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Building Briefs – January 17th

(from left) Stephanie Carr, head of Glasgow office; Karen Fulton, Partner and head of residential property in Glasgow; Lindsay Darroch, Board member and head of property

Blackadders appoints new partner to head up residential property in Glasgow 

National law firm Blackadders has appointed a new head of residential property to its Glasgow office.

Karen Fulton joins Blackadders as a Partner to take up the role and will be responsible for building on the firm’s residential property credentials and diverse portfolio of clients.

A property lawyer for more than 25 years and predominantly in the Glasgow area, Karen’s appointment reinforces Blackadders’ ambitious growth plans in the city and West of Scotland.

Originally from Kilmarnock, Karen graduated from Strathclyde University and trained at R & JA McCallum before joining Bird Semple in Glasgow and then becoming an associate with Taylor and Henderson solicitors in Saltcoats. In 2004, she rejoined Bird Semple where she went on to become a Partner.


Engineering consultancy moves into 58 Waterloo Street

58 Waterloo Street

Hoare Lea, a consultancy firm of engineers specialising in mechanic, electrical and public health design, has been confirmed as the latest tenant at 58 Waterloo Street in Glasgow.

Hoare Lea has taken a total of 2,033 sq ft across the 4th floor on a five year deal at a rental of £20 per sq ft.  Previously based in premises on Buchanan Street, the company required larger premises to continue the growth of its expert services.

The relocation follows the extensive multi-million pound refurbishment of 58 Waterloo Street in early 2017 which created 31,068 sq ft of Grade A office space over eight levels. Hoare Lea will take occupation later this month following completion of fit-out works.


Average house prices in Scotland continue to rise

The latest publication of the monthly UK House Price Index (UK HPI) shows that the average price of a property in Scotland in November 2017 was £145,992 – an increase of 3.6% on November in the previous year and an increase of 1.1% when compared to the previous month.

This compares to a UK average of £226,071, which was an increase of 5.1% on November in the previous year and an increase of 0.1% when compared to the previous month.

The volume of residential sales in Scotland in September 2017 was 9,323 – a decrease of 2.5% on September 2016 and a decrease of 0.5% on the previous month. This compares with annual decreases in sales volumes of 14.8% in England, 6.6% in Wales and 8.6% in Northern Ireland (Quarter 3 – 2017).

The top five local authorities in terms of September sales volumes were Edinburgh (1,124 sales), Glasgow (1,067 sales), Fife (706 sales), South Lanarkshire (595 sales) and North Lanarkshire (451 sales).

Average price increases were recorded in three quarters (24) of all local authorities in November 2017, when comparing prices with the previous year. The biggest price increases were in West Dunbartonshire, East Lothian and the City of Edinburgh, where the average prices increased by 10.3% to £106,216, 8.1% to £217,106 and 8.0% to £246,508 respectively. The biggest decreases were recorded in Aberdeen City and Argyll and Bute where prices fell by 4.2% to £163,489 and 3.9% to £127,373 respectively.

Across Scotland, most property types showed an increase in average price in November 2017 when compared with the same month in the previous year. Flat or maisonette properties showed the biggest increase, rising by 7.2% to £108,881. The average price of detached properties showed a decrease of 3.6% to £235,744.

The average price in November 2017 for a property purchased by a first time buyer was £121,574 – an increase of 6.5% compared to the same month in the previous year. The average price for a property purchased by a former owner occupier was £169,670 – an increase of 0.7% on the previous year.

The average price for a cash sale was £135,641 – an increase of four% on the previous year – while the average price for property purchased with a mortgage was £150,733 – an increase of 3.5% on the previous year.


Councillors consider next steps for Perth & Kinross primary schools

Councillors will be asked to consider the future of four Perth & Kinross Council schools as part of the transformation of the school estate at the next meeting of the local authority’s Lifelong Learning Committee meeting on January 24.

The development of this first phase of options appraisals was approved by the Lifelong Learning Committee in November 2016.  A total of 10 schools are included in this phase, with four schools being considered by this Committee at their January meeting. These schools are: St Ninian’s Episcopal Primary School, Forteviot Primary School, Balhousie Primary School and North Muirton Primary School.

Elected Members will consider detailed information on each school and community, including feedback from drop-in sessions and on-line questionnaires.

