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Alan Dewar QC

Summary & Experience

Alan Dewar QC was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1989 and took silk in 2002. He was the Treasurer of the Faculty of Advocates from 2007 to 2011. Over the years he has appeared in a wide range of civil and criminal cases, mainly in the fields of commercial and public law, and professional and clinical negligence. In addition, he has acted for and advised companies and public authorities on public procurement and licensing issues. He has also represented companies and individuals who have been prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and has taken part in a number of public inquiries, planning inquiries, fatal accident inquiries, defamation actions, and intellectual property disputes.

Alan has extensive advocacy experience arising from practising as a solicitor and advocate for more than 25 years. This includes Inner and Outer House experience in the Court of Session as well as a number of appearances in the House of Lords, Privy Council and the UK Supreme Court. He was junior counsel to the Orkney Inquiry; standing junior counsel to a number of Government Departments including the Scotland Office; an Advocate Depute for three years; and also has significant experience in planning and other inquiries, and before various Tribunals. Between 2009 and 2011 he successfully represented the Lord Advocate and the Scottish Ministers in the AXA insurance case (which confirmed the validity of the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions)(Scotland) Act 2009), ultimately in the UK Supreme Court. He is presently acting for the Scottish Ministers in the Clostridium Difficile Inquiry being chaired by Lord MacLean: the Report of the Inquiry is due to be published in 2013.

Professional appointments

  • Writer to the Signet: 1986
  • Partner, Thomson & Baxter WS: 1986 to 1988
  • Junior Counsel to the Orkney Inquiry: 1991 to 1992
  • Standing Junior Counsel to Department of Trade & Industry: 1992 to 1996
  • Advocate Depute: 1996 to 1999
  • Standing Junior Counsel to the Forestry Commission: 1999 to 2000
  • Standing Junior Counsel to the Scotland Office: 2000 to 2002
  • Member of the Council of the Faculty of Advocates: 2002 to 2005 and 2006 to present
  • Treasurer of the Faculty of Advocates: 2007 to 2011
  • Special Counsel appointed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act: 2005

Selected Cases

  • 28530/95, X v United Kingdom, 19 January 1998 - an admissibility case before the European Commission on Human Rights in Strasbourg.
  • Secretary of State for Trade and Industry v Hasta International Limited 1998 SLT 73 - concerned with the winding up of a company involved in pyramid selling on just and equitable grounds.
  • Wray v Associated Newspapers 2000 SCCR 819 - a defamation action in which the Lord Ordinary, after proof, awarded a Member of Parliament damages of £60,000.
  • R v HM Advocate 2003 SC (PC) 21 - a Privy Council appeal concerned with whether the Lord Advocate had any right to continue with a prosecution where the reasonable time guarantee had been violated in the pre-trial period.
  • Napier v Scottish Ministers 2004 SLT 555 - concerned with whether the slopping out regime in Barlinnie Prison and other related prison conditions amounted to a violation of Articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention.
  • X v British Broadcasting Corporation 2005 SLT 796 - concerned with the tension between the Pursuer's Article 8 right to privacy and the Defenders' Article 10 freedom of expression rights.
  • Scottish Ministers v Beggs 2007 SLT 235 - an appeal to the House of Lords arising from a finding of contempt of court relating to the unlawful opening of the respondent's privileged correspondence.
  • Burnett v Grampian Fire and Rescue Services 2007 SLT 613 - concerned with the duty of care of firefighters to owners of neighbouring property when attempting to extinguish a fire, in which Lord Macphail disagreed with the approach of the English Court of Appeal in Capital and Counties plc v Hampshire County Council [1997] 3 WLR 331.
  • AXA General Insurance Limited and others v Lord Advocate [2011] UKSC 46;  [2011] CSIH 31; 2010 SLT 179 (OH), 2011 SLT 439 (IH), 2011 SLT 1061 (Supreme Court) - Senior Counsel for Lord Advocate in application for judicial review challenging the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Act 2009, an Act of the Scottish Parliament. Application successfully resisted by Alan at all stages and validity of ASP upheld.
  • Howes v Lord Advocate 2010 SLT 337 - an extradition case in which the US Government sought extradition of a British couple for alleged exportation to the USA of chemicals used to make methamphetamine. Was instructed for the US Government in the appeal to High Court and resisted attempt to have extradition orders recalled including a strong Article 8 right to family life argument.
  • M v M 2012 SLT 428 - a relocation case relating to young children. Persuaded the Inner House that the Sheriff and the Sheriff Principal had erred in following English case law in allowing the mother to remove to England with the children contrary to the father’s wishes.
  • Chief Constable, Fife Constabulary v William Crawford, Court of Session, Inner House [2012 CSIH 71] - judicial review of a decision of the Police Appeals Tribunal. Police Constable convicted of a charge of serious misconduct at Misconduct a Hearing. He succeeded on appeal to the Police Appeals Tribunal but that decision was overturned by way of judicial review. In a second judicial review process, the Constable has now obtained the right to a further appeal to allow him to clear his name before a freshly constituted Police Appeals Tribunal. That appeal is due to take place in 2013. Alan successfully represented the Constable in the second judicial review process.

Alan Dewar QC

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07831 858407

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