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 Commercial dispute resolution solicitors

Commercial dispute resolution solicitors

Harper Macleod has one of the largest dispute resolution teams in Scotland. More than half of our solicitors are involved regularly in contentious work – giving us a breadth of litigation expertise that sets us apart.

Overview

From litigation to mediation, we are on your side

When it comes to resolving disputes, we work hard to understand what matters to your business and how you would define success. Then we fight hard to ensure you achieve it.

We are renowned for the range and quality of our dispute resolution expertise, which is as wide as the firm’s full service offering, and our team includes some of the country’s most talented dispute practitioners.

Working out of our main offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness, we represent clients in every sector including insurance, banking, real estate & construction, energy & natural resources, retail, sport and the public sector.

We also have one of the most prominent teams in the Commercial Court in both the Court of Session and Sheriff Court and have been involved in a number of the most complex litigations in the Scottish courts in recent years.

We also have extensive expertise in representing the firm’s clients, in both the public and private sectors, in proceedings for judicial review, statutory appeals and public enquiries involving issues of administrative, planning and environmental law.

THE TEAM

Meet the team

Our Partner-led team has real strength in depth, providing commercially focused, pragmatic solutions, while our model ensures clients can deal directly with a partner throughout, as a matter of course.

Services

Our services

Our core dispute resolution services include:

Banking & financial services disputes

Overview

We regularly act in a wide variety of disputes involving leading banks and financial institutions, commercial and retail customers as well as third party providers of securities

Our team is renowned for its attention to detail, and our ‘no stone left unturned’ approach to both case preparation and litigation strategy is a cornerstone of our team’s reputation. Our specialist banking litigation lawyers provide practical and commercial advice to clients on a variety of contentious issues.

We support our clients in recovering assets, enforcing their rights and defending claims. Our experience includes pursuing damages for withdrawn facilities, challenging fraudulent transactions and acting in relation to complaints and Judicial Review arising from decisions of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Our renowned specialism in this area has seen us act in some of the most prominent litigations in the sector in recent years.

Competition law

Overview

Competition law affects the daily business of companies, traders and public authorities of all sizes and across every sector. With a high-profile being given in the media to competition law breaches due to the issue of heavy fines for infringements, massive damages claims and even prosecution of individuals, compliance with competition law must be high on the risk matrix for every business.

We advise on competition law aspects of corporate transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and the acquisition of companies holding publicly awarded contracts. We also advise on the wide range of competition law issues associated with commercial contracts, including agency, distribution, franchising and licensing.

When disputes arise, we represent our clients in competition law cases in the Scottish courts and in the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Our experienced team handles the full range of litigation from stand-alone breaches to large-scale cartel infringements.
With close connections to top law firms around the world, we have instant global access to the best competition lawyers and work closely with them to advise on international competition law issues.

Whether you want advice on what information you can exchange with competitors, how to get the best protections built into your contracts, what to do if you get a visit from an enforcement agency or want to raise or defend a case in court or the Competition Appeal Tribunal, we are here to help.

Construction & engineering disputes

Overview

Our construction & engineering disputes team offers a full range of advice and representation at all stages– from dispute avoidance, negotiation and mediation, through to arbitration, adjudication and litigation. Timely specialist advice is key to the successful resolution of disputes in construction and engineering projects. Whether a dispute is looming on the horizon, or has already crystallised, our team will offer strategic advice on the best available remedy and the most efficient and cost-effective means of achieving a positive outcome.

In addition to our disputes work, we work closely with our colleagues in Construction, Infrastructure & Projects to provide clients with support on contract administration and management.

In recognition of the fact that construction and engineering companies are businesses with a need for general legal services, the construction disputes team is supported by the wider dispute resolution team as and when required, as part of our specialist advisory service

Corporate & commercial litigation

Overview

We advise in relation to contract disputes and disputes between shareholders, LLP members and partnerships.  We have a particular expertise in corporate and post-M&A litigation where we have a track record of success in high-value and complex cases.

We act for a broad spectrum of clients, ranging from start-up business and entrepreneurs through to the country’s biggest corporate and financial institutions.

With one of the largest litigation practices in Scotland, we have the capacity and expertise to handle disputes across a wide range of sectors, including food & drink, technology and energy. Our team is one of the most prominent teams in the Commercial Courts of the Court of Session and Sheriff Courts across Scotland.  We also represent clients in the Tax Tribunal.

