Faculty Christmas Collection opens for donations

The Faculty of Advocates will again be coming out in support of vulnerable families in Fife during the festive season this year.

Members, staff, colleagues across the whole of the legal profession and their friends and families are being asked to donate presents, treats or cash which will go to the family support charity, Home-Start Glenrothes.

The Faculty Christmas Collection is organised each year by Maria Maguire, KC.

“It is that time of year again when we have a chance to help families in Fife. Last year the sum we raised meant that we were able to help families from other Home-start areas across Fife. They were so relieved as they had families in desperate need. It would be amazing if we could help them again,” she said.

“Sadly, there are still families in difficulties. It is unbelievable in 2023, but there are problems with access to food, hygiene products, utilities, and basic needs. Many services are not operating. The pressure on families is even more intolerable at this time of year. There are increasing mental health problems. There is loss of employment, benefits are decreasing, and changes mean there is often a six-week gap for benefit payments. Parents become extremely distressed that they will not be able to give their children anything.

“Some parents starve themselves to be able to put aside something for their children. The alternative is debt they can never repay. The charity helps those in crisis including those driven to attempt suicide. We can provide relief and hope. They rely on us.”

Suitable donations include new toys, books, games, clothes, pyjamas, accessories, or any fun presents for children of all ages (including teenagers). Second hand bicycles in good working condition would also be appreciated.

The Faculty Christmas Collection would also be grateful for presents for the parents, as well as Christmas treats such as selection boxes, tins of biscuits, and other sweets and savoury treats which are not too perishable.

These physical donations can be handed in at Faculty Reception at Parliament House between Monday 11 December and Friday 15 December. Arrangements can also be made to collect items that week by emailing Faculty Superintendent Scott Brownridge on scott.brownridge@advocates.org.uk. On Saturday 16 December 2023 donations can be dropped off at the Laigh Hall at Parliament House from 10am to 11.30am.

Cash donations will be used to buy Asda vouchers for food as food banks are under huge pressure and the number of visits is restricted. They will also be used to buy Christmas dinners for families and warm clothes and blankets. The money also provides an emergency fund to help families who need urgent help with accommodation, essential items, beds and duvets for children, cookers, fridges and washing machines and helps with activities for families throughout the year. The number of families fleeing domestic abuse or breaking down increases when there is poverty and cash donations can help set up a new safe home.

“These cash donations are used only for the needs of the families – there is nothing spent on charity administration,” said Ms Maguire. Those wishing to make cash donations can email Ms Maguire on maria.maguire@advocates.org.uk and she will send the relevant bank details. A gift aid form can be found here.


Ampersand Advocates Triumphs at the Inaugural Legal 500 Scotland Awards

Ampersand is delighted to announce winning the prestigious “Stable of the Year” award at the inaugural Legal 500 Scotland Awards 2023, that took place on 23 November 2023 in Edinburgh. Additionally, Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC has been crowned “Silk of the Year”.

These inaugural awards aim to celebrate legal excellence across Scotland by recognising the leading lawyers, law firms and in-house legal teams making waves in the Scottish legal sector over the past 18 months. Ampersand is thrilled to have been recognised as the top stable in Scotland this year.

Euan Mackenzie KC, Director at Ampersand, commented: “I am delighted that Ampersand has won Stable of the Year. This award reflects all of the hard work that our Advocates and clerking team put into delivering an excellent service and achieving great results for our clients. We are constantly striving to improve what we offer and will continue working closely with those who instruct us to meet that goal.”

The winners were determined by The Legal 500’s authoritative research into the Scottish legal market over the last year, spearheaded by their senior research team.

Ampersand would like to thank The Legal 500 for these awards, as well as those who instruct us for their continued support and warmly congratulate all of the winners. We look forward to building on this success in the year ahead.


Ampersand Advocates continues Top Rankings success in 2024 Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide

Ampersand Advocates 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 2024.

