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legal50016 2016 scott co dispute resolution award winning law firm Law Society Winner 2016
legal50016 2016 scott co dispute resolution award winning law firm Law Society Winner 2016

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Cat Maclean

Partner Head of Dispute Resolution

Tel 0131 226 8218


Cat is a partner at MBM Commercial LLP and currently heads up their Dispute Resolution Team. She is listed in the Legal 500 having a “leading voice” in financial claims, with a “ ‘never say die’ attitude, and really fights her client’s corner”. She is also one of only 9 lawyers ranked in Chambers in Scotland for Banking Litigation where she is noted as having “a pragmatic and sensible approach..she is extremely tenacious and her work with individuals against the banks is admirable".

Cat is the only solicitor to have won the prestigious title of “Solicitor of the Year” twice, at the Law Awards of Scotland in 2015 and 2012, having previously been short-listed for the award in 2010, and in 2016 led her team to victory in the Scott & Co Legal Awards, winning “Litigation Team of the Year”. She has law degrees in English and French Law from Leicester, and in Scots Law from Edinburgh, and holds a Diplome d’Etudes Juridiques Francaises from the Universite Robert Schumann in Strasbourg.

Prior to joining MBM in 2008, she spent several years in a large litigation practice in Edinburgh, before becoming an Advocate at the Scottish Bar in 1998. She spent 10 years in busy practice as an advocate before joining MBM, and having undertaken cases in the Sheriff Court, the Court of Session and the Appeal Court, she has been able to apply her extensive litigation and courtroom experience to the work she now undertakes for her clients. She is a Solicitor Advocate with extended Rights of Audience in the Court of Session and the Supreme Court, and she sits on the Lord President’s Consultative Committee on Commercial Actions, chaired by Lord Woolman.

Her clients include individuals, technology companies, property developers and entrepreneurs. She specialises in financial claims, against banks and other financial institutions, and wins such as RBS v O Donnell and McDonald and RBS v Carlyle are testament to her skill and determination. She is the only Scottish member of the Financial Services Lawyers Association, and the sole Scottish representative of the International Banking Litigation Network, an association of law firms across Europe who are willing to handle complex claims against banks and who have the required level of knowledge and experience to do so. She is also the founder of the banking conference series, and is regularly quoted in the financial press. She was also recently appointed to The Independent Monitoring Panel of the Chartered Bankers Professional Standards Board, is a member of the Westminister All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking to join their Professional Advisory Panel, and is a Comittee member of the House of Commons Parliamentary Inquiry into Financial Disputes.

In addition to her work in financial claims, Cat is a qualified mediator, and mediates regularly for her clients. She also has an established expertise in professional negligence claims, advising clients with claims against a range of former professional advisers including solicitors, surveyors, financial advisors and financial institutions.

Many of Cat’s cases are “David and Goliath” battles, but those she acts for are quick to say that she is “someone who knows how to throw a stone or two”. She is renowned for taking ownership of the problem as if it were her own, demonstrating real approachability and empathy, and is praised by her clients for going the extra mile to do the very best she can for them:

“Over the last 18 months she has given us first class advice, support and above all real hope. The level of attention and detail provided to us has been outstanding”.

“From the moment I met Cat I knew I was in safe hands. She explained the legalities and the process ... in a way I understood. I have always felt that my case was important to her and that I'm in safe hands and I trust Cats advice completely as its given in a way that I understand without feeling overwhelmed and frightened.”

"Cat is one of Scotland’s top litigators and a valued advisor for the APPG.  She works tirelessly on behalf of her clients and is a fantastic asset to the business community in Scotland."

Personal biography

Outside of work Cat is a wife, mother, patchwork quilter, skier and swimmer. Finding time for swimming training is a bit of a juggling act with 3 children and a very long suffering husband but in the last few years she has competed in National and European Masters Championships and with MBM’s Dispute Resolution Team has taken part in the Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon in 2015 and 2017 undertaking the 1350m open water swim section. In September of 2015, she swam across the Firth of Forth to raise funds for Maggie’s Centre, to thank them for all their help when she was undergoing treatment for cancer in 2014.

  • Qualifications:
    LLB (Hons) English and French Law, Diplome d’Etudes Juridiques Francaises, Diploma in Legal Practice
  • Memberships:
    Member of the Lord President's Consultative Committee on Commercial Actions in Scotland,
    Law Society of Scotland,
    Committee Member of the Westminster Parlimentary Inquiry into Financial Disputes,
    Member of the independent Monitoring Panel of the Chartered bankers Professional Standards Board,
    Member of Professional Advisors Panel to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking
  • Practice Areas:
    Dispute Resolution, Financial Disputes, Professional NegligenceCommercial Disputes
  • Awarded “Solicitor of the Year” award at the Law Awards of Scotland 2015, the only person ever to have won the award twice, having previously won the title in 2012, and having been nominated in 2010.
  • Unanimous success in a 5 nil victory for our client in the Supreme Court in RBS v Carlyle 2015 UKSC 13 the first case of its kind in which the judiciary acknowledged the reality of the banking behaviour in the property development sector pre-crash, and in which RBS were held to be in breach of a contractual promise to lend;
  • Secured a significant 6 figure settlement at mediation in England for clients claiming against their bank in connection with an online fraud perpetrated on them;
  • Success for property developer clients sued by their bank under a Personal Guarantee worth £300,000, in the Inner House (Scottish Appeal Court) in RBS v O Donnell 2014 CSIH 84 the Personal Guarantee was held to be unenforceable, and damages were awarded to the clients;
  • Secured a mediated settlement for a client sued under a personal guarantee worth £500,000, which involving a substantial payment to the client approaching 6 figures;
  • Secured a 6 figure settlement for a client who had raised professional negligence proceedings against his solicitors after a property deal went wrong;
  • Success in the Commercial Court of the Court of Session and damages of £2.8 million awarded to our client in a professional negligence claim against the former solicitors in Dunvale v Burness Paull 2015 CSOH 32.