Legal 500’s Scottish Junior of the Year 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 is appointed as a Standing Junior counsel to the UK Government. 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, as well as being shortlisted again in 2020. He is ranked as a leading individual in the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide 2022 in seven practice areas which is the joint highest number of individual rakings for the Scottish Bar.
He is described in the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide 2021 as being “universally respected at the Bar, including by opponents and the judiciary” and in the 2022 Guide as being a “very highly regarded practioner” at the Scottish Bar 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 and Partners UK Bar Guide 2022 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 2022 for commercial disputes and administrative and public law.
He acts in cases across the commercial spectrum. He is described in the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide 2022 as having “broad experience across a range of high-value commercial, insolvency, banking and contractual disputes”. Chambers & Partners has noted that he is a “standout performer” who is “consistently impressive in commercial disputes”. The Legal 500 has noted that “his advice and knowledge is consistently of the highest standard” in commercial disputes. 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 has the distinction of being 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 also 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 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 is the Contributing Editor of the “Banking, Money and Commercial Paper” title of The Laws of Scotland: Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia, the authoritative and comprehensive guide to the laws of Scotland. The new title is due for publication in 2022.
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 passionate about improving diversity and inclusion in the legal profession in Scotland. 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.
He is also on the Scotland leadership group of Mosaic Network which is a mentoring initiative for disadvantaged young people from ethnic minority backgrounds which was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales and now sits within the Prince’s Trust.
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.
“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
“Smart, good on his feet, both in person and within virtual court as well. Clients love him”; and “His level of preparation is outstanding; he is so conscientious and really easy to deal with.”
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Commercial Dispute Resolution
“He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of IP”.
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Intellectual Property
“Garners critical acclaim in the market for his abilities in a host of cases including those involving IP rights in games, television and related merchandise”.
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Information Technology
“He is incredibly user-friendly, helpful, accessible and easy to instruct. He is very good at seeing arguments that aren’t immediately obvious and finds arguments in the detail”.
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Professional Negligence
“A well-regarded junior with a broad commercial practice. He is regularly instructed to act for administrators, liquidators and trustees, among other parties, in complex corporate and personal insolvency cases”.
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Restructuring / Insolvency
“Usman is very knowledgeable on all elements of intellectual property work. Excellent on his feet, and has the ear of the court”.
Legal 500 2022 – Commercial Disputes
“He is excellent on his feet and has the ear of the court”.
Legal 500 2022 – Administrative and Public law
“He has a very sharp mind and brings clarity to complex matters”.
Chambers & Partners 2021 – Commercial Dispute Resolution
“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)
Henderson v Foxworth Investments Limited and another (UK Supreme Court) 2014 S.C. (U.K.S.C.) 203
Acted for the successful appellant in the UK Supreme Court. This case concerned an alleged gratuitous alienation under section 242 of the Insolvency Act 1986. The UK Supreme Court gave guidance on the role of the appellate court in reviewing a trial judge’s findings of facts. This case remains a leading authority on this area of law.
William Grant & Sons Irish Brands Ltd v Lidl Stiftung & Co KG 2021 S.L.T. 889; and 2021 S.L.T. 767
Acted for the successful pursuer and respondent in the Outer House and Inner House of the Court of Session. This case was a high-profile intellectual property dispute involving a lookalike product sold by a well-known chain of supermarkets. William Grant & Sons, the owner of Hendrick’s gin, commenced trade mark infringement proceedings against Lidl in relation to the sale of Lidl’s own-brand Hampstead gin. The Outer House granted William Grant & Sons an interim interdict that prevented the sale of Hampstead gin in Lidl’s supermarkets in Scotland. The Inner House in a significant judgment extended the territorial scope of the interim interdict to the whole of the United Kingdom.
Tomatin Distillery Co. Ltd. V Tomatin Trading Co.  CSOH 100
Acted for the successful defender in the Outer House of the Court of Session. This case was an intellectual property dispute involving the question of whether the pursuer could restrain the defender from using the place name “Tomatin” in the name of its hotel development where the pursuer had registered the same name as trade marks in respect of Scotch whisky and other goods and services. The Court granted the defender’s counterclaim seeking revocation of the pursuer’s trade marks on the grounds of bad faith registration and the trade marks being descriptive of the geographical origin of the goods and services for which they were registered. The Court also held that the defender’s use of “Tomatin” in the name of its hotel development would not infringe the pursuer’s trade marks.
Sapphire 16 S.A.R.L. v Marks and Spencer Plc  CSOH 103
Acted for the successful pursuer in the Outer House of the Court of Session. A retail landlord commenced proceedings 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. The Court held that the defender’s trading at the retail unit was a breach of its order and that the defender required to remedy the breach but it would not hold the defender in contempt of Court on this occasion.
