0131 260 5674 (see contact page with direct dials for our Clerks during working from home arrangements)
ampersandclerks@advocates.org.uk

Michael Stuart QC

Michael Stuart QC maintains a wide ranging and successful civil practice. He has a particular interest in cases involving asbestos exposure, multi-trauma, brain injury, neurological functional disorders and chronic pain, professional negligence (including clinical negligence) and general commercial and property disputes. He acts for pursuers, defenders, individuals and corporate clients.

Michael has significant in-court experience, whether at first instance or on appeal and he places great emphasis on the skills that underpin this aspect of his practice. “His court craft is impeccable”is how one experienced litigation solicitor described Michael’s court work. He has amassed considerable experience in leading witnesses at proof or trial and is noted for his skills in leading and cross-examining expert witnesses. Client focused, decisive and with strong communication skills, Michael leads from the front whilst ensuring that all members of the legal team have the opportunity to contribute. As an Advocate Depute between 2009 and 2012 Michael prosecuted many challenging trials, including many charges of murder, serious sexual offending and, at the time, the UK’s largest copyright violation. He maintains an interest in criminal prosecution work, prosecuting as an ad hoc Advocate Depute. Michael acts as Commissioner, whether under section 1 of the Administration of Justice (Scotland) Act 1972 (Dawn Raids), or at commissions to take evidence or for the productions of documents.

Michael holds office as a Court Reporter in respect of child matters. He is a qualified mediator and registered with the Faculty of Advocates Dispute Resolution Service. He was a Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government. He represents the Faculty of Advocates as a member of the Professional Standards and Civil Procedure Committees.

Before retraining to call to the Bar Michael was a director and shareholder of one of Europe’s most successful independent bicycle retailers where he was instrumental in the development and growth of the company’s service related business from its inception to market leader.

Michael is noted for his “strong advocacy skills”, his “go-get” attitude and his “great client handling skills”.

 

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Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen QC

Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen has a civil practice with particular emphasis on commercial law, planning and environmental law and public law. She is listed in the Legal 500 and in Chambers & Partners in various practice areas. Since calling to the bar in 2009 Laura-Anne has been instructed in a variety of general commercial matters including company and insolvency matters, contractual disputes and shipping matters. She has been instructed for developers and local authorities in planning disputes, for interested parties in fatal accident and public inquiries, and in relation to judicial reviews.

Laura-Anne has extensive advocacy experience. Before calling to the Scottish bar she practised as an advocate in South Africa and called to the bar of England and Wales in 2008. She has appeared in the UK Supreme Court, Court of Session, the Sheriff Court and a wide range tribunals and inquiries.

She was a Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government from 2015 to 2021. She is on the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s panel of counsel.

Laura-Anne was the winner of the Legal 500 UK Awards 2020 “Scottish Bar Junior of the Year” title, and was also shortlisted for the award in 2019.

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Susanne Tanner QC FCIArb

Susanne Tanner QC took Silk in 2016, having called to the Bar in 2000. She is an experienced court practitioner who is always thoroughly prepared and has superb attention to detail.

She has built up and maintained a quality practice spanning:

She also sits as a tribunal chair in the First-tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber as well as the Health and Education Chamber, holds a number of academic appointments and is the Executive Editor of Green’s Scottish Education Manual.

Susanne is also a Door Tenant at Crown Office Chambers, London.

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Alan Dewar QC

Alan Dewar QC was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1989 and took silk in 2002. He was the Treasurer of the Faculty of Advocates from 2007 to 2011. Over the years he has appeared in a wide range of civil and criminal cases, particularly in the fields of commercial, public law, and professional and clinical negligence. In addition, he has acted for and advised companies and public authorities on contractual and delictual disputes, public procurement, regulatory and licensing issues, as well as other agencies such as the Registers of Scotland, and professional bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS). He is a legal adviser to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. He has also represented companies, other corporate bodies and individuals in a number of public inquiries, planning inquiries, fatal accident inquiries, defamation actions, and intellectual property disputes. In the public law sphere he has extensive experience in the field of judicial review, human rights and immigration. Alan is also often appointed by the Court to act as Commissioner in Section 1 (“dawn raid”) petitions.

