Since calling to the Bar Scott has quickly developed a busy and successful practice specialising within the field of Family and Child Law. He regularly appears in the Court of Session (Outer and Inner House) and in the Sheriff Court.
Scott has been instructed in cases dealing with all aspects of financial provision on divorce and the financial issues arising in respect of cohabitation claims, including reduction of divorce decrees and the setting aside of Minutes of Agreement.
Scott has a particular interest in cases with an international and cross border element, particularly international child relocation, child abduction, the enforcement of foreign orders including intra-UK orders and disputes over jurisdiction.
Scott has also appeared in numerous Child Law cases, including those containing public law elements. He has appeared in many permanence applications acting for both local authorities and birth parents. Scott also regularly advises and represents clients in relation to direct petitions for adoption. Holding a Diploma in Forensic Medical Science, Scott has particular interest in cases concerning medical evidence and psychological evidence relating to the interviewing and testimony of children. Scott has conducted many Grounds of Referral proofs involving allegations of abuse and non-accidental injury of children.
Scott also has experience in advising clients in relation to matters arising under the Human Fertilising and Embryology Act including contentious issues arising from surrogacy and assisted reproduction.
Scott’s other main area of practice is Professional Regulation and Discipline. He has been instructed on behalf of clients in relation to proceedings before professional disciplinary tribunals and the Inner House of the Court of Session in relation to registration issues, misconduct and professional competence.
Scott is a Committee Member of the Advocates Family Law Association. He is also a Director and Trustee of Family Mediation Lothian where he sits on the board. Having successfully completed the training and assessment Scott is a member of the Family Law Arbitration Group Scotland (FLAGs). As such he is able to accept instruction to act as arbitrator in relation to family or child law disputes. He has also been admitted as a member of the Faculty of Advocates Dispute Resolution Service (FDRS) in relation to family law arbitration.
Scott is regularly invited to speak at seminars and conferences where he has delivered CPD lectures. Recent topics include contempt of court in family cases, sequestration and financial provision, the Children and Young Person (Scotland) Act 2014 as well as providing updates in the fields of financial provision on divorce, cohabitation and child law generally. He also writes a regular Case Law Update for the Family Law Association Bulletin.
What the directories say:
‘An excellent grasp of the law and very good advocacy skills’ (Legal 500 2014)
‘A highly gifted advocate, and a first choice for family law matters’ (Legal 500 2015)
‘Gives clear and realistic advice to clients about possible outcomes’ (Legal 500 2016)
‘He is extremely quick to grasp complex cases’ (Legal 500 2017)
‘An extremely talented junior who has quickly established a strong reputation since being called in 2012’ and ‘He is meticulous in his preparation of cases. His legal knowledge and advocacy skills are exceptional.’ ‘He is always willing to research areas of uncertainty and provide a swift and practical response.’ (Chamber and Partners 2016)
‘A junior who is rapidly establishing a reputation as a leading advocate for both children and financial cases. Sources commend his calm approach and effective courtroom advocacy. He offers especially deep knowledge of cases concerning international relocation, adoption and cohabitation law’; and ‘straightforward in his approach, smart and very thoughtful throughout’ (Chambers and Partners 2017)
‘Sensible, thorough and knowledgeable, with a personality appreciated by clients.’ ‘He is hugely clever. He has inside-out knowledge of all sorts of things, such as EU jurisdiction. He is always well prepared and has been a massive support to clients as he is caring and empathetic.’ (Chambers and Partners 2018)
‘Leading junior who predominantly handles complex cases involving teachers through all disciplinary stages. His expertise ranges from the Fitness to Teach Panel to the Outer and Inner House of the Court of Session.’ ‘He has an impressive ability to communicate successfully with clients in an informal yet effective way, and his advocacy skills are also excellent.’ ‘He has an enthusiasm and ability to deal with novel and difficult problems.’ (Chambers and Partners 2018)
- K v K, (unreported) Aberdeen Sheriff Court, June 2013 – Financial provision on divorce proof. Complex expert evidence in relation to investments on alternative markets. Arguments in relation to section 8(2)(b) due to massive investment losses by husband.
- M v M, (unreported), Livingston Sheriff Court, June 2013 – Multi-day financial provision on divorce proof in relation to a claim for substantial unequal division based on the husband’s alleged conduct during the marriage. Claim successfully resisted.
- M, Petitioner 2013 SLT 1043 – Enforcement proceedings under section 29 of the Family Law Act 1986 in relation to English contact/residence orders. Expenses and the proper interpretation to the term ‘assisted person’ in terms of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 and Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Regulations 2002.
- HJM v LS 2013 Fam LR 52 – Attempt by Australian father to enforce contact order made in Australia under The Hague Convention 1980. Competency point taken on behalf of the Scottish mother accepted by the court. Proceedings novel insofar as the petitioner was a party litigant and conducted the proceedings via Live Link over the internet from Australia throughout. Multi-day proof. Separate contempt of court proceedings between the parties.