The Committee will firstly be asked to approve a proposal to establish a local authority nursery in St Ninian’s Episcopal Primary School. This will support the expansion nursery provision from 600 hours to 1140 hours throughout Perth and Kinross.  It is anticipated that this will also sustain pupil numbers in the school, which have been reducing over recent years. If approved, design work for the nursery would commence in consultation with the school, as there is no statutory consultation required for the introduction of a nursery currently.

Elected Members will be asked to approve to undertake a statutory consultation process to close Forteviot Primary School permanently. Forteviot Primary School was mothballed in October 2016, with the majority of pupils currently attending Forgandenny Primary School. The report states that it is not anticipated that Forteviot Primary School will have a sustainable roll in the next four years and also that pupils have settled well in Forgandenny Primary School.

Finally the Committee will consider an options appraisal for Balhousie Primary School and North Muirton Primary School. Both schools are being appraised due to the poor condition of the school buildings. In addition, Balhousie Primary School is under-occupied. The report proposes that a new school is built on the current site of North Muirton Primary School. This school will be designed to accommodate pupils from North Muirton Primary School and Balhousie Primary School. The new school would be completed in 2022. In order to progress the preferred option, Elected Members are being asked to approve a statutory consultation to close Balhousie Primary School.

And finally… Former construction worker now writes poetry, novels and songs

A former construction worker turned singer is to return to the UK for a number of shows.

Rod Picott returns to the UK in March with a new album, Out Past the Wires, and a book of poetry, God in His Slippers.

Originally from a small rural town in Maine, he’s now resident in Nashville.

It’s been 17 years since his debut album Tiger Tom Dixon’s Blues, which bridged the gap between folk and Americana, brought him critical acclaim and put an end to his working life as a sheet-rock hanger.

An interview with Rod is available in the Nottingham Post.

Carillion faces legal action over workers’ pay and pension rights

The Unite union is set to take legal action against Carillion after claiming that the collapsed construction and support services firm breached its legal obligations to give notice of redundancies.

The company, which employs 20,000 people in the UK including thousands in Scotland, was placed into compulsory liquidation yesterday morning with debts of £1.15 billion and a pension shortfall of over half a billion after talks with the UK government to save the company were unsuccessful.

Unite Scotland pointed to current labour laws, which say employers with a workforce of more than 20 at one location are legally obliged to give employees 30 days’ notice of possible redundancies.

Carillion had been involved in the £745 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) and had contracts with Registers of Scotland, the Scottish Children’s Reporter AdministrationWest of Scotland Housing Association and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde among many others.

Network Rail awarded Carillion a contract last year to deliver platform extension works and the firm is also responsible for two facilities management contracts worth £158m with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) which cover 83 military sites in Scotland.

In the last six months, the company issued three profit warnings and yet in that time was awarded contracts worth more than £2bn by the UK government.

Unite’s Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “Given (yesterday’s) drastic events it’s clear that Carillion was legally obliged to give notice to the workforce in December of the possibility of redundancies.

“It hasn’t done that. So Unite is taking advice about legal action to secure the pay and pension rights of our members.

“Obviously saving jobs is the priority but we also have to make sure that workers don’t pay the price for what is boardroom greed and recklessness.”

Unite Scotland said that the collapse of Carillion should be a stark warning about the obsessions across the UK, in Westminster, Holyrood, and local government about the privatisation of public services.

The union believes that for a long time putting public services out to private tender has “started an undercutting merry go round” which may have affected Carillion. According to Unite, the company has lost hundreds of millions because major contracts turned out to be loss-makers after tender bids were perilously low.

Pat Rafferty added: “This is what happens after years of worship at the Holy Grail of privatisation. It starts with the mistaken belief that private provision is best and ends with the tax payer picking up a billion pound tab when reality proves that is not true. There needs to be a government inquiry to establish just what went wrong at Carillion so that lessons can be learned. Meantime the administrators have to determine what contracts held by Carillion can be brought into public control.”

Unite has welcomed the fact that the government and the administrators PwC have to date given guarantees about financial support for the continuation and completion of public contracts formally held by Carillion.

The Scottish Government has confirmed it is in talks with UK counterparts and liquidators to work out how best to support Carillion employees and contracts.

Housing association planning to transfer Carillion repairs deal to new contractor

West of Scotland Housing Association (WSHA) is working to transfer its repairs and maintenance work to a new contractor following the demise of Carillion.

The construction and support services business, which was placed into compulsory liquidation yesterday morning, had been providing facilities management services for WSHA since it was appointed last August.

