At Morton Fraser Lawyers we have highlighted clarity as our guiding principle.
This directs the way we communicate, the way we advise, the way we conduct relationships with our clients and the way we are totally transparent and upfront about our charges. This applies to all our services from the straightforward to the more complex.
We have in-depth experience working for the wider public sector, including non-departmental Government organisations, regulators, partner organisations, third sector partners and publicly owned companies.
We understand the policies, governance and regulatory constraints that apply and help clients act within those. We offer a bespoke Client Relationship Management service, building solid relationships and understanding clients’ needs, ensuring that we exceed expectations and deliver services in the way that they want.
With over 80 specialists, our public sector team provides advice across a wide range of legal services. But we do more than that. With increasing constraints on the public purse, we are passionate about providing demonstrable value.
Why choose Morton Fraser
We understand the needs of the wider public sector
We serve over a hundred public sector clients and partner organisations
We have over eighty specialists in our public sector team
We work to protect the public purse
We know how unique our clients are
We are constantly improving and innovating
A Clear View
Watch our latest credentials video on Public Sector.
We thoroughly enjoy working with our clients in the public sector and appreciate the extremely valuable service they provide whilst ensuring that public money is apportioned appropriately against a backdrop of intense scrutiny and accountability. We give excellent value for money by adhering to competitive and transparent fee proposals whilst also looking for more efficient ways in which to provide legal services, spreading cost risk and offering greater certainty and transarency.
The services that we offer
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We act for a number of housing associations across all parts of our business. As well as offering general advice on employment, commercial contracts, litigation and property, we also provide specialist advice in relation to affordable housing such as development and portfolio acquisitions, planning agreements, golden brick arrangements, funding and housing management (including tenancies, factoring and debt recovery). We also act for the Scottish Government housing Divisions and are involved in a number of strategic schemes to improve housing supply for private sale, private rented and affordable across the Country.
Our team of over 80 public sector lawyers means that we can provide a full service covering all requirements of the affordable housing sector.
For more information as to how we can help, please contact Suzanne Hardie.
2Agricultural and rural
Agricultural and rural
Our specialist agricultural and rural team have experience of the full spectrum of rural property transactions, land reform issues, access to the countryside, community rights to buy, crofting and agricultural tenancies, sporting rights and renewable energy developments.
The team is led by James Rust who is highly regarded and described in the Legal 500 as "excellent" and in Chambers as "outstanding". The rural team was described in Chambers 2015 as "efficient and friendly….also approachable and technically strong."
Our team has worked for many years with a range of public sector clients, including the Ministry of Defence and the Rural Payments and Inspectorates Division of the Scottish Government. Our continued work with such high profile public sector clients is an endorsement of our genuine expertise in this specialist area of property work, as well as our cultural fit with public sector organisations.
For more information as to how we can help, please contact James Rust.
As models for delivery of public services develop to encompass the provision of services by partners at arms length from government and local authorities, it is important to understand the operation of the third sector.
Our third sector team has detailed knowledge, and wide experience, in the formation and governance of charities and other not for profit bodies. It has a genuine commitment to operating with, and within, the third sector. We have formed charities of all types. We understand and are sensitive to the need for charities to be independent of government both in terms of their internal governance and their contractual relationships. We have seen and advised on a variety of methods of partnership working and have experience of financing of third sector bodies, including social finance.
Our expert team offers the full range of IP, DP and FOI services including contractual advice for the commercialisation of IP rights, advising on protection of IP (including filing trade mark applications and handling trade mark disputes) and advising on DPA compliance. This is especially pertinent to the public sector with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into force this year.
Our team provides cost-effective services, usually operating on a fix fee basis.
Partner Austin Flynn heads the team and is an award-winning, dual-qualified (Scotland and England & Wales) commercial lawyer, well known across the Central Belt of Scotland.
As well as being a Senior Solicitor in the team, Julie Nixon also holds a PhD in life science and was seconded to the University of Edinburgh where she assisted with advising on the commercialisation of IP Rights, DP compliance, and FOI requests.
