Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC

Year of Call: 2009
Silk: 2021

07503 003320
la.westhuizen@advocates.org.uk
View LinkedIn Profile

Photo of Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC

Absolutely brilliant. Very approachable and very thorough. Her expertise is wide ranging and the advice she gives is clear and concise. She is proactive and extremely bright.

Chambers & Partners

‘A first-class legal mind who deals well with complicated cases.’
‘Particularly recommended for shipping and infrastructure work.’

Legal 500’s Scottish Bar Junior of the Year 2020

Legal 500

Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC has a civil practice with particular emphasis on commercial law, planning and environmental law and public law. She is currently ranked in five separate practice areas by Chambers UK and is Legal 500 Scotland Awards 2023 Silk of the Year. She was the Legal 500 Scottish Bar Junior of the Year in 2020.

Since calling to the bar in 2009 Laura-Anne has been instructed in a variety of commercial matters including company and insolvency matters, contractual disputes, shipping matters and tax appeals. She has represented both developers and planning authorities in planning matters, petitioners and respondents in a range of judicial review proceedings, and interested parties and core participants in fatal accident and public inquiries.

Laura-Anne has extensive advocacy experience. Before calling to the Scottish Bar she practised as an Advocate in South Africa and she called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2008. She has appeared in the UK Supreme Court, the Court of Session (Inner and Outer House), the Scottish Land Court, the Sheriff Court and various tribunals and inquiries.

She was on the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s panel of counsel from 2015 to 2023 and was a Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government from 2015 to 2021.

In March 2022 Laura-Anne was appointed as Co-Lead Counsel to the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry.

