Usman Tariq

Year of Call: 2011

0131 260 5674
usman.tariq@advocates.org.uk
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Legal 500’s Scottish Junior of the Year 2019

Legal 500’s UK Awards 2019

Usman Tariq has extensive experience of high-value and complex commercial disputes and public law litigation. His core areas of practice include contractual, intellectual property, insolvency, banking, company and professional negligence disputes. He also specialises in administrative and public law, including judicial reviews. He has appeared at all levels of the Scottish court system, including the UK Supreme Court.

He was recognised as Advocate of the Year at the Law Awards of Scotland 2017 and the Legal 500’s Junior Counsel of the Year at the Scottish Bar at the Legal 500 UK Awards 2019. He is ranked as a leading individual in the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide 2024 in seven practice areas which is the joint highest number of individual rankings for the Scottish Bar.

He has held a number of professional appointments. He is appointed as junior counsel to the UK Covid-19 Public Inquiry chaired by Baroness Heather Hallett. He is a member of the legal team investigating core political and administrative governance and decision-making in relation to the pandemic in Scotland. He was involved in high-profile public hearings in January 2024 in which key individuals involved in the pandemic response in Scotland gave evidence. He is also a Standing Junior counsel to the UK Government in Scotland and in April 2024, takes on the role of Second Standing Junior to the Advocate General for Scotland. He has served as a full-time Advocate Depute at the Crown Office between 2021 and 2022.

He has been described in the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide as being “universally respected at the Bar, including by opponents and the judiciary” and a “very highly regarded practitioner” who has “the ear of the court”. The breadth of his expertise is recognised in his rankings in the legal directories. He is ranked in the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide 2024 for the following seven practice areas: (i) commercial dispute resolution; (ii) intellectual property; (iii) information technology; (iv) restructuring / insolvency; (v) professional negligence; (vi) administrative and public law; and (vii) civil liberties and human rights. He is also ranked in the Legal 500’s UK Bar Guide 2024 for commercial disputes and administrative and public law.

He acts in cases across the commercial spectrum. He is ranked in Band 1 in the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide and Tier 1 in the Legal 500 UK Bar Guide for commercial disputes. He is described in the Chambers & Partners Bar Guide 2024 as “an absolute standout advocate, a superb all-rounder who is great with clients” and whose “legal analysis is outstanding”. His expertise in professional negligence claims is recognised by Chambers & Partners who note that he has a “reputation for his handling of professional negligence claims, primarily against firms of solicitors”. He also undertakes a significant amount of work in the field of personal and corporate insolvency. Chambers & Partners note that “he is regularly instructed to act for administrators, liquidators and trustees, among other parties, in complex corporate and personal insolvency cases”.

He has developed a market-leading reputation for intellectual property disputes. He has been described by the Legal 500 as “The best all-round IP junior in Scotland”. Chambers & Partners has noted that he is “now regarded as the leading all-round IP junior in Scotland” and that he “continues to impress with his unrivalled knowledge of all issues of IP as well as his excellent manner with clients”. In addition to appearing in most of the leading IP cases in the Court of Session over the past decade, he has experience of conducting proceedings in the UK Intellectual Property Office. He also has a leading reputation for Information Technology disputes. He is the only junior counsel in Scotland recognised by Chambers & Partners for expertise in this practice area. Chambers & Partners note that he “garners critical acclaim in the market for his abilities in a host of cases including those involving the IP rights in games, television and related merchandise”. He has acted in high-profile cases in the gaming industry, including for Sony Interactive Entertainment and Naughty Dog in relation to the hack of servers and leak of footage from the “Last of Us Part II” video game before its release, and Rockstar Games in relation to modding of the software of the “Grand Theft Auto V” video game.

