Edinburgh 0131 200 1200
Aberdeen 01224 49 80 80

After qualifying in the mid-1980s I practised in Edinburgh building my litigation experience in a number of areas before heading to New Zealand where I worked as a barrister and solicitor for a number of years. After leaving Auckland in 1993, I returned to Scotland to take on a new challenge that year at Balfour+Manson, becoming a partner of the firm in 1997 and a solicitor advocate in 1999.

For many years I headed up the litigation department of some 65 professionals before taking up the position of Chairman on 3rd March 2014. I follow a great tradition of equality which is a core part of what the firm stands for; Ethel Houston was the first female partner in a Scottish law firm at Balfour+Manson and I am immensely proud and humbled to be the first female ‘Chairman’.

The firm is a member of Parlex, an alliance of European law firms and as part of that membership I always attended bi-annual conferences to help build cross border working relationships and best practices.

I have very significant experience across Human rights and public law including most recently the Cherry Prorogation case which ended up in the UKSC; the Article 50 Brexit case decided in the European Court of Justice and the challenge to ensure to ensure the then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson signed the extension letter re the Brexit deadline. Other examples include the Named person challenge; the Church lockdown case and the School and Nursery Milk challenge-all successful against the Scottish Ministers.

I have also had the great pleasure to work on many cutting edge and ground breaking cases including:-

  • Professional discipline and regulation – cases such as Law Society v SLCC ( McIntosh) ;McMahon MacFadyen v The Law Society of Scotland and Tehrani v UKCC all successful  for the client. I have prosecuted solicitors before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal since 1993. I sit as a judge on the Police Appeals Tribunal; act as a prosecutor for another regulator and as legal adviser in a non-legal field regulatory field. I also represent individuals before their regulator or educational establishment. I have been accredited as a specialist in this area by the Law Society of Scotland.
  • Clinical negligence claims in particular late diagnosis of breast cancer cases.
  • Commercial litigation – whether it be by way of Appeals from organisations such as the National Appeal Panel for Pharmaceutical decisions; challenges in relation to grants or refusals of planning applications (e.g.wind farms) or for giving general “gate keeping” advice to organisations to prevent challenges and/or set up the ability to challenge. One of the most significant being Cuthbertson v Friends Provident in relation to payment under health/critical illness policies which has altered the law UK wide.

In doing so I have been able to cross refer my expertise and knowledge across these areas to the benefit of the client. 

I practise as a solicitor-advocate and in that capacity have appeared in the House of Lords on a number of occasions.

I am highly ranked in Chambers UK Legal Guide 2023 – Band 1 (Civil Liberties), Band 1 (Professional Discipline), Band 1 (Administrative and Public Law) and Band 3 (Medical Negligence). I am also recommended in Legal 500 2023 Guide. 

  • The Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
  • The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)
  • The Society of Solicitor Advocates
  • Trustee of the vCJD Trust
  • Accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a Specialist in Regulation of Professional Conduct Law

Elaine Motion is the stand out partner for cutting edge public law and constitutional law work. She is always two steps ahead of both counsel and her opponent solicitors in any litigation. She has also created a fantastic team of solicitors who have been trained to her almost impossibly high standards.

The Legal 500, 2023

This practice is a stand out leader in Scotland for parliamentary and public affairs. I have personally worked with Elaine Motion for a long time – most recently on a successful Judicial review against the Scottish Government for the milk industry association.

Her grasp of the law, the likely response of particular members of the judiciary, the politics and the media are exceptional. They are extremely well organised and ran the technical and court sides of the work to a high standard.

The Legal 500, 2023

Elaine has the depth of experience and really is first-class.

Chambers UK Guide, 2023

Elaine is formidable, and when acting for claimants she is a serious person to deal with.

Chambers UK Guide, 2023