Ampersand and its members received 75 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 lawCivil Liberties & Human RightsCommercial Dispute ResolutionConstructionPersonal InjuryProfessional NegligenceReal Estate Litigation and Restructuring/Insolvency as a Set. 5 members are noted as “star individuals”. There are additional rankings for Susanne Tanner KC in the Independent Inquiries all circuits section and Aidan O’Neill KC in the European Law London Bar section. There is wide practice for our 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. The 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 obstetric negligence cases.” Our rankings include 2 “Star Individuals”, Maria Maguire KC and David Stephenson KC, with 13 further silks and 5 juniors also ranked – Simon Bowie KCJamie Dawson KCSimon Di Rollo KCUna Doherty KCLisa Henderson KCVinit Khurana KCArchie MacSporran KCEuan Mackenzie KCGeoffrey Mitchell KCGraham Primrose KCLauren Sutherland KC, new silks Fiona Drysdale KC and Paul Reid KCShane Dundas, Mark FitzpatrickJames McConnellJennifer Nicholson-White and Phil Stuart.

Ampersand’s Band 1 listing in Planning & Environment states “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. One source notes that “the quality of advice and advocacy is at the highest level”. Rankings include Malcolm Thomson KC as “Star Individual”, and Band 1 ranked Marcus McKay KCAilsa Wilson KC and Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC.

Band 2 listings include Administrative & Public Law where Ampersand is praised “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 KC, along with Ian Forrester KCDouglas Ross KCLaura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC, new silk Paul Reid KCUsman Tariq and Timothy Young.

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 KCDouglas Ross KC and Usman Tariq.

In Commercial Dispute Resolution Chambers state Ampersand is “admired for its skilful work in high-profile commercial disputes. The stable offers a large team comprising highly rated advocates at the senior and junior levels. 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 KCGraeme Hawkes KCLaura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC, new silk Paul Reid KC, Ross AndersonEoghainn MacLeanGiles ReidUsman Tariq, Tim Young and ‘up-and-coming’ Michael Way.

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. Recent matters include acting for the defenders in a claim concerning tetraplegia as a result of a mountain biking accident. Interviewees report: “They have a rich talent of advocates available to instruct.”

Rankings include “Star Individuals” Maria Maguire KC and Graham Primrose KC with others ranked Isla Davie KCSimon Di Rollo KCLisa Henderson KCEuan Mackenzie KCDouglas Ross KCAlan CowanChris Marney and Jenny Nicholson-White.

The Set ranking in Professional Negligence declares “Ampersand Advocates is a leading stable 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 Paul Reid KC and Usman Tariq.

In the Set ranking for 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 KCLaura-Anne van der Westhuizen KCRoss AndersonGiles Reid and Tim Young.

The Construction Set ranking states “Ampersand Advocates offers significant experience in advising clients in relation to a range of building and construction works in Scotland. The bench handles a variety of contractual, delays and construction disputes, also involving defects issues. Its advocates have notable expertise in adjudications and enforcement actions, as well as construction-related bond matters. This year’s work highlights include Greater Glasgow Health Board v Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd & Others, a dispute over a multimillion damages claim in connection with the construction of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow. One source says: “My instructions to Ampersand Advocates have spanned a variety of complex issues and each of the advocates instructed have provided a service of the very highest level.” Another one enthuses: “Ampersand Advocates is a strong commercial stable, with good advocates at all levels across all disciplines including construction.”  Rankings include Robert Howie KC and Timothy 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 KCDavid Sellar KCRoss Anderson and Usman Tariq.

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

The Ampersand clerks and client service again receives wide praise across all areas of practice, noting “The clerks and the advocates themselves deliver a very high-quality service” and “the Ampersand clerks provide a highly efficient service” and “all the clerks at Ampersand Advocates have been outstanding in their communication and dealings.” They are described as “very responsive and are very capable in terms of assisting with choice of counsel where help in that regard in” and being “prompt at responding to enquiries and have a good knowledge of the various advocates’ specialities and styles. As well as nothing “”All of the clerks are good. They come back almost instantly, they get everything booked, give alternative counsel if one isn’t available and help with costs.” And that “the clerks are extremely quick at responding and work with you to meet the needs of clients.”

