Axiom Advocates

Administrative & Public Law Department

Scotland (Bar)
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Axiom Advocates is a stable distinguished by its extensive ranks of esteemed public law advocates. Members routinely act in judicial review and public inquiry proceedings in the highest courts of Scotland and the UK, including those examining human rights, immigration rules, procurement and constitutional law. It is seen as the go-to stable to defend the Scottish Government and local authorities, and is also highly sought after to represent commercial and individual petitioners. Key recent instructions include a judicial review challenge to a decision of the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry, instructions for various parties in the Wightman reference, and acting for both the petitioner and respondent in a challenge to Serco's policy of issuing lock change notices to those denied asylum. One solicitor remarks: "Axiom Advocates have rather cornered the market in my area and I would tend to go to them in the first instance." Another comments: "It is the leader in the public law field, including judicial review and human rights. Its advocates are highly intelligent, diligent and approachable."

Client service: "Their clerking team is the most dependable at the Scottish Bar." "The stable is very professionally run and is extremely efficient." "They are always very quick to respond." Lesley Flynn is the practice manager.

Daniel Byrne
Draws on his deep expertise in human rights law to represent petitioners and respondents in administrative and public law challenges. He is particularly strong in the context of immigration and asylum appeals. Other recent mandates include cases concerning planning, housing and criminal justice. He is frequently sought after by local authorities.
Strengths: "A very bright advocate who is capable of dealing with the most complex and sensitive of cases. He has a very relaxed manner and is brilliant for cases that require strategic thought and technical ability." "He picked up the ins and outs of the legislation very quickly and was very effective in court." "He takes a very sensible and proportionate approach to representing us, and is well aware of our aims and the wider picture."
Recent work: Acted for the construction firm Bilfinger in its judicial review challenge to the publication by the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry of confidential information, which was alleged to be commercially sensitive.

David Johnston QC
Maintains an active public law practice and regularly represents the Scottish Government and other public bodies in legislative and regulatory challenges. His public law practice is wide-ranging and past instructions have included cases concerning freedom of information, professional discipline, nationality and costs litigation. He is also experienced in competition and public procurement matters.
Strengths: "He is very cerebral, and is regarded as one of the cleverest people at the Scottish Bar. The court sits up and listens to him." "First choice senior counsel: he is able to identify key issues, produce succinct written material, and secure the ear of the court on his feet."
Recent work: Acted for the UK government in the Wightman reference to answer the question of whether the intention to leave the EU under Article 50 could be unilaterally revoked.

David Welsh
Sought after by prominent solicitors to handle complex, high-profile challenges at an impressively early stage in his career. He acts for petitioners and respondents in judicial reviews involving questions of constitutional and commercial law, as well as the regulation of the professions.
Strengths: "He has quickly become a go-to junior because he's very straightforward and engaging, and grasps the legal problems extremely quickly in any dispute. He's excellent on his feet and is prepared to give pragmatic advice but also to argue difficult points and never to shy away from a difficult but important argument." "If I need a quick opinion, I'll go to David." "He was unflappable throughout."
Recent work: Instructed as junior counsel for the petitioners in the Wightman reference to the CJEU, asking whether the intention to leave the EU under Article 50 could be unilaterally revoked.

Gerry Moynihan QC
Offers a breadth of administrative and public law expertise which includes commercial, human rights and regulatory challenges. He represents the Scottish Government, local authorities and petitioners in judicial reviews and related civil proceedings before domestic and European courts. He is also experienced at acting in public inquiries. 
Strengths: "An astute lawyer who has a calm and measured delivery in court, and an assured manner with clients." "He's a big-hitting silk" who is "certainly a name in public law."

James Mure QC
Receives instructions from the Scottish Government, local authorities and other clients in the public sector. He has also handled public law claims involving professional discipline, constitutional and human rights law.
Strengths: "He's an astute counsel and he has the ear of the courts." "An excellent legal mind and somebody I instruct for complex written work." "A very confident public lawyer."
Recent work: Successfully defended the Scottish Government against a judicial review challenge brought by Ineos to its policy on hydraulic fracturing.

