18 May, 2017

Craig Sandison QC “Lawyer of the week”

Ampersand’s Craig Sandison QC has appeared in the Times “Lawyer of the week” feature. Craig Sandison Q.C. acted successfully for the bookmaker Coral Racing in the Court of Session this year. It ruled that a bet that Rangers Football Club would be relegated — £100 at 2,500 to one, resulting in a payout of £250,000 — should not be paid out because “relegation” depended on the Scottish Premier League rules.

What were the main challenges in this case?
I don’t think that the case was a difficult one in point of law — Rangers had finished the season in second place in the top league, but the company that owned the team went into administration in 2012, resulting in its assets — including the team — being sold to a new company and consequently having to start the next season from scratch in the lowest league. To describe that sequence of events as “relegation” was never a viable proposition, whatever canon of construction might be applied to the betting contract.

Who has inspired you in your career?
The late Lord Macfadyen, presiding over the commercial court in my early years at the Bar, improved my advocacy skills immeasurably by an exacting judicial style coupled with immense patience and good humour. His untimely death in 2008 was a great loss to the administration of justice in Scotland.

What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you — as a lawyer?
I was amused by the witness who pretended to be having a heart attack in the box in order to attempt to avoid answering my question as to where he had got £100,000 in cash that he was carrying about in a sports bag. I wasn’t at all convinced by his performance; nor were the medics who subsequently examined him.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Paradoxically: “find your own way”. More of a philosophy than a piece of advice, but it’s always served me well.

Which three qualities should a lawyer have?
Honesty, humanity, humility — perhaps not always in that order. The rest is mere technique.

What law would you enact — why?
A UK equivalent to Canada’s Clarity Act 2000, hopefully to calm down the current constitutional shenanigans which are such a distraction from progress on matters of substance for Scots law.

How would you like to be remembered?
As a kindly soul with a ready smile. It’s a work in progress.

This article first appeared in the Times Newspaper edition 18th May 2017 and online here.

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One of the best strategic thinkers you'll encounter in the Scottish legal profession; he consistently impresses Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chambers & Partners 2014