On the recent rankings, Practice Manager, Alan Moffat, said: “This is again wonderful recognition and praise, which is a testament to the collaboration between our advocates, clerking team and those that instruct our counsel. My gratitude to all who offered their perspectives to Chambers – your time and insights are invaluable. These rankings are an affirmation that our collective pursuit of excellence and service is succeeding. We will continue striving to raise the bar even higher.”

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


Ampersand Advocates ranked as top tier set by Legal 500 in 2024 guide

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 the 2024 guide.

Listed as tier 1 in Administrative & Public Law, Personal Injury & Medical Negligence and Property, Planning & Construction, and tier 2 in Commercial Disputes, Ampersand has collected 29 Senior Counsel rankings, 18 Junior Counsel rankings, including 2 rising star, across the Scottish Bar listings.

In Administrative and Public Law, Aidan O’Neill KC continues to be highly regarded for his expertise in human rights and EU law. Douglas Ross KC is noted as ‘A silk at the top of his game.’ Una Doherty KC, Geoffrey Mitchell KC, Laura-Anne Van Der Westhuizen KC and Susanne Tanner KC are leading silks. Paul Reid KC took silk in 2023. At the junior level, Ross Anderson and Usman Tariq are highlighted for their strong public law practices. Rising star Michael Way is noted for the first time.

The stable’s strength in complex commercial disputes continues, with new silk Paul Reid KC joining leading practitioners Robert Howie KC and Laura-Anne Van Der Westhuizen KC. Mark Boni, Eoghainn MacLean, Usman Tariq and Timothy Young are recommended as leading juniors. Rising star Michael Way receives praise.

Ampersand maintains its top-tier ranking in Personal Injury and Medical Negligence, with leading silks Simon Bowie KC, Lisa Henderson KC, Euan Mackenzie KC, Maria Maguire KC, Geoffrey Mitchell KC, Graham Primrose KC, David Stephenson KC and Lauren Sutherland KC highlighted. Tier 2 silks include Alan Dewar KC, Una Doherty KC, Vinit Khurana KC, Archie MacSporran KC, and Douglas Ross KC. Fiona Drysdale KC took silk in 2023 and is noted as ‘very precise’ and having ‘the ear of the court.’ Jennifer Nicholson-White is hailed as ‘a stand-out junior counsel’ in the field, alongside Shane Dundas and James McConnell.

In Property, Planning and Construction, Malcolm Thomson KC, Ailsa Wilson KC and Laura-Anne Van Der Westhuizen KC are recommended as leading silks, along with Robert Howie KC and Marcus McKay KC. Juniors Nicholas McAndrew, Timothy Young and Giles Reid receive praise for their property and planning law expertise, alongside Eoghainn MacLean and Ross Anderson.

Aidan O’Neill KC is also ranked in Employment matters.

The Ampersand clerking team, led by Alan Moffat, is noted for providing an excellent service. Moffat is described as “a stand-out clerk” who “takes client relationships extremely seriously.” The clerks are praised as “very pro-active,” “quick to respond,” and “very user friendly.” Sheena Hume is noted as “very organised and always quick to help.”

Overall, Ampersand continues to be recognised for its breadth and depth of expertise across key practice areas.

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


Two King’s Counsel Appointments at Ampersand Advocates

Congratulations to Ampersand’s Fiona Drysdale KC and Paul Reid KC, on taking silk. Fiona and Paul are amongst fifteen new silks announced today, appointed by His Majesty the King on the recommendation of First Minister Humza Yousaf.

The rank of King’s Counsel is generally reserved for those who have distinguished themselves in practice in the Supreme Courts. Advocates and Solicitors with Rights of Audience in the Supreme Courts are eligible to apply to the Lord Justice General, Scotland’s senior judge. Before making nominations to the First Minister, the Lord Justice General consults other judges, the Lord Advocate, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates and the President of the Law Society of Scotland.