We act for major Government and Local Authority clients and organisations operating in the Education sector, and our team is fully aware that reputation is key for public sector clients.
For more information as to how we can help, please contact Austin Flynn.
4Constitutional and Public Law
Constitutional and Public Law
We are an experienced team with many years of hands on experience working in and advising Local Authorities, Scottish Government, UK Government, Scottish Parliament and other public sector bodies. We understand the legal and legislative processes affecting the public sector and can help you through the public law landscape, whether you are a public sector body seeking clarification of your powers or are seeking advice on how best to influence in your area.
We can advise you on existing and future legislation as it is proposed in Holyrood and Westminster and on statutory guidance. We are closely following and advising on the Brexit developments and implications in Scotland and the UK, together with the implications for future planning in the public sector and beyond. We can also keep you up to date on developments in the courts and make sure you clearly understand the possible implications and any unintended consequences of case decisions in your area. Public and constitutional law reaches into many unexpected areas of law.
We are experts in acting for the public sector. For many years we have assisted government in the resolution of property disputes ranging from claims for dilapidations on termination of commercial leases to recovering possession of property owned by government of which possession has been taken unlawfully by third parties.
We have tailored our renowned property litigation service to meet the needs of the public sector, reflecting the sensitivities around cost, including the use of alternative dispute resolution where appropriate. We are experts in the legal frameworks which can apply to particular government bodies and have a bearing on how they manage their estates: current clients include Transport Scotland, local authorities, the MOD and Scottish Canals.
In the Education sector, we have particular experience in providing advice at the stage of development of new education facilities, working closely with our planning law team. These often complex projects can benefit from the seamless approach that we provide in bringing different legal disciplines together to meet the needs of clients.
For more information on how we can help, please contact Douglas Milne.
Ranked Tier One in Legal 500 and recommended for public sector debt recovery by Chambers, our expert team offers the full range of recovery services in Scotland and England and Wales - from pre litigation recoveries, secured and unsecured recovery to enforcement and insolvency. We provide a fast, efficient and cost effective recovery service, maximising funds due to the public purse.
We act for major Government and Local Authority clients and organisations operating in the Education sector. We understand the particular reputational risks that some debt recovery activities can present for public sector organisations. Our team are ever aware of the political and media interest which can arise and know how best to mitigate such risks.
We provide fixed fee structures for defended and undefended court actions and, for volume work, can create bespoke management information reporting, ensuring you get the information that matters to you. We also offer credit management reviews to ensure that clients know when they have exhausted all avenues open to them and that it's time to involve our team.
Our team are experienced in handling a wide range of defender reparation cases, from industrial disease claims, slip and trips, RTAs, complex fatal cases, and public liability claims. We conduct accident investigations, conduct pre-litigation negotiations and represent our clients in court actions in both the Sheriff Court (including the All Scotland Personal Injury Court) and the Court of Session.
Acting for Government clients, we understand the importance of ensuring a consistent approach across different departments, identifying areas where there may be potential for 'floodgates litigation', and keeping a close eye on costs.
We are ranked in both Legal 500 and Chambers. The head of our team, Jenny Dickson, is praised by clients in Chambers for her "very personable" approach.
For more information on how we can help, please contact Jenny Dickson.
10Development, infrastructure and regeneration
Development, infrastructure and regeneration
We provide advise to our public sector clients on the full range of issues in development and regeneration projects - from the initial stages all the way through to delivery. With over 80 members of our public sector team, we are well versed in major development and regeneration projects for the public sector with our understanding and expertise allowing us to provide our clients with the legal and strategic advise that they require in order to deliver their objectives.
Our team advises on major developments and regeneration projects throughout Scotland covering all add-on specialisms including strategic planning, construction, finance, corporate, joint venture, procurement, state aid, compulsory purchase and common good.
Our employment law team includes more specialists accredited by the Law Society of Scotland than any other firm and is highly rated in both the Legal 500 and Chambers legal directories.
We advise on all employment and industrial relations issues as well as fielding a highly experienced Advocacy team with specialist knowledge of the particular legal issues affecting different parts of the public sector. Our client roster includes a large number of Central Government departments, local authorities, other prominent public bodies as well as institutions in the higher and further education sectors.
