We work with domestic clients doing business across the globe, and clients from outside Scotland who require legal representation here.
At Harper Macleod we have a considerable international practice and work both with domestic clients who are doing business across the globe, and with clients based outside Scotland and the UK who require legal representation here.
We advise on hundreds of international transactions every year, involving multiple jurisdictions around the world.
Scottish legal know-how is renowned worldwide and there is increasing demand for our services, with many of our lawyers engaged in international work.
The depth of our experience is supplemented with the strength of our extensive network of foreign counterpart relations, with the result that we can assist clients with their international needs quickly and effectively. We have developed a network of specialist firms in lead markets around the world, which enables us to make the right connections for our clients while still allowing us oversight of their projects if required.
While we are able to assist clients in any country, we have a range of particular international desks managed by lawyers within Harper Macleod who have a connection with that jurisdiction. They can facilitate our work with companies wishing to enter the UK market from that country, or any UK and other international clients looking to expand into those countries.
More information on our international desk contacts is available below.
We carry out a full range of work internationally and our teams are able to handle any matters you may have.
As one of Scotland’s leading independent law firms, we regularly work collaboratively with firms from other jurisdictions.
Harper Macleod is a full-service firm, ideally positioned to work with law firms outside Scotland requiring assistance in relation to Scots law.
Over the past decade many of the traditional ‘big name’ Scottish firms have been taken over by international firms, while others have their own presence in London. Harper Macleod, renowned as a Scottish-only firm, has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Elgin, Lerwick and Thurso, but none outside the Scottish jurisdiction.
We have consistently grown our share of the Scottish legal market while working closely with leading UK and international law firms in relation to Scots law matters. As a result, we are the firm of choice for many leading law firms, providing high-quality, high-value support and advice on a wide range of issues including:
- Handling the Scottish elements of multi-jurisdictional transactions
- Using Scots law to create innovative and effective solutions
- Overcoming unique challenges relating to Scots law
Our international desks
We have particularly notable links with certain jurisdictions around the world.
We have strong connections with leading commercial law firms in Australia, New Zealand & Australasia. We are regularly instructed on cross-border deals acting alongside our Australasian counterparts.
The signing of the Australia-UK FTA in December 2021 and the UK-New Zealand FTA in February 2022, coming into effect in June 2023, signifies the importance of our trading relations. Combined bilateral trade with Australia and New Zealand amounted to £17.6bn last year. With such a fulsome flow of goods and services between Scotland, Australia & New Zealand, we regularly support clients looking to export to Australia & New Zealand and equally to assist Australasian businesses looking to operate or trade in Scotland and the UK.
Our recent work has included acting:
- As Scots Counsel on behalf of the world’s largest global satellite providers on the restructure and financing of the business;
- On behalf of an Australian exploration and mining company in relation to its Scottish mining interests;
- On behalf of a number of Australian investors in relation to their acquisition of Scottish hotels;
- On behalf of Australian and New Zealand private clients in relation to their purchase of land, estates and crofts across the Highlands & Islands;
Anne Macdonald, a partner with the firm who also heads up our business development team together with the HM Connect network (a Scottish-based legal referral network), heads our Australasian desk. Anne has strong family connections to Victoria, Australia following descendants of her ancestor Long John Macdonald having emigrated in the early 1900s. Anne has built strong connections with leading independent law firms across Australia & New Zealand and regularly assists clients of Harper Macleod when Australian or New Zealand legal advice is required through utilising her network of connections.
Scotland has strong business links with China, and our team regularly acts on China-related work. Recent matters include:
- Advising on the sale of a Scottish whisky company to Chinese investors.
- Assisting a healthcare sector client with its potential investment in a Chinese hospital group.
- Advising on a medical devices manufacturer and supplier on outsourced manufacturing arrangements relating to China.
- Advising Chinese clients on the acquisition of Scottish property.
