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Ampersand Advocates respond to Scottish Civil Justice Council consultation on remote hearings

Ampersand Advocates has submitted a formal response to the Scottish Civil Justice Council’s consultation on the proposed wholesale and permanent move to online civil justice.

You can view Ampersand’s response here.


‘Tis the season… for giving

The nights are drawing in and there’s a definite nip in the air. Winter is on its way, which means so is the season for giving.

And while many of us are already looking forward to the festive season, cuts in financial support and rising fuel and food costs mean vulnerable families will struggle to inject any Christmas cheer into their lives. This is why the annual Faculty Christmas Collection matters more than ever.

This is the seventh year that this has been spearheaded by Maria Maguire QC and every donation, no matter how small, will make a real difference.

All donations to the Faculty Christmas Collection are ring-fenced,” says Ms Maguire, “so all contributions will reach vulnerable families in Fife.

The generosity of Faculty members and staff, the bench and our solicitor colleagues, as well as friends and family last year, meant we managed to raise £12,290 before gift aid and received an astonishing number of gifts. I started this collection because I heard of the plight of the families and this continues – some parents starve themselves to provide for their children and save for Christmas and young parents have been driven to attempt suicide. The need for help cannot be underestimated.

Receiving last year’s donations the chair of the family support charity, Home-Start Glenrothes, Alison Cameron, remarked: “As we have said, year after year, your donation means a great deal for our families. It gives us so much flexibility, meaning that we can respond quickly, doing whatever a family needs, with no strings attached. It is enormously valuable and makes such a difference.”

Toys, books, games, new clothes, pyjamas, accessories or any fun presents for children of all ages, from newborns up to and including teenagers, would all be welcomed,” said Ms Maguire.

Second-hand items still in good working condition, such as bicycles, would also be fantastic. And let’s not forget the parents. About half of the families the charity supports have a parent with mental health issues. For some of them, the pressure of Christmas can be too much. Gifts for them are really important because they are also often young and vulnerable.

Other examples of items that could be donated include Christmas treats, such as selection boxes, tins of biscuits, sweets and savoury items, and Christmas wrapping paper or gift bags. Cash donations will be used to buy vouchers for food and also go towards an emergency fund for use throughout the year for items like beds, cookers, fridges and washing machines.

Presents can be handed in at Faculty Reception, Parliament House, Edinburgh, from Monday 13 December to Friday 17 December, and arrangements can be made to collect items from people’s homes during that period. On Saturday 18 December items can be dropped off at the Laigh Hall in Parliament House from 10 am to noon. Cash can be donated any time from now.

More information and how to make a cash donation can be found here.  Anyone wanting to contact Ms Maguire can email her at maria.maguire@advocates.org.uk


City of Edinburgh Council unanimously accepts Inquiry team’s Recommendations in the Sean Bell Inquiry

Susanne Tanner QC and the Inquiry Team at Pinsent Masons LLP have published their Open Report in the investigation into allegations concerning the conduct of the late Sean Bell and the way in which historical complaints about him were dealt with by the City of Edinburgh Council at the time that they were made: https://democracy.edinburgh.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=39781 . 

Susanne Tanner QC, the independent chair of the Inquiry, presented the Open Report at the City of Edinburgh Council’s full council meeting on Thursday 28 October (https://edinburgh.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/611512). She stated: “As a team, we have taken our responsibility to investigate these important issues extremely seriously. From the start, we committed to carrying out a survivor-led inquiry focused wholeheartedly on giving survivors a voice and safeguarding their welfare and that of others vulnerable to abuse. With that in mind, our sincere thanks go to the survivors who have remained the priority throughout our inquiry process and we thank them for taking the difficult but important step of contacting the inquiry to share their experiences.”

The council unanimously accepted the Inquiry Team’s recommendations in full, including the implementation of an independent unit of appropriately experienced and properly trained investigators to investigate all allegations of a sexual nature, domestic abuse, physical violence, stalking or harassment; and a redress scheme to compensate those who were abused by Sean Bell.


