Medical negligence: pursuer in Scotland

Anderson Strathern

Under the leadership of Robbie Wilson, 'a highly skilled solicitor with specialist knowledge of clinical negligence'Anderson Strathern’s offering runs the full gamut of medical negligence work. Specialising in birth injury and fatal claims in recent years, the department also receives a steady flow of claims pertaining to surgical injury, misdiagnosis, failures to treat and accidents at work or abroad. Catriona Watt, in particular, has earned a strong reputation nationally for her success in the sub-specialism of birth injuries. One of the first solicitors in Scotland to hold the medical negligence specialist accreditation, Robert Carr has an illustrious track record in pursuing Court of Session claims. Evolving every year, the personal practice of director Gary Burton features myriad high-value clinical negligence cases.

Practice head(s):

Robbie Wilson

Other key lawyers:

Catriona Watt; Robert Carr; Gary Burton

Testimonials

‘I was very impressed by the team’s communications with me, which were frequent and informative. I was kept up to date with events at all times, consulted frequently and my wishes taken into account at every step.’ 

‘Having now had dealings with a different firm for another, unrelated matter, I am so very impressed with Anderson Strathern’s utter professionalism; their commitment to their clients is obvious by their attention and the volume and quality of their communications.’

‘The solicitors work well as a team, maximising their individual strengths. There appears to be a commitment to training new solicitors and integrating them into the team.’

‘Gary Burton is always on top of each case. He is friendly, good to work with and responsive. He is very good with clients and puts them at ease.’

‘Gary Burton works tirelessly for his clients. He is able to manage complex high-value claims extremely well. The skill set required for clinical negligence work includes detailed knowledge of medical and causation issues as well as being able to instruct the right expert. He has these skills in abundance.’

‘Robbie Wilson is an extremely good lawyer who is great to work with. He is an excellent communicator and very good with clients.’ 

‘Catriona Watt had a clear, thought-out plan for our case based on our personal situation, and would keep us well informed.’

‘Robbie Wilson is a highly skilled solicitor with specialist knowledge of clinical negligence, which sets him apart from many of his competitors. He also retains a warm human side that greatly assists with client engagement.’

Key clients

Harper, Robertson & Shannon

Martin & Company

Masson & Glennie

Quantum Claims

Pomphreys

Wallace Quinn

Lynn Herbert & Co

Smith & Grant

Royal College of Nursing

Balfour+Manson LLP

'One of the best known and respected teams for pursuing medical negligence claims in Scotland', Balfour+Manson LLP represents an exceptionally diverse client roster in medical negligence cases against an assortment of hospitals, primary care providers, dentists, ophthalmologists, optometrists and other health professionals. Presiding over the group is 'one of, if not the most, highly regarded clinical negligence solicitors of her generation' in Ann Logan, who frequently handles claims involving neonatal care and birth injury. In addition, firm chairman Elaine Motion and David McIntosh are regularly instructed in misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis matters. Another name to note is senior associate Michaela Guthrie, who often provides assistance to Logan in complex cerebral palsy and birth injury claims, applying a'level of care and consideration to her cases that many others could learn from'

Practice head(s):

Ann Logan; Elaine Motion

Other key lawyers:

David McIntosh; Julie Clark-Spence; Michaela Guthrie

Testimonials

‘Outstanding in every respect. I have not had to pursue a claim for medical negligence before, and the team were extremely supportive throughout and minimised the stress for me.’

‘Extremely knowledgeable and experienced. They kept me informed throughout. Elaine Motion was the standout partner. I shall always be grateful for how she guided the process to a successful conclusion.’

‘The team are very professional and have a very personal approach. The people in the team are very knowledgeable and excellent in getting back in a timely manner.’ 

‘One of the best known and respected teams for pursuing medical negligence claims in Scotland. They are a pleasure to work with. Diligent case preparation and sensible, pragmatic analysis of a case means that they fight their client’s case hard but without any of the drama that comes from some other teams.’ 

‘Ann Logan is an exceptional solicitor – she is thorough and careful in her preparation, has vast experience which means her advice is always astute and tactically and strategically sound, and has a lovely way with clients who are invariably anxious and/or distressed by the whole process.’ 

‘Julie Clark-Spence, who is based in the Aberdeen office, is very experienced and has a very good way of handling clients.’

‘Ann Logan is one of, if not the most, highly regarded clinical negligence solicitors of her generation. I cannot speak highly enough of her intellect and her abilities. Michaela Guthrie has a level of care and consideration to her cases that many others could learn from. She is excellent.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for a group of women cancer patients who were under-dosed during chemotherapy by Tayside NHS, a case in which no consent was sought and the under-dosing was contrary to normal practice.
  • Instructed by an individual in an action against a health board related to the delayed diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome.