Selected Cases

Commercial Dispute Resolution
Premier Oil Plc and Premier Oil UK Limited [2020] CSOH 39
Contested petitions for sanction of Schemes of Arrangement for the restructuring of approximately US$2.56 billion in corporate debt.
Scots Roads Partnership Project Ltd v Scottish Ministers [2019] CSOH 113
Action regarding an alleged breach of settlement agreement relating to the Design Build, Finance and Operate Agreement for the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvement Project.
Kinloch v Coral Racing Ltd 2017 S.L.T. 856
Action for payment of a gambling debt in relation to a bet placed with on “Rangers to be relegated”.
Cairn Energy PLC v Greenpeace Ltd 2013 S.L.T. 570
Proceedings by an oil company for interdict in relation to the invasion and occupation of its premises by environmental activists.
Planning and environmental law
Wildland Ltd v Highland Council [2021] CSOH 87
Judicial review of a decision of Highland Council granting planning permission for the construction of a spaceport for the vertical launch of rockets and satellites into space.
Scottish Ministers v Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) 2021 S.L.T. 1217
Appeal against a decision of the Lands Tribunal for Scotland in relation to a disputed compensation claim arising out of the compulsory acquisition of agricultural land for the purposes of constructing part of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.
No Kingsford Stadium Ltd v Aberdeen City Council [2019] CSOH 19
Judicial review of a controversial decision by a planning authority to grant Aberdeen Football Club’s application for planning permission for the development of a new stadium and training grounds on greenbelt land.
Graham’s The Family Dairy Ltd v Scottish Ministers 2019 S.L.T 258
Statutory appeal to the Inner House of the Court of Session against a decision to refuse planning permission in principal for a substantial development comprising a public park, residential development of 600 units, commercial space and a primary school on greenbelt land.
Jordanhill Community Council v Glasgow City Council [2018] CSOH 11
Judicial review of a decision of a local planning authority to grant planning permission in principle for a large residential development.
Patton v East Renfrewshire Council [2017] CSOH 158 
Judicial review by a resident and member of a local flood prevention action group of a decision by a local planning authority to grant an application for planning permission for a large residential development in an area with a history of flooding.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds v The Scottish Ministers 2017 S.C. 552
Reclaiming motion against interlocutors by the Lord Ordinary reducing decisions by the Scottish Ministers under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 and regulation 22 of the Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 authorising the construction of four offshore wind farms.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds v The Scottish Ministers [2016] CSOH 103 
Petition for judicial review of decisions by the Scottish Ministers granting authorisation for the development of an offshore windfarm.
Carroll v Scottish Borders Council [2015] CSIH 73
Reclaiming motion against the decision of the Lord Ordinary to uphold a decision of a Local Review Body of the Scottish Borders Council to grant planning permission for the erection of two wind turbines.
Sustainable Shetland v Scottish Ministers [2013] CSIH 116
Application to intervene under RCS 58.8A.
Sally Carroll v Scottish Borders Council 2014 S.L.T. 659
Application for a protective expenses order under RCS 58A.
Bancon Developments Ltd v Scottish Ministers [2011] CSOH 137
Statutory appeal under section 239 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 against the decision of a reporter appointed by the Scottish Ministers.
Infrastructure (including energy related)
DPEA Case Reference WAY-110-19 (Wayleave) [2019]
Hearing into application for necessary wayleave under Schedule 4 to the Electricity Act 1989 for the installation of a new electric line over land in relation to the upgrade of voltage of the East Coast overhead transmission line to 400 kV.
DPEA Case References WAY-130-1, WAY-130-2, WAY-130-3, and WAY-130-4 (Wayleave) [2017]
Public local inquiry into applications for the grant of four necessary wayleaves to keep installed electric overhead lines, poles, underground cables and associated apparatus on land at Tarbert, Arrochar.
DPEA Case Reference WAY-270-3 (Wayleave) [2015]
Hearing into application for necessary wayleave under Schedule 4 to the Electricity Act 1989 to retain existing 11kV and low voltage overhead and underground distribution lines and associated equipment on land at Culloden Moor, Inverness.
Aikengall IIa Public Local Inquiry [2015]
Public local inquiry into an application for consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 and deemed planning permission under section 57 of the Town and country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 for the construction and operation of Aikengall IIa Wind Farm.
Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Highlands and Islands Enterprise v Crofters having rights in Melness Common Grazings SLC/77/20 decision 10 September 2021
Application under section 19(A) of the Crofters Scotland Act 1993 for consent to a scheme of development to provide access to the site of a spaceport to be constructed for the vertical launch of rockets and satellites into space.
Jolly v The Scottish Ministers Case reference SLC/117/17, decision March 2018
Appeal against a decision by the Scottish Ministers to uphold a decision to reject an application for the allocation of Basic Payment Scheme payment entitlements through the National Reserve in 2015.
Firm of Malcom GD Morrison v The Scottish Ministers 2017 S.L.C.R. 120
Appeal to the Scottish Land Court under the Rural Payments (Appeals) (Scotland) Regulations 2015 against a decision by the Scottish Ministers to refuse a claim for payment under the Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme on the basis that a certain number of sheep were ineligible due to a failure to report their movement as required by Regulation 21/2004 and the Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) (Scotland) Order 2009.
Ronald Bruce Eunson v The Scottish Ministers (Case Reference SLC 134/16, 22 March 2017)
Challenge to the competency of a purported appeal to the Scottish Land Court under the Rural Payments (Appeals) Scotland Regulations 2015 against a decision of the Scottish Minister to allocate land parcels held under the Basic Payment Scheme to one or more categories of land, on the basis that this was not a decision under the Schedule to the Rural Payments (Appeals) (Scotland) Regulations 2015 and accordingly was not a relevant decision that could be challenged to by way of appeal to the Scottish Land Court.
Renewable Energy
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds v The Scottish Ministers 2017 S.C. 552 
Reclaiming motion against interlocutors by the Lord Ordinary reducing decisions by the Scottish Ministers under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 and regulation 22 of the Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 authorising the construction of four offshore wind farms.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds v The Scottish Ministers [2016] CSOH 103 
Petition for judicial review of decisions by the Scottish Ministers granting authorisation for the development of an offshore windfarm.
Carroll v Scottish Borders Council [2015] CSIH 73
Reclaiming motion against the decision of the Lord Ordinary to uphold a decision of a Local Review Body of the Scottish Borders Council to grant planning permission for the erection of two wind turbines.
Sally Carroll v Scottish Borders Council [2014] CSOH 6 
Statutory appeal under section 239 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 against the decision of a Local Review Body of the Scottish Borders Council to grant planning permission for the erection of two wind turbines.
Sally Carroll v Scottish Borders Council 2014 S.L.T. 659
Application for a protective expenses order under RCS 58A.
Administrative and Public Law
General Teaching Council for Scotland v Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland 2021 S.L.T. 1512
Seven unopposed petitions for judicial review seeking disclosure of certain material, in which the Court, in deciding whether or not to grant expenses, considered whether voluntary disclosure was prohibited without a court order or a specific obligation to do so in light of the relevant provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 implementing the Law Enforcement Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/680) and express advice from the Information Commissioner’s Office to that effect.

