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.

You can follow me on twitter @elainemotion97

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:-

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 2: 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’.