Medical negligence: defender in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP's client roster includes a broad array of medical defence organisations, hospitals, care homes, opticians, medical service agencies, manufacturers of medical equipment, and cosmetic and dental clinics. It has earned a reputation handling high-value claims, including those arising from general medical practitioner negligence, general dental practitioner negligence, ophthalmology, deaths in custody, and aesthetic surgery and medical device implantation. Practice head Duncan Mawby primarily defends clinical negligence claims against doctors and dentists, and has extensive experience of defending clinicians in the civil and criminal courts, before professional regulators, in NHS disciplinary hearings and at fatal accident inquiries. Other names to note are Laura McMillan, who is particularly active in consent and non-delegable duty cases, and associate Jill Harris.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Mawby

Other key lawyers:

Elena Fry; Laura McMillan; Jill Harris; Lynn Livesey


Honest, hardworking and very knowledgeable team, providing excellent client support.’

Key clients

Association of Optometrists




Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP is adept at handling the full spectrum of claims, which range from large-scale group litigation to volume low-value matters. Its recent work included product liability claims emanating from defective medical devices and claims against care homes over allegedly inadequate care and neglect. Graeme Watson has extensive experience of acting for healthcare professionals (particularly doctors and dentists) in clinical negligence claims, fatal accident inquiries and public inquiries. He co-heads the practice with group litigation specialist Duncan Batchelor, who defended Stryker/Depuy International (Finsbury Orthopaedics) in the first Scottish case to consider the question of ‘defect’ under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. Legal director Claire Raftery also provides key support in this area.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Watson; Duncan Batchelor

Other key lawyers:

Claire Raftery; Chris Dunn


‘A well-respected medical negligence team, which is routinely instructed by a range of medical defence organisations. Experienced in handling higher profile/complex litigations. The medical negligence practice is complemented by strong experience in medical product liability cases and medical regulatory proceedings.’

‘Graeme Watson has a range of experience in the medical negligence sector. A calm head and clear strategic thinking. Also a very good manner with clinicians who are invariably anxious about the overall process. Also uses his rights of audience as a solicitor-advocate on occasion to do appearance work as well.’

‘Duncan Batchelor is an excellent lawyer. He is commercially savvy and always tactically ahead of his opponent.’ 

‘The stand out individuals are Duncan Batchelor and Chris Dunn. They know the market better than anyone else, they are always meticulously prepared and their instructions to counsel are second to none. They are simply market leaders and operate at a level far in excess of their competitors.’

‘One of the market leaders. Clyde and Co is a well-resourced firm in the area that handles a variety of disputes. The two partners that head the unit are solicitor advocates, so cases are well prepared.’

‘Both Duncan Batchelor and Graeme Watson are experienced practitioners who prepare cases very thoroughly.’ 

Key clients

Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd

Stryker/Depuy International (Finsbury Orthopaedics)

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended Stryker/Depuy International (Finsbury Orthopaedics), the manufacturers of a metal on metal hip implant, in the first such Scottish case to proceed to proof.
  • Represented a general practitioner in a £1.8m Court of Session action, in which the pursuer alleged that her GP failed to refer her to orthopaedics following knee replacement revision surgery on several occasions, which led to the amputation of her leg.
  • Instructed to act on behalf of a number of care homes in claims relating to the care of elderly residents, including claims alleging that negligent care caused the deaths of those residents.

BTO Solicitors LLP

BTO Solicitors LLP fields a ‘very experienced medical negligence team that acts for all of the major defence unions’, and has a 'good appreciation of the range of issues that medical professionals face'. Led by Laura Donald, whose ‘diligence, sensitivity and thoroughness is second to none’, the group represents doctors, dentists, nurses and other healthcare professionals in clinical negligence claims in the Court of Session and Sheriff Courts, fatal accident inquiries and public inquiries. Also active in this area are Georgia Rose, who regularly defends doctors and dentists at fitness to practise proceedings, and Jennifer King. Douglas Jessiman retired in March 2020.

Practice head(s):

Laura Donald

Other key lawyers:

Georgia Rose; Jennifer King


‘A very experienced medical negligence team that act for all of the major defence unions. Instructed both in civil claims and regulatory matters so have a good appreciation of the range of issues that medical professionals will be facing.’ 

‘Led by Laura Donald, who has a wealth of experience in medical negligence and regulatory matters. Regularly represents doctors before the GMC whilst also acting for them in respect of civil litigation. One of the most experienced, and stand out solicitors in private practice in this area.

‘BTO is one of the leading firms in the area. I have undertaken claims against both GPs and surgeons. They are organised and undertake investigations in a thorough manner. COVID has accelerated the use of electronic papers, which is a welcome development. ’

‘Laura Donald is an expert in the area, who is good with both clients and experts. ’

‘Strong team led by market leader Laura Donald. Have depth to deal with range of cases from claims, FAI and regulatory’

‘Laura Donald has led the medical negligence field for years. Her depth of knowledge is unrivalled and she is the “go to” for complex matters’

‘They have a very responsive, can-do attitude and a thorough but pragmatic approach. They provide an all-round service  and are always keen to discuss ’

‘Laura Donald is the stand-out partner, with huge experience. She has built strong client relationships and demonstrated flexibility in service provision including many added value services such as seminars, workshops etc.’

‘As well as having experience that is pretty much unrivalled, Laura Donald’s diligence, sensitivity and thoroughness is second to none. There is no one better in Scotland.’

Key clients

The Medical Defence Union Limited (MDU)

Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS)