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Axiom Advocates ranked band 1 in professional negligence by Chambers UK Bar Guide 2018

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Axiom Advocates ranked band 1 in professional negligence by Chambers UK Bar Guide 2018

02 November 2017

THE SET – Professional Negligence (Band 1)

Axiom Advocates continues to be Scotland's standout stable for professional negligence. Its advocates act on both the defender and pursuer sides of disputes and represent professionals in a variety of sectors, including the legal, construction and finance industires. They continue to be involved in the implications of the Edinburgh trams project and also frequently handle prominent, large-scale property claims, such as Bank of Ireland (UK) v Graham & Sibbald, a case concerning an allegedly negligent valuation of leasehold premises.

Client service: "The clerking is excellent and one reason I go back." Lesley Flynn leads the team and is reported to be "really great" by one interviewee, who adds: "All the clerks there are very good."


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: "Alastair is one of the leading senior counsel in the professional indemnity field. He is extremely sharp, very personable and down to earth. He presents quite complicated issues in easy-to-understand, bite-sized advice." "A true specialist who knows the subject inside out. He has an uncanny knack for identifying the killer points."
Recent work: Represented Levy & McRae in an action of breach of trust and negligence brought against the firm.

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: "He is great and makes my life easier. He is honest and very efficient, with a good turnaround time." "He is completely on the ball, with fantastic gravitas, and he is very knowledgeable and hard-working."
Recent work: Acted for the Strathclyde Fire Board in a case that overturned previous rulings relating to duties owed by firefighters.

Iain Ferguson QC
Handles professional negligence litigation as part of a broader practice that also encompasses clinical negligence matters.
Strengths: "He is someone who is generous with his time and knowledge. He is ferociously effective and will set about achieving what you want to achieve." "We chose him because he is intelligent and, when you talk about attention to detail, he takes it to a whole different level."
Recent work: Acted for George Hutchison Associates in Huntaven Properties Ltd v Hunter Construction (Aberdeen) and Others, which related to alleged breach of contract and negligence on the part of contractors and engineers engaged on a building project.

Jonathan Lake QC
Offers a highly respected professional negligence practice as part of a broader commercial disputes practice.
Strengths: "He has a very laid-back, gentle manner but he really has the judge's trust."

Kenneth McBrearty QC
He regularly acts in professional negligence cases involving surveyors, legal professionals and financial advisers, among others.
Strengths: "He got up to speed very easily, cut right through, got the ear of the court and was very easy to deal with." "He really understands the commercial needs of the client."
Recent work: Represented KPMG as special administrators of DBS in Dunfermline Building Society v Thorntons LLP, a case of solicitors' negligence regarding failure to take a security for a lender over a property.

Jonathan Barne QC
Well regarded for his professional negligence expertise, he handles claims involving legal and construction professionals, among others.
Strengths: "He is very methodical and gives good strategic advice that is well administered." "Jonathan has delivered excellent advice and drafting."

Martin Richardson QC
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: "Very clever junior counsel. He is highly sought after. He gets to the nub of the matter very quickly and communicates in a clear fashion. He is also very pleasant to deal with." "Excellent and very persuasive in court. User-friendly, good at being responsive and willing to deal with you directly."
Recent work: Instructed for the defender in McClure Naismith LLP v Franklin & Andrews in a multimillion-pound claim against project managers in respect of defective building work.

Gavin Walker QC
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: "He is very commercial and always looks at the bigger picture." "Gavin has provided invaluable input. He is approachable and provides good practical advice."
Recent work: Instructed in Retail Property Holdings v Dunne Construction and others, a £7 million claim by the owner of a large high-end shopping centre in Glasgow against the main contractor and design team of the centre's car park.

David Thomson QC
Handles a broad range of commercial litigation and is especially recommended for his handling of negligence claims pertaining to the legal profession.
Strengths: "His advice is always spot-on. He is very sensible and gives really sound advice." "He is very switched-on and very analytical. He has a good commercial insight into what's required."
Recent work: Acted for Dunfermline Building Society on a professional negligence action against surveyors.


Jonathan Broome
Focuses on professional negligence issues in the construction sector. He is recognised for his experience and his client-friendly approach.
Strengths: "He is imaginative and thinks around issues. He is quite solution-driven." "He has an understanding of clients and their business and is able to speak their language."
Recent work: Acted for Whyte & Mackay in a seven-figure damages claim for failures in the engineering design of the ground-bearing floor slab of a bottling plant.

Alasdair McKenzie
Focuses on professional negligence in the construction sector. He also handles a broad range of other construction and property-related disputes.
Strengths: "His great strength is attention to detail. He gets to grips with large cases and gets into detail very well." "A highly rated junior, valued for his specialist construction law experience, easy manner and thorough but pragmatic approach."

Chris Paterson
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: "He's very diligent and he's painstaking over the papers. He's extremely good in court. Judges like him because he's very well prepared and supremely respectful but will fight tooth and nail." "A very sharp guy and a real driving force. He has an ability to analyse things in great detail and pull out facts."
Recent work: Acted for Riverstone Insurance on James & William Clark v Robertson & Turnbull, a claim for damages relating to allegedly negligent accounting and tax advice.

Jonathan Brown
Represents clients on both the pursuer and defender sides of professional negligence cases. He specialises in actions against legal and construction professionals.
Strengths: "He has a phenomenal recall of detail and knows the law inside out." "A very bright guy and very effective orator."
Recent work: Acted for the pursuer in Robert Kidd v Paull & Williamsons & Burness Paull, a high-value solicitors' negligence and breach of fiduciary duty case involving private equity investment in an oilfield services business.

Helen Watts
Handles complex, high-value professional negligence claims against legal, construction and tax professionals. She predominantly represents the defender.
Strengths: "She's a doer, somebody who just gets on with it. She's always got an eye on the outcome, knows what the client wants to achieve and sets about achieving it. A no-nonsense operator, massively efficient." "She's organised and clear in her advice."

Ewen Campbell
Gains recognition for his work in professional negligence, with a particular focus on solicitor negligence. He is noted for his representation of defenders.
Strengths: "He's just a joy to work with, somebody who'll go the extra mile." "His mind is so quick and he grasps things. He's super."
Recent work: Instructed by RSA in an architects' negligence case of alleged design deficiencies, valued at £30 million.