Personal dispute resolution & litigation services

We have one of Scotland’s largest litigation teams, with more than 60 of our lawyers involved in contentious work for our clients. 

As well as carrying out commercial litigation we have a substantial private client base and deal with a diverse caseload across all levels of the Scottish judicial system.

Our strong working relationships with other professionals, including specialist accountants, surveyors and architects, mean that we can complement our own advice with appropriate, high quality expert input. 

Our team understands that whilst results matter to individuals engaged in a dispute, there will also be considerations beyond winning and losing. We appreciate that disputes may involve family, friends or neighbours, and that personal relationships can often be at stake. We will therefore work with clients to identify what it is that the client hopes to achieve through litigation, and preparing a strategy to achieve those goals. 

Our team has an exceptionally broad range of experience and we are confident that, no matter what the issues at the heart of a dispute are, our team will be able to provide appropriate advice and assistance.

Our services:

Here are some examples of the types of work which may be of particular interest to individuals:

 

Residential Tenancies

The legislative framework underpinning residential tenancies is complicated and strictly applied. It is our view that, whether you are a landlord or a tenant, it is always beneficial to take legal advice before entering into any residential tenancy, and immediately following any dispute arising in relation to a residential tenancy.

Our team is regularly instructed by private landlords in relation to the recovery of rent from tenants, as well as in relation to the recovery of possession of property.

We also receive instructions from tenants, particularly following the termination of a tenancy for the recovery of any deposit paid. Since the advent of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, we have received a number of instructions seeking recovery of penalties against landlords who have not complied with the regulations.

Boundary issues

One of the most common disputes arising between neighbours concerns property boundaries. It will usually stem from a belief that one party is possessing or encroaching on land belonging to the other. The starting point will be an analysis of the title deeds, particularly where any property is registered in the Land Register. We have recently successfully represented clients at the Lands Tribunal for Scotland in an action against the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland following a failure by the Keeper to rectify an inaccuracy in the register which presented an area of land belonging to the clients as belonging to their neighbour. We are currently instructed in several similar action at the Lands Tribunal for Scotland.

Where the issues relates to an encroachment, our team has experience in successfully obtaining the judicial removal of objects encroaching on property.

Other Neighbour disputes

Our team recognises that, in reality, it can be exceptionally difficult to “love thy neighbour”. Whether the issue involves a noisy neighbour, high hedges entering onto your property without permission or any other unacceptable behaviour or nuisance, our team will be able to discuss the different remedies which may be available, the method of obtaining those remedies, and the relevant costs.

Repayment of Loans

Polonius advised his son, “neither a borrower nor a lender be for loan oft loses both itself and friend”. Some may consider that to be sound advice which, unfortunately, is too often borne out in litigation amongst both friends and family.

Our team regularly advises clients in relation to actions for repayment of loans between individuals. In such circumstances, the loans are normally given to individuals whom the lenders trusted and considered to be “low risk”. As a result, the fall out from those situations can be bitter.

We are on hand to provide pragmatic advice from both a legal and economic perspective, whilst also being alert to the sensitivities arising out of personal relationships.

Executry disputes

We advise in actions raised both on behalf of and against Executors in respect of their administration of estates involving a variety of contentious issues for both beneficiaries and family members. We have represented parties in respect of actions for count, reckoning and payment, allegations of vitious intromissions and recovery of property improperly held by the deceased’s family. We are conscious of the sensitive nature of such actions for family members and have sought not to inflame already acrimonious situations through hastily drafted or unnecessarily robust correspondence with agents or parties. We can also provide clients with advice and assistance where necessary regarding potential conflicts of interest on the part of agents who may appear not to exercise the necessary degree of objectivity in acting for both executors and beneficiaries. We work closely with our colleagues in our private client department in the provision of bespoke advice regarding the merits of litigation over continuing negotiation, together with assistance in seeking interdicts and inhibitions where required to prevent the removal or sale of disputed property.

Lost wills

The realisation that a Will or other principal document has gone missing can be a stressful time for solicitors and clients alike. Although regrettable it is by no means an uncommon occurrence.

Our Edinburgh Court of Session team have extensive experience of actions to prove the Tenor of missing Wills and important documents. They will be able to provide you with guidance as to the necessary documentation and supporting evidence which will be required and provide an accurate estimate of the likely timeframes involved. Although all actions must proceed within the Court of Session, and so the costs involved are not insignificant, the turn around can be as little as 4-6 weeks if the action is undefended and a clear history of events leading to the loss can be established.

Breach of Missives

For most people, buying a house will be the biggest and most important transaction that they will enter into during their lives. Unfortunately, sometimes events occur which mean that one side is unable to fulfil its obligations. Where that happens, our team is well placed to assist. We have a working knowledge and understanding of the standard missives and the effects of the terms therein. We have also recently delivered professional training on breach of missives actions. Whether the client is the purchaser or the seller in the transaction, we will be able to advise clients throughout what will undoubtedly be a difficult time and, if necessary, provide representation in court.

More from Harper Macleod

Why choose us?

You don't need a lawyer - not many law firms will tell you that. What you need is someone to provide a solution, and our advisors are dedicated and flexible enough to do just that.

Learn more

Personal legal services

With one of Scotland's largest teams dealing with personal legal matters, we have specialist knowledge for every stage of your life - from buying a house to protecting your assets.

Learn more

Awards

We are one of Scotland's leading, most successful law firms but you don't have to take our word for it. Our performance has consistently been recognised by our peers.

Learn more