He has significant expertise in administrative and public law as well as civil liberties and human rights. He is ranked in both the Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 UK Bar directories for administrative and public law. In his role as a Standing Junior counsel to the UK Government in Scotland, he has advised and represented a number of UK government departments including the Cabinet Office, Home Office, Department of Work and Pensions, Department of Energy Security and Net Zero and the Ministry of Defence. He is described by Chambers & Partners as having a “busy public and administrative law practice, in which he acts mostly for central government”. He is also described as a “well-regarded civil liberties and human rights advocate” who is “particularly adept at judicial reviews concerning EU, human rights and immigration law”. He has significant experience of EU law, including having advised on the applicability of the sanctions regime to companies.

He has experience of alternative dispute resolution as counsel in mediations and arbitrations. He has been appointed as the arbitrator in commercial disputes. He also sits as a legal member of the Scottish Football Association’s Judicial Panel.

He is an alumnus of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). The IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange programme in which emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields are invited to the U.S. to meet with professional counterparts and cultivate lasting relationships. In 2022, he spent time in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Portland and Montana meeting with various federal and state governmental bodies, NGOs and stakeholders in a human rights project on Advancing Minority Rights in Europe.

He is a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland (YAS). YAS aims to bring together young professionals from all sectors to work together on projects that benefit Scotland and the world.

He is passionate about improving inclusion in the legal profession in Scotland. In 2017, he co-founded the Scottish Ethnic Minority Lawyers Association (SEMLA). SEMLA aims to improve ethnic diversity in the legal profession in Scotland. The group is supported by the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates. SEMLA has collaborated with some of the largest law firms and organisations across the UK on events and work placements for law students from ethnic minority backgrounds. In 2021, he was appointed to the Law Society of Scotland’s Racial Inclusion Group which undertook a systematic review of racial inclusion in the profession and produced a report with recommendations. In 2023, he was appointed to the Scottish Government’s Future of the Legal Profession short-life working group. The purpose of this group is to examine the evidence and propose improvements to address the challenges of recruitment and retention in the profession and to provide support for the planning, collaboration and improvement of legal services in Scotland.

He called to the Bar as the Faculty’s Lord Reid scholar for 2010/2011. This scholarship is awarded annually to the outstanding candidate to the Bar. He is a graduate of the University of Glasgow and the University of Cambridge.

What the Directories Say

“Usman is an absolute standout advocate, a superb all-rounder who is great with clients, and his legal analysis is outstanding”; and “He is well prepared and organised, his advocacy skills are superb, and his client-handling skills are impressive”.
Chambers & Partners 2024 – Commercial Dispute Resolution

“He is a good cross-examiner; all over the detail and well prepared. He is one of the leading advocates in Scotland”.
Chambers & Partners 2024 – Intellectual Property

“He is a bright, passionate and able advocate. He strikes the right balance between clarity in communication and giving enough detail to be confident of his analysis”; and “He can find good solutions to big issues”.
Chambers & Partners 2024 – Professional Negligence 

“He is a great senior junior with real precision and understanding of complex legal points”.
Chambers & Partners 2024 – Restructuring / Insolvency

“The most knowledgeable counsel on IP matters in Scotland”.
Legal 500 2024 – Commercial Disputes 

“He’s a very, very intelligent counsel who is able to articulate his knowledge well too”; and “He is a very good technical lawyer”.
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Administrative & Public law

“He is a very highly regarded practitioner and is tremendously able”; and “Usman has the ability to get on board quickly and absorb cases in a meaningful way. He is skilled as a negotiator and gives advice in very difficult circumstances in an elegant and able manner”.
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Civil Liberties & Human Rights

“He is excellent on his feet and has the ear of the court”.
Legal 500 2022 – Administrative and Public law

“Usman continues to impress with his unrivalled knowledge of all issues of IP as well as his excellent manner with clients. He is universally respected at the Bar, including by opponents and the judiciary”; and “Now regarded as the leading all-round IP junior in Scotland. He has the ear of the court, and his in-depth level of preparation is awesome.”
Chambers & Partners 2021 – Intellectual Property

“Consistently impressive in commercial disputes. He has a formidable intellect and knowledge of the law, and his easy-going and relaxed personality plays equally well with clients and with the court”; and “He’s a standout performer: he’s good on his feet, he’s good in his writing and he’s very good to deal with on a personal level”.
Chambers & Partners 2020 – Commercial Dispute Resolution