John MacGregor QC
Acts for petitioners, respondents and interveners in a wide range of judicial reviews and regulatory appeals. He is an expert in a number of areas, and especially well regarded for his handling of procurement disputes. Recently, he has been active in public law disputes involving police and local government law. He has particular depth of knowledge in mental health matters.
Strengths: "He has a very adaptable mind and can quickly assess what's needed and get you to a resolution. He's exceptional at giving valuable input at key moments and advising on policy, strategy and economic as well as legal aspects." "He's got a great knowledge of EU law and is good for complicated judicial review work." "Well prepared, unflappable and down to earth."
Recent work: Acted for Police Scotland in a judicial review concerning misconduct proceedings against a police officer.

Kenneth McBrearty QC
Renowned silk with a varied public law practice. His strong common law background makes him particularly suitable for judicial reviews with some commercial, property or professional negligence aspect. He is also active in challenges with an immigration or human rights crossover.
Strengths: "I'm always delighted to instruct him for public law work. He's extremely clever but also very easy to work with, responsive and client-friendly." "He's a very hands-on, down-to-earth operator who has the ear of the court."
Recent work: Acted for Ineos in its challenge to the Scottish Government's policy on hydraulic fracturing.

Lesley Irvine
Fast becoming a go-to junior in complex judicial reviews. She acts on behalf of petitioners and respondents in a wide array of public law challenges, regularly appearing before the Supreme Court. She is particularly active in matters involving human rights and other recent cases involve EU and election law.
Strengths: "She has an enormous capacity for detail and is very competent and experienced." "She has a strong commitment to civil liberties which comes through in her work, and she takes on significant challenges." "I admire her knowledge and her intellectual ability to deal with complex cases, not just competently but also bravely and creatively."
Recent work: Represented the Lord Advocate in the Supreme Court reference to determine the competence of the Scottish Parliament to legislate for the continuity of EU law after Brexit, by passing the 'Scottish Bill'.

Mark Lindsay QC
Has extensive experience of acting for petitioners and respondents, including government departments, in high-profile public and administrative law challenges. He also advises public bodies on freedom of information responses and the implications of legislative reform. His areas of expertise include professional discipline, immigration, social housing and data protection.
Strengths: "He has a good all-round public law background. He's well practised in acting for petitioners and respondents, in both public interest and commercial matters." "He gave very strong assistance to the client on a very sensitive matter and approached it carefully, bringing them along with him on every stage."
Recent work: Acted for Explore Learning in its appeal against the Care Inspectorate's decision to cancel its registration.

Morag Ross QC
Continues to build on an already sterling reputation for public law. She has a strong track record of being involved in important judicial reviews challenging legislation and public policy. She acts on behalf of respondents and petitioners in a wide range of matters, including cases concerning regulatory and human rights challenges. She is also experienced in EU matters.
Strengths: "The most talented QC in Scotland. Her advice is always clear and she has the ear of the court." "An absolute pleasure to deal with. She's very personable, likeable and brilliant with clients, and isn't fazed by anything, no matter how complex." "She's highly rated in public law and procurement."
Recent work: Acted for two MPs in the Wightman petition for a CJEU reference to determine whether the UK could unilaterally revoke its intention to leave the EU.

Roddy Dunlop QC
Renowned silk with a celebrated practice that includes a number of high-profile instructions in administrative and public law. He regularly appears for the Parole Board for Scotland and a wide variety of other defendants, including professional and sporting associations. He also acts for petitioners in commercial judicial review.
Strengths: "A force of nature." "I was impressed by his ability to pick up a complicated case quickly, at short notice. His real strength is as an all-round advocate with a very robust court style." "He has the ear of the court."
Recent work: Acted for the Parole Board for Scotland in a Supreme Court case concerning access to rehabilitative courses for prisoners.

Ruth Crawford QC
Often seen in challenging and complex judicial reviews and regulatory appeals. She represents petitioners and respondents in a range of public law disputes, including professional discipline, human rights, procurement and commercial judicial reviews. She is also frequently instructed to advise public bodies on legislative interpretation.
Strengths: "She is known for her academic analysis of legal problems." "Ruth was an excellent advocate in court: she was clear, concise and articulate. She has a profound knowledge of the subject and provided first-class legal and strategic advice." "She has an excellent reputation as a respected practitioner in the field of administrative law, a comprehensive knowledge of the field, a clear style of written pleadings, and a compelling and persuasive courtroom presence."
Recent work: Successfully defended the Scottish Legal Aid Board's application procedures in a judicial review brought by Glasgow City Council.