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Adrian Bell


0131 247 1113
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Adrian is a commercial lawyer who has been with Morton Fraser for over 30 years.

He specialises in company law and commercial contracts and also advises on partnerships (both for trading and investment) and charity law, with a particular emphasis on charitable entities and their governance.  He has experience of delivering advice to the public sector on a range of issues, including commercial contracts, governance and structuring of operations.

Adrian has both a transactional and advisory practice.  His transactional work includes company and business sales and purchases, start-ups and equity investment across many business sectors including many regulated sectors: pharmacies and healthcare; professional services; financial services.  He has advised on a number of statutory mergers in the education sector and on a number of other charity mergers and reorganisations.  He has wide experience of company reorganisations and reconstructions.  His advisory practice extends from review of standard form contracts, through to the implementation of complex contractual arrangements and advice on company governance, shareholder issues and arrangements within family businesses, including succession planning.  His public sector experience includes advice to government bodies and local authorities on a wide range of issues affecting them and their operations.

Adrian has experience of acting for foreign companies doing business in the UK.  He advises on relations between shareholders and partners and regularly drafts and advises on shareholders and partnership agreements.

He seeks to take an engaged approach and to offer sensible, articulate, timely advice, based on wide commercial experience.

He is a member of the Panel of Reporters to the Court of Session on company petitions and has a number of commercial and third sector appointments.  

Business expertise

Adrian has been a member of Morton Fraser's corporate team for in excess of 30 years advising companies, partnerships and individuals on a wide range of corporate and general commercial matters across many sectors including financial services (including property investment and funds generally), transport and infrastructure (including renewables), retail (including pharmacies), manufacturing and rural and family businesses. 

He has a wide understanding of how Scottish business operates and has been involved in a number of significant transactions.  He has experience in the renewables sector including in relation to radar mitigation arrangements; sale of developers; and aspects of supply to developers.

He has expertise in both the Scottish and English courts in relation to capital reductions and related applications having both run applications and reported on them to the Court.  In his advisory practice he deals with reconstructions and re-organisations, shareholders and partnership agreements (including family charters) and employee share schemes.

Charity law is a significant part of Adrian's work.  He has wide experience of charities and the third sector, advising on charity formations and reorganisations, mergers, governance and contracts.  He frequently advises on fundraising issues and policies; medical research; independent education; national heritage and the arts; and sport facilities.  He has advised a number of communities and others on the formation of community funds and development companies and on their interaction with funders (including renewable energy developers). He is the co-author of the chapter of The Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents in relation to Charter bodies.


Public Sector expertise

Adrian is a corporate lawyer and a member of Morton Fraser's Public Sector team.  He has wide experience of company and commercial law generally and of its application in the public sector.  He has advised a wide range of public sector bodies including government departments, local government, NDPBs and other public bodies, including education institutions.

He has provided advice on long term and high value contracts; intellectual property; partnerships, including ALEOs; contractual opportunities; various aspects of the interaction between the public sector and the third sector including advising public bodies on the formation of charities in which to carry on certain functions (particularly in the field of sports facilities); and governance.

Adrian brings to work for the public sector wide general experience of business in Scotland and beyond and seeks to integrate that with an understanding of the way in the public bodies and their officers are required to deliver policy.

What our clients and peers say: 

"He has solid knowledge and is well established in his market," remarks one source, while another comments that "he is smart and efficient."

- Chambers and Partners 2019

respected practitioner with significant experience in the not-for-profit sector. He assists charities with the establishment of funds, governance issues and commercial contracts.

Chambers and partners 2020
Chamber 2020

Handles a range of corporate transactions involving both public and private companies. "He is a good person to deal with: commercial and focused on the bigger picture."

Chambers and Partners 2020
Chamber 2020

'Adrian Bell took a genuine interest in our charity, which went beyond the call. His team were also very efficient, prompt and helpful.’

Legal 500 2020/21

Adrian Bell is highly adept at assisting with governance issues affecting the third sector, as well as advising on the formation and registration of charities, foundations and social investment funds. "He was prompt with information and thorough with his advice," says a client.

Chambers and Partners 2021

Recent Content by Adrian Bell

1 Jan 2021

What are the differences between Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIOs), Community Interest Companies (CICs) and companies?

Your charity could be one of many legal structures and it can often be difficult to choose which would the most suitable.
Fiona Byron, Adrian Bell
21 Jun 2016

Unincorporated Associations: conversion to a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation

A charity which is an unincorporated association does not technically exist as a separate legal entity. This means that an unincorporated association...
Adrian Bell
25 Apr 2014

Top 10 tips for starting a charity

Morton Fraser’s Third Sector team is frequently involved in assisting clients setting up new charities, be they trusts, companies, and now, SCIOs....
Adrian Bell