Debt recovery

Overview

Our services range from our commoditised debt recovery team offering fixed-fee services for clients with high-volume needs, to our specialist dispute resolution team offering a bespoke service where the matter requires additional resource.

We have extensive court experience in dealing with actions for payment of debts across a broad range of sectors, including the banking, energy and construction sectors. We regularly pursue and defend actions and appeals in the Sheriff Courts and the Court of Session, and boast one of the most prominent teams in the Commercial Courts.

Our bespoke offering includes advising clients in relation to interim orders, including arrestments and inhibitions. We also have an excellent track record in alternative dispute resolution proceedings.

Useful links

Debt recovery

Insolvency

Overview

We have Scotland’s leading personal insolvency practice and are the only Scottish firm ranked by Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession in the UK-wide rankings for personal insolvency. James Lloyd is listed as a band 1 individual in the UK-wide rankings and has arguably advised in more personal insolvency cases than any other solicitor in the UK.

We also have significant expertise in corporate insolvency and Gordon Hollerin is one of the leading practitioners in the Scottish restructuring market. The Legal 500 2022 ranks Gordon in its “Hall of Fame” as one of the elite lawyers in Scotland in the Insolvency and Corporate Recovery field.

As well as acting for liquidators and trustees, we are one of the very few firms in the Scottish market with genuine expertise in acting for clients in defending claims brought by liquidators and trustees in sequestration.

 

Intellectual property disputes

Overview

The firm handles all manner of intellectual property disputes, both locally and internationally.

We are the only firm in Scotland that has significant patent litigation experience, including both successfully dealing with infringement and counterclaim proceedings for clients in the Scottish courts, managing foreign litigation, and addressing registry challenges.

As we have a substantial trademarks and designs registration and management practice and we regularly act before local and foreign intellectual property registries, in connection with disputes at that level. Our experience includes addressing such proceedings as part of, and in conjunction with, wider court action.

On a sectoral level, the firm has particular experience in relation to the sport, food and drink, retail, manufacturing, construction, life sciences and energy sectors. It is recognised for its detailed knowledge in music, broadcasting, media and entertainment.

The firm also provides holistic anti-counterfeiting support to clients, combining bespoke detailed monitoring assistance, with cost efficient platform based volume takedown services and customs relationship management liaison, on a worldwide level. Our anti-counterfeiting services address on average in excess of £30million in counterfeit product value in any year, and are relied upon by some of Scotland’s most well-known brands.

Our team is recognised for its expertise in the Legal 500, Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession, the World Trade Mark Review, and in Managing IP, and includes specialists accredited and certified by the Law Society of Scotland and the World Intellectual Property Organization, in intellectual property, international trade mark work and cyber security.

Planning & environmental

Overview

We advise a wide range of clients, from government and national agencies to landowners and companies in public inquiries and judicial reviews relating to complex planning and environmental disputes.

We have particular expertise in advising public sector clients on their decision making on planning environmental issues. We have acted in some of the most important environmental law cases in the Court of Session in recent years.

Lead partner Jennifer Jack is the only Scottish lawyer ranked by Chambers UK in the UK-wide category “Environment: Climate Change” where she is commended for her experience in this area.

Property litigation

Overview

We regularly advise clients in relation to a full range of property disputes including real estate issues such as dilapidations, irritancy clauses and lease disputes, as well as boundary disputes,  breach of missives, crofting disputes and statutory appeals.

Our experienced team act for developers, investors and a wide range of landlord and tenants, from retail clients and well-known institutions to entrepreneurs and individuals.

Our team has breadth of experience and expertise in this area, and has represented the firm’s clients across all levels of civil court in Scotland, including the Sheriff Courts, Court of Session, Scottish Land Court and Lands Tribunal for Scotland. We also have experience in ADR measures, including arbitration and mediation, in relation to real estate matters.

Public law & judicial review

Overview

We regularly advise clients from the public and private sectors in relation to statutory appeals and judicial reviews of decisions of public authorities. We also provide regular advice to our public sector client base about how best to minimise the risk of judicial review at the decision-making stage. Lead partner Jennifer Jack is ranked as a Band 1 Leading Individual in Chambers UK where she is described as “extremely calm, considered and experienced”, ”very bright” and “good at dealing with the clients in a supportive way”.