- W v W 2013 Fam LR 113 – Represented the respondent in an Appeal before the Sheriff Principal in relation to financial provision on divorce. Case concerned the proper approach to section 9(1)(c) and (d) of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 1985 together with consideration of ‘periodical allowance’. Successful before the Sheriff Principal. The appellant subsequently appealed to the Inner House but thereafter abandoned the appeal.
- CN v AMcC, December 2013, Sheriff Principal Dunlop, Falkirk Sheriff Court – Successful appeal on behalf of a father in relation to the Sheriff’s failure to properly address the views of a child in a contact dispute.
- Contempt of Court proceedings in respect of CM and GL 2014 SLT (Sh Ct) 21 – Multi-day proof representing natural mother of two accommodated children in contempt of court proceedings against two social workers who failed to obtemper the Sheriff’s order for contact pronounced in an appeal against a decision of a children’s hearing. Both social workers found to be in contempt of court.
- M, Petitioner 2014 SC 165 – Petition to the Nobile officium in respect of finding of contempt of court for non-payment of interim aliment whilst divorce proceedings ongoing. Finding of contempt in those circumstances held to be incompetent.
- CG v JG,  CSOH 88 – International child relocation proof in the Outer House.
- Garrad v Inglis 2014 GWD 1-17 – Multi-day proof on the date of cessation of cohabitation in a claim under section 28 of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006.
- PK v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and MD, First Tier Tribunal (Child Support Chamber), March 2014 – Complex multi-day evidential hearing before the First Tier Tribunal on behalf of a resident parent in respect of the non-resident parent’s appeal against a maintenance assessment on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction.
- F v F, unreported, Haddington Sheriff Court, October 2014 – Proof on financial provision on divorce which settled extra-judicially after evidence commenced. Case concerned competing claims by each spouse for the other spouse to transfer their share of the parties’ partnership business to the other. Dispute over business valuation and tax matters arising.
- O’H v M, unreported, Edinburgh Sheriff Court, January 2015 – Multi-day proof in an action of division and sale in relation to the parties’ former ‘family home’. Dispute as to the division of the net free proceeds of sale.
- Renfrewshire Council, Petitioner v AM, Court of Session,  CSOH 17 – 7-day proof in the Outer House acting on behalf of the local authority in relation to applications for permanence orders in relation to three children. Orders granted after proof.
- H v H 2015 GWD 19-318 – Specific issue/residence proof. Sheriff specifically noting in the judgement that the representation was carried out with considerable ability and professionalism.
- AB and CD v AT 2015 SC 545 – Petition to the Nobile Officium (Inner House) in respect of finding of contempt against two social workers.
- General Teaching Council for Scotland v Respondent B, November 2015 – Professional Regulation, representing respondent before Fitness to Teach Panel of the GTCS.
- Saleem v Shafi, unreported, Inner House, January 2016, Outer House, 2014 – Action of reduction following unsuccessful appeal to Inner House in relation to substantive proceedings in Sheriff Court. Proper application of Rule of Court in relation to appeals against decree by default.
- J v M 2016 Fam LR 124 – Appeal to the Inner House from the Sheriff Principal. Section 11 contact case. Court holding that there is no separate ‘test of necessity’ to be met before refusing an order for contact.
- General Teaching Council for Scotland v Campbell, July 2016 – Professional regulation. Seven-day disciplinary tribunal raising issues of professional competence.
- A v B, unreported, December 2016, Selkirk Sheriff Court – Preliminary proof on plea of no jurisdiction, and whether the child was habitually resident in Scotland at the time of raising the proceedings.
- AB v General Teaching Council for Scotland 2016 CSOH 181 – Professional regulation. Judicial review against the decision of the GTCS Investigating Panel to refer a complaint to the full Fitness to Teach Panel.
- SM v CM  CSIH 1 – Inner House appeal in respect of a finding of contempt of court for failure to obtemper a contact order where the maximum period of imprisonment was imposed. Appeal against the finding of contempt and sentence both successful.
- AM and ZM v Authority Reporter, unreported, Inner House, March 2017 – Appeal to the Inner House from the decision of the Sheriff Appeal Court in connection with the proper interpretation of ‘significant contact’ in section 67 of the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011.
- L v B 2018 Fam LR 7 First opposed case in Scotland concerning a declarator of non-parentage and the ‘agreed female parenthood conditions’ in terms of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.
- TJ v SAB 2017 Fam LR 19 Before the Sheriff Appeal Court. Case concerned novel issue of whether the applicant in contempt proceedings has locus to appeal against the Sheriff’s refusal to impose a penalty on the contemnor.
- TJ v SB 2018 SAC (Civ) 15 Appeal before Sheriff Appeal Court by father against the Sheriff’s refusal to impose a penalty upon the mother who was found to be in contempt of court for failing to comply with a ‘section 11’ contact order.
Email: Scott McAlpine