Professional Experience

Sean took silk in 2012, having called to the Bar in 1999.  He was Standing Junior Counsel to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government, and the Lord Reid Scholar for 1998.  In a previous career as an academic he was Fellow and Lecturer in law at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and a Van Calker Scholar at the Institut Suisse de Droit Comparé in Lausanne. 

Sean specialises in building and engineering law, having been involved in many of the most significant and high-profile cases in the field, from John Doyle Construction Ltd v Laing Management (Scotland) Ltd 2004 BLR 295, which restated the law on global claims, Gillies Ramsay Diamond v PJW Enterprises Ltd 2004 BLR 131, which clarified the early law on adjudication, and, lead by Robert Akenhead QC in the House of Lords, Melville Dundas v George Wimpey UK Ltd 2007 BLR 257, which adapted the law on adjudication to a new climate of insolvency.  He has run several Court of Session proofs, including, for 6 months in 2015/16, as second lead counsel in the Glendoe tunnel case.  Much of his practice is in the field of energy and new technology, acting for major international companies such as Andritz and engie, both in court and in FIDIC arbitrations under the yellow, red and silver books.

In the field of public law, Sean's practice has a particularly European and international human rights dimension.  For example, he represented the petitioning local authorities in the Edinburgh congestion charge case (free movement of persons, transport policy), as well as developers judicially reviewing a proposed shopping centre on the grounds of illegal state aid.  He represented the NHS in a public procurement case that, unusually, went to proof and ended up in the Supreme Court (Healthcare at Home Ltd v The Common Services Agency 2014 SLT 769), the Lord Advocate in a case about whether education authorities owed a duty of care to abused children (McEwan v Hendron 2007 SC 556) and the Lord Advocate again in a case concerning the patient's right to life (Emms v Lord Advocate 2011 SC 433). He appears frequently in the tax chamber of the FtT and the Upper Tribunal (NHS Lothian Health Board v R & C Cmrs [2015] STC 2221, Hepburn v R & C Cmrs [2013] STI 3031), and has represented HMRC and taxpayers in matters of both UK, and now Scottish, taxation.

Professional Career to date

Devilmasters: Laurence Murphy QC, Norman Ritchie QC.

2012: Silk
2009 -2014: Standing Junior Counsel to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs
2005 - 2008: Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government

Education & Professional Qualifications

LLB (Hons)