Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry Chair appoints Counsel 

Lord Brailsford, Chair of the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry, has appointed 4 new counsel to the Inquiry, including Ampersand’s Mary Ellen Stewart.

Junior Counsel will work closely with Senior Counsel Stuart Gale KC and Ampersand’s Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen KC, who will jointly lead the Inquiry’s Counsel team.  Junior Counsel will be responsible for conducting legal research, analysing and reviewing documents, identifying evidence, drafting materials, and assisting with the preparation of hearings.

Ful news article is available on the Inquiry website here.

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Ampersand Advocates continues Top Rankings success in 2023 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 2023.

Ampersand received 74 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 lawCivil Liberties & Human RightsCommercial Dispute Resolution, Construction, Personal InjuryProfessional NegligenceReal Estate Litigation and Restructuring/Insolvency as a Set. 5 members are noted as “star individuals”. There is wide practice for the clerking team and client service too.

Noted as a Band 1 set for Clinical Negligence, “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. 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 in multiparty actions stemming from the use of medical equipment.” Our rankings include 2 “Star Individuals”, Maria Maguire KC and David Stephenson KC, with 11 further silks and 6 juniors also ranked – Simon Bowie KCJamie Dawson KCSimon Di Rollo KCUna Doherty KCLisa Henderson KCVinit Khurana KCArchie MacSporran KC, Euan Mackenzie KC, Geoffrey Mitchell KCGraham Primrose KCLauren Sutherland KCFiona DrysdaleMark FitzpatrickJames McConnell, Jennifer Nicholson-White, Paul Reid and Phil Stuart.

Ampersand’s Band 1 listing in Planning & Environment states “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 depth and breadth of expertise at the stable is first class””. Rankings include Malcolm Thomson KC as “Star Individual”, and Band 1 ranked Marcus McKay KCAilsa 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 KCLaura-Anne van der Westhuizen KCPaul Reid, 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 KCGraeme Hawkes KCLaura-Anne van der Westhuizen KCRoss Anderson, Eoghainn MacLean, Giles ReidPaul ReidUsman Tariq and Tim Young.

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. Jennifer Nicholson-White acted for the first defender in a claim brought by the pursuer who suffered a significant head injury while at work following a fall. The team is also well regarded for its expertise in complex product liability and occupiers’ liability disputes and matters involving accidents abroad. The stable’s tenants are regularly called upon to appear in fatal accident inquiries, where they have experience of acting for government agencies, health boards and local authorities. Interviewees report: “Ampersand offer counsel with strong expertise across a wide range of practice areas.” Another adds: “They provide consistently excellent and pragmatic advice.””

Rankings include “Star Individuals” Maria Maguire KC and Graham Primrose KC with others ranked Isla Davie KCSimon Di Rollo KCLisa Henderson KCEuan Mackenzie KCDouglas Ross KCAlan CowanChris 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 Chris MarneyPaul Reid 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 KCLaura-Anne van der Westhuizen KCRoss AndersonGiles 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.”  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 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; and Tax for Ross Anderson.

The Ampersand clerks again receive wide praise across all areas of practice, noting “the service is always excellent and has been for years” and described as “one of the best stables to work with”.  The clekrs are noted as “a very professional team who also have the commercial reality required.” Further comments include: “The clerking team at Ampersand are always willing to help and are quick to respond to queries. If there is a complex or time-sensitive matter, they will do their utmost to assist in a timely manner… The clerks are wonderful, prompt and very friendly… The clerks know the advocates and their strengths and skill, and are great at managing their diaries… The clerks are responsive and willing to help. They will often go above and beyond the call of duty to find solutions to difficult situations.”

On the recent rankings, Practice Manager, Alan Moffat, said: “This is yet again wonderful recognition and praise for all of the excellent work our advocates and my team does on a continual basis. My thanks goes to everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to provide Chambers with their views. We work in collaboration with the profession and it is again pleasing to hear those that instruct our members recognise the value our members bring to the legal team. I am very proud of the excellent and hard work my team puts in every day and am pleased to see that appreciated too. We will continue to strive for excellence and the rankings provide insight into our success in achieving that aim.”

