David Welsh specialises in public and commercial law with a particular focus on taxation and the use of trusts. He joined Cornerstone Barristers as a tenant in October 2023. Since being called to the bar in 2017, David has appeared in courts at all levels, including before a full bench of the UK Supreme Court and a full bench of the Court of Justice of the European Union. David has a busy public law practice, including high-profile constitutional litigation.
He appeared as junior counsel before a full bench of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Wightman v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union ( Q.B. 199), as junior counsel before a full bench of the United Kingdom Supreme Court in Cherry v Advocate General for Scotland  UKSC 41, and as junior counsel for the intervener in the reference to the UK Supreme Court by the Lord Advocate in relation to the proposed Scottish Independence Referendum Bill.
David has particular experience with taxation (particularly personal taxation) and disputes involving trustees, executors and charity trustees. He is a full member of the Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners. David has provided advice on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters relating to private individuals, trusts, businesses and charities. He has experience of advising trustees and executors where the trust/ estate has cross-border or international elements, requiring consideration of private international law and double taxation treaties.
David is regularly instructed in a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, including company law petitions. David has significant experience of contractual disputes and professional liability (solicitors, tax advisers/accountants) including disciplinary matters.
- Public Law and Judicial Review
David Welsh is a Public Law specialist. Notable cases include:
- Billy Graham Evangelistic Association v Scottish Event Campus  An action for damages arising out of discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010.
- Avaaz v Scottish Ministers  CSOH 81. Challenge of the failure by the Scottish Ministers to seek an unexplained wealth order.
- Keatings v Advocate General  CSIH 25. An action by a political campaigner seeking declarator in relation to the competence of the proposed Scottish Independence Referendum Bill.
- Cherry v Advocate General  UKSC 41. Challenge to the Prime Minister’s attempt to prorogue the UK Parliament in order to avoid political accountability. Heard by full bench of the UK Supreme Court.
- Wightman v Advocate General  QB 199. Challenge to determine whether the Article 50 “withdrawal notification” could be withdrawn by the UK once it had been notified to the European Commission. Heard by a full bench of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
- Philip v Scottish Ministers  CSOH 52. Challenge to the coronavirus regulations that required the closure of places of worship on the grounds of a disproportionate interference with a Convention right.
- Sharp v Scottish Ministers  CSOH 74. Challenge against Scottish Ministers’ relief package for retail, hospitality and retail sectors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Greenpeace Ltd v Advocate General  SLT 1303. Challenges to the granting of oil drilling licences in the North Sea.
- O’Leary v Scottish Ministers  CSOH 81/ Hutton v Parole Board for Scotland  CSOH 34. Counsel for interested parties (the Risk Management Authority) in two disputes about the respective roles of various public authorities within the statutory framework governing orders for lifelong restriction.
- Commercial and Regulatory
David Welsh has particular experience with taxation (particularly personal taxation) and disputes involving trustees, executors and charity trustees. Notable cases include:
- DCM (Optical Holdings) v HMRC  CSIH 60;  UKSC 26. Challenge against non-statutory ‘inhibits’ being used to prevent repayment of input tax to repayment traders as well as issues in relation to time bar for assessments.
- McMahon v Grant Thornton  CSOH 50. Defending accountancy firm accused of professional negligence for failing to provide advice about entrepreneurs’ relief from capital gains tax.
- Glasgow City Council v VFS Financial Services Ltd  CSOH 92;  CSIH 1. Competition law claims by local authorities against various vehicle manufacturers following a determination of findings by European Commission.
- Promontoria (Henrico) Limited v Friel  CSOH 2;  CSIH 1. Enforcement of a personal guarantee by assignee of bank loan book, including reclaiming motion in relation to requirements of proving the tenor, certification of documents and construction of an assignation.
- Centric Community Projects Ltd v Aberdeen City Council  CSOH 76. Challenge against refusal by local authority to grant mandatory charitable relief from non domestic rates.