Ampersand Advocates continues Top Rankings success in 2024 Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide
Ampersand Advocates has once again received top tier rankings across a number of areas of practice in the latest published guide to the legal profession, Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide 2024.
Ampersand and its members received 75 listings across 17 areas of practice, ranking as top tier (band 1) in Clinical Negligence and Planning & Environmental Law as a Set, and band 2 in Administrative & Public law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Commercial Dispute Resolution, Construction, Personal Injury, Professional Negligence, Real Estate Litigation and Restructuring/Insolvency as a Set. 5 members are noted as “star individuals”. There are additional rankings for Susanne Tanner KC in the Independent Inquiries all circuits section and Aidan O’Neill KC in the European Law London Bar section. There is wide practice for our clerking team and client service too.
Noted as a Band 1 set for Clinical Negligence, “Ampersand Advocates retains its reputation as a market-leading stable for clinical negligence matters. Its advocates continue to provide expert legal advice and representation to both pursuers and defenders in a wide range of disputes, including claims relating to birth and catastrophic brain and spinal injuries. The members are well versed in cases arising from alleged failures in diagnosis and surgical errors, and regularly appear at fatal accident inquiries. The stable also houses considerable expertise obstetric negligence cases.” Our rankings include 2 “Star Individuals”, Maria Maguire KC and David Stephenson KC, with 13 further silks and 5 juniors also ranked – Simon Bowie KC, Jamie Dawson KC, Simon Di Rollo KC, Una Doherty KC, Lisa Henderson KC, Vinit Khurana KC, Archie MacSporran KC, Euan Mackenzie KC, Geoffrey Mitchell KC, Graham Primrose KC, Lauren Sutherland KC, new silks Fiona Drysdale KC and Paul Reid KC, Shane Dundas, Mark Fitzpatrick, James McConnell, Jennifer Nicholson-White and Phil Stuart.
Ampersand’s Band 1 listing in Planning & Environment states “Ampersand Advocates is well regarded for the complex planning and environmental work undertaken by its advocates. Members of the stable regularly act in judicial reviews and challenges to planning permissions, and frequently act on behalf of developers, objectors, public sector bodies and energy companies. Members are regularly engaged in high-profile matters, including those relating to large renewable energy projects. One source notes that “the quality of advice and advocacy is at the highest level”. Rankings include Malcolm Thomson KC as “Star Individual”, and Band 1 ranked Marcus McKay KC, Ailsa Wilson KC and Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC.
Band 2 listings include Administrative & Public Law where Ampersand is praised “highly praised practitioners who are skilled at acting in public law cases involving significant constitutional and human rights issues. They frequently appear before the highest courts in the UK and the EU.” The rankings include “Star Individual” Aidan O’Neill KC, along with Ian Forrester KC, Douglas Ross KC, Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC, new silk Paul Reid KC, Usman Tariq and Timothy Young.
In Civil Liberties & Human Rights Ampersand is noted as a “highly regarded civil liberties and human rights stable, known for representing both private individuals and public bodies in significant proceedings. Practitioners at Ampersand are regularly instructed by the government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.” The rankings include Aidan O’Neill KC, Douglas Ross KC and Usman Tariq.
In Commercial Dispute Resolution Chambers state Ampersand is “admired for its skilful work in high-profile commercial disputes. The stable offers a large team comprising highly rated advocates at the senior and junior levels. The advocates are instructed on behalf of corporations and financial institutions and are involved in a variety of related areas of practice including intellectual property and insolvency.” The rankings include Robert Howie KC, Graeme Hawkes KC, Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC, new silk Paul Reid KC, Ross Anderson, Eoghainn MacLean, Giles Reid, Usman Tariq, Tim Young and ‘up-and-coming’ Michael Way.
Within Personal Injury “Ampersand Advocates is a highly regarded stable for personal injury matters and houses a number of dedicated senior and junior advocates. Members act for both pursuers and defenders, including several major insurers, in the full range of claims, and offer considerable expertise in the handling of catastrophic injury cases arising from road traffic and workplace accidents. The team is also well regarded for its expertise in complex product liability and occupiers’ liability disputes and matters involving accidents abroad. Recent matters include acting for the defenders in a claim concerning tetraplegia as a result of a mountain biking accident. Interviewees report: “They have a rich talent of advocates available to instruct.”
Rankings include “Star Individuals” Maria Maguire KC and Graham Primrose KC with others ranked Isla Davie KC, Simon Di Rollo KC, Lisa Henderson KC, Euan Mackenzie KC, Douglas Ross KC, Alan Cowan, Chris Marney and Jenny Nicholson-White.
The Set ranking in Professional Negligence declares “Ampersand Advocates is a leading stable for professional liability matters in Scotland. The advocates often advise and act in proceedings on behalf of and against a suite of professionals including solicitors, surveyors, architects and financial advisers.” The rankings include Paul Reid KC and Usman Tariq.
