Axiom Advocates News

Axiom “unrivalled in the Scottish market”

Back to News Listing

Axiom “unrivalled in the Scottish market”

01 November 2010

Following the recent publication of Chambers UK 2011, Axiom Advocates is delighted to have secured nineteen notes of interest in the top legal directory in the key areas of commercial dispute resolution, administrative and public law, intellectual property, restructuring and insolvency, publi c procurement, agriculture and rural affairs; and planning law.

Chambers UK states:-

Commercial Dispute Resolution

THE SET Axiom Advocates is universally recog nised as the leading commercial force at the Scottish Bar. Interviewees were effusive in their praise for a stable that is considered to be "head and shoulders above the rest." The depth and breadth of its commercial practice is unrivalled in the Scottish market and its members consistently feature in the biggest commercial cases in the Court of Session. The customer service here is also considered to be "the best in Scotland," with solicitors praising the clerking team's "helpful and commercially minded approach."

SILKS Dean of the Faculty of Advocates Richard Keen QC is "in a league of his own in the Scottish market." Sources say he has "an unequalled court presence and commands total respect from the bench." His principal areas of expertise include banking, insurance, engineering and construction disputes, and he recently appeared in the Autolink M6 v Amy Construction case concerning the interpretation of PFI contracts relating to the maintenance and repair of motorways. Also well respected, Alistair Clark QC is an "exceptionally user-friendly and compelling advocate." In addition to his booming commercial practice, he is widely recognised for his IP and defamation expertise. Heriot Currie QC is "one of the doyens of the Bar." His vast experience and superb intellect enable him to excel in a range of IP, contractual, administrative and commercial disputes. He is popular with solicitors as is the "frighteningly able" David Johnston QC, considered "one of the cleverest men in Christendom and an extremely clever advocate." Johnston recently acted in the Calor Gas v Flogas case, defending his client against an alleged breach of contract.

Jonathan Lake QC is "an extremely able practitioner who brings calm reassurance to difficult situations." Although he only took silk in 2008, he has already amassed considerable experience of handling contractual, IP and construction disputes and is seen as one of the rising stars of the Scottish Bar. James McNeill QC is another of the stable's leading silks, with market commentators dubbing him "a very able and high-profile individual." His practice covers commercial, trust and property law. Also recommended, Gerry Moynihan QC is "highly thought of, and an intelligent, personable advocate." In addition to his commercial litigation practice, he is also a recognised professional negligence expert. Gordon Reid QC is a "practical, robust and doughty advocate who has the ear of the court." He is perhaps best known for his work on commercial property disputes. The "excellent" Sarah Wolffe QC, meanwhile, is respected for her "ability to quickly get to grips with complex material" and for her "feisty advocacy." She recently acted for the successful party in a minority shareholder's application in the Court of Session. Finally, new silk James Mure QC is "extremely organised and thorough." He is "top-notch both when it comes to written work and in court."

JUNIORS Leading junior Garry Borland has "meticulous attention to detail and a comprehensive command of the law." Possessed of "a fantastic intellect and a commercial mindset," he recently successfully defended a client against a £2.3 million breach of contract claim. His set also includes Martin Richardson, who has a broad practice covering general commercial disputes, financial services claims and construction litigation. Sources say he is "clever, switched-on and analytically sound." Almira Delibegovi?-Broome combines "superb academic understanding with a practical and commercial approach." She has a strong background in corporate finance. Roisin Higgins, meanwhile, is an IP expert who continues to impress observers with her "straightforward, team-oriented approach and profound courtroom expertise." She is recommended along with Morag Ross. Ross returned from maternity leave halfway through 2009 and quickly picked up where she left off. The architect of a thriving commercial practice, she recently acted for a client in the Court of Session in a successful claim to have a concluded contract set aside. Others who score well here include Sean Smith, a "bright and commercial junior" who is best known for his construction law expertise, and Roddy Dunlop, who is widely regarded as "someone to watch for the future." Dunlop has a varied practice, combining commercial disputes and media law with his core focus on professional negligence defence work. Finally at the set, Kenneth McBrearty brings "common sense and an air of confidence to his cases," according to sources. "A lawyer who is clearly going places," he has a broad commercial practice. He is also recognised for his public law expertise, having being appointed Standing Junior to the Scottish Executive in 2006.

