18 October, 2021

Ampersand Advocates ranked as top tier set by Legal 500

Ampersand is delighted to once again be recommended as a top-tier set by The Legal 500 UK Bar Directory in their latest listings for 2021. Listed as tier 1 in 3 areas and tier 2 in another, Ampersand has collected 14 Senior Counsel rankings, 19 Junior Counsel rankings, including 5 rising stars, across the Scottish Bar listings.

Administrative and Public Law


Ampersand Advocates features a number of highly in-demand advocates across public law work. Aidan O’Neill QC – who is also a member of Matrix Chambers in London and is well-known for his EU law expertise – represented the pursuer in Keatings v Advocate General, a case brought by a supporter of Scottish independence seeking declaration that the devolved Holyrood parliament has the power to declare independence. Douglas Ross QC continues to be the only Scottish advocate on the Attorney-General’s Public International Law panel. Turning to the stable’s juniors, Paul Reid is First Standing Junior (a role not dissimilar to the Treasury Devil in England when the role was held by a junior pre-2006), Ross Anderson is recognized for his tax law expertise. Dorothy Bain QC was appointed as Lord Advocate. Ranked individuals are: Aidan O’Neill QC, Douglas Ross QC, Vinit Khurana QC, Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen QC, Paul Reid, Ross Anderson, Usman Tariq and Tim Young. Rising Stars noted are: Mark Boni and Michael Way.

Stable Testimonials

They have excellent senior counsel who can be called upon in the most challenging of cases even at short notice, as well as experienced juniors. Their flexibility and forward-thinking approach to technology has made instructing seamless even during the difficulties of the pandemic.

Ampersand has a wide ranging practice, and therefore can always recommend suitable advocates.’

Commercial Disputes


Ampersand Advocates is home to a team of civil litigation advocates adept at advising on a range of commercial disputes and IP/TMT-related work. Unled, Eoghainn MacLean represented Rangers in its dispute with the SPFL as to the termination of the 2019-20 season. Elsewhere in the stable, Paul Reid has notable expertise in professional negligence work, while Usman Tariq continues to excel in technology-related work – in one matter, he acted for Sony concerning leaked images, originally hacked in Scotland, of then-upcoming AAA video game The Last of Us 2. Recent news includes the elevation of Laura-Anne Van Der Westhuizen QC to silk in the 2021 round; Craig Sandison QC (as was) is now a Senator of the College of Justice; and Dorothy Bain QC was appointed Lord Advocate (the chief legal officer of the Holyrood government). Ranked individuals are: Ranked individuals are: Alan Dewar QC, Robert Howie QC, Graeme Hawkes QC, Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen QC, Paul Reid, Ross Anderson, Eoghainn MacLean, Chris Marney, Usman Tariq and Tim Young. Rising Stars noted are: Mark Boni and Michael Way.

Stable testimonials

‘I have the highest regard for Ampersand as a stable. Interacting with all members of chambers, I have the sense I was dealing with advocates at the top of their game, in terms of their grip on the law and sheer insight.’

‘I only use commercial litigation advocates as that is the focus of my practice, but in so far as Ampersand offers commercial litigation advocates, they generally have a range of possible candidates of varying levels of experience.’

Personal Injury and Medical Negligence


Ampersand Advocates is active in a range of heavyweight personal injury and medical negligence litigation, with to some extent a focus on the latter, an area in which it is instructed by Scotland’s leading pursuer firms as well as defenders. Douglas Ross QC is active in both these areas, and in the personal injury field, he has a following in pursuer-side work concerning workplace incidents. Graham Primrose QC and Simon Bowie QC are instructed for the NHS in the mesh implant class action litigation. Vinit Khurana QC, who is also a member of 2 Temple Gardens in England, is thought to be the only doctor-turned-advocate in practice in Scotland. Medical regulatory work is another area of expertise for the team. Alan Dewar QC, David Stephenson QC, Euan Mackenzie QC, Geoff Mitchell QC, Graham Primrose QC, Lisa Henderson QC, Maria Maguire QC, Simon Bowie QC, Douglas Ross QC, Una Doherty QC, Vinit Khurana QC, Archie MacSporran QC, James McConnell, Fiona Drysdale and Jennifer Nicholson. Rising Star noted: Shane Dundas.

Stable Testimonials

‘The stable has a great selection of advocates with very specialist medical negligence experience. I have never had an issue with availability of counsel.’

‘They provide annual training on clinical negligence which is always helpful. Very helpful clerking team. Good range of expertise.’

Property, Planning and Construction


Ampersand Advocates handles a lot of work concerning the use of space, with many areas crossing over with its public law and commercial expertise. Eoghann Maclean represents the Duke of Argyll in a £7m claim against the Ministry of Defence concerning large quantities of unexploded WW2-era ordinance in his forest, which there was an allegedly bungled attempt to clear in the 1970s, while Laura-Anne Van Der Westhuizen QC – a 2021 silk appointment – is particularly active in work concerning planning and rural property. Malcolm Thomson QC has been active in work concerning the Electronic Communications Code, which underpins the UK-wide legal framework for physical telecoms infrastructure. Ranked individuals are: Robert Howie QC, Marcus McKay QC, Malcolm Thomson QC, Ailsa Wilson QC, Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen QC, Eoghainn MacLean, Chris Marney, Tim Young, Ross Anderson, Giles Reid. Rising Star noted: Alex Sutherland.

Stable Testimonials

‘The stable has a full breadth of advocates at all levels of experience with expertise over a broad area of law.’

‘Ampersand is a leading stable with a strong offering of advocates in both the junior and senior ranks across a variety of practice areas. The offering for planning and environmental matters is particularly strong, and includes some of the most impressive advocates in this area.’


Aidan O’Neill QC ‘His forte is in debating the court – he is never satisfied with the final version of an argument and is always looking to improve it.’

Full listings, including all individual rankings can be viewed on the Legal 500 website here.

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