In the Set ranking for Real Estate Litigation, it exclaims “Ampersand Advocates offers a strong bench of well-regarded advocates who are active across a broad range of real estate litigation topics. The set demonstrates strong expertise in areas of overlap between commercial and real estate disputes. Members are instructed at all levels from the Supreme Court down.” Rankings include Robert Howie KC, Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC, Ross Anderson, Giles Reid and Tim Young.
The Construction Set ranking states “Ampersand Advocates offers significant experience in advising clients in relation to a range of building and construction works in Scotland. The bench handles a variety of contractual, delays and construction disputes, also involving defects issues. Its advocates have notable expertise in adjudications and enforcement actions, as well as construction-related bond matters. This year’s work highlights include Greater Glasgow Health Board v Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd & Others, a dispute over a multimillion damages claim in connection with the construction of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow. One source says: “My instructions to Ampersand Advocates have spanned a variety of complex issues and each of the advocates instructed have provided a service of the very highest level.” Another one enthuses: “Ampersand Advocates is a strong commercial stable, with good advocates at all levels across all disciplines including construction.” Rankings include Robert Howie KC and Timothy Young.
Within Restructuring/Insolvency “Ampersand Advocates is well regarded for its handling of a wide range of restructuring and insolvency matters. The stable’s advocates are frequently instructed to represent administrators, companies, banks and insolvency office holders in complex claims involving allegations of wrongful trading and breach of fiduciary duty, among other matters. Members have experience of appearing in both domestic and cross-border matters, and are regularly called upon to act for and advise their clients on both contentious and non-contentious insolvency cases.” Rankings include Robert Howie KC, David Sellar KC, Ross Anderson and Usman Tariq.
There are further individual rankings in: Agriculture and Rural Affairs for Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC; Company for David Sellar KC and Tim Young; Employment for Aidan O’Neill KC; Information Technology and Intellectual Property for Usman Tariq; Product Liability for Paul Reid KC; and Tax for Ross Anderson.
The Ampersand clerks and client service again receives wide praise across all areas of practice, noting “The clerks and the advocates themselves deliver a very high-quality service” and “the Ampersand clerks provide a highly efficient service” and “all the clerks at Ampersand Advocates have been outstanding in their communication and dealings.” They are described as “very responsive and are very capable in terms of assisting with choice of counsel where help in that regard in” and being “prompt at responding to enquiries and have a good knowledge of the various advocates’ specialities and styles. As well as nothing “”All of the clerks are good. They come back almost instantly, they get everything booked, give alternative counsel if one isn’t available and help with costs.” And that “the clerks are extremely quick at responding and work with you to meet the needs of clients.”
On the recent rankings, Practice Manager, Alan Moffat, said: “This is again wonderful recognition and praise, which is a testament to the collaboration between our advocates, clerking team and those that instruct our counsel. My gratitude to all who offered their perspectives to Chambers – your time and insights are invaluable. These rankings are an affirmation that our collective pursuit of excellence and service is succeeding. We will continue striving to raise the bar even higher.”
The full rankings can be viewed on the Chambers and Partners website here.
Ampersand Advocates ranked as top tier set by Legal 500 in 2024 guide
Ampersand is delighted to once again be recommended as a top-tier set by The Legal 500 UK Bar Directory in their latest listings for the 2024 guide.
Listed as tier 1 in Administrative & Public Law, Personal Injury & Medical Negligence and Property, Planning & Construction, and tier 2 in Commercial Disputes, Ampersand has collected 29 Senior Counsel rankings, 18 Junior Counsel rankings, including 2 rising star, across the Scottish Bar listings.
In Administrative and Public Law, Aidan O’Neill KC continues to be highly regarded for his expertise in human rights and EU law. Douglas Ross KC is noted as ‘A silk at the top of his game.’ Una Doherty KC, Geoffrey Mitchell KC, Laura-Anne Van Der Westhuizen KC and Susanne Tanner KC are leading silks. Paul Reid KC took silk in 2023. At the junior level, Ross Anderson and Usman Tariq are highlighted for their strong public law practices. Rising star Michael Way is noted for the first time.
The stable’s strength in complex commercial disputes continues, with new silk Paul Reid KC joining leading practitioners Robert Howie KC and Laura-Anne Van Der Westhuizen KC. Mark Boni, Eoghainn MacLean, Usman Tariq and Timothy Young are recommended as leading juniors. Rising star Michael Way receives praise.