The contract saw Carillion deliver WSHA’s planned maintenance programme, installing new kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems in tenant’s homes.

Following yesterday’s announcement, West of Scotland Housing Association told our sister publication Scottish Housing News: “West of Scotland Housing Association has been working with Carillion PLC over several months to transfer the day to day repairs and planned maintenance contracts to Robertson FM.

“We want to assure our tenants and owners that we are working towards a smooth transfer of services which will mean they will not be adversely affected by the recent announcement made by Carillion.”

The UK’s second largest construction company, Carillion had been in emergency financing talks with its lenders and the banks since last week after suffering from debts of £1.15 billion and a pension shortfall of over half a billion.

Its current Scottish projects include the extension of platforms at Edinburgh Waverley station and the new £745 million Aberdeen bypass.

The firm is also responsible for two facilities management contracts with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) worth £158m which cover 83 military sites in Scotland.

New homes and commercial units planned for former Glasgow church site

Plans have been submitted to develop 49 homes on a former church site in North Glasgow on behalf of ng homes.

Under the plans, 49 residential flats and two commercial units could be built on the corner of Keppochill Road and Millarbank Street in Springburn which was previously home to Springburn Public Halls and Cowlairs Church.

The B-listed Springburn Public Halls were demolished over Christmas 2012 after the property was deemed a health and safety risk by Glasgow City Council.

A planning statement explains that the Springburn Public Halls, which were designed by William B White, opened in 1902. The halls were gifted to the community by the Reid Family who owned the Hyde Park Works.

The halls were a focal point for local gatherings during the first of the 20th century and the building was later converted into a sports hall in the 1960s until its closure in 1985 due to dry rot.

The halls lay derelict for years with regeneration proposals proving unsuccessful, according to the planning statement.

The new development would provide 49 new homes in the area including one and two bedroom properties.

A decision on the plans is expected next month.

New industrial partner hire for Montagu Evans

Bryce Stewart

Planning and development consultancy Montagu Evans has appointed Bryce Stewart as a partner based at the firm’s Edinburgh office.

A specialist in the industrial sector, with clients including Eddie Stobart, Aberdeen Standard Investments, Roxhill, Eurogarages Shepherd Offshore and J Smart & Co, Bryce was previously a director at Colliers International.

He has advised NEC, Atmel and Freescale in the disposal of their 3 million sq ft facilities during the downturn of the Scottish semi-conductor sector and Asda on its 410,000 sq ft disposal in Grangemouth, as well as Logicors’ 630,000 sq ft disposal at J4M8. He has also delivered lettings and sales to Amazon and Schuh.

Commenting on the appointment, Andrew Munnis, head of Scotland at Montagu Evans, said: “Bryce is a first-rate industrial property specialist with particular experience advising corporate occupiers in the Central Belt, as well as across Scotland and the North of England. He will bring a great deal of additional value to our clients as part of the UK-wide industrial and trade counter team and is a very welcome addition to the firm.”

Blog: With city centre offices in short supply, being forced to look elsewhere might be a blessing in disguise

By Guy Marsden, director at Highbridge Properties PLC

Ask any commercial property agent about the current market for Grade A office space in Glasgow city centre, and they’ll tell you that there’s high demand, low supply and no speculative new-build development.

This already low supply has been further diminished recently, thanks to a cluster of major deals taking place as businesses look to invest in Glasgow again. JP Morgan has taken 20,000 sq ft of office space at 141 Bothwell Street, Zurich has snapped up 17,250 sq ft at St Vincent Plaza, and the Scottish Courts will soon be occupying 80,000 sq ft at Atlantic Quay. This flurry of activity saw the total take-up for 2017 exceeding 600,000 sq ft.

This upturn in fortunes leaves only around 60,000 sq ft of Grade A new office space available in Glasgow city centre. Similarly, supply in Edinburgh is at its lowest level since 2010, with the majority of under-construction office space in the capital already committed. This, predictably, is pushing rents sharply up. We are now moving into a market dynamic where pre-lets are likely.

With the combination of increasing demand and decreasing stock, businesses may find themselves unable to expand or move within Scotland’s two biggest city centres due to lack of availability. This leaves companies with the option of a refurbished office, or going out of the city centre.