Reputation management, media & broadcasting

Overview

We understand the importance of your reputation.  We help private individuals, companies and organisations protect their reputation, from advising on the PR aspects of contentious issues to raising or defending claims of defamation. We have an experienced team that understand the importance of protecting our clients’ reputation, security and privacy. We have helped clients to secure the removal of online content, advised on the “right to be forgotten” and also assisted on crises management and harassment matters.

We also advise on a wide range of media-related issues and disputes. We have particular experience of advising on broadcasting agreements and protecting rights under these, as well as advising clients on compliance with codes for broadcast advertising and publication.

Sport disciplinary & regulation

Overview

We have the leading sports law practice in the country. While the greatest volume of our contentious work is in relation to rugby and football, our involvement with the Glasgow 18 European Championships and 2014 Commonwealth Games and other major sporting events has led to us advising in disputes relating to netball, snooker, fencing, ju jitsu and many more.

Regulatory & compliance

Overview

We act for the statutory body that regulates all legal practitioners in Scotland, providing advice and representation.  We advise and assist clients in dealing with regulatory compliance and investigation. In particular we advise our large registered social landlord client base on their obligations and dealing with the Scottish Housing Regulator.

We advise clients in relation to broadcasting and press regulation. We also advise in relation to professional disciplinary rules and proceedings.

Work

Our work
Banking & financial services disputes

Overview

We acted for the pursuers in one of the most significant claims for fraud and negligence against a major financial institution to come before the Scottish Courts in recent years.

We have acted for banks in claims for negligence against a range of professional advisers including solicitors, valuation surveyors and quantity surveyors.

We acted for a group of companies and their majority shareholder in a series of high value disputes involving a major UK bank and administrators appointed by it at a successful seven party mediation. We secured a seven figure pre-action settlement for an IFA against his former employers (a prominent national firm of financial advisers) in a claim based on defamation, fraudulent misrepresentation and unfair dismissal which included advising the client in connection with whistleblowing to the FCA.

Construction & engineering disputes

Overview

We are regularly instructed in unfair prejudice proceedings in the Court of Session.

We work closely with our corporate department in relation to shareholder / member / partnership disputes in exploring options for pre-litigation resolutions.

We acted for the successful defenders and counterclaimers in a multi-million pound breach of warranty claim in the Court of Session. The case arose following the sale of a business and involved extremely complex accounting evidence.

We acted for a large Scottish manufacturing company in implementing a scheme of arrangement to allow an international takeover.  We advised the founders of an online gaming business in their $125m unfair prejudice claim against their company.

Corporate & commercial litigation

Overview

We are regularly instructed in unfair prejudice proceedings in the Court of Session.

We work closely with our corporate department in relation to shareholder / member / partnership disputes in exploring options for pre-litigation resolutions.

We acted for the successful defenders and counterclaimers in a multi million pound breach of warranty claim in the Court of Session. The case arose following the sale of a business and involved extremely complex accounting evidence.

We acted for high street retail client in an appeal to the Upper Tribunal in relation to which we concluded negotiations to agree a method of apportioning input VAT between taxable and exempt sales. The result was a several million pound tax saving for the client.

Planning & environmental

Overview

Our team advised in relation to a successful appeal against a refusal of planning permission for a large scale waste management facility which was dealt with by way of public local inquiry.

We have advised and represented the Scottish Ministers, planning authorities, developers and objectors at public inquiries in relation to developments including housing supply and development proposals, supermarket and other retail developments, change of use, trunk road services developments and others.

We have represented a range of parties including national environmental and heritage agencies, planning authorities and objectors at Electricity Act S.36 public local inquiries concerning proposals to develop and operate electricity generating plants including CCGT and onshore wind farms.

We successfully defended an appeal to the Scottish Land Court brought by owners of river fishing rights which raised novel issues in relation to the EU Habitats Directive and the ECHR right to property.

We acted for an international environmental charity in a challenge against the granting of a licence by the UK government for development of an oilfield in the North Sea.

Property litigation

Overview

We are regularly instructed by both landlords and tenants (including some of the largest companies and lenders in the UK) in the pursuit and defence of actions relating to commercial leases including for payment, and recovery of possession.

We have particular experience of acting for landlords and tenants in a number of hard fought dilapidations disputes.