Sky UK Ltd. v Cherrie 2021 S.L.T. 743
Acted for the successful pursuer in the Outer House of the Court of Session. The pursuer obtained an interim interdict against the defender from infringing copyright by sharing a significant amount of content on YouTube and Reddit. The case involves an analysis of the investigations made by the pursuer to identify the defender behind his online aliases.
Reactec Limited v Curotec Team Limited 2020 S.L.T. 783
Acted for the successful pursuer in the Outer House of the Court of Session. This case related to a patent entitled “Monitoring Apparatus for Monitoring Hand Held Tool”. The pursuer was successful in establishing that its patent had been infringed by the defender and also resisting the defender’s counterclaim for revocation of the patent. This was the first proof in the Court of Session for patent infringement and revocation in many years.
BN Rendering Ltd v Everwarm Ltd (Outer House, Court of Session)  CSOH 45
Acted for the successful defender in the Outer House of the Court of Session. This was a Debate on the jurisdiction of the Scottish court to enforce an Adjudicator’s decision in a dispute between Scottish domiciled parties. The defender argued that there was no jurisdiction because of a clause in the construction contract prorogating exclusive jurisdiction to the English court. The Court held that the jurisdiction clause was enforceable as the defender could demonstrate the pursuer’s specific consent to the clause; and that the clause should be construed to include actions for the enforcement of an adjudication award.
Liquidator of Heather Capital Limited v Levy & McRae and Others (Inner House, Court of Session)  CSIH 19
Acted for the successful reclaimer in the Inner House of the Court of Session. This is a high-profile liquidation of a hedge fund with investments exceeding $400 million before its collapse. The Liquidator is pursuing cases against law firms who are alleged to have acted for Heather Capital in transactions where funds were diverted as part of a wider fraudulent scheme on investors. The Court considered the issue of prescription including for breach of trust and sections 6(4) and 11(3) of the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973.
Worbey v Campbell (Inner House, Court of Session)  CSIH 49
Acted for the successful defenders and respondents in the Outer House and Inner House of the Court of Session. This case was a dispute over ownership of dating apps. The Courts considered the law of partnership and determined that the pursuers had failed to establish that a partnership had been formed for the development and exploitation of the apps.
CCHG Ltd t/a Vaporized v Vapouriz Ltd (Outer House, Court of Session)  S.L.T. 908
Acted for the successful respondent the Outer House of the Court of Session in an appeal against the decision of the UK Intellectual Property Office invalidating the appellant’s trade mark. This case is understood to be the first substantive appeal under the Trade Marks Act 1994 from the UK Intellectual Property Office to the Court of Session. The Court considered the approach that a Scottish Court should take to an appeal of this nature and the general principles of trade mark law.
Sky plc and Sky UK Ltd v Robert Stewart (Outer House, Court of Session)  CSOH 141
Acted for the successful petitioners in a Proof on a breach of interdict and contempt of Court in the Outer House of the Court of Session. The breach of interdict was caused by a broadcast of a football match featuring the petitioners’ copyright works to the public without the relevant licence
Chalmers v Chalmers (Inner House, Court of Session) 2016 S.C. 158
Acted for the successful reclaimer before the Inner House of the Court of Session. The Court held that a disposition of property to which a husband had taken title in his wife’s name without her knowledge, on which her signature had been forged when transferring it to their son, was a nullity and there was no basis for the Lord Ordinary in exercising his discretion to refuse decree of reduction on equitable grounds.
Liquidator of Ricky Martin (Racing) Ltd v Martin and Others (Sheriff Court) 2016 G.W.D. 27-495
Acted for the successful liquidator in a 6 days proof on whether directors of a betting company should be held liable under the wrongful trading provision in section 214 of the Insolvency Act 1986. This is one of the first actions under section 214 of the 1986 Act in Scotland.
- Administrative & Public Law
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Banking, Finance and Pensions
- Civil Liberties, Human Rights and EU Law
- Commercial Dispute Resolution
- Competition, Procurement and Regulation
- Information Technology
- Intellectual Property
- Media and Information Law
- Professional Liability
- Public Inquiries, FAIs and Tribunals
- Real Estate Litigation
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Deputy Advocates' Clerk
Deputy Advocates' Clerk
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
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.
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.
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.
- Ampersand Advocates continues Top Rankings success in 2024 Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide19 October, 2023
- Ampersand Advocates ranked as top tier set by Legal 500 in 2024 guide4 October, 2023
- Ampersand Advocates continues Top Rankings success in 2023 Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide20 October, 2022
- Ampersand Advocates ranked as top tier set by Legal 500 in 2023 guide4 October, 2022
- Scotland’s Young Academy welcomes 60 new members, including Usman Tariq23 August, 2022