Ampersand Advocates welcomes Top Rankings success in latest Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide 2022

Ampersand has once again received top tier rankings across a number of areas of practice in the latest published guide to the legal profession, Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide 2022.

Ampersand received 68 listings across 17 areas of practice, ranking as top tier (band 1) in Clinical Negligence and Planning & Environmental Law as a Set, and band 2 in Administrative & Public law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Commercial Dispute Resolution, Personal Injury, Professional Negligence, Real Estate Litigation and Restructuring/Insolvency as a Set. 5 members are noted as “star individuals”. There is wide practice for the clerking team and client service too.

Noted as a Band 1 set for Clinical Negligence, “Ampersand Advocates retains its reputation as a market-leading stable for clinical negligence matters. Its advocates continue to provide expert legal advice and representation to both pursuers and defenders in a wide range of disputes, including claims relating to birth and catastrophic brain and spinal injuries. Members are well versed in cases arising from alleged failures in diagnosis and surgical errors, and regularly appear at fatal accident inquiries. The stable also houses considerable expertise in multiparty actions stemming from the use of medical equipment, and several of its advocates have recently been involved in the Scottish Mesh Litigation, a class action in which over 500 claims were brought against the NHS in connection with allegedly defective vaginal mesh. Our rankings include 2 “Star Individuals”, Maria Maguire QC and David Stephenson QC, with 10 further silks and 7 juniors also ranked – Simon Bowie QC, Jamie Dawson QC, Simon Di Rollo QC, Una Doherty QC, Lisa Henderson QC, Vinit Khurana QC, Archie MacSporran QC, Geoffrey Mitchell QC, Graham Primrose QC, Lauren Sutherland QC, Fiona Drysdale, Mark Fitzpatrick, James McConnell, Paul Reid and Phil Stuart.

Ampersand’s new Band 1 listing in Planning & Environment states “Ampersand is a leading stable with a strong offering of advocates in both the junior and senior ranks.” and “Ampersand Advocates is well regarded for the complex planning and environmental work undertaken by its advocates. Members of the stable regularly act in judicial reviews and challenges to planning permissions and frequently act on behalf of developers, objectors, public sector bodies and energy companies. Members are regularly engaged in high-profile matters, including those relating to large renewable energy projects. Rankings include Malcolm Thomson QC as “Star Individual”, Marcus McKay QC, Ailsa Wilson QC and new silk Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen QC.

Band 2 listings include Administrative & Public Law where Ampersand is praised “houses highly praised practitioners who are skilled at acting in public law cases involving significant constitutional and human rights issues. They frequently appear before the highest courts in the UK and the EU.” The rankings include “Star Individual” Aidan O’Neill QC, along with Douglas Ross QC, Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen QC, Paul Reid and Usman Tariq.

In Civil Liberties & Human Rights Ampersand is noted as a “highly regarded civil liberties and human rights stable, known for representing both private individuals and public bodies in significant proceedings. Practitioners at Ampersand are regularly instructed by the government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.” The rankings include Aidan O’Neill QC, Douglas Ross QC and Usman Tariq.

In Commercial Dispute Resolution Chambers state Ampersand is “well renowned for its consistent involvement in high-profile commercial disputes. The stable offers a large team comprising highly rated advocates at the senior and junior level. The advocates are instructed on behalf of corporations and financial institutions and are involved in a variety of related areas of practice including intellectual property and insolvency.” The rankings include Robert Howie QCGraeme Hawkes QC, Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen QC, Ross AndersonGiles Reid, Paul Reid, Usman Tariq and Tim Young.