- Assisted one of the UK’s leading sports clubs expand its brand into that jurisdiction.
We have also addressed copyright and trade mark rights infringement matters for a leader in the oilfield software market, a leading fitness equipment manufacturer and a number of healthcare related businesses. Our work in healthcare matters is particularly of note, where we have assisted on various device manufacturing projects, regulatory approvals for EU supply and marketing (including CE marking), designation of EU representatives for Chinese based manufacturers, import disputes, supply chain contracting, establishment and tax compliance. We have also addressed a number of life sciences sector diligence projects for Chinese acquirers.
Stephen has over 15 years’ experience of corporate and corporate finance work including mergers and acquisitions, management buy-outs, joint ventures and public offerings. Stephen’s family is originally from Hong Kong and he is a fluent Cantonese speaker.
Stephen 在企业和企业融资法律方面拥有超过15年的工作经验, 包括并购、管理层收购、合资企业和公开发行。Stephen 的家人来自香港, 他能说流利的广东话。
哈珀·麦克雷奥德团队(Harper Macleod team) 与中国有关的工作的一些例子包括:
Neighbours, of sorts, Denmark has had long links throughout history with Scotland.
Not least of these, the current UK Royal Family is descended from a Scot and a Dane, King James VI and I and his Queen, Anne of Denmark.
Denmark, like Scotland, is renowned as a great exploring and trading nation, and in the modern age the countries share close ties in areas such as renewables, oil and gas and life sciences.
Amy is a Partner in Harper Macleod’s Business Development team and the firm’s International desk contact for Denmark. During her legal education, Amy spent time at Københavns Universitet studying subjects with an international focus including Human Rights, Law of War Crimes and Media Law. She has been a regular visitor back to Copenhagen ever since.
Scotland’s relationship with France is one of its oldest and strongest international alliances.
France is one of Scotland’s most important export destinations and is among the leading inward investors to Scotland, with French businesses employing many thousands of people in Scotland.
Scotland is also home to a large number of French citizens.
At Harper Macleod we have worked with French counsel to address matters as diverse as supply and purchase arrangements of complex technology to French purchasers and insolvency matters in the healthcare sector. We have also acted in relation to media and entertainment matters, specifically on disputes surrounding the payment of royalties and other sums under distribution and publishing arrangements.
Ewan has a keen interest in France and the French language, having studied Law with French at the University of Strathclyde. As part of his degree, he spent a year at Université Jean Moulin III in Lyon, undertaking a variety of French law subjects in addition to several language and translation classes.
J’ai eu de la chance de passer une année entre 2017-2018 à étudier à l’université de Jean Moulin III à Lyon, où j’ai suivi des cours de droits en français, tels que le droit privé, le droit de la famille et le droit constitutionnel. J’ai toujours eu la passion d’apprendre la langue française et de l’utiliser pour communiquer avec les autres.
With the largest economy in Europe, and the fourth largest in the world, Germany is an important partner for Scotland.
The country is one of Scotland’s largest export markets and a major investor – the third largest source of foreign direct investment. Ties between the two countries encompass many commercial sectors, while there are also strong links in academia.
We have assisted a number of well-known brands with their German expansion plans, addressing through local counsel the setup of appropriate entities and related group structuring matters. A number of our German clients are international in nature, and such work has often involved liaising with non-EEA counsel and group tax and accountancy advisors. We have also addressed a number of trade and supply chain arrangements, notably in the medical, healthcare, textile and food and drink sectors.
Harper Macleod’s work in relation to Germany is diverse, and other experience has included:
- Acting for a leading food service provider on the acquisition of a Scottish headquartered business in the food & drink sector.
- Acting for German clients in the purchase of Scottish properties.
- Acting for German-based insurers in defending product liability claims raised in Scotland. The manufacturer of the product was based in Germany but the accident occurred when the product was used in Scotland.
- Advised a German gold bullion trader on the regulatory framework for promoting investment in gold as a means of investing under Sharia law in the UK.