Alan has extensive advocacy experience arising from practising as a solicitor and advocate for more than 30 years. This includes Inner and Outer House experience in the Court of Session as well as a significant number of appearances in the House of Lords, Privy Council, the UK Supreme Court, the European Commission in Strasbourg and the UEFA Disciplinary Tribunal in Geneva. He was junior counsel to the Orkney Inquiry; standing junior counsel to a number of Government Departments including the Department of Trade and Industry and the Scotland Office; an Advocate Depute for three years; and also has extensive experience in planning and other inquiries, and before various other Tribunals. Between 2009 and 2011 he successfully represented the Lord Advocate and the Scottish Ministers in the AXA insurance case (which confirmed the validity of the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions)(Scotland) Act 2009), ultimately in the UK Supreme Court.

He also acted for the Scottish Ministers in the Clostridium Difficile Inquiry chaired by Lord MacLean: the Report of the Inquiry was published in 2014. In November 2013 he successfully represented the pursuer/appellant in Cramaso LLP v Viscount Reidhaven’s Trustees in the UK Supreme Court, a case concerned with the tenancy of a grouse moor in which the principal issue was whether there was sufficient proximity between an individual and a LLP such as to create a duty of care in the context of negligent misrepresentations. He also acted for the successful pursuers in Frank Houlgate Investment Co Ltd v Biggart Baillie LLP [2014] CSIH 79 in which The Inner House upheld the decision of Lord Hodge after proof. The pursuers established that a solicitor and his firm were liable to the pursuers for facilitating a continuing fraud when the solicitor had continued to act for a fraudster even after he had confessed to the fraud. More recently he has acted for a number of asylum seekers in various challenges to the operation of the Dublin II and III Regulations, and for the successful petitioners in Ochiemhen and Menuba v SSHD [2016] CSOH 179 and 180 (concerned with alleged breaches of visas granted to the petitioners to operate as entrepreneurs in the UK) and Alagoz v SSHD [2017] CSOH 27 (concerned with the operation of the EEC – Turkey Association Agreement).

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Archie MacSporran QC

Archie MacSporran has a broad experience in civil litigation, having called to the Bar in 1992, and specialises in high value, complicated medical negligence cases in the Court of Session. He has acquired very considerable experience in cerebral palsy and other brain injury cases and over the past few years is invariably instructed in cases on his own.

He is ranked in Chambers & Partners (Band 1), who say Archie is an “experienced advocate valued for his handling of clinical negligence claims, particularly those with difficult quantum and causation issues. His expertise stretches across the full range of matters, including diagnostic failures, spinal injuries and brain injuries. He is renowned for his prowess in cerebral palsy cases.” They go on to say he is “a very experienced and able junior. He is methodical and dogged in his approach and leaves no stone unturned.” Previous editions of the guide said He is very experienced and very personable and has the ear of the court.” “Very thorough, always well prepared and a great team player.” “He gives very clear advice and deals with high-value claims. I would use him instead of going to senior counsel.

 

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Graeme Hawkes QC

Graeme Hawkes is an experienced commercial litigator, with a particular emphasis on commercial contracts, property and professional negligence. He was a solicitor in private practice for almost 10 years (Steedman Ramage and Brodies) and summer 2018 marks 15 years at the Bar. He also has a public law practice, having been a standing junior to the Scottish Government (2005-11) and regularly appearing in extradition cases on behalf of the Lord Advocate (including 2 recent Supreme Court appeals). As well as the high quality advocacy skills to be expected of a senior used to appearing regularly in court, he brings common sense and a ‘can do’ attitude to cases. Agents admire his intellectual rigour, an ability to focus on the issues which really matter in a case and a determination to achieve the best result for the client. Graeme makes regular appearances in Proofs, Debates and Appeals at Sheriff Courts and the Court of Session.

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