Drummond Miller LLP

With an enviable track record in securing major settlements for clients, Drummond Miller LLP fields a group of dedicated clinical negligence lawyers who almost exclusively handle medical negligence claims. Demanding the 'utmost respect of her peers, not only for her knowledge of complex medical and legal matters but also for her integrity and judgement', practice co-head Liesa Spiller is instructed in an assortment of claims, including cases relating to fatalities, surgical errors, and misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, as well as birth injuries. Sharing the department lead with Spiller is Darren Deery, whose extensive workload includes cases at all levels. Notably, Deery was appointed to a working group to consider potential changes to the new Chapter 42A procedure under which most clinical negligence actions are now litigated.

Practice head(s):

Liesa Spiller; Darren Deery

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Rose; Lorna Hale

Testimonials

‘The Drummond Miller clinical negligence team are, in my view, extremely expert in all that they do. The client is the most important thing to them and no stone is left unturned when it comes to investigations.’

‘Liesa Spiller really is one of the most experienced and able practitioners in this field. She has the utmost respect of her peers, not only for her knowledge of complex medical and legal matters but also for her integrity and judgement.’

‘Liesa Spiller is tenacious and focused on success for her clients, while Darren Deery displays very good interpersonal skills with difficult clients.’

‘Drummond Miller have a very strong pursuer clinical negligence team, from partner level down. They are certainly a top-tier practice in this area.’

‘Very well respected in the area of medical negligence with individuals who care about their clients and cases.’

‘Liesa Spiller and Darren Deery are absolutely superb and probably the best two medical negligence solicitors in Scotland. They have trained up a team of highly competent and dedicated assistants and associates.’

‘Absolute dedication, with the client being given clear priority over making money.’

‘I have worked extensively with both Darren Deery and Liesa Spiller and you really can’t get two better solicitors in this field. They can and do deal with the most complex cases, including massive cerebral palsy claims, and they do an incredible job.’

Digby Brown LLP

One of the standout names in Scotland for complex, high-value medical negligence cases, the dedicated team at Digby Brown LLP brings to bear wide-ranging expertise in clinical negligence claims. The group is headed by Ruth Kelliher, an accredited clinical negligence specialist who displays particular expertise in pursuing cases involving birth injury and neonatal deaths, as well as dealing with delays in diagnosis, surgical errors and bile duct injury cases. At the associate level, Trish McFadden has a strong track record of assisting clients with prescription error, misdiagnosis, informed consent and brain injury cases.

Practice head(s):

Ruth Kelliher

Other key lawyers:

Trish McFadden

Work highlights

  • Acted in a £575,000 claim for the family of a patient who died after being wrongly discharged from hospital.
  • Acting in a £7m claim to recover damages for a patient who suffered a stroke after a CT scan was misinterpreted.
  • Acting in a £750,000 settlement for a woman who was scalded in a care home bath.

Harper Macleod LLP

Sitting within the wider personal injury and reparation department, which is fronted by Elizabeth Mitchell, the clinical negligence team at Harper Macleod LLP handles manifold clinical negligence claims. The practice, which is presided over by Heather Calderwood, deals primarily with actions arising from wrongful life and stillborn births, foetal abnormalities, catastrophic injuries to children, A&E failures, misdiagnoses and failure to diagnose, as well as general surgery claims. Also well versed in such work is senior associate Amy Dickson, an ‘experienced litigator’ who is ‘hardworking and a pleasure to work with’.

Practice head(s):

Elizabeth Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Heather Calderwood; Amy Dickson

Testimonials

‘The client focus is strong, with a clear sense of putting the client first. They have adapted to online working well since Covid. They have a strong identity as a team and I’m confident that any client will get robust advice and representation.’

‘Amy Dickson is good with clients, an experienced litigator, hardworking and a pleasure to work with.’

Lindsays

Leveraging its online commercial brand Calio Claims, which is generating increased levels of referrals, Lindsays places an emphasis on claims concerning birth injuries, misdiagnosis and surgical errors. The ‘assiduous, conscientious and thorough’ department is led by David Armstrong, described as ‘a credit to his profession’, who specialises in complex misdiagnosis claims and increasingly in high-value loss of society claims. Other practitioners of note are Lauren Pasi - who made partner in April 2020 - and Jonathan Cornwell, who has experience in hospital-acquired infection and eye injury claims.

Practice head(s):

David Armstrong

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Pasi; Jonathan Cornwell

Testimonials

‘An easy and flawless process. I was talked through every stage of the case, any questions I had were answered in great depth and great knowledge was displayed from start to finish. Complete transparency is another huge positive.’

‘I have dealt primarily with David Armstrong, who is a credit to his profession. His knowledge is absolutely superb, and he answers any questions I have there and then. On top of this he is an incredibly approachable person.’

‘This is a resourceful and respectful team with strong leadership. Communication from them was clear at all times.’ 

‘David Armstrong and Jonathan Cornwell both stand out as excellent solicitors. They communicate with clients in a way that is appropriate to the clients’ understanding and grasp of a case.’ 

‘I have worked with the medical negligence team and have found them to be assiduous, conscientious and thorough.’

‘I have worked with David Armstrong, who has been thorough, efficient, responsive, highly technical and approachable.’

‘They know what product they have and are experts in providing advice and investigating a client’s claim, whether these are low or high-value claims.’

