Andrew Webster is a redoubtable court practitioner. The UK Government’s “go to” counsel in Scotland, he offers experience in commercial, public and regulatory work, civil liberties and human rights challenges, property and planning law, and in the area of reparation. Described as “a real performer in court” and a counsel “who always turns up for the big cases”, he is held in high esteem for his adroit handling of complex litigations.
Andrew called to the bar in 1992 having trained with commercial law firm Bird Semple Fyfe Ireland WS in Edinburgh and London. In 1997 he was appointed to represent the Ministry of Defence in Scottish litigation. Early instructions included the defence of claims arising out of the 1994 Mull of Kintyre Chinook crash and from the loss of Nimrod XV239 at the Toronto Air Show. He developed a strong defence practice in the area of reparation, handling a broad range of claims including bullying, industrial disease, and fatal accidents. He represented the MOD in the fatal accident inquiry into the death of cadet Kaylee McIntosh. Latterly he represented the MOD in its defence of thirteen multi-million pound claims brought by the relatives of those who died in the loss of Nimrod XV230 over Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
At the same time he developed a significant commercial practice, with an emphasis on property and retail planning matters. In addition to appearing in various retail planning inquiries and litigations on the implementation of National Planning Policy Guidelines, he appeared in the seminal cases of County Properties Ltd v Scottish Ministers and R (Alconbury Developments Ltd) v SSETR in the House of Lords. Other significant property cases included Reid (Burnett’s Tr) v Grainger, also in the House of Lords; and in the landlord and tenant sphere, Whitbread Group plc v Goldapple Ltd and West Castle Properties Ltd v. Scottish Ministers. In AGE Ltd v Kwik Save Stores Ltd he established the reviewability of an expert not acting as arbitrator. In Kingston Communications (Hull) Ltd v Stargass Nominees he reviewed the effect of receivership on lease renunciation. The end of 2018 saw him challenging pre-pack administrations.
In 2012 Andrew was appointed First Scottish Standing Counsel, the first occupant of that position. As the UK Government’s principle counsel in Scotland he has developed a most enviable public and administrative law practice with human rights experience. He has appeared in dozens of judicial reviews and statutory appeals in immigration matters, raising issued of EU law and human rights, including in the cases Zoumbas v SSHD and Sadovska v SSHD in the Supreme Court. He has represented the Secretary for State for Work and Pension in various “bedroom tax” challenges and attempts to strike down delegated legislation. Andrew’s experience of human rights matters has seen him appear in cases such as A v SSHD (BBC intervening) in relation to the boundary between press freedom and private rights and Allan v Advocate General for Scotland, looking at a discrimination challenge to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme under article 14, ECHR and McGeoch v Lord President of the Council on the rights of prisoners to vote.
Most recently he has defended a human rights challenge to the Extradition Act (Craig and Thomson v AGS), a challenge to the terms of reference of the Undercover Policing Inquiry (Gifford v AGS) and a claim for Francovich damages against the UK state (Aldabe v AGS) for claimed failure ion the part of the Court of Appeal in England to make a reference for a preliminary ruling to the CJEU. 2018 also saw Andrew heavily committed in connection with the MP, MSP and MEP judicial review seeking to a reference for a preliminary ruling on whether the UK’s Article 50 notification of withdrawal from the European Union was unilaterally revocable (Wightman and Others v SSExEU).
Andrew has developed a significant practice in regulatory law. He has represented the Nursing and Midwifery Council the General Chiropractic Council and the Law Society of Scotland. He is a Legally Qualified Chair of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service and the Scottish Social Services Council. He is a Legal Assessor to the General Osteopathic Council and has previously done so for the NMC, the General Teaching Council for Scotland. He acts as an ombudsman role as Independent Examiner and Reviewer of the regulatory regimes for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland and for Chartered Accountants Ireland. In 2015 Andrew was appointed by Scottish Ministers to chair an independent appeal panel under the NHS Consultant Grade Terms of Service. In 2018 he was the invitation speaker at the Scottish Government’s annual Regulation Conference.
Andrew also holds a number of judicial and tribunal posts. He is a Part-time Sheriff, a Chair of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal for Scotland and a member of the Police Appeals Tribunal. Andrew is the Director of Themis Advocates.
In 2019 he was appointed to the EHRC Panel of Counsel in Scotland.
“An effective advocate with a wealth of experience”
“highly thoughtful and insightful”
“Andrew not only consistently demonstrated sound judgement and excellent, balanced decision making during the day, he did this in a collaborative and inclusive manner that made it a pleasure to work alongside him.”
“He’s a very good advocate” “
He’s the counsel you least like to appear against”
Ranked Band 1 in Commercial Disputes in Legal 500 UK 2024 edition – “A tenacious advocate who commands the attention of the court.”
General information • Devil masters: A Bolland QC, WS Gale QC • Qualifications: LL.B. (Hons), Dip LP, University of Aberdeen • Fellow, Royal Society of Arts • Rated in Chambers and Partners and Legal 500
- Devil Masters: Alexander Bolland QC; W. Stuart Gale QC
- Qualifications: LL.B (Hons) University of Aberdeen; Dip. L.P. University of Aberdeen