38 Rankings for Westwater Advocates in the Legal 500 United Kingdom 2017 Guide

janemorrison News

In the new rankings, published today, our leading silks and junior counsel feature in 11 of the 13 categories, demonstrating the strength and depth of talent at Westwater Advocates.

The full results are as follows:

With a reputation as “undoubtedly the pre-eminent stable for family law”, Westwater Advocates is frequently instructed in high-profile divorce matters, childrens law and cross-border residence orders. Other practice areas include employment, crime, public law, planning and property. Leading the “very friendly, efficient and accommodating” clerking team, Sheila Westwater is “very quick to respond to queries” and “if the preferred advocate is not available, she is able to offer suitable alternatives”.

Civil liberties, human rights, public inquiries, and public and administrative law (including local government)

Advocates at Westwater Advocates are active in judicial reviews and matters involving human rights, education and mental health, among other areas.

Commercial litigation

The workload for members at Westwater Advocates includes contractual claims and insurance-related matters.


Gavin Anderson specialises in white-collar crime, including fraud and money laundering issues. However, in 2016, Anderson’s practice saw an increase in prosecution work in cases involving serious violence towards children; one such matter was the high-profile murder of two-year-old Liam Fee by Nyomi Fee and Rachel Trelfa.

  • Gavin Anderson “Very approachable and communicates well with clients.”


Westwater Advocates’ recent caseload includes high-profile unfair dismissal and discrimination claims. In 2016, Calum H S MacNeill QC made a successful appeal to the UK Supreme Court on behalf of a fingerprint officer, who was dismissed following an alleged print misidentification; the dismissal was judged to have been unfair.

Family and childcare

With a reputation for being “the leading family stable in Scotland”, Westwater Advocates has “an unrivalled range and depth of advocates who regularly practice family law”. Practitioners have expertise in high-value divorce and cross-border residence order cases, alongside children law matters.

Health and safety, and regulatory

Westwater Advocates is noted for health and safety and professional discipline work. Gavin Anderson is well known for acting in health and safety cases involving serious injuries or fatalities, and is also instructed in fatal accident inquiries into deaths in custody/the workplace.

  • Gavin Anderson “A very safe pair of hands; he has an excellent manner with clients and is a highly skilled court practitioner.”

Personal injury and medical negligence

Practitioners at Westwater Advocates handle a gamut of high-value and complex cases, including catastrophic injuries, employers’ liability and industrial diseases.

  • Andrew MacMillan “Clients respond well to his considered advice and excellent guidance.”
  • Laura Wray “A personal injury specialist.”

Planning, environmental and licensing

Members of Westwater Advocates have expertise across a range of planning and environmental matters, including handling planning applications, rural property, crofting, renewable energy, nature conservation and environmental crime matters. Licensing work is another area of instruction.

Professional negligence

Westwater Advocates’ members receive instructions in professional negligence cases from solicitors across Scotland; Douglas Fairley QC has acted in cases involving allegations against surveyors and architects.

Property, construction and agriculture

Westwater Advocates attracts instructions across the range of property, construction and agricultural matters. In 2016, Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw Bt QC appeared in a Court of Session judicial review claim concerning compensation for tenant farmers under the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), relating to the removal of secure tenancy rights given by section 72 of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1972.

Tax, trusts and pensions

Laurence Cunningham is a key contact at Westwater Advocates for trusts and pensions cases.