“Being so close to sporting amenities might actually inspire workers to get active on their lunchbreaks instead of sitting at their desks or shopping.” – Guy Marsden

But isn’t a city centre the only place for a self-respecting blue-chip company to be? Not necessarily. Areas on the outskirts of a city, close to both the centre and outlying commuter towns, offer many advantages. Many forward-thinking companies are realising that most of the workforce doesn’t actually live in city centres, and that they might not relish the thought of an expensive and time consuming commute every day. Could locating offices in areas closer to where employees live result in a happier, healthier and more loyal workforce? I certainly think so.

The Clyde Gateway city centre expansion area, for example, has a workforce of 1.5 million within a 60 minute commute, because it is not only well connected to the city centre by rail and road, but also to Lanarkshire towns like Rutherglen, Cambuslang, Hamilton and East Kilbride. A railway line also connects it directly to the west end of Glasgow. The evidence to date shows how popular a business location this is – of the 800,000 square feet of Grade A office and industrial space that Clyde Gateway has already developed, over 85% has been let or sold.  It was this success that first brought Clyde Gateway to my attention.

Like many peripheral business locations, Magenta, the new office park that we are developing in partnership with Clyde Gateway, will offer substantial savings on similar city centre properties. But it’s not all about money – there’s also employee wellbeing to consider.  Magenta is within walking and cycling distance of the numerous residential developments that are springing up in Glasgow’s east end. There are already 2,500 homes in the immediate vicinity, which could grow to 6,000 in the near future. Being so close to the Cuningar Loop woodland park and sporting amenities like the Emirates Arena, might actually inspire workers to get active on their lunchbreaks instead of sitting at their desks or shopping.

While getting people onto public transport is to be encouraged, the reality is that many employees need their cars to do their job. And while parking can be impossible – or at least, prohibitively expensive – in city centres, satellite locations often offer high parking ratios that at least makes taking cars to work a viable option.

Then, of course, there’s the economic and physical regeneration argument. Our Cobalt business park near Newcastle transformed a brownfield site and brought 14,000 jobs and big name companies like Hewlett Packard, Santander, Proctor & Gamble, Newcastle Building Society and Accenture to the area. Magenta could do the same for Glasgow. The parallels between Magenta and London Docklands, where Highbridge developed the first tower block, are striking. I believe that the same positive outcome that was achieved there will follow through at Magenta.

So perhaps we shouldn’t see low supply of city centre offices as a bad thing – instead, look beyond and consider that urban business districts could be the answer. Your employees – not to mention your finance department – might just thank you for it.

MSP to consult on law for mandatory sprinklers in all new social housing

An MSP is proposing to bring forward legislation to make the installation of sprinklers mandatory in all new-build social housing.

David Stewart, a Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, is bringing in a member’s bill which would place a duty on local authorities and Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) to install automatic fire suppression systems into all newly constructed social housing.

A BBC Scotland investigation in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed the lives of 71 people in the North Kensington tower block last June, found there are no sprinklers in over 300 high-rise buildings managed by Scottish councils and social landlords.

Prior to the Grenfell disaster, fire injuries and deaths in Scotland have been significantly higher than the rest of the country. In 2015-16, there were 5,673 dwelling fires in Scotland, 46% higher per million inhabitants than in England and Wales.

Fires are also more prevalent in areas of socio-economic deprivation. The 2009 Scotland Together Report into Scottish fire deaths and injuries found that 31% of all accidental dwelling fires occurred in the 15% of most deprived areas of Scotland.

The same report found that, despite only constituting approximately 25% all Scottish dwellings, social rented housing accounted for 40% of all accidental dwelling fire deaths.

Mr Stewart said sprinkler systems are so highly effective at preventing the spread of fires and limiting the damage they cause that there has been no instance of multiple fire deaths in Scotland where a working sprinkler system was installed.

The MSP’s proposal will begin a consultation period running until April 16 this year, and will also seek views on what action can be taken to retrofit sprinkler systems into existing high-rise social housing stock.

David Stewart said: “Fire safety is a significant issue in Scotland, and house fires are more prevalent in areas of socio-economic deprivation. The scandal of Grenfell last summer was that protection was not available to those who were most in need.

“That is why I am making this common sense proposal to ensure all new social housing has a sprinkler system installed. This simple change in law is a practical step that will save lives.

“Councils in Angus, Fife and Dundee already install sprinklers into their new developments as standard and I want to see this approach extended all over Scotland.

“My consultation opens tomorrow for 12 weeks and I would encourage as many members of the public and organisations as possible to respond.”

