to detail.
Strengths: "He is technically excellent. His written work is always extremely well written out and presented." "He's extremely bright and has the ability to think outside of the box."

Ewen Campbell
Receives widespread praise from instructing solicitors and clients alike. Already recommended in the media field, he has developed a broad practice encompassing commercial and professional negligence disputes.
Strengths: "A first-class advocate." "He brings a lot of knowledge and sense to the cases. I'm most impressed by his ability to turn things around quickly and think things through."

Jonathan Broome
A well thought of junior with expertise in commercial, construction and professional negligence disputes. He brings a wealth of experience in construction litigation, having previously acted as a construction specialist at a leading Scottish law firm. Market sources appreciate his teamwork and communication with clients.
Strengths: "He's fabulous. He's very sharp, user-friendly and willing to roll his sleeves up and work as part of the team." "He is particularly good at managing the client relationship, having had the benefit of slumming it as a solicitor."
Recent work: Acted for Coface against South Lanarkshire Council, which sought payment under a performance bond.