We are vigilant to the needs of managing reputational risk given the sensitivities created by the media and political interest. Our aim is to deliver our services in a cost efficient manner including creating bespoke management information reporting, ensuring you get the information that matters to you.
For more information on how we can help, please contact David Walker.
Nick Atkins leads our extremely experienced environmental team. The team regularly provide expert advice on disputes and litigation covering all aspects of environmental law including pollution and contamination as well as noise. They understand all of the issues so can provide quick and easy to understand advice on the risks and likely implications. Our expertise includes extensive experience in all areas of environmental law, including nuclear and decommissioning where we have one of the most experienced teams in Scotland.
For more information on this service, please contact Nick Atkins.
13Fraud and financial crime
Fraud and financial crime
We act for all victims of crime, from individuals to governments, from cases based in the UK, to cases with an international reach. We are the sole Scottish members of the International Chamber of Commerce's Fraudnet, the world's leading network of fraud and asset recovery lawyers. This enables us to form a team of experts to take immediate action to freeze assets and recover evidence worldwide following a fraud, action which is essential if a successful recovery is to be made. Our partner, Douglas Milne, is listed as an expert in Who's Who Legal directory of Asset Recovery lawyers.
For more information as to how we can help, please contact Douglas Milne.
Our finance practice is one of the largest in Scotland. We advise banks and borrowers on all aspects of loan and asset finance. We are recognised by Chambers as a leading adviser on social housing in Scotland and on a UK-wide basis. We have unmatched experience of local authority loan financing, having advised lenders and local authorities statutory borrowing for more than twenty years. Recent transactions include advising on the procurement of a new school campus, advising on the transfer of local authority loan assets and advising on a local authority street lighting replacement project.
We advise public sector bodies on all aspects of health and safety law. Our experience covers prohibition and improvement notice appeals, criminal prosecutions, Fatal Accident Inquiries, and the provision of general advice and guidance on health and safety law. Ranked by Legal 500, we are one of the leading practices in this area.
We provide a streamlined service to our clients, building up a close relationship with them to ensure that we fully understand their business and priorities, and are able to deliver practical solutions. We regularly provide training on the legislation and case law in this area, and on more practical topics (such as top tips for appearing as witnesses).
For more information on how we can help, please contact Jenny Dickson.
The only Scottish immigration firm ranked as Tier 1 for immigration in Legal 500 and Chambers we offer a full range of visa services to organisations throughout the UK. We provide a fast, clear and practical advice to organisations dealing with a complex and constantly changing area of law.
We act for organisations in the Education sector and offer advice and support to help them meet their obligations to the Home Office when sponsoring international staff or international students. We appreciate any immigration issues can involve wider issues and our team are ever aware of the political and media interest which can arise and know how best to mitigate such risks.
We provide fixed fee immigration compliance audits and training sessions on right to work and sponsor compliance issues as well as handling visa applications for key members of staff.
Given the increasing demands on public finances, there is an increasing requirement for collaborative working throughout the public sector. We have advised on a number of joint venture, shared services and outsourcing arrangements and have the understanding and expertise of all of the legal issues involved in such deals. Considerations include governance arrangements, public procurement, the requirements of the public finance manual, the regulations surrounding information sharing in the public sector and your audit and accountability procedures.
Ranked Band 2 in both Chambers and the Legal 200, clients are full of praise for David Hossack the partner that leads this team describing him as "very efficient, fast and understanding of business needs
We advise a number of public bodies with a licensing function. This includes representation in statutory appeals against decisions made by Licensing Boards, Licensing Authorities under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 and local authorities in their regulation of HMOs. In addition we act for other public regulatory bodies in assisting with statutory appeals
We can carry out work on a fixed fee basis for each stage of an instruction. For more information as to how we can help, please contact David Hossack.
22Litigation and Mediation
Litigation and Mediation
With one of Scotland's biggest public sector litigation teams, we are experienced in handling a very broad range of public sector disputes - from statutory appeals, construction and property disputes, insolvency, procurement and contractual disputes, to fraud and judicial review.
