Marcus McKay KC

Year of Call: 2000
Silk: 2016

0131 260 5674
marcus.mckay@advocates.org.uk

Photo of Marcus McKay KC

He has significant court experience, backed by sound commercial awareness

Legal 500

Marcus McKay KC has a specialist interest in planning and environmental law. He is regularly involved in all aspects of the consents process for major energy projects from initial advice on the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations (including EIA Report work), to appearances at public inquiries and judicial review hearings in the Court of Session. Marcus has appeared at a wind farm inquiry in England and has experience of national infrastructure projects. He also acts for planning authorities and has successfully resisted applications for judicial review of planning decisions.

Marcus is listed in the Legal 500 where he is described as having “significant court experience, backed by sound commercial awareness.

Marcus is a ranked Band 1 silk in Chambers and Partners UK Bar guide, where he is “Noted for his deep planning experience and widely praised for his meticulous attention to detail. His particular focus lies in energy and environment work, and he is especially experienced in renewable energy matters. He has experience advocating in inquiries and at all levels of the court system, including the Supreme Court.” The Guide goes on to say “He is a very gifted advocate and extremely diligent. He is always extremely well prepared and imaginative. He is highly intelligent and can not only grasp very complicated detail with ease but has the skill to be able to explain complex matters in straightforward terms.” “He is a very competent advocate, enthusiastic and diligent.” “He is definitely one of the best at the Bar.”

Planning And Environmental Law

Compulsory Purchase Order for Seagreen Wind Farm Onshore Infrastructure
Acted for applicant seeking CPO to allow onshore electric cable infrastructure affecting Carnoustie Golf Links

Public Inquiry into proposed Golf Course at Coul Links, Embo
Senior Counsel for Scottish Natural Heritage

Public Inquiry into proposed hotel at Royal High School, Edinburgh
Senior Counsel for Historic Environment Scotland

Scheme for Development for Viking Wind Farm
Application under the crofting legislation for consent to develop a wind farm on croft land

RSPB v Scottish Ministers [2016] CSOH 103
Challenge by RSPB to consent for four offshore wind farms due to impact on bird species and draft Special Protection Area. Important issues of European wildlife law

Sustainable Shetland v The Scottish Ministers (Scotland) [2015] UKSC 4
Junior Counsel to developer holding consent for the Viking wind farm on Shetland. Principal grounds of challenge related to the decision not to hold a public inquiry and whether, in deciding to grant consent, the Ministers had breached the provisions of the Wild Birds Directive. Also a separate competency point as to whether an applicant for consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 requires to hold a generation licence at the time of application. Inner House decided both points in favour of the Scottish Ministers and the developer. Outer House at [2013] CSOH 158, 2013 SLT 1173 and Inner House [2014] CSIH 60

Friends of Loch Etive v Argyll & Bute Council [2014] CSOH 116 ; [2015] CSOH 61
Acted for Local Authority that successfully resisted an application for a Protective Expenses Order under the new Rule of Court. Lord Ordinary refused the Petition for judicial review of the Council’s decision to grant planning permission for a fish farm.

Bova v The Highland Council [2013] CSIH 41; 2013 S.C. 510
Junior Counsel for the planning authority. Case concerned potential off-site flood risk and the precautionary approach. Inner House held that the planning authority had not acted unlawfully.

Newton Mearns Flood Prevention Group for Cheviot Drive v East Renfrewshire Council and Stewart Milne Homes Ltd [2013] CSIH 70
Acted for interested party house builder. Outer House refused an application by the petitioners for a Protective Expenses Order. Inner House upheld that decision.

WRG Barr v East Renfrewshire Council and Stewart Milne Homes Ltd (unreported, 4th June 2013)
Acted for interested party. Petitioner alleged that certain aspects of a design brief related to the protection of trees had been left out of account by the planning authority. Local Authority/Interested Party successful in the Outer House and on appeal to the Inner House.

Morston Whitecross Ltd v Falkirk Council 2012 S.L.T. 899
Junior counsel for the local roads authority. Point at issue was whether an embankment formed part of the public road. Local authority successful.

William Grant & Sons Distillers Ltd v Scottish Ministers [2012] CSOH 98
Junior counsel for a wind farm developer in case which considered whether the grant of consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 amounted to a determination under the Planning Act to which the statutory presumption in favour of the development plan would apply. Case also concerned various environmental issues. Court held that the Ministers had not acted unlawfully and consent should not be reduced.

G Hamilton (Tullochgribban Mains) Ltd. v Highland Council 2012 S.L.T. 1148
Junior counsel for planning authority. Concerned the listing of a mineral site and whether an old mineral planning permission had been cut down – Supreme Court decided in favour of the planning authority

Renewable Energy

Compulsory Purchase Order for Seagreen Wind Farm Onshore Infrastructure
Acted for applicant seeking CPO to allow onshore electric cable infrastructure affecting Carnoustie Golf Links

Scheme for Development for Viking Wind Farm
Application under the crofting legislation for consent to develop a wind farm on croft land

RSPB v Scottish Ministers [2016] CSOH 103
Challenge by RSPB to consent for four offshore wind farms due to impact on bird species and draft Special Protection Area. Important issues of European wildlife law

Sustainable Shetland v The Scottish Ministers (Scotland) [2015] UKSC 4
Junior Counsel to developer holding consent for the Viking wind farm on Shetland. Principal grounds of challenge related to the decision not to hold a public inquiry and whether, in deciding to grant consent, the Ministers had breached the provisions of the Wild Birds Directive. Also a separate competency point as to whether an applicant for consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 requires to hold a generation licence at the time of application. Inner House decided both points in favour of the Scottish Ministers and the developer. Outer House at [2013] CSOH 158, 2013 SLT 1173 and Inner House [2014] CSIH 60

William Grant & Sons Distillers Ltd v Scottish Ministers [2012] CSOH 98
Junior counsel for a wind farm developer in case which considered whether the grant of consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 amounted to a determination under the Planning Act to which the statutory presumption in favour of the development plan would apply. Case also concerned various environmental issues. Court held that the Ministers had not acted unlawfully and consent should not be reduced.