Keith MacGillivray, chief executive of the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association, said: “The British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) are pleased to support the initiative by David Stewart MSP in proposing a Member’s Bill to improve fire safety in Scotland by requiring the installation of automatic fire suppression systems (sprinklers) into all new-built social housing.

“We would also support the retro-fitting of sprinklers into all Scottish high-rise social housing.

“BAFSA has campaigned for almost forty-five years to improve the safety of the public and Firefighters by the installation of automatic fire sprinklers, which control and extinguish fires in their very early stages.

“We continue through our Membership to advocate for the highest standards for sprinklers in their manufacture, supply, installation and maintenance.

“Through third party accreditation and the development of installer qualifications we ensure that our membership are competent and qualified to install sprinklers.

“Sadly, 2017 and the early days of 2018 have seen a number of extremely serious fires in the UK. Some have had serious loss of life and others significant insurance costs, all have put both the public and firefighters at risk from fire.

“Automatic fire sprinklers have a proven track record for the mitigation of fire and the prevention of loss of life through fire, this goes back more than one hundred years..

“The installation of sprinkler systems to the appropriate British Standards by competent, third party accredited installers will ensure that the risk from fire to the public and firefighters is reduced significantly.

“Sprinklers also reduce the impact on the environment from fire, they make buildings more sustainable, they ensure businesses are more resilient and they make economic sense over the lifespan of a building.

“This proposed Members Bill would make a significant difference to the safety of the Scottish public and firefighters while ensuring that Scotland’s housing stock is more sustainable.”

Image by Brandon Leon – Flickr: Day 25: Fire Sprinkler, CC BY-SA 2.0

Industry experts join housing minister to promote offsite manufacturing

Members of Offsite Solutions Scotland meeting with minister for local government and housing Kevin Stewart MSP

A group of senior construction industry specialists met with housing minister Kevin Stewart MSP last week to discuss how they can work with the Scottish Government to grow the unique offsite manufacturing design and skill base in Scotland.

Offsite Solutions Scotland (OSS) is a coalition of ten construction manufacturers with an ambition to grow scale through collaboration.

OSS chairman Calum Murray, a director of CCG (Scotland) Ltd, said: “We were delighted that the minister was able to join us and give us his support as we work together to position Scotland as the centre of excellence for offsite manufacturing. The Scottish Government has an incredibly ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021 and it is predicted that 295,000 houses per year until 2037 require to be built in the UK.

“To achieve that, it is necessary to significantly increase the average annual output of affordable homes and the only way that is going to be achieved is by embracing and making full use of offsite manufacturing techniques.

“Offsite manufacturing offers so many advantages – most notably the fact that homes can be built faster and to higher sustainability standard when compared with traditional construction methods, making them more cost effective to build and construct, as well as live in.

“The fabric first approach of OSS responds to this with higher levels of insulation reducing energy use through conservation and factory precision reducing waste materials by up to 40%.

“Building offsite saves time and money, and it also ensures a high quality finished product and Scotland is very well placed to take advantage of this market. In addition, OSS can embrace change and the emergence of digitisation, the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, with computer aided design and computer aided manufacture utilised as standard in their businesses.”

OSS has a combined manufacturing output of £170 million employing more than 1,000 people. Partners used the meeting to highlight their focus on the pre-manufacture of the components required to build sustainable housing solutions from a truly renewable carbon capturing resource, wood.

OSS sees the many advantages of using offsite methods of construction over traditional housebuilding techniques and considerable opportunity to utilise the expertise Scotland has developed both at home and across the rest of the UK.

Conducting activities under a factory roof, offsite construction offers a clean working environment with a focus on improving productivity, enhancing quality and facilitating diversification in the workforce. This is considered necessary to tackle head on the skills and productivity challenges of our time and the systemic housing shortage.

These houses all need to meet future regulatory requirements given the challenge of fuel poverty and the environment impact buildings have accounting for about half of all our extracted materials and energy consumption.

OSS is a unique partnership formed to enable the industry to collaborate on technical projects, skills development and innovation around offsite manufacturing.  The ten organisations collaborating have a track record in their own right, they have invested in people and facilities over the years, some over decades, to have a combined knowledge base which is an invaluable asset to Scotland.

Combining their collective knowledge and infrastructure with a culture of collaboration, not normal in the construction sector, offers a new approach to the delivery of the built environment defined by its social, economic and environmental value.