Within Personal Injury “Ampersand Advocates is a highly regarded stable for personal injury matters and houses a number of dedicated senior and junior advocates. Members act for both pursuers and defenders, including several major insurers, in the full range of claims, and offer considerable expertise in the handling of catastrophic injury cases arising from road traffic and workplace accidents. The team is also well regarded for its expertise in complex product liability and occupiers’ liability disputes and matters involving accidents abroad. The stable’s tenants are regularly called upon to appear in fatal accident inquiries, where they have experience of acting for government agencies, health boards and local authorities.” Rankings include “Star Individuals” Maria Maguire QC and Graham Primrose QC with others ranked Isla Davie QC, Simon Di Rollo QC, Lisa Henderson QC, Euan Mackenzie QC, Douglas Ross QC, Alan CowanChris Marney, Jenny Nicholson, Louise Milligan.

A new Set ranking in Professional Negligence declares “Ampersand Advocates is recognised as a leading set for professional liability matters in Scotland. The advocates often advise and act in proceedings on behalf of and against a suite of professionals including solicitors, surveyors, architects and financial advisers.” The rankings include Chris Marney, Paul Reid and Usman Tariq.

In another new Set ranking area, Real Estate Litigation, it exclaims “Ampersand Advocates offers a strong bench of well-regarded advocates who are active across a broad range of real estate litigation topics. The set demonstrates strong expertise in areas of overlap between commercial and real estate disputes. Members are instructed at all levels from the Supreme Court down.” Rankings include Robert Howie QC, Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen QC, Ross Anderson, Giles Reid and Tim Young.

Within Restructuring/Insolvency “Ampersand Advocates is well regarded for its handling of a wide range of restructuring and insolvency matters. The stable’s advocates are frequently instructed to represent administrators, companies, banks and insolvency office holders in complex claims involving allegations of wrongful trading and breach of fiduciary duty, among other matters. Members have experience of appearing in both domestic and cross-border matters, and are regularly called upon to act for and advise their clients on both contentious and non-contentious insolvency cases.” Rankings include Robert Howie QC, Ross Anderson and Usman Tariq.

There are individual rankings in: Agriculture and Rural Affairs for Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen QC; Company for Tim Young; Employment for Aidan O’Neill QC; Immigration for Alan Dewar QC; Information Technology and Intellectual Property for Usman Tariq; Product Liability for Paul Reid; and Tax for Ross Anderson.

The Ampersand clerks receive wide praise across all areas of practice described as “fantastic and always very helpful… approachable and knowledgeable….Very efficient and pleasant.” The client service is also noted as “ahead of the curve in terms of its responsiveness and use of technology” and notes Ampersand “was the first Scottish stable to offer video conferencing.”

On the recent rankings, Practice Manager, Alan Moffat, said: “This is again wonderful recognition and praise for all of the excellent work our advocates and my team does on a continual basis. My thanks goes to everyone who took the time to provide Chambers with their views. We work in collaboration with the profession and it is pleasing to hear those that instruct our members recognise the value our members bring to the legal team. I am also proud of the excellent and hard work my team puts in daily and am pleased to see that appreciated too.”

The full rankings can be viewed on the Chambers and Partners website here.


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.


Liquidators of RFC 2012 Plc v. Clark and Whitehouse [2021] CSOH 99

A commercial court judge has held that the former joint administrators of Rangers Football Club Plc breached their duties to the company, and has ordered them to pay compensation to the current joint liquidators for that breach of duty in the amount of £3,404,500.00. Ampersand’s Timothy Young was instructed as junior counsel for the joint liquidators along with Kenny McBrearty QC.

In a lengthy judgment, the judge found the joint administrators’ decision making in relation to player and non-player redundancies, and the sale of players fell below the standard reasonably to be expected of an ordinarily competent admininistrator in a number of respects. The judge, also, found that they had breached their duties in considering whether to realise the value of the company’s heritable properties, Ibrox and Murray Park. 

As a result, the judge ordered them to pay compensation under paragraph 75 of Schedule B1 of the Insolvency Act 1986 under a number of heads for the loss of a chance to realise more for players and the heritable properties.

The Opinion of the Court can be viewed here.