Ampersand maintains its top-tier ranking in Personal Injury and Medical Negligence, with leading silks Simon Bowie KC, Lisa Henderson KC, Euan Mackenzie KC, Maria Maguire KC, Geoffrey Mitchell KC, Graham Primrose KC, David Stephenson KC and Lauren Sutherland KC highlighted. Tier 2 silks include Alan Dewar KC, Una Doherty KC, Vinit Khurana KC, Archie MacSporran KC, and Douglas Ross KC. Fiona Drysdale KC took silk in 2023 and is noted as ‘very precise’ and having ‘the ear of the court.’ Jennifer Nicholson-White is hailed as ‘a stand-out junior counsel’ in the field, alongside Shane Dundas and James McConnell.
In Property, Planning and Construction, Malcolm Thomson KC, Ailsa Wilson KC and Laura-Anne Van Der Westhuizen KC are recommended as leading silks, along with Robert Howie KC and Marcus McKay KC. Juniors Nicholas McAndrew, Timothy Young and Giles Reid receive praise for their property and planning law expertise, alongside Eoghainn MacLean and Ross Anderson.
Aidan O’Neill KC is also ranked in Employment matters.
The Ampersand clerking team, led by Alan Moffat, is noted for providing an excellent service. Moffat is described as “a stand-out clerk” who “takes client relationships extremely seriously.” The clerks are praised as “very pro-active,” “quick to respond,” and “very user friendly.” Sheena Hume is noted as “very organised and always quick to help.”
Overall, Ampersand continues to be recognised for its breadth and depth of expertise across key practice areas.
Full listings, including all Scottish rankings can be viewed on the Legal 500 website here.
Ampersand silk helps secure important outcome in discrimination case for MP
Ampersand’s Aidan O’Neill KC produced a comprehensive opinion on the Equality Act, which has helped Joanna Cherry KC MP successfully argue a discrimination case against The Stand Comedy Club. The comedy club had threatened to pull an Edinburgh Fringe show featuring Joanna Cherry, reversed its decision.
Instructed by David McKie of Levy & McRae, the positive response from The Stand was the result of a focused letter and Counsel’s Opinion, leading to an early, quick and amicable resolution.
The client published the letter and Senior Counsel’s Opinion that can be viewed here and here.
The SPLG Annual Conference 2023
* External provider: Scottish Public Law Group *
Book online here
Keynote speech from Lord Sales, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
Essential legal update briefings will be offered by:
- Douglas Ross KC, Ampersand Advocates, providing the indispensable Scots Public Law update from the last year;
- Ros Foster, a leading Public Law practitioner, updating on key English public law developments; and
- Lesley Irvine, Axiom Advocates, highlighting significant human rights cases in the UK and European Courts.
We will also have insightful and topical contributions in panel sessions on issues including:
- The future of post EU devolution for Scotland & Northern Ireland – Katy Hayward (Queens University Belfast) and Charles Livingstone (Brodies)
- Public law cases with an environmental and climate change focus – Estelle Dehon KC (Cornerstone Barristers) and Professor Liz Fisher (Corpus Christi College, Oxford)
Further speakers will be announced shortly.
New panel of Standing Junior Counsel to the Advocate General for Scotland announced
Following the recent appointment process, the Advocate General for Scotland is pleased to announce new additions to his General Panel of Standing Junior Counsel to deal with UK Government work arising in the Scottish Courts. The appointments, which have been approved by him include two Ampersand Advocates, Alan Cowan and Ayla Iridag.
Full details of all appointments can be found on the UK Government’s website here.
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association v Scottish Event Campus Limited  SC GLW 33
Sheriff John N McCormick has found that the Scottish Event Campus Limited discriminated against Billy Graham Evangelistic Association by terminating an agreement on the basis of a protected characteristic in terms of the Equality Act 2010 following a hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court. The court awarded damages to the extent of £97,325.32.
This case was raised within the Commercial Court at Glasgow Sheriff Court. The case was decided by Sheriff John N. McCormick.
In brief, on 31 July 2019 the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association hired the SSE Hydro Arena from Scottish Event Campus Limited for an event to be known as the “Franklin Graham Event” on 30 May 2020. This was to be the opening date for a UK tour organised by the pursuer at which Franklin Graham would speak.
It was accepted that Franklin Graham is a contentious American evangelist, son of the late Billy Graham.
The pursuer claimed that the defender had discriminated against the pursuer by terminating the agreement on the basis of a protected characteristic in terms of the Equality Act 2010, namely, religion and philosophical belief.
The case deals with cornerstone rights and freedoms – religion and philosophical belief – within a pluralist society. Both the pursuer and the defender are substantial institutions having international profiles.
The judgment includes a preface (paragraphs  to  ) within which Sheriff McCormick seeks to avoid misunderstanding and explains that the 2010 Act applies to all; that the defender conceded that the event was to be a Christian Evangelical outreach event and that the court does not adjudicate on the validity of religious beliefs.