We have been instructed to represent clients in the Scottish Land Court in respect of disputes for land management agreements for crofts and refusal of statutory consents in a Site for Special Scientific Interest.

We have successfully pursued an application to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland seeking rectification of the Land Register of Scotland, and are instructed in multiple similar applications.

We have been instructed by both public and private sector clients in relation to applications to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland to discharge title conditions and for payment of statutory compensation.

We have successfully pursued actions for public and private sector clients for the removal of encroachments on land.

We are regularly instructed to represent private landlords in the recovery of possession of residential properties let to tenants under Assured and Short Assured Tenancies.

Regulatory & compliance

Overview

We have advised a number of registered social landlords on a range of regulatory issues. This includes engaging in dialogue with a number of regulators, including the Scottish Housing Regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator in relation to: changes to Rules; exercise of the Scottish Housing Regulator’s inquiry and intervention powers; and responding to and addressing the concerns expressed by the Scottish Housing Regulator in relation to the governance of registered social landlords.

We regularly receive instructions from Scottish sports governing bodies in relation to their complaints procedures and appropriate methods of responding to complaints. We have also provided advice on the constitution of disciplinary panels in respect of clubs, players and coaches, as well as providing assistance and representation at such hearings.

We advise clients who are subject to investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for alleged breach of the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

We advise on compliance with the codes for broadcast advertising in the UK and abroad, and made representations to the regulatory authorities charged with ensuring compliance.

We have previously provided in-house assistance to a leading professional body in respect of a project to re-draft its regulatory framework. This included the analytical and critical review of the existing Rules, Regulations and Guidance.

We have also represented professionals at disciplinary proceedings brought against them by their professional body’s investigations.

We act for the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and regularly advise on the investigation and determination of claims against solicitors and advocates, including representing the interests of the SLCC in appeals to the Court of Session against its decision making.

Intellectual property disputes

Overview

We provided the external brand rights infringement counteraction service for the XX Commonwealth Games, as part of which we dealt with the forced transfer of domain names in the UK, Australia and India, seizure of counterfeit goods, prevention of unauthorised trading and advertising activities, and unique brand rights challenges.

We successfully assisted one of the UK’s leading ophthalmic sector operators with challenges to various of their brand rights, at Scottish court and UK IPO level (including via appointed person appeal proceedings).

We represented a company in the Intellectual Property Court of the Court of Session in successful proceedings against infringement of its European patent.

We also acted for a supermarket in defence of a trademark infringement and passing off action in relation to its own brand gin.

Testimonials

Harper Macleod LLP remains a popular choice for corporate and shareholder litigation – a key area of expertise for Edinburgh-based team head Sandy Hastie – alongside disputes in the insolvency, IP, energy, sport and construction space. Its extensive government client base is testimony to the team’s expertise in public sector commercial litigation, while in the private sector, clients span private individuals, start-ups, major corporates and financial institutions. David Kerr heads the team in Glasgow and handles a wide range of commercial and public law litigation.”

– The Legal 500 2022

“David Kerr has notable expertise handling complex corporate litigation, including breach of duty claims and disputes arising from transactions.”

– Chambers UK 2022

“Sandy Hastie is an experienced commercial litigator. He has notable expertise in contractual and shareholder disputes, as well as professional negligence claims.” clients add “Sandy Hastie thinks through all eventualities and is standout when it comes to case strategy; he is incredibly impressive and organises material well.”

– Chambers UK 2022

“Thanks for your kindness and help with my problems.”

– HM Client

“I am very grateful for your professional skills, thoughtful communication and especially for your patience and personal kindness.”

– HM Client

“Thank you for coming to the rescue, and for your work today. Much appreciated.”

– HM Client

“Your support in my troubles has been remarkable, I have relied on you, and felt able to speak freely, although I know that you will not always see things as I do. This has made a great difference to us in bearing our frustration in this situation. You have been a good solicitor and a good counsellor.”

– HM Client

“Just to say thanks very much for all your hard work to date”

– HM Client

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CONTACT US

Get in touch

Call us for free on 0330 159 5555 or complete our online form below to submit your enquiry or arrange a call back.

Speak to us today on 0330 159 5555

Get in touch

CONTACT US

Get in touch

Call us for free on 0330 159 5555 or complete our online form below to submit your enquiry or arrange a call back.