Our team includes accredited specialists, solicitor advocates and acknowledged experts such as Lynda Towers. Lynda spent most of her career with Scottish Government and spent 8 years as solicitor to the Scottish Parliament. Lynda's appointment in June 2016 reflects our history of recruiting from the public sector.
Douglas Milne, previously worked with the Civil Recovery Unit, Ewan McGillivray with Scottish Government and Rory Alexander was previously head of legal at City of Edinburgh Council. Their in-house experience is invaluable - they really understand what matters to our public sector clients and how they like their lawyers to act.
All members of the dispute resolution team are trained in representing clients at mediation and are able to give truly informed advice as to the best method of resolving a dispute whether this be by direct discussion or with the assistance of a mediator. As an experienced mediator, David Hossack supports the team in this work. Where David cannot mediate because a dispute involves an existing client he is uniquely placed to advise on the selection of an appropriate mediator and of how best to prepare for and represent the client at mediation. We have assisted many public sector clients in resolving a wide range of disputes and have provided training for them on the use of mediation.
For more information as to how we can help, please contact Maggie Moodie.
We act for a wide range of public sector clients across all aspects of public procurement. We provide strategic advice on how to structure deals compliantly (either within the Regulations or so as to fall out with their remit), technical advice on your tender documents and processes and litigation advice, should your procurement process be the subject of a legal challenge. Timescales for raising and responding to challenges can be very restrictive and we have the expertise within our team to meet those demands.
A number of our solicitors have worked within Central and Local Government and fully understand the public procurement rules and regulations under which you operate.
For more information as to how we can help, please contact Suzanne Hardie.
26Real Estate and Asset Management
Real Estate and Asset Management
As market leaders for property work in Scotland we are ideally placed to give property advice to the public sector. We are committed to working with the public sector to provide best value legal services in a highly professional manner. Our retention of our high profile public sector clients are an endorsement of our genuine expertise, quality and service and cultural fit with public sector organisations.
We currently act for a number of high profile public sector clients for property work, including the Scottish Government Legal Directorate, Ministry of Defence, a number of Scottish local authorities and other public sector organisations, such as Highlands and Island Enterprise.
Through this work, we have built up experience of the bespoke requirements of the public sector in relation to their occupational requirements, as well as their policies and best value obligations on disposal and acquisitions.
For more information as to how we can help, please contact Amy Entwistle.
Morton Fraser acts for a wide range of clients including developers, landowners and funders in relation to all stages of renewable energy project development across all scales and technologies.
Our advice spans general and niche property advice in relation to the agricultural and crofting aspects of developments including advising on the terms of DNO/TNO requirements (servitudes, wayleaves, substation leases and sub leases) through to 3rd party servitudes, necessary wayleaves and compulsory purchase orders.
We also advise on grid connection agreements including the split of contestable/non-contestable works. Morton Fraser has also advised on successful "dedicated line" grid development projects to facilitate the development of projects where the individual grid connection costs per site were too prohibitive to allow development to proceed on an individual basis.
For more information as to how we can help, please contact Gail Watt.
State Aid has a habit of cropping up unexpectedly for the unwary negotiator at the most inconvenient stage of a contract or negotiation. You may not even be aware EU law could have an impact. At any stage in a project you may be unintentionally breaching State Aid rules. This may be the case even if you are not directly accessing Government funds. We can make sure you are aware of the implications, the hoops you may have to jump through and possible solutions on all aspects of State Aid which may enable a project to proceed. State aid need not mean the end of a project, whether because of the way financing is being used or the nature of what you would like to do. Our team can help you to find a successful way forward.
For more information as to how we can help, please contact Lynda Towers.
OUR ROLE IN THE COMMUNITY
We are committed to socially responsible business practices and to giving back to the local community. Our objectives are well aligned with our public sector clients.
We love working with Morton Fraser. The firm is personable, transparent and incredibly easy to work with. Morton Fraser colleagues are an extended part of our staff team and are never more than an email or phone call away for any questions or queries- no matter how trivial