- Advised German clients on documentation required to allow them to work with a UK agency.
- Advised a brewing client on the termination of a distribution agreement in Germany.
- Advised a German zinc cladding manufacturer on their potential liability for cladding they had manufactured and installed.
James is a partner in our corporate team. He has wide experience of transactional corporate matters focusing on mergers & acquisitions (M&A) and disposals as well as investments (including venture capital transactions), shareholder arrangements, joint ventures, corporate reorganisations, demergers and succession planning. His work has seen him advise in relation to German matters, as well as deals involving other jurisdictions.
Scotland and India enjoy strong economic and cultural links.
Much of our work focuses on international trade, particularly with respect to businesses involved in IP and technology, sport (especially cricket), energy, outsourcing and retail. Our lawyers have acted for a number of India’s large businesses conglomerates and many others, in respect of rights matters relating to the UK and EU. We have also assisted a number of UK-based entities with their expansion into the Indian subcontinent, assisting with supply chain matters, rights acquisition, disputes, compliance and multiple other areas.
In addition, we have working links with many leading law firms in India.
Bruce heads the firm’s employment law practice and advises in relation to both contentious and non-contentious matters across each of the public, private and third sectors. His practice extends beyond Scotland with Bruce regularly advising our clients who have pan-UK operations and beyond, including in India. Business immigration is an increasingly important area of his practice with clients recently including businesses and individuals seeking his guidance and support through planning and implementing recruitment, or leave to remain issues.
Bruce also leads the firm’s sports law practice. In this role he advises the firm’s many sports clients in relation to regulatory, disciplinary and governance matters and this role has given him great insight into the world of cricket.
There are strong historical links between Scotland and Ireland, underpinned by the close geographical proximity and similar business culture. This connection is increasing in importance year-on-year, with trade levels between Scotland and Ireland rising. In the post-Brexit landscape, the trade links between our respective economies have only become even more important as we work together to maximise trade and collaboration.
Our work in relation to Ireland is diverse, covering a range of legal disciplines including real estate, banking & finance, mergers & acquisitions and commercial contracts. This work has extended to a wide spread of sectors including healthcare, shipping, retail, technology, manufacturing and sport.
Tony is head of our Banking & Finance team in Scotland and has regularly acted for Irish-based lenders for many years as well as advising many Irish-owned businesses on transactions involving Scotland. He has a strong network of contacts with the Irish business community including companies, funders and advisers.
Amy is a partner in Harper Macleod’s Business Development team where she works closely with clients, intermediaries and other law firms on the identification and management of business and cross-referral opportunities in Ireland.
The firm is a member of the British and Irish Chambers of Commerce and several of our partners are members of the British Irish Commercial Bar Association. Tony and Amy regularly attend events held by these organisations, as well as frequently visiting Ireland to keep in touch with our contacts there.
At Harper Macleod we very much value our links with Ireland and look forward to assisting our clients and contacts in any way we can.
In the late 1800s, many people left Italy to make Scotland their home, and today Glasgow still has one of the largest contingents of Italian descendants of any UK city.
There are a multitude of cultural and institutional links between the countries, with strong economic links and trade in areas including engineering, renewable energy, food and drink, and the creative industries.
Our work in relation to Italy is wide-ranging, and has included matters such as acting on behalf of Italian companies with UK subsidiaries, for example to enforce Italian court judgements on Scottish debtors.
Italian speaker Cinzia studied Law and Italian at the University of Strathclyde and spent a year studying Italian Law at the University of Verona.
Mexico, like Scotland, is a country that combines its rich history and tradition with an increasingly modern economy. Energy is one of the key shared areas of interest as Mexico looks to develop its energy resources, leading to opportunities for Scottish companies.