“His advice and knowledge is consistently of the highest standard”.
Legal 500 2020 – Commercial Litigation

“The best all-round IP junior in Scotland.”
Legal 500 2020 – Intellectual Property, Information Technology and Media

“He is considered a rising star by solicitors and advocates alike.”
Legal 500’s Junior of the Year Legal 2019 – Legal 500 UK Awards 2019 

“He is a shrewd and agile performer in the courtroom and is well-equipped to tackle cases raising novel issues”; and “Tariq undertakes more IP activities than any other junior; solicitors profess themselves to be dazzled by his opinion work.”
World Trademark Review 1000 – The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals 

“An excellent negotiator”; and “a go-to advocate for intellectual property matters, with considerable experience in high-value cases.”
Legal Who’s Who (UK Bar)

Selected Cases

Moray Offshore Renewable Power Ltd v BlueFloat Energy UK Holdings Ltd 2023 S.L.T. 623 (Commercial Court, Court of Session)
Acted for the Pursuer in an action seeking £400 million as damages on the grounds of unlawful means conspiracy. The action arose between rival bidders in a tendering process for a lease option over an area in the seabed around Scotland in order to develop an offshore wind farm.

D&M Winchester Ltd  v Coleburn Distillery Ltd 2023 S.L.T. 1334 (IP Court, Court of Session)
Acted for the Respondent in the second ever appeal from the UK Intellectual Property Office to the Court of Session under the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Tomatin Distillery Co Ltd v Tomatin Trading Co Ltd 2022 S.L.T. 745; and 2021 S.L.T. 1327 (First Division, Inner House, Court of Session; and IP Court, Court of Session)
Acted for the Defender and Respondent in an intellectual property dispute about the use of the name “Tomatin” for a new retail development where Scotch whisky and other goods and services were being provided under the same name from a neighbouring location in the Tomatin area.

Promontoria (Chestnut) Ltd v Ballantyne Property Services 2022 S.L.T. 708 (First Division, Inner House, Court of Session)
Acted for the Reclaimer in a banking dispute about whether there was a valid assignment of the debt and a legally binding promise not to call up the debt for 20 years at the time of the loan.

Sapphire 16 S.A.R.L. v Marks and Spencer Plc 2022 S.L.T. 84 (Commercial Court, Court of Session)
Acted for the Pursuer in an action by a retail landlord for breach of a court order which ordained the tenant to keep open and sufficiently stocked, staffed and furnished a substantial retail unit within a large shopping centre in East Kilbride.

William Grant & Sons Irish Brands Ltd v Lidl Stiftung & Co KG 2021 S.L.T. 889; and 2021 S.L.T. 767 (First Division, Inner House, Court of Session; and IP Court, Court of Session)
Acted for the Pursuer and Respondent in an intellectual property dispute involving a lookalike product sold by a well-known chain of supermarkets. The Inner House in a significant judgment extended the territorial scope of the interim interdict against the Defender to the whole of the United Kingdom.

Sky UK Ltd. v Cherrie 2021 S.L.T. 743 (IP Court, Court of Session)
Acted for the Pursuer in an action relating to alleged infringement of copyright by the Defender sharing a significant amount of content on YouTube and Reddit using online aliases.

Reactec Ltd v Curotec Team Ltd [2021] CSOH 72; and 2020 S.L.T. 783 (IP Court, Court of Session)
Acted for the Pursuer in a patent dispute about a device measuring exposure to vibration. The proof related to the issues of validity of a patent and infringement. There was a subsequent decision about the nature of a dominus litis in litigation.

BN Rendering Ltd v Everwarm Ltd [2018] CSOH 45 (Commercial Court, Court of Session)
Acted for the Defender in a claim to enforce an Adjudicator’s decision. The issue in this case related to scope of an exclusive jurisdiction clause in a construction contract and whether the Scottish court had jurisdiction to enforce the Adjudicator’s decision.

