Medical negligence: defender in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP is skilled at handling high-value claims in specialist areas across general medical practitioner negligence, ophthalmology, deaths in custody, and aesthetic surgery, as well as medical device implantation which has seen an increase. Arguably, the market leaders in this space, the team is instructed by an extensive client roster made up of medical defense organisations, hospitals, care homes and cosmetic clinics, and is overseen by practice head Duncan Mawby  from Edinburgh. The group advises on complex civil claims, regulatory issues, and defends clinicians in NHS disciplinary hearings. Laura McMillan advises clients operating in the private healthcare space and is noted for her clinical negligence practice; she also advises on ongoing Covid-19 issues. The team is supported by associate Lynn Livesey , with a proven track record in clinical negligence claims. Jill Harris has left the firm for BTO Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Mawby

Other key lawyers:

Laura McMillan; Jill Harris; Lynn Livesey


‘The Medical Negligence Team at Brodies is extremely high quality with significant ability across the Team. In cases where they represent medical and dental practitioners, they demonstrate a high level of proficiency, legal knowledge and experience in handling complex, high-value, technically challenging and sensitive litigation.’

‘The team’s reputation as a market leader in this area is well deserved.’

‘Duncan Mawby as Team Leader has a wealth of experience in this practice area. He is hard-working, personable, thorough and highly knowledgeable. He is liked and respected by clients, colleagues and counsel. It truly is a pleasure to be instructed by Duncan – his depth of knowledge and ability makes life extremely easy for Counsel.’

‘Excellent attention to detail. Very focused on supporting the client.’

‘Excellent communication every step of the way extremely approachable professional team. Every member of the team go above and beyond to deal with your case as a client you are their number one priority.’

Key clients

Association of Optometrists




Clyde & Co

Described as ‘simply the best’, Clyde & Co maintains an excellent reputation for large multi-party negligence claims and group litigation across fatal accidents, inquests, and product liability claims. Bolstered by the merger with Clyde & Co, the team retains its strength in defending claims for inadequate care and neglect over care homes, and continues to be instructed by insurers, indemnity organisations and private companies. Practice head Graeme Watson acts for doctors and dentists whilst solicitor advocate Duncan Batchelor acts before healthcare regulators and counts healthcare companies and medical professionals as his core client base. Also in the group is Claire Raftery who is a specialist in cosmetic procedure claims.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Watson

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Batchelor; Claire Raftery


‘Very commercial and very professional. Claire Rafferty provides fast response times, an expert in her field and a pleasure to deal with.’

‘The Clyde & Co team is, simply, the best in this area. They have scale, breadth, and resources as well as a very strong team.’

‘Hard working, impeccable judgement, and immense knowledge and ability.’

‘Graeme Watson – very thorough and knowledgeable, good tactician.’

‘Duncan Batchelor – excellent litigator, very thorough and sees “the big picture” in the case.’

‘One of the most experienced clinical negligence practices in Scotland, handling a wide range of work. The work includes at the most serious end of the scale. For instance, in the past year I have dealt with a case of serious spinal injury following surgery. Out in front in terms of producing documents in a useable electronic form.’

‘Duncan Bachelor and Graeme Watson are both very knowledgeable. They analyse their cases well and instruct good experts. When litigating, they provide good, clear instructions that give counsel an indication of their thinking. This approach filters throughout their teams, such that the quality of instruction in always high.’

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. This case raises fundamental questions about the courts’ approach to the Consumer Protection Act 1987 in the context of medical products.
  • Act for a global manufacturer of pelvic mesh products, Johnson & Johnson, in the largest personal injury litigation in Scotland.

BTO Solicitors LLP

BTO Solicitors LLP has a proven track record representing doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in complex clinical negligence claims, before the Courts in Scotland. Under the leadership of ‘calm and tenaciousLaura Donald, the experienced team is adept at handling public inquiries, fatal accidents and has seen a growth in cosmetic claims. Also, in the core team is accredited personal injury specialist Natalie McCartney and Jennifer King. Michael Higgins recently joined from DWF, with Jill Harris also joining from Brodies LLP. The team also received instructions from insurance companies.

Practice head(s):

Laura Donald

Other key lawyers:

Natalie McCartney; Jennifer King; Michael Higgins


‘The knowledge and skill of the lead Partner, Laura Donald , is unrivalled in Scotland. She brings years of experience including advocacy and involvement in a number of Public Inquiries. Her calm and tenacious approach has served Doctors and Dentists well over two decades.’

‘The Knowledge and experience of the BTO Team under Laura’s stewardship is a exceptional.’

Key clients

The Medical Defence Union Limited (MDU)

Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS)

Medical Protection Society (MPS)