In addition to CCG (Scotland) Ltd, members include Alexander Timber Design, Carbon Dynamic, Mactaggart & Mickel, Makar, Norscot, Oregon Timber Systems, Robertson, Scotframe and Stewart Milne Timber Systems. The partnership is supported by Edinburgh Napier University, the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and Scottish Enterprise.

Calum added: “The Scottish Government’s housebuilding target is being made more challenging by overall low productivity in the construction sector, as well as a skills and materials shortfall which is only going to be exacerbated by Brexit.

“Offsite construction is growing and we are well placed to take our expertise to the rest of the UK and beyond. In partnership with the Scottish Government we are ambitious and confident that together we can cement our position as a centre of excellence.”

In the UK and overseas, offsite manufacturing is growing rapidly – the industry is worth around £1.5 billion in the UK alone and is projected to rise to £6bn by 2025.

Former chartered surveyor partner successfully appeals breach of interdict ruling

Court of Session

A former partner in a property letting department of a firm of chartered surveyors who was interdicted from soliciting business from any company clients with which he had dealings after he set up a rival agency has successfully appealed against a decision that he was in breach of the court’s order.

The Inner House of the Court of Session ruled that chartered surveyors J & E Shepherd had failed to prove that Paul Letley had had previous dealings with the client in question and therefore the sheriff was not entitled to find the defender in breach of interdict.

Interim interdict

Lord Brodie, Lord Drummond Young and Lady Clark of Calton heard that the pursuers, J & E Shepherd, operated as part of their business a property letting department which was headed up by the defender, Mr Letley, who was a fixed-profit-sharing partner in the firm from 1998 until 1 June 2011.

However, the Mr Letley also had other business interests, including Pavillion Properties, a property letting and management agency which he founded, and he had contracted with J & E Shepherd to provide property management services to him and the other business entities in which he had an interest.

In April and May 2011 J & E Shepherd proposed to transfer the operation of their residential property letting department to a third party, Direct Lettings, and on 10 June 2011, an interim interdict was granted against Mr Letley for the period of one year from 1 June 2011 from “canvassing or soliciting the custom of any person, firm or company with which he had dealings during the period of partnership of the firm”.

The clients with whom Mr Letley had had dealings during his partnership with J & E Shepherd included First London & Scottish Real Estate L.L.P., Caledonian Investments No. 1 L.L.P., RNP Properties, Letley & Braidwood, Letley & Williamson, Letley & Cheverenko, Letley Beaton & Williamson, Letley & Huyton, Springfield Group, Greenwich Residential and Mrs. J.P. Letley and Dudhope Properties Ltd.

But J & E Shepherd raised proceedings for breach of interdict in January 2013, and Mr Letley was found to be in breach of the interim interdict to the extent that he solicited the custom of a Dr. Sally Keenan, a client of J & E Shepherd, by email dated 26 June 2011.

The finding was upheld by the Sheriff Principal but Mr Letley appealed against the decision.

Findings in fact

On behalf of the appellant, Michael Howlin QC submitted that in making his findings in fact, the sheriff failed to have regard to the precise terms of the interdict, which operated by reference to persons with whom the appellant had had “dealings” and not by reference to “clients”.

The contention for Mr Letley and appellant was that the interim interdict prohibited him from “canvassing or soliciting the custom of any person, firm or company with which he had dealings during the period of partnership”.

Thus, in order to establish breach of the order, it was necessary for J & E Shepherd to prove that Mr Letley had canvassed or solicited a person, firm or company and that that person, firm or company was a person, firm or company with which he had had dealings.

That had not been done, as appeared from the sheriff’s findings and facts; there was no finding that Dr Keenan was a person with whom Mr Letley had had dealings. Accordingly, it was argued that the sheriff had not been entitled to find the defender in breach of interdict.

Delivering the opinion of the court Lord Brodie said: “In a summary application the sheriff’s decision is effectively final on the facts and in order to discover what facts he has accepted as having been established one looks to what he states as his findings. It follows that if the sheriff’s decision is to withstand scrutiny there must be sufficient in his findings in fact to justify that decision.”

He added: “It is to be borne in mind that these proceedings are quasi-criminal in nature…In the present case, if the defender was to be found in breach of interdict it was necessary to establish that Dr Keenan was someone with whom the defender had had dealings. Otherwise, the interim interdict did not prevent him soliciting her custom.

“In his finding in fact (10) the sheriff found the defender to have had dealings with a number of legal and natural persons. Dr Keenan is not included in the list…We shall accordingly allow the appeal.”