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Portrait of Graeme MacLeod

Graeme MacLeod


CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Saltire Court
20 Castle Terrace
United Kingdom
Languages English, French

Graeme MacLeod is a partner in our Disputes Team in CMS Edinburgh, which is recognised as a market leader in Scotland.  He specialises in commercial litigation and professional negligence claims, and advises banks, corporates, public bodies, professional firms and insurers about a variety of disputes across both fields.

A lawyer with the firm since 2002, Graeme acts for clients in high value commercial disputes in Scotland's Supreme Court, Court of Session and Sheriff Courts, as well as in alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation and arbitration. He is well regarded for his expertise in banking, regulatory, commercial contract and fraud-related matters, and for his knowledge of insolvency litigation. His wide-ranging practice encompasses claims ranging from judicial review of regulatory bodies to intellectual property infringement and from international asset recovery to defamation.  He has a particular interest in the developing area of class actions and the related area of data breach claims.

His work in the professional indemnity sphere involves the defence of claims for professionals and their insurers across a broad spectrum of both traditional and emerging professions. He is particularly recognised for his expertise in claims against solicitors and advocates.  

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"Ranked as a leading individual for Commercial Litigation."

Legal 500, 2020

"An “excellent negotiator”, he has "great intellectual acumen and ability to cut through complex data" "

Legal 500

Relevant experience

  • GBP 12m claim for breach of contract and negligence arising from an alleged customer fraud for a major Scottish retail bank.
  • Successful defence in Supreme Court of ground-breaking claim against solicitor by non-client third party.
  • Multi-million pound damages claim for fraud for listed offshore services company.
  • Defence of USD220m claim against solicitors for fraudulent conspiracy.
  • Obtained sanction for Premier Oil plc of a substantially opposed creditors’ scheme of arrangement in Scotland, for liabilities of USD2.56 billion.
  •  Negligence claim and process improvements arising from failures under a key IT outsourcing contract for a major international retail bank.
  •  Cyber breach response management and follow-on claims advice for a major insurer under cyber liability policy.
  • Substantial claim against former directors for misappropriation of assets and wrongful trading for administrators of an insolvent retail company.
  • Disciplinary proceedings by SPL and SFA relating to player registration issues for Scottish Premier League football club.
  • Comprehensive review of disciplinary procedures for The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.
  • Defence of substantial breach of trust and dishonest assistance claim against solicitors arising from USD460m hedge-fund fraud.
  • GBP 3m contractual rectification claim for charges arising from disposal of waste to landfill against waste services company.
  • Panel Solicitor for insurers,  solicitors and advocates under Law Society of Scotland Master Policy and Faculty of Advocates PI Scheme, defending claims against solicitors and advocates with a particular focus on complex and/or high value claims.
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Lectures list

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  • 2002 – Law, Dip LP, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
  • 2001 - Law, LLB (Ord) (with Distinction), University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
  • 1999 - BA (Hons) (First Class), Worcester College, Oxford                                         
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Pan­dem­ic prompts pro­pos­als to per­man­ently shift civil justice in Scot­land...
A con­sulta­tion has been launched by the Scot­tish Civil Justice Coun­cil (SCJC) on pro­posed new rules which would res­ult in vir­tu­al hear­ings be­com­ing the de­fault ap­proach of the Scot­tish courts for the...
Scot­tish Court re­jects ar­gu­ment that Quince­care duty ex­tends bey­ond in­tern­al...
In the re­cent de­cision of Sekers Fab­rics Ltd v Cly­des­dale Bank plc [2021] CSOH 89, a bank cus­tom­er (“Sekers”) that had fallen vic­tim to an au­thor­ised push pay­ment (“APP”) fraud sought to re­cov­er...
In­tro­duc­tion of QOCS re­gime to Scot­tish per­son­al in­jury claims
Pro­vi­sion was made for the in­tro­duc­tion of qual­i­fied one-way costs shift­ing (QOCS) to Scot­tish per­son­al in­jury pro­ceed­ings in the Civil Lit­ig­a­tion (Ex­penses and Group Pro­ceed­ings)(Scot­land) Act 2018 (the...
Class Ac­tions Law Re­view, 5th Edi­tion 2021: Scot­land
Class ac­tions and ma­jor group lit­ig­a­tion can be seis­mic events, not only for the parties in­volved, but also for whole in­dus­tries and parts of so­ci­ety. That po­ten­tial im­pact means they are one of the...
Jur­is­dic­tion in claims for un­paid tu­ition: guid­ance from the Scot­tish Courts
The Scot­tish Courts have re­cently con­sidered wheth­er a dis­tance learn­ing stu­dent at a Scot­tish Uni­versity was a “con­sumer” for the pur­poses of de­term­in­ing jur­is­dic­tion, and ac­cord­ingly wheth­er he...
End of the “loser pays” rule in Scot­tish per­son­al in­jury claims
Com­mer­cial or­gan­isa­tions and their in­surers should be aware that the “loser pays” rule, which gen­er­ally de­term­ines how awards of ex­penses (costs) are dealt with in Scot­tish lit­ig­a­tion, is soon to...
ESG Ex­change
Wel­come to ‘ESG Ex­change’ - con­ver­sa­tions about the real world im­plic­a­tions of ESG to help man­age busi­ness risk and identi­fy op­por­tun­it­ies. ESG (en­vir­on­ment­al, so­cial and gov­ernance) is­sues are in­creas­ingly...
Class ac­tions in Scot­land
See the Over­view of the Rep­res­ent­at­ive Ac­tions Dir­ect­ive >> 1. Do you have a spe­cif­ic pro­ced­ure or pro­ced­ures for bring­ing “opt-in” class ac­tions?  If so, please out­line such pro­ced­ure(s) and...
AB v Uni­versity of XYZ and the right to leg­al rep­res­ent­a­tion
The High Court’s de­cision in AB v. Uni­versity of XYZ [2020] EWHC 2978 (QB) provides fur­ther guid­ance on the is­sue of wheth­er uni­ver­sity stu­dents have a right to leg­al rep­res­ent­a­tion in dis­cip­lin­ary...
Scot­tish court con­siders wheth­er re­dac­tion of doc­u­ments by loc­al au­thor­ity...
A re­cent de­cision of the Sher­iff Court in Scot­land is a re­mind­er that the mundane and of­ten te­di­ous task of doc­u­ment dis­clos­ure can come with sig­ni­fic­ant risks. The an­onymised judg­ment in Re XY which...
New Scot­tish class ac­tion pro­ced­ure - how will the re­gime work? Part 2: ...
A new mech­an­ism for group pro­ceed­ings came in­to ef­fect in Scot­land on 31 Ju­ly 2020 (see the rules here). We have already com­men­ted on the cer­ti­fic­a­tion stage of the new re­gime (see here). In this short...
New Scot­tish class ac­tion pro­ced­ure - how will the re­gime work? Part 1:...
Last month we re­por­ted on the new class ac­tion mech­an­ism that is be­ing in­tro­duced in Scot­land on 31 Ju­ly 2020 (see here).  The new mech­an­ism is in­ten­ded to bet­ter fa­cil­it­ate group claims.  It is be­ing...