Key clients

Calio Claims

First Central Insurance Company Limited

Lindsays Alliance

Scotland Claims Limited

Knights Solicitors

RGB Associates Limited

The Society of Radiographers

Ward Haddaway

Ageas Legal

The Law Society of Scotland

Work highlights

  • Acting for a client at very short notice in a claim for £2.5m.
  • Acting for a number of family members in relation to Court of Session proceedings seeking damages of £790,000 as a result of negligence on the part of the treating medical team.
  • Handling an extensive investigation in relation to a claim arising out of errors made during a bladder reconstruction operation.

Morton Fraser

Deeply engaged with medical, patient and expert bodies, the team at Morton Fraser is routinely instructed in complex medical negligence cases, standing out for its knowledge of misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis and birth injury claims. Acting for a range of individuals, legal expenses insurers and solicitors, the team - which is led by Jenny Dickson - also acts in surgical error, informed consent and fatal claims. Senior solicitor Derek Couper, who has experience conducting cases in both the Sheriff Court and the Court of Session in Edinburgh, is also a key name in this space.

Practice head(s):

Jenny Dickson

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Edgar; Derek Couper

Key clients

DAS Legal Expenses Insurance

Work highlights

  • Settled a birth injury case understood to be the highest settlement ever agreed in Scotland.
  • Acting for a client in an informed consent case.
  • Acting for the family of a man who died due to a misdiagnosis of his condition by his GP.

Jackson Boyd LLP

Mainly instructed by large legal expenses insurance clients, Jackson Boyd LLP’s medical negligence team is led by ‘very experienced’ solicitor advocate Debbie Milne, who specialises in delayed diagnosis, misinformed consent, surgical error and significant birth injury claims. Renowned in this space, Milne is ‘cited for her sensible, pragmatic approach’, which she also applies to other types of instructions, chief among them misdiagnosis, dental negligence, fatal and catastrophic injury claims and cases involving legal questions around liability and duty of care.

Practice head(s):

Debbie Milne

Testimonials

‘Debbie Milne is very experienced and I always find her to be organised and efficient and to have a sensible, pragmatic approach. She fights hard for her client and will stand firm if she feels she has a strong case.’

Work highlights

  • Recovering significant damages for a young mother who suffered an injury caused by a forceps delivery.
  • Recovering a substantial six-figure sum for a client following a failure to diagnose cauda equina syndrome.
  • Recovering damages for a man following an extravasation injury.

Slater and Gordon

The ‘very patient-focused‘ practice at Slater and Gordon is headed by principal lawyer Sarah McWhirter, ‘a rising star in medical negligence‘ who has helped oversee the department’s recent period of growth. McWhirter, who clients say is ‘well versed in cases concerning challenging and sensitive medical records‘, handles a wide range of cases, including obstetric, birth injury, surgical injury, cancer and orthopaedic injury claims. The department has also seen an upsurge in claims involving cerebral palsy, multiple amputations and spinal cord trauma.

Practice head(s):

Sarah McWhirter

Other key lawyers:

Claire Paterson

Testimonials

‘Sarah McWhirter is, in my opinion, the most outstanding pursuer clinical negligence solicitor in Scotland. She is organised, diligent and forward-thinking.’

‘A very patient-focused practice. Very organised and efficient. They really seem to care about their clients.’

‘A respected, proactive and well-organised team, which has a good grasp of the technicalities of this area of law.’

‘Sarah McWhirter is thorough and meticulous. She is well versed in cases concerning challenging and sensitive medical records and in guiding clients through difficult times. Her approach is always balanced and measured. Claire Paterson’s approach is always client-focused. She has good judgement and is a welcome support.’

‘I have always found them to be excellent – efficient, informed and flexible. They are patient when things take time.’

‘This is a great team who work extremely hard for their clients. They are well organised and focused. When work is to be done it is done extremely well. They are very good with clients.’

‘Sarah McWhirter stands out as an individual who is a rising star in medical negligence. She is extremely diligent and I enjoy working with her. She is a valuable member of the team and brings her skills to cases. Clients really like her.’

‘Sarah McWhirter is a shrewd solicitor who takes a great interest in the claimants, who are usually in a state of distress. She deals with each individual in a sympathetic but realistic manner.’

Work highlights

  • Successful settlement of a claim involving an elderly ex-farmer who suffered from a delay in his diagnosis of cervical myelopathy.

Irwin Mitchell Scotland

Irwin Mitchell Scotland’s medical negligence team is evolving under the leadership of senior associate David Bell. The team's caseload is dominated by mid-market matters related to birthing injuries, spinal injuries, brain injuries and ophthalmology. Also active in this space is accredited medical negligence specialist Kathleen Lang, who also has experience in misdiagnosis, cosmetic surgery, defective medical device and dental negligence claims.

Practice head(s):

David Bell

Other key lawyers:

Nicola McCartney; Kathleen Lang

Testimonials

‘The team is very professional and everything is well explained. They ensure I am aware of the risk involved, putting suitable mitigation in place when required.’