Litigation since 1880

Neil Hay

Partner and Solicitor-Advocate
07866 734524

Edinburgh 0131 306 0115
London 020 3968 6086

Areas of specialism

Neil Hay

Neil Hay is one of the foremost criminal lawyers in Scotland. In 2023 he was the first recipient of the prestigious Legal 500 Crime Lawyer of the Year award. He provides strategic legal advice and specialist court representation for individuals, organisations and companies under investigation or facing prosecution.

Neil’s legal expertise includes all Scottish criminal allegations, common law crimes and statutory offences. He is also highly regarded for defending serious and sensitive cases, such as domestic and sexual charges, fatal Road Traffic cases, White-Collar Crime, and Regulatory and Business offences. He works throughout Scotland, in London and for international clients outside the UK.

He has practised as a solicitor for more than 25 years, and as a solicitor-advocate for over 15 years, defending clients in Scottish courts at every level. He has represented clients accused of the most serious crimes in the High Court (including as leading counsel) and in the Appeal Court.

For many years Neil has been top-rated by legal directories for his expertise in criminal law and financial crime. He is the only Scottish criminal lawyer to be recommended by the Spears 500 index for his expertise in private crime cases and is highly recommended as a ‘leading individual’ by the Legal 500 for his overall expertise in Scottish criminal law. Neil has also featured in Chambers & Partners guide to the legal profession and in The Times Best Law Firms. In 2023 Neil was named as the Legal 500 Crime Lawyer of the Year.

Neil acts for individuals, organisations and companies facing investigation or prosecution. His individual clients are professionals (such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers & company directors) or high-profile (politicians, civil servants, media personalities & international sportspeople). He is frequently instructed by persons of high-net-worth (landowners, investors, company owners & entrepreneurs). Corporate clients include FTSE 100 companies, insurance companies, unions, partnerships, government institutions, religious organisations, pressure groups and charities.

Neil has a very substantial referral practice. He is the solicitor of choice for leading law firms in Scotland, England and internationally (including magic circle firms), who require his specialist expertise for their clients. He has a significant practice in England & Wales, providing advice to individuals and companies who require specialist advice in Scottish criminal law. He is also instructed by clients in Europe, the Middle East and in the United States. 

The focus of Neil’s work is always on discretion and confidentiality, with the aim of avoiding court prosecutions and protecting reputations. If court proceedings cannot be avoided, he will lead a specialist and dedicated team of lawyers to provide a vigorous and effective defence in court. Neil is particularly highly regarded for his skill and experience in defending domestic, sexual & financial cases. 

Outside of legal practice Neil is regularly asked to speak at legal conferences and to write articles for legal journals. He is a former lecturer at Scottish universities in the law of Evidence and in Court & Tribunal Advocacy. He also has a particular interest in improving access to the legal profession for under-represented groups. Neil is married with three children and lives in Edinburgh.

Client Reviews

2024: ‘The go-to criminal lawyer for professionals’, ‘Neil Hay is a star. He is empathetic, hard-working and delivers an incredible result’.

2023: ‘Neil Hay – a brilliant lawyer who combines great client skills with unsurpassed experience, ‘Neil Hay provides a top class personal service to professional clients charged with crimes.’

2022: ‘A superb advocate and adviser’, ‘An exceptional strategic thinker and a brilliant communicator’, ‘He looks after his clients with exceptional care’, ‘Outstanding in his understanding of complex legal issues’, ‘Excellent’, ‘He is the solicitor of choice for referrals from large city firms’;

2021: ‘Neil Hay won’t be deflected from what really matters’; ‘A cool methodical lawyer who will leave no stone unturned’

2020: ‘Outstanding’, highly experienced’, ‘Of the highest calibre’


The Law Society of Scotland
The Society of Solicitor-Advocates (committee member)
The Fraud Lawyers Association
The Health & Safety Lawyers Association