The full rankings can be viewed on the Chambers and Partners website here.

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Scott Clair

Scott Clair called to the Bar in 2022 as a Lord Hope Scholar.

He has experience in a wide range of commercial, private and public law litigation. In the course of devilling, Scott was involved in a variety of complex and high-value cases including commercial disputes, clinical and professional negligence claims, regulatory, human rights and constitutional law cases. Scott has a particular interest in the latter and, whilst devilling, worked on a number of high-profile judicial review cases including a legislative competence challenge to an Act of the Scottish Parliament, a challenge to Scotland’s Census 2022 and the first removal of a judicial office holder under the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.

He has appeared before the Sheriff Courts, the Sheriff Appeal Court, the Court of Session (both Outer House and Inner House), and assisted with the preparation of cases before the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

Before calling to the Bar, as a solicitor and then associate with a well-known litigation firm in Edinburgh, he gained substantial experience of appearing in court and regularly conducted proofs, debates and complex opposed motions including for interdict. Scott also gained experience in fatal accident inquiries and various forms of alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration, adjudication and mediation.

Scott has particular interests in contract law, clinical and professional negligence, media law, private client litigation and judicial review.

Scott also has an interest in legal education. Since 2021, he has tutored in Commercial Law, Public Law and Individual Rights, and Evidence at the University of Edinburgh.

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Louise Cockburn

Louise Cockburn called to the Bar in 2022 having qualified as a solicitor in 2004.

She was a partner in a mid-sized firm in Edinburgh and Head of Planning in Scotland for a global firm before setting up her own practice in 2014.

She specialised in planning and environmental law and regularly appeared at inquiries and hearings, many into large scale renewable energy and infrastructure projects including the proposed redevelopment of the former Royal High School in Edinburgh, the Trump Organisation’s golf course at Menie and the Rosyth international container terminal. She was also the instructing solicitor in a successful legal challenge to a local plan. She is a member of the Scottish Planning, Local Government and Environmental Law Bar Group.

Whilst devilling Louise focused on clinical negligence. She was involved in complex and high value cases for pursuers and for defenders, often health boards.

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Ayla Iridag

Ayla Iridag called to the Bar after a career in private practice. As a solicitor Ayla specialised in defender personal injury litigation as well as public and administrative law, health and safety law, regulatory proceedings, firearms licensing, and orders under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Ayla frequently acted as Edinburgh agent to local authorities and companies across Scotland.

During her devilling Ayla gained additional experience in clinical and professional liability, contractual disputes, fatal accident inquiries, and public inquiries.

Ayla has significant experience of appearing in the Sheriff Appeal Court and in Sheriff Courts across Scotland, including the All Scotland Personal Injury Court. She has conducted numerous proofs, evidential hearings and debates as well as opposed motions and procedural hearings.

Since calling to the Bar, Ayla has added to her practice areas, regularly appearing before the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Fitness to Practice panels and appearing as Special Counsel at the Scottish Social Services Council. Ayla has also continued to practice in criminal law. She has appeared in the High Court, taken evidence of children by way of commission, and successfully obtained a review of bail conditions.

Ayla was appointed as a Standing Junior to the Office of the Advocate General in December 2022.

Selected cases (as solicitor or instructing agent):

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Katharine Muir

Katharine Muir called to the Bar in 2022 after 6 years as a solicitor in private practice. As a solicitor Katharine appeared regularly in the Sheriff Courts, where she gained considerable experience of running proofs and conducting contentious hearings.

Katharine’s principal area of practice is in commercial law. She has a particular interest in product liability. As a solicitor and while devilling, she worked on some of the most high-profile product liability cases in Scotland. She has also advised manufacturers on product compliance and safety, labelling and advertising.

Katharine also has experience in regulatory crime, particularly health and safety, anti-bribery and corruption, healthcare regulation and fatal accident inquiries. During her period of devilling, Katharine gained experience in judicial review, defamation, and professional and clinical negligence.

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