Administrative and Public law

"Terrific to work with and incredibly bright," David Johnston QC of Axiom Advocates has a strong public law practice centred on advisory and litigation work for the government, with recent cases focused in the three areas of mental health tribunals, children's hearings and freedom of information. He can always be counted on to be "on top of public law in Scotland." Also at Axiom, the highly esteemed Richard Keen QC, also the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, is an excellent advocate whom clients adore. While a renowned commercial litigator, Keen is extremely experienced in judicial review matters and is regularly instructed by the Scottish government in public law disputes.

Sources are universally impressed by Anna Poole of Axiom Advocates, thanks to her "comprehensive advice and assistance in public law matters," her "excellent interpersonal skills" and her "thorough, concise and proactive" approach, which "is appreciated by clients and solicitors alike." She was recently appointed Second Standing Junior to the Scottish Government, and is "an extremely sharp advocate who can absorb a lot of material quickly and hone it down to its essential points." "Extremely good on freedom of information cases and judicial review," Morag Ross of Axiom is "organised, clear and wonderful to work with." She has a strong public law practice, frequently in the Court of Session and recently acting as junior counsel for the Scottish Information Commissioner in the House of Lords. Also at Axiom, "highly skilled advocate" Ruth Crawford QC frequently appears in judicial reviews and statutory appeals in the Court of Session on behalf of Scottish Ministers and other public authorities. She recently acted for the Scottish Ministers in a significant case as to whether the right to double jeopardy in the European Convention applies to civil recovery actions for the proceeds of crime. Sources commend her "ability to understand the issues beyond the pure legal context" and her "impressive manner in methodically laying the seeds of an argument during cross-examination which she then pulls together at the conclusion."

Previously First Standing Junior to the Scottish Executive, new silk James Mure QC of Axiom Advocates has an impressive judicial review practice alongside his principal diet of commercial litigation. Planning and environmental matters are his focus, areas in which he is commended for being an "exceptional public lawyer." Sources agree he is "likely to become one of the most sought after in Scotland."

Intellectual Property

THE SET This set is held in high regard for its commercial practice and has the most substantial IP offering in Scotland. The barristers here impress with their "competent and flexible approach," according to instructing solicitors.

SILKS A highly respected silk, Heriot Currie QC "is very experienced and always provides solid, commercial advice." He has a broad practice that covers IP disputes as well as contractual, administrative, environmental and planning matters.

JUNIORS Former solicitor Roisin Higgins wins praise for being "dedicated, knowledgeable and very responsive," and is one of the few IP specialists at the Scottish Bar. She has been appearing for Verathon Medical in a medical devices patent dispute and has a practice that also takes in copyright, trade mark and passing-off litigation.


Garry Borland of Axiom Advocates is "an extremely sound advocate," who is currently standing junior counsel to HMRC. His colleagues at the stable include Almira Delibegovi?-Broome, who often acts for insolvency practitioners seeking to recover funds from former directors. In addition, she acts for third parties or defendants in resisting actions for payment by insolvency practitioners. She recently represented the liquidators of Simclar (Ayrshire), who were seeking to recover liabilities of some £25 million from that company's directors. Also recommended at the stable, James McNeill QC is a well-regarded practitioner, whose advice spans pensions and trust claims.

Public procurement

Morag Ross of Axiom Advocates, who has a great knowledge of the workings of the public sector. This former solicitor is well used to acting for both petitioners and respondents, and has a keen understanding of the ways of public authority clients. Her recent cases include Sidey Ltd v Clackmannanshire Council and Pyramid Construction Ltd, a successful claim by a pursuer to have a contract set aside.

Agriculture and rural affairs

Gordon Reid QC of Axiom Advocates is a highly admired silk in Scotland. He is said to be "terrifyingly brainy and entirely dedicated to his cases." Sources further commend his "strong analytical approach and creative thinking when it comes to resolving legal problems."


Ruth Crawford QC of Axiom Advocates is adept at handling questions regarding enforcement, minerals permission and conservation. She shares a set with Jonathan Lake QC, an advocate who offers "focused, commercial advice."