Trade relationships have been building in recent years, with other sectors in which the countries have direct connections including food & drink, the creative industries, tourism, manufacturing and aerospace. Harper Macleod has a variety of experience in Mexico, advising on trade regulation aspects of supplying alcohol into the EU from Mexico, and historically on a number of brand related disputes
Amy is a Senior Associate who, prior to joining Harper Macleod, worked for a year at Von Wobeser y Sierra Law Firm in Mexico City, a commercial law firm which deals with a full range of commercial matters and disputes. She provided Spanish translation assistance predominately to clients based in the United States of America and worked on commercial matters for clients such as major drinks manufacturers and leading fashion brands.
The Netherlands is Scotland’s largest export market in the EU, partly down to the role of Rotterdam through which many Scottish products enter the continent of Europe.
However, as well as being a trade hub, the country, which has a population fluent in English and a highly skilled workforce, is also a very attractive market for Scottish businesses. The two countries have long had close cultural links,
Harper Macleod has extensive experience working with Dutch counterparts in areas including real estate, marine, shipping, telecoms, and general international trade.
Our experience has included:
- In the life sciences and technology sectors, assisting with contractual, IP, tax and regulatory matters in relation to multi-jurisdictional manufacturing and supply arrangements, involving non EU parties with EU and UK interests, a Far Eastern manufacturer, and Dutch based EMEA supply hubs.
- In respect of the renewable energy sector, dealing with a number of IP related disputes, alongside having worked on, in the traditional energy / oil & gas sector, a number of UK Ltd / Dutch BV oilfield services, consultancy and technology licensing matters.
- Advising on a number of acquisitions and disposals of technology related companies, where there has been a Dutch interest.
- Acting for the property managers of a Dutch property investment company with global interests, in respect of property litigation.
Jamie has worked on many Dutch-related matters, and acts for a number of Dutch businesses in relation to their UK interests. His work focuses particularly o international trade, with strong interests in life sciences, technology, sports, energy and software.
He has extensive experience of working with local Dutch counsel and other service providers in relation to corporate governance, company management and general compliance matters, and regularly visits the Netherlands.
Historical links between the USA and Scotland and Canada and Scotland are very strong with a huge number of Americans and Canadians able to trace their ancestral roots to Scotland.
Business links with both countries continue to be important for the Scottish economy with more than 500 businesses North American businesses located in Scotland, employing over 106,000 Scots and a combined turnover of $40 billion.
US and Canadian citizens visit Scotland in huge numbers each year not only to trace their ancestry but also to take in our breathtaking scenery and sample our vibrant cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow – taking in our celebrated food, whisky and golf along the way.
Harper Macleod’s work in relation to North America has been extensive. In life sciences, we regularly assist clients based in these countries with matters such as research data acquisition and transfer and clinical trial arrangements. We also act for a US-based venture capital group in relation to its Scottish investment matters.
Our brands work in the US and Canada is extensive, having dealt with infringement matters in many states, and also the acquisition of rights for a multitude of clients in sectors such as energy, renewables, healthcare, food and drink, retail, textiles and software. In the UK and EU we act for some of the best-known North American brands in relation to IP matters.
In previous roles as Scotland Managing Partner of one of the world’s leading global law firms and before that as Managing Partner of the Lex Mundi member firm for Scotland, Gordon has transacted with lawyers and their clients throughout the USA and Canada.
Now as Head of International at Harper Macleod and an active member of the IBA, he continues to deal with North American law firms and businesses on a regular basis.
At Harper Macleod we very much value our links with the USA and Canada and look forward to assisting you or your clients in any way we can.
Norway is one of Scotland’s biggest export markets while a significant number of Norwegian companies operate in Scotland, employing thousands of people and providing inward investment.
Norway has often been held up as a model for Scotland to follow economically, and the links between the countries go back centuries. Indeed Shetland, where Harper Macleod has a permanent office, was formerly part of Norway and Lerwick is almost as close to Bergen as it is to the Scottish mainland.