Energiekontor UK Ltd v Advocate General for Scotland 2021 S.L.T 945
Reclaiming motion against part of a interlocutor by the Lord Ordinary in proceedings for judicial review by a windfarm developer challenging the lawfulness of a policy of the Ministry of Defence to allocate “noise budget” to proposed wind farm developments. The interlocutor was challenged on the basis that the petition proceedings had been so tainted by procedural unfairness, including the absence of intimation to an affected developer, that it could not be allowed to stand.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds v The Scottish Ministers 2017 S.C. 552
Reclaiming motion against interlocutors by the Lord Ordinary reducing decisions by the Scottish Ministers under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 and regulation 22 of the Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 authorising the construction of four offshore wind farms.
The Christian Institute and others (Appellants) v The Lord Advocate (Respondent) (Scotland) [2016] UKSC 51 
Appeal to the Supreme Court against a decision of the Inner House in relation to a challenge to the lawfulness of Part 4 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, which proposes to appoint a named-person to every child Scotland with powers and duties to share information about that child.
Daly v Scottish Ministers 2016 Rep. L.R. 38 
Judicial review by a prisoner seeking declarator that the alleged failure by the Scottish Prison Service to provide him with rehabilitation courses was in breach of his human rights under Articles 5 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society v Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator
Appeal under section 76 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 against a decision by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (“OSCR”) to issue a direction requiring the Appellant, a religious charity, to take certain steps deemed necessary for it to meet the “charity test”. OSCR considered that by having a published preference for married couples over unmarried persons, although being open to all, the Appellant was discriminating unlawfully on the basis of sexual orientation and consequently operating in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
Carroll v Scottish Borders Council [2015] CSIH 73 
Reclaiming motion against the decision of the Lord Ordinary to uphold a decision of a Local Review Body of the Scottish Borders Council to grant planning permission for the erection of two wind turbines.
Sustainable Shetland v Scottish Ministers [2013] CSIH 116
Application to intervene under RCS 58.8A.
Human Rights Law
The Christian Institute and others (Appellants) v The Lord Advocate (Respondent) (Scotland) [2016] UKSC 51 
Appeal to the Supreme Court against a decision of the Inner House in relation to a challenge to the lawfulness of Part 4 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, which proposes to appoint a named-person to every child Scotland with powers and duties to share information about that child.
Christian Institute v Lord Advocate 2015 S.L.T. 72 
Challenge to the lawfulness of Part 4 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, which proposes to appoint a named-person to every child Scotland with powers and duties to share information about that child.
Daly v Scottish Ministers 2016 Rep. L.R. 38
Judicial review by a prisoner seeking declarator that the alleged failure by the Scottish Prison Service to provide him with rehabilitation courses was in breach of his human rights under Articles 5 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Public inquiries & Fatal Accident Inquiries
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry [2017 to 2022]
Public inquiry under section 28 of the Inquiries Act 2005 into the abuse of children in care in Scotland.
Sheku Bayoh Inquiry [2020 to 2021]
Public inquiry under section 28 of the Inquiries Act 2005 examining the events surrounding the death of Sheku Bayoh, the subsequent investigation and whether race was a factor.
The Penrose Inquiry [2010 to 2012]
Public Inquiry under section 28 of the Inquiries Act 2005 into the circumstances surrounding the infection of NHS patients in Scotland with Hepatitis C and HIV through their treatment with blood and blood products.
Inquiry under the Fatal Accidents and Inquiries (Scotland) Act 1976 into the sudden death of James Bell
Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of a man in police custody following earlier hospitalisation for methadone overdose.
Inquiry under the Fatal Accidents and Inquiries (Scotland) Act 1976 into the sudden death of James McNeil
Fatal accident inquiry into the circumstances of the death of an elderly man where bedsores had been noted as a cause of death.
Practice Areas
Clerks

Contact our clerks

Normal business hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

ampersandclerks@advocates.org.uk
+44 (0)131 260 5674 (9am to 5pm)

Alan Moffat

Advocates' Clerk

Working in Office

Jennifer Dunn

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

(working days Mondays to Thursdays)

Away

Sheena Hume

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working Remotely

Shawn McArthur

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Away

Kathryn Ferguson

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working in Office

Emma Busby

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Away
Qualifications/Education

2007 LL.M in Corporate Law (University of South Africa)


2005 (Hons) B.Sc. in Psychology (University of South Africa)


2001 LL.B (University of Cape Town)


1997 M.Sc. in Zoology (University of Cape Town)


1994 B.Sc. (Hons) in Zoology (University of Cape Town)


1993 B.Sc. (University of Cape Town)


 

Professional Qualifications

2021 Queen’s Counsel


2009 Admitted as a member of the Faculty of Advocates


2008 Called to the Bar of England and Wales (Middle Temple)


2002 Admitted as an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa and member of the Cape Bar

Memberships/Appointments

Professional Appointments

2022 Appointed Counsel to the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry


2018 Appointed as Ad hoc Advocate Depute


2015 Appointed as Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government


2015 Appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s panel of counsel


Additional information

2018 – present Member of the Scottish Planning, Local Government and Environmental Law Bar Group Committee (Treasurer since 2019)


2014 – present Member of the Ampersand Stable Management Committee (Treasurer from 2014-2022)


2014 – present Advocacy Skills Trainer on the Faculty of Advocates Training Course


2007 External Examiner in Civil Procedure and in Legal Practice, University of Cape Town


2006/2007 Advocacy Skills Trainer, Cape Bar

Court And Tribunal Experience

UK Supreme Court, Court of Session (Inner and Outer House), Scottish Land Court, Sheriff Court, Lands Tribunal for Scotland, First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland Tax Chamber, Scottish Charity Appeals Panel, Fatal Accident Inquiries, Planning Appeals, Necessary Wayleave Hearings and Public Inquiries (Penrose Inquiry, Sheku Bayoh Inquiry, Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry and Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry).

Recent News