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Dual qualified lawyers add value

With a trio of dual-qualified lawyers, Square One Law is the ideal partner for ambitious businesses looking to expand north of the border.

Chris Gibson, Alan Fletcher & Steven Dick

Whilst the Scottish and English legal systems are similar in some respects, there are some significant differences, most notably in relation to the law of property. In terms of similarities, there are many areas of Scottish and English contract law which are identical; sometimes they even share leading authorities.  Some concepts of English law, such as undue influence, anticipatory breach and the remedy of recission for breach of contract have been imported into Scots law from English, and usefully so. However, the fact remains that Scots law is a separate jurisdiction with a separate law.

Alan Fletcher, a founding partner of Square One Law, has the necessary qualifications to practice in both countries. Square One Law has also attracted two dual qualified senior associates this year – Steven Dick and Chris Gibson.

Square One Law was recently instructed by a leading bank to handle the refinance of a hotel and spa in Edinburgh and has also acted for a company in North West England which had been originally incorporated in Scotland.

Alan said: “It is most unusual for an English regional law firm to be able to offer clients the services of one, never mind three dual-qualified lawyers.

“Our dual-nationality skills have so far proved to be a much valued, additional service for our clients wanting to do business north of the border.

“It saves our clients the time and expense of instructing another law firm in Scotland and we find that it makes us competitive and able to add more value.”

Alan qualified as a lawyer with Burness in Glasgow and then undertook the necessary exams to allow him to practise south of the border too.

Prior to establishing Square One Law, Alan had been a partner at Eversheds, where he headed the corporate team in Newcastle, and latterly as senior office partner for Eversheds in Edinburgh.

Steven Dick is a senior associate in the property team at Square One Law andlike Alan undertook a law degree in Scotland before  gaining the English legal qualifications. Steven qualified as a Scottish lawyer during his time as an associate at Eversheds, Newcastle.

Steven has acted for a range of corporate clients including retailers, banks, property investment and development companies in Scotland in relation to asset management, acquisition, disposal and financing of leasehold and heritable (the Scottish equivalent of freehold) industrial development, retail, leisure and residential property.

Steven said, “In England there are a number of enactments (such as the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954) which govern many aspects of commercial leases and tenants’ rights. There is no equivalent legislation in Scotland and therefore the law is very different in most areas of property law.”

Chris Gibson, a senior associate in the corporate team at Square One Law qualified in England and then passed the Scottish conversion exam.

Chris has extensive experience of corporate, commercial and intellectual property work and is qualified to advise on Scots-specific areas of work.

Alan added: “A lot of businesses in the North East trade with companies in Scotland or buy property in Scotland and we are in a position to act for these companies on both sides of the border, giving a seamless service.

“We are able to provide a broad service of Scots law and are particularly active in Scottish property work for North East companies. Some of the larger, national English law firms are able to provide a Scottish function, but it is very rare to be able to find such a service in regional law firms and we are delighted to be able to offer this service to our clients.”

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