Here the religion is Christianity based on an interpretation of the Bible. It may be an interpretation with which others disagree, but that is irrelevant.
The event was to be an unticketed free Christian evangelical outreach event for over 12,000 people. The intended audience was the general public – whether holding religious beliefs or not and irrespective of sexuality.
Between November 2019 and January 2020 both parties became aware of growing opposition to the tour. This protest included social media, an online petition and some mainstream press coverage.
Protesters claimed that Mr Graham might use the event to air controversial views on a variety of subjects. This was not the defender’s position at proof. At proof it was accepted that the event planned for 30 May 2020 would have been a lawful Christian evangelical outreach event.
On 27 January 2020 Franklin Graham issued a Facebook post explaining the purpose and inviting members of the LGBTQ+ community to the event.
Following a board meeting on 29 January 2020 the defender terminated the agreement with the pursuer (para )
At proof the defender maintained that the contract was terminated solely due to concerns regarding the possibility of protest outside and inside the venue. While security issues and possible protest were discussed at the board meeting on 29 January 2020, the court found that these were not the sole or even the main reason for the event being cancelled.
The defender’s board minutes disclosed that, for example, the board discussed what might be said at the event and “we have to be careful of being judge and jury if the law hasn’t been broken” and “the nature around the event is darker” – finding in fact (23)
The court held that in terms of the Equality Act 2010 a protected characteristic (here: religion and philosophical belief) must have nothing to do with the defender’s decision to terminate the agreement, otherwise the court must find in favour of the pursuer.
There is no business case defence to discrimination. The court found that the defender was under pressure to cancel from its principal shareholder (Glasgow City Council); that the defender was concerned that artists might refuse to play at the venue and its sponsor considered that the event was not compatible with its values.
Glasgow City Council’s representatives on the board made its position clear at the board meeting on 29 January. After the meeting Glasgow City Council wrote to the board asking for the event to be cancelled (a copy of the letter is quoted at paragraph ).
On the same day the defender wrote to the pursuer cancelling the agreement (paragraph ).
The basis now claimed for cancelling the event (security and protest) did not feature in the in the letter from Glasgow City Council and, more importantly, not in termination letter issued by the defender to the pursuer.
In particular, the letter from Glasgow City Council included: “Glasgow is well known as a city which is friendly to all people, but particularly including from the LGBTQ and Muslim communities. I do not want to send a message to those communities that the Council prepared to welcome any person who has the potential to make such comments”. In court the defender accepted that the event was to be a Christian evangelical outreach event.
At paragraph  the court found that lawful opinions based here on religious or philosophical belief (whether mainstream or not) are not to be preferred one over the other. All are protected.
Although issues of security and protest were considered by the defender’s board on 29 January, those were not the sole or main reason why the event was cancelled. In terminating the agreement the defender made no reference to issues of security or protest.
When issuing press releases the defender also made no reference to issues of security or protest.
Opinion of the court
The court found (at finding in fact (37)) that by terminating the agreement the defender directly discriminated against the pursuer in that it treated the pursuer less favourably than it would have treated others. It did so because of a protected characteristic, namely, the religious or philosophical beliefs of the pursuer and Franklin Graham. It acted under pressure from others including its shareholder, its sponsor and for commercial considerations.
Aspects of the 2010 Act and, in particular, the remedies available to a court had not been litigated previously in Scotland.
The court considered the various remedies available to a court in Scotland. The first remedy was one of declaratory. The defender accepted that if a breach of a protected characteristic had been established, then there could be no objection to a declaratory. The court made such a declaration.
The pursuer had sought a rescheduling of the event. Four other venues on the tour arranged for 2020 had been rescheduled. The court held that this was an appropriate remedy in this case but, for the reasons outlined at paragraphs  –  a court-ordered rescheduling would not be feasible in this particular case. At paragraph  the court expresses its opinion in forthright terms.
The pursuer had also sought an apology. At  the court concluded that a court-ordered apology (over and above the declarator) would be forced, of little value and insincere.
In relation to damages, the court observed that in Scotland damages are compensatory, not penal. The 2010 Act did not provide for aggravated damages in Scotland.
Other jurisdictions have greater flexibility in relation to remedies so as to encourage compliance with the Act.
The pursuer had sought damages from the defender for expenses incurred throughout 2020. The court found that this was excessive and that, for the reasons given at paragraph  the pursuer should have realised by 30 June 2020 at the latest that the event would not have been rescheduled. The court was critical of some of the items included in the defender’s schedule of losses. The court awarded damages to the extent of £97,325.32.
At paragraph  the court made certain observations as to whether, in this particular case, the remedy fits the wrong.
Sheriff McCormick’s judgment can be viewed here.
Aidan O’Neill KC for the successful pursuer, instructed by Balfour + Manson