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Elaine Motion

Elaine Motion


Litigation (Personal / Business)


About Elaine

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.  Elaine

                                  Elaine Motion

TL HOT 100 08881 Hot 100 2019 Cmyk 01


The "unflappable and totally dependable" Elaine Motion "anticipates and solves problems, and provides unrivalled support"

Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession, 2017

Specialist area

I have very significant experience across the Commercial Litigation field – 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.

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

  1. professional discipline and regulation-cases such as  McMahon MacFadyen v The Law Society of Scotland and Tehrani v UKCC both successfully  for the regulator as well as acting in the regulatory field itself for regulators and individuals alike
  2. human rights and public law – Napier ; Somerville and Davidson v Scottish Ministers in the human rights field and numerous public law challenges for individuals ; private organisations as well as public bodies including planning; pharmaceutical and education
  3. clinical negligence claims including multi-million pound childbirth/cerebral palsy claims and late diagnosis of breast cancer cases 3 which were successfully settled in recent months
  4. commercial law – 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.

My experience set out above means I have been ranked in 4 different service areas in Chambers UK these are:

  • Band 1: Civil Liberties

  • Band 1: Professional Discipline

  • Band 1: Administrative and Public Law

  • Band 2: Clinical (Medical) Negligence 

I am also ranked in Legal 500 who describes me as ‘having a wealth of experience and demonstrates a keen knowledge of issues’.


You can follow me on twitter @elainemotion97

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