Our team are leading practitioners in public and parliamentary law. Acclaimed by legal colleagues and, more importantly, clients, our advice is informed by a detailed knowledge and understanding of government and its processes. We are co-founders of the Scottish Public Law Group, which brings together everyone concerned with the development of public law in Scotland for topical and informed debate.
Our expertise extends from legislative drafting and constitutional questions through to public sector governance and judicial review challenges. We don't just act in Scotland but provide advice in England and Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The advice we offer is full, focused and practical.
We regularly provide training for clients on a range of topics incorporating good decision making, judicial review challenges to public bodies, key recent legal measures and a general overview of the Scottish legal system.
They made us feel valued and gave advice that was sensitive to our business needs.
British Land plc
We advised British Land in relation to a judicial review that was raised against Highland Council, the effect of which quashed planning permissions granted in British Land's favour. We advised on the prospects of success and whether or not to enter the process.
We have recently acted for clients in lodging a complaint with the European Commission in respect of breaches of public procurement obligations by a number of local councils resulting in infringement proceedings being raised against the UK under Article 258 of the EU Treaty. In response the UK authorities have introduced measures aimed at rectifying existing infringements and preventing future infringements including early termination of the contract and the issuance of guidance by the Office of Government Commerce to contracting authorities.
Single Electricity Market Committee
We act for the Single Electricity Market Committee, the cross-border regulator of the electricity market on the island of Ireland in defending two concurrent judicial review actions. These have been brought against the regulator by power generators who challenge its decision to prevent an increase in their charges. We are providing regulatory advice in this complex case but are also project-managing it. This helps the case run on an expedited timescale, with the co-ordinated input of a cross-border multi-disciplinary team and ensures information is relayed with the client's project teams in a targeted and timely way.
The Security Industry Authority
We continue to act as sole advisors in Scotland to the Security Industry Authority. We are usually handling around 40 appeals under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 at any one time, together with dealing with a series of more complex cases. These cases involve issues of statutory interpretation and arise out of alleged organised crime in the west of Scotland. These cases are evidentially challenging and have seen our team working closely with both the Police and Crown. They have also posed difficult but important questions in relation to the interpretation of the client's criteria as well as the statute underpinning the client. In addition to advocacy work, we are frequently involved giving strategic advice, and most recently we have played a significant role in advising the SIA on the interplay between the Act and the criteria.
The following is a selection of our clients:
- Angus Council
- Audit Scotland
- Cairn Energy
- City of Edinburgh Council
- Faculty of Advocates
- Glasgow City Council
- The Law Society of Scotland
- Millar and Bryce
- NHS 24
- Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews
- Scottish Legal Complaints Commission
- Shetland Islands Council
- Skills Development Scotland
- Standards Commission for Scotland
- The UK Actuarial Profession
- Water Industry Commission for Scotland
Case Study: ScottishPower
In this case we were instructed by ScottishPower to act on their behalf in appealing to the Supreme Court in London against a decision of the Inner House of the Court of Session (the Scottish appeal court) in connection with the Electricity Supply Regulations 1988. The Inner House had held that the Regulations imposed civil liability on utility companies found to be in breach of the Regulations, even in circumstances where there was no negligence. This had very serious consequences for utility companies who faced being liable for damages in situations where there had simply been a technical breach of the Regulations. Given the wide-ranging scope of the Regulations this was a very significant case for the electricity industry as a whole.
This was one of the first Scottish Appeals to the Supreme Court and was conducted within significant time constraints. The Grounds of Appeal had to be lodged within six days of our receiving Leave to Appeal from the Inner House, and we were then given an early diet by the Supreme Court. This meant we had a short period of time in which to prepare the case and lodge all the necessary documentation. The decision was issued in July 2010 and was a resounding win for our client: the bench unanimously upheld ScottishPower's appeal, overturning both the Inner and Outer House decisions in the Court of Session.
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