Fiona Drysdale KC
Fiona Drysdale KC

Fiona specialises in reparation, clinical negligence and public inquiries. She has considerable experience in catastrophic injury and cases involving children and young people.

She was appointed as a Standing Junior to the Scottish Government in 2022. She is a member of both the Scottish Civil Justice Council and the Access to Justice Committee of the Civil Justice Council. She is an Ad Hoc Advocate Depute and has served as acting Clerk of Faculty, Deputy Clerk of Faculty and Clerk to the Board of Examiners. She is a Faculty Skills Instructor and a Legal Assessor for the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

Before calling to the bar, she worked as a solicitor in a large commercial firm, having trained there in Edinburgh and London. She has also worked as a legal translator for the European Court of Justice.

Paul Reid KC
Paul Reid KC

Since calling to the Bar in 2011, Paul has built a strong practice anchored around professional liability and public law. In 2020, he was appointed the First Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government. In that capacity he has advised the Scottish Government in respect of a broad range of public law matters and represented them in numerous high profile cases of constitutional significance (e.g. the 2022 Referendum Reference to the Supreme Court). In that capacity, he has also represented the UK Government before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.  He has particular experience in respect of prison-related litigation (including several high profile Fatal Accident Inquiries following deaths in custody) and planning-related litigation (including compensation claims before the Lands Tribunal and planning appeals to the Inner House).

Paul also has particular interest and experience in professional liability and regulation (especially claims against solicitors, surveyors and medical professionals). As well as conducting litigation on behalf of professionals and professions, he has appeared before fitness to practice panels (medical profession), the Scottish FA’s judicial panel (sporting) and has represented legal professionals seeking leave to appeal decisions of the SLCC. He has appeared in a number of regulatory appeals to the Court of Session (both following substantive fitness to practice proceedings and in respect of extensions of interim orders). In that respect, he has experience represented both professionals and regulatory bodies.

Paul has taught public law at the University of Edinburgh since 2004, regularly lecturing and tutoring on various aspects of the subject. He has a particular interest in judicial review, surveillance powers and electoral law. Paul regularly publishes articles and blogs on public law and has written the third and fourth editions of the Green’s Concise Guide to Public Law (published in October 2015 and August 2020, respectively). He also regularly speaks at seminars on public law and professional liability.

Stable Director Euan Mackenzie KC said: “I congratulate Fiona and Paul on their well deserved appointment as King’s Counsel. They are both first class Counsel who are held in high regard in the profession and their appointment illustrates Ampersand’s continuing commitment to excellence.”

The full list of new silks can be found on the Judiciary of Scotland website here.


Ampersand Advocates Shortlisted for Multiple Honours at The Legal 500 Scotland Awards 2023

Ampersand Advocates has received an impressive five shortlist nominations across four categories for The Legal 500’s inaugural Scotland Awards 2023.

The awards, taking place on 23rd November in Edinburgh, will recognise top legal talent in Scotland across 27 categories. Ampersand Advocates features in Silk of the Year, Junior of the Year, Clerk of the Year, and Stable of the Year.

Aidan O’Neill KC and Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC are nominated for Silk of the Year for their outstanding work as leading Advocates. Nicholas McAndrew is up for Junior of the Year for his early accomplishments as an Advocate. Alan Moffat is shortlisted for Clerk of the Year for his excellence in Clerking and Practice Management.

Finally, the collective team of Ampersand Advocates is nominated for Stable of the Year, demonstrating strength and achievements as a set.

“We are honoured to be shortlisted among such an array of legal talent in Scotland,” said Euan Mackenzie KC, Director of Ampersand. “This recognition reflects the hard work and dedication of our entire team of counsel and clerks.”

The Scotland Awards spotlight the country’s top lawyers, firms, and in-house teams as determined by The Legal 500’s independent research. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on 23rd November 2023 in Edinburgh.

Full details here.