Harper Macleod has carried out a significant amount of work in Norway, working with many Norwegian businesses and organisations in areas such as shipping, aquaculture, and energy.
We have also carried out varied and often complex IP work. We have acted for a UK-based oil and gas sector technology developer and consultancy business in relation to multi million pound development and licensing arrangements concerning patented oilfield technologies. We have also advised one of the UK’s leading healthcare brands on internet based brand rights infringement matters. Further we have often worked for non-EEA counsel, managing rights acquisition and freedom to use projects which have included the Norwegian territory.
Other experience has included:
- Assisting clients in relation to the review of Licence and Distribution Agreement (and the effect under Norwegian law).
- Advising a client on a potential joint venture in Norway.
- Acting for a UK subsidiary of a Norwegian company.
Chris is one of our Corporate Partners, and is the Lead Partner for Harper Macleod’s Highlands, Islands & Moray operation. Through this – and particularly our Shetland presence – he is experienced in transacting with Norway, principally in relation to the marine economy.
Spain is one of Scotland’s top 10 export markets, and while many people’s first thoughts of the country relate to it being one of our most favoured travel destinations, the two nations have important economic links which are helped by the great travel links.
Spain is one of the largest consumer markets in the EU, with around one million people from the UK living there. Areas of interest between both countries include technology and engineering, renewable energy, fintech and life sciences, as well as food and drink and tourism.
We are often engaged in relation to Spanish property matters, concerning UK individuals. We have also addressed business purchase and sale matters, with a particular focus on healthcare and purchase out of insolvency. Our work includes the marine (pleasure craft) sector, and attending to shipping sale and purchase matters. We have acted on a number of brand rights acquisition projects and also rights disputes. We also acted recently in relation to Scottish-based proceedings concerning a Spanish hotel operator client, and personal injury liabilities.
The South African market continues to attract our clients with unique growth opportunities in a range of sectors, from IT and communications technology, sustainable and renewable energies, tourism and leisure, and film industries.
We have extensive experience working in South Africa for our clients and have also represented South African businesses here. Our experience has included:
- Following successful management buyout of a leading accounting and tax advisory firm in the management of its IP and branding portfolio, including expansion into the South African market;
- Advising a fashion industry body in attracting and acquiring business links in South Africa and the assignation of intellectual property and brand related rights.
- Dealing with management of SA trade mark rights for major sporting organisations.
Following successful management of a leading accounting and tax advisory firm in the management of its IP and branding portfolio, including expansion into the South African market;
Advising a fashion industry body in attracting and acquiring business links in South Africa and the assignation of intellectual property and brand related rights.
Dealing with the management of SA trade mark rights for major sporting organisations.
Gordon has over 30 years’ restructuring, corporate recovery and insolvency experience. He advises banks and financial institutions, administrators and liquidators in large scale restructuring and insolvency assignments and supports some of the world’s top banks and financial institutions. Gordon heads up Harper Macleod’s international team, working with clients and law firms across the world, and also coordinates the USA country desk.
The Legal 500 UK has ranked Gordon as one of the elite leading lawyers in Scotland in Insolvency & Corporate Recovery and he is a member of the “Hall of Fame”, for partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. They note that Gordon “can be relied upon for his no-nonsense, straightforward and commercial approach.”
Harper Macleod also offers a wealth of expertise in key sectors, such as intellectual property and communication technology, food and leisure, sport, financial and energy to a variety of private, public, third and voluntary sector clients.
Sweden has long-standing trading links with Scotland in particular as a route into the UK market, but is also an important market for UK exporters. We regularly advise UK clients on expanding their sales into Sweden but have also acted for Swedish clients doing business in Scotland.
As head of our Food & Drink Group, Scott has advised a number of Scottish food and drink producers on setting up distribution arrangements in Sweden and through that has contacts with a number of Swedish law firms and other professional advisers. Through such contacts Harper Macleod has also advised Swedish clients on their investment into companies and property in the UK.