Liquidator of Heather Capital Limited v Levy & McRae and Others 2017 S.L.T. 376  (First Division, Inner House of Court of Session)
Acted for the Pursuer and Reclaimer in a high-profile liquidation of a hedge fund with investments exceeding $400 million before its collapse. This case related to claims against firms of solicitors who acted for the hedge fund before its collapse.

Worbey v Campbell [2017] CSIH 49; and [2016] CSOH 148 (Extra Division, Inner House, Court of Session; and Commercial Court, Court of Session)
Acted for the Defender and Respondent in a partnership dispute in relating to dating apps.

CCHG Ltd t/a Vaporized v Vapouriz Ltd 2017 S.L.T. 907 (IP Court, Court of Session)
Acted for the Respondent in the first ever appeal from the UK Intellectual Property Office to the Court of Session under the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Chalmers v Chalmers 2016 S.C. 158; and 2014 CSOH 161 (Extra Division, Inner House, Court of Session; and Outer House, Court of Session)
Acted for the Pursuer and Reclaimer in an action for reduction of a disposition on the basis of a forged signature.

Henderson v Foxworth Investments Ltd 2014 S.C. (U.K.S.C.) 203 (UK Supreme Court)
Acted for the Defender and Appellant in a claim by a liquidator concerning an alleged gratuitous alienation. The Supreme Court provided authoritative guidance on the role of the appellate court in reviewing a trial judge’s findings of facts.

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

2008 – LL.M in Commercial Law, University of Cambridge
2007 – Diploma in Legal Practice, Glasgow Graduate School of Law
2006 – LL.B (First Class Honours), University of Glasgow
2002 – Hutchesons’ Grammar School, Glasgow

Memberships/Appointments

Appointments

April 2024 onwards – Second Standing Junior to the Advocate General for Scotland
2023 to present – Scottish Government’s Future of the Legal Profession short-life working group
2022 – present – Junior Counsel, UK Covid-19 Public Inquiry
2022 to present – Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland
2022 – Alumnus, U.S. Department of State’s International Visitors Leadership Program
2021 to 2022 – Advocate Depute, Crown Office
2021 to 2022 – Law Society of Scotland’s Racial Inclusion Group
2021 to present – Advocate Depute, Crown Office
2016 to present – Member of the Faculty of Advocates Equality and Diversity Committee.
2015 to present – Standing Junior to the Advocate General for Scotland.
2014 to present – Member of the Faculty of Advocates Disciplinary Investigation Committee.
2011 to 2016 – Member of the Ampersand Management Committee.
2011 to present – Member of the Glasgow Legal 40 which is a mentoring network for students in the Diploma in Legal Practice established by the University of Glasgow comprising of forty of its alumni.
2011 – Called to the Bar having devilled to Lord Harrower (Sean C. Smith QC), Neil R. Mackenzie QC and Ronaldo A. Renucci QC.
2010 – Qualified as a Solicitor and Notary Public having trained at Pinsent Masons LLP with experience in commercial litigation, intellectual property, commercial property, construction and procurement.

Awards

Legal 500’s Junior Counsel of the Year 2019, Legal 500 UK Awards 2019
Advocate of the Year 2017, The Law Awards of Scotland 2017
Young Achiever of the Year at the Scottish Asian Business Awards 2012.
Academic Achievement award at the Pride of Pakistan awards.
Faculty of Advocates’ Lord Reid scholarship 2010/2011 awarded annually to the outstanding candidate to the Bar.

Court And Tribunal Experience

Usman has appeared at all levels of the Scottish court system from the Sheriff Courts to the UK Supreme Court. He has substantial tribunal experience, including appearing in the Scottish Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and the UK Intellectual Property Office.

The nature of his practice means that he is routinely instructed in interim applications (such as interim interdict or suspension) requiring his urgent attention in the Court of Session. These can range from ex parte interim hearings on the same day to complex contentious hearings where caveats are engaged. He has developed an expertise in breach of interdict and contempt of Court hearings and regularly appears in these type of hearings in the Court of Session.

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