Infrastructure (including energy-related)

Compulsory Purchase Order for Seagreen Wind Farm Onshore Infrastructure
Acted for applicant seeking CPO to allow onshore electric cable infrastructure affecting Carnoustie Golf Links

Public Inquiry into Thurso – Gills Bay power line
Public inquiry into application under section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989 for power line between Thurso and Gills Bay. Senior Counsel for power company (with Brian Gill, Advocate). Consent granted July 2019.

Morston Whitecross Ltd v Falkirk Council 2012 S.L.T. 899
Junior counsel for the local roads authority. Point at issue was whether an embankment formed part of the public road. Local authority successful.

William Tracey Ltd v Scottish Power Transmission
Acted for Scottish Power Transmission in a necessary wayleave application relating to an electricity line which was opposed by the operator of a waste treatment plant. Necessary wayleave was granted with negotiated and agreed conditions.

Flood Prevention

Patton v East Renfrewshire Council [2017] CSOH 158
Senior Counsel for respondent  in challenge to legality of planning permission on basis that inadequate consideration given to complex flooding issues

Bova v The Highland Council [2013] CSIH 41; 2013 S.C. 510
Junior Counsel for the planning authority. Case concerned potential off-site flood risk and the precautionary approach. Inner House held that the planning authority had not acted unlawfully.

Newton Mearns Flood Prevention Group for Cheviot Drive v East Renfrewshire Council and Stewart Milne Homes Ltd [2013] CSIH 70
Acted for interested party house builder. Outer House refused an application by the petitioners for a Protective Expenses Order. Inner House upheld that decision.

Administrative Law (including judicial review)

Patton v East Renfrewshire Council [2017] CSOH 158
Senior Counsel for respondent  in challenge to legality of planning permission on basis that inadequate consideration given to complex flooding issues

RSPB v Scottish Ministers [2016] CSOH 103
Challenge by RSPB to consent for four offshore wind farms due to impact on bird species and draft Special Protection Area. Important issues of European wildlife law

Sustainable Shetland v The Scottish Ministers (Scotland) [2015] UKSC 4
Junior Counsel to developer holding consent for the Viking wind farm on Shetland. Principal grounds of challenge related to the decision not to hold a public inquiry and whether, in deciding to grant consent, the Ministers had breached the provisions of the Wild Birds Directive. Also a separate competency point as to whether an applicant for consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 requires to hold a generation licence at the time of application. Inner House decided both points in favour of the Scottish Ministers and the developer. Outer House at [2013] CSOH 158, 2013 SLT 1173 and Inner House [2014] CSIH 60

Friends of Loch Etive v Argyll & Bute Council [2014] CSOH 116; [2015] CSOH 61
Acted for Local Authority that successfully resisted an application for a Protective Expenses Order under the new Rule of Court. Lord Ordinary refused the Petition for judicial review of the Council’s decision to grant planning permission for a fish farm.

Newton Mearns Flood Prevention Group for Cheviot Drive v East Renfrewshire Council and Stewart Milne Homes Ltd [2013] CSIH 70
Acted for interested party house builder. Outer House refused an application by the petitioners for a Protective Expenses Order. Inner House upheld that decision.

WRG Barr v East Renfrewshire Council and Stewart Milne Homes Ltd (unreported, 4th June 2013)
Acted for interested party. Petitioner alleged that certain aspects of a design brief related to the protection of trees had been left out of account by the planning authority. Local Authority/Interested Party successful in the Outer House and on appeal to the Inner House.

Local Government Law

Bova v The Highland Council [2013] CSIH 41; 2013 S.C. 510
Junior Counsel for the planning authority. Case concerned potential off-site flood risk and the precautionary approach. Inner House held that the planning authority had not acted unlawfully.

WRG Barr v East Renfrewshire Council and Stewart Milne Homes Ltd (unreported, 4th June 2013)
Acted for interested party. Petitioner alleged that certain aspects of a design brief related to the protection of trees had been left out of account by the planning authority. Local Authority/Interested Party successful in the Outer House and on appeal to the Inner House.

Morston Whitecross Ltd v Falkirk Council 2012 S.L.T. 899
Junior counsel for the local roads authority. Point at issue was whether an embankment formed part of the public road. Local authority successful.

G Hamilton (Tullochgribban Mains) Ltd. v Highland Council 2012 S.L.T. 1148
Junior counsel for planning authority. Concerned the listing of a mineral site and whether an old mineral planning permission had been cut down – Supreme Court decided in favour of the planning authority

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 Remotely

Jennifer Dunn

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

(working days Mondays to Thursdays)

Working Remotely

Sheena Hume

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working in Office

Shawn McArthur

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working Remotely

Kathryn Ferguson

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working in Office

Emma Busby

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working Remotely
Qualifications

University of Dundee – Bachelor of Laws (Hons)

Appointments

Appointed Queen’s Counsel – September 2016


Standing Junior to the Scottish Government – 2008 to 2011


Called – 2000

Court And Tribunal Experience

UK Supreme Court, Court of Session (Outer House and Inner House), High Court of Justiciary, Court of Criminal Appeal, Sheriff Court, Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeals Tribunal, Public Inquiries (formal and hearings procedure), Planning Appeals and Wayleave Hearings.

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