Medical negligence: defender in Scotland

Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co has a wide-ranging medical negligence offering that runs the gamut of defender work, leading to regular instructions from insurers, indemnity organisations and private companies. Led by solicitor advocate Graeme Watson, who acts for healthcare professionals on negligence claims and before regulators, the Edinburgh-based team has a proven track record representing clients in large multi-party claims and group litigation across product liability and fatal accident claims, inquests and regulatory proceedings. Duncan Batchelor represents healthcare regulators and companies in medical product liability litigation, while legal director Claire Raftery, dual qualified in Scotland, and England and Wales, is noted for her cosmetic procedure claims expertise. Associates Lyndsey Combe and Chris Dunn are other key members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Watson

Other key lawyers:

Claire Raftery; Chris Dunn; Duncan Batchelor; Lyndsey Combe


Claire Raftery and Chris Dunn are a fantastic team – every case is superbly prepared. They both work so hard for their clients, and you can see it in the results they achieve.’

Claire Raftery: A class act, excellent preparation, great with clients, excellent witness statements and sound judgment. Chris Dunn: Easily partner level performance.

Clyde & Co is the leader in the field of private sector defenders’ medical negligence. It has the best profile, people and resources.

Key clients

Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd

Stryker/Depuy International (Finsbury Orthopaedics)

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended the manufacturers of a metal-on-metal hip implant, Finsbury Orthopaedics, in the first such Scottish case to proceed to proof.
  • Acting for a global manufacturer of pelvic mesh products, Johnson & Johnson, on the largest personal injury litigation in Scotland. The sums sued for totalled approximately £45,000,000 plus interest and expenses. The litigation was also highly political with separate independent inquiries into the products in Scotland and England.

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP‘s full-service medical negligence practice advises clients on claims across various specialist areas, including ophthalmology, dentistry, product liability and social care. The firm has a growing cosmetics and aesthetics claims practice and is particularly skilled at representing governmental and private sector clients in national medical inquiries. Laura McMillan and Lynn Livesey now lead the team following the departure of former practice head Duncan Mawby to BTO Solicitors LLP in 2022. McMillan, an experienced clinical negligence solicitor advocate, acts for private healthcare clients on contentious and non-contentious matters, while associate Livesey advises insurers and private healthcare clients on fatal accident inquiries and cosmetic surgery cases. Associate Kate Donachie is another key individual.

Practice head(s):

Laura McMillan; Lynn Livesey

Other key lawyers:

Kate Donachie; Lara Graham; Ellen Andrew


Practical and commercial advice, delivering great client outcomes from a team with a sound knowledge of the sector.’

‘A team of very able and focussed individuals. The service they provide to clients is outstanding, since they are skilled at identifying key issues, diligent in pursuing those (for example by identifying leading experts and instructing expert evidence) and giving measured and robust advice to clients about their options.’

‘Their use of technology is appropriate while never losing sight of the human dimension, which most clients value.’

‘Laura MacMillan and Kate Donachie are both exceptional in the amount of effort they put into case preparation, in their grasp of detail, both factual and legal, attention to clients’ needs, and in having a common-sense approach to resolving problems.’

‘The members of the team have great communication and knowledge of defending medical negligence claims.’

‘Brodies provides a great service to their clients, they respond to you quickly. I would like to give a special mention to the following: Lara Graham, Lynn Livesey and Ellen Andrew.’

Key clients

Association of Optometrists

Scottish Government



Scottish Care

Work highlights

  • Instructed by the Scottish Government to act in relation to the Infected Blood Inquiry. The inquiry is a UK-wide public inquiry investigating how men, women and children treated by the NHS were given infected blood and infected blood products.

BTO Solicitors LLP

Acting for major UK medical defence organisations, BTO Solicitors LLP represents doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in complex, high-value and fatal clinical negligence claims before Scottish courts. Public inquiries are another strength of the firm, as are cosmetic claims, which constitute a growing focus area for the team. The group is also regularly instructed by insurers and individuals to defend claims in the private sphere. Practice head Laura Donald is a seasoned litigator with significant experience in fatal accident inquiries and public inquiries, while associate Jill Harris acts for medical and dental professionals. Other key individuals include associates Jennifer King, Natalie McCartney and Cara Docherty, as well as former Brodies LLP partner Duncan Mawby, who joined the firm as a consultant in February 2023.

Practice head(s):

Laura Donald

Other key lawyers:

Jill Harris; Jennifer KingNatalie McCartney; Cara Docherty; Duncan Mawby

Key clients

The Medical Defence Union Limited (MDU)

Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS)

Medical Protection Society (MPS)

Work highlights