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Ledingham Chalmers LLP

Work 0131 200 1000
Fax 0131 200 1060

John Chalmers

Work 0131 200 1000
Ledingham Chalmers LLP

Work Department

Litigation department.


John obtained extended rights of audience (solicitor advocate) in 2008 and is the partner in charge of the firm’s Edinburgh office which undertakes exclusively litigation and dispute resolution work with an emphasis on work in Scotland’s higher civil court, the Court of Session. His team also deal with referral work in the Court of Session for solicitors outside Edinburgh. His practice is principally in the public sector and insurance fields and includes casualty – representing insurers, claim handlers, local authorities and other self-insured organisations in defending claims. He has acted in a number of high-value claims involving serious injuries. He also acts for insurers in recovery actions against third parties including fire and other serious damage claims. He has expertise in insurance law (advises insurers on issues affecting validity of insurance contracts, fraudulent claims and disputes with policyholders); health and safety prosecutions/fatal accident inquiries (has acted in a number of prosecutions arising under health and safety legislation); conducting FAIs for insured entities and local authorities; judicial review, principally for local authorities; and media law (acted as Edinburgh correspondent on behalf of News Group in the Sheridan v News of the World defamation action, currently under appeal). Advises media organisations on defamation and contempt of court issues. Deals with commercial litigation in the Court of Session and Sheriff Court in matters such as contractual disputes, high value performance bond enforcement, interdict/interim interdict applications and reduction actions. Carries out presentations to clients principally in the public sector and insurance fields. Principal clients include Direct Line Group, NIG, Gallagher Bassett, North Lanarkshire Council; referring solicitors. Notable cases include Sidey v Clackmannanshire Council (procurement/damages), United Central Bakeries v Spooner Industries (factory fire – sale of goods, misrepresentation), Cunningham v Cameron/British Gas (house fire-fault by neighbour and utility company), Liquidators of Scottish Coal Company for Directions (environmental liabilities, insolvency, property law). South Lanarkshire Council v Coface (performance bond enforcement).


Trained Cochrane & Blair Paterson SSC; qualified 1987; solicitor Cochrane & Blair Paterson SSC 1987-94; A&WM Urquhart WS 1994-2001; Ledingham Chalmers 2001 to date (partner since 2004).


Extended Rights of Audience (Civil) granted 2008; member Scottish Law Agents Society; member British Insurance Law Association.


Elgin Academy; University of Aberdeen (1984 LLB; 1985 Dip LP).


Modern history, Scottish art, golf, hill walking, skiing.

Scotland: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation

Within: Commercial litigation

Ledingham Chalmers LLP's team is particularly experienced in handling disputes in the oil and gas, renewable energy and marine industries. In addition, it also assists clients with matters connected with other sectors, such as agriculture, property, construction and insurance. Complementing the team's broad industry coverage is its experience of all forms of dispute resolution, including litigation, arbitration, mediation, expert determination and adjudication. Team head Sarah Stuart and Timothy Thomas, who are the main partners in Aberdeen, together have nearly 40 years of litigation experience at the Court of Session and Sheriff Court. Senior associate Rebecca Walker handles a variety of cases, with a particular specialism in insolvency-related matters. John Chalmers in Edinburgh is particularly active in advising insurance and public sector clients on a range of contentious issues. Victoria Leslie, who made partner in 2017, is ably supported in Inverness by senior solicitor Laura Edmunds].

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Scotland: Insurance

Personal injury: defender

Within: Personal injury: defender

Ledingham Chalmers LLP¬†has particular expertise in counter-fraud, catastrophic and fatal claims (including employer liability, disease, and RTA cases) in addition to defending claims against local authorities. The group is jointly led by John Chalmers, Graeme Edward (who is ‚Äėextremely pragmatic‚Äô) and the ‚Äėdetermined and tenacious‚Äô Victoria Leslie, who has ‚Äėa strong track record of fantastic results‚Äô. Sarah Morris¬†has extensive public and private sector experience and recently defended Midlothian Council, via TopMark, in connection with two claims emanating from an incident in which teachers assaulted a pupil with special needs, leading to a finding that the client was not liable. Morris is defending a local authority in a stress at work claim brought by an employee.

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Scotland: Real estate


Within: Environment

Ledingham Chalmers LLP garners a significant amount of environmental work from throughout Scotland, owing to its involvement in a number of sectors, such as forestry and fisheries, farming, renewable energy and oil and gas. Practice head Jim Drysdale is knowledgeable about a wide variety of matters, such as nature conservation, waste, contaminated land and fluvial/pluvial/diffuse pollution. Solicitor advocate John Chalmers has 26 years of Sheriff Court and Court of Session litigation experience, and represents insurance companies and local authorities in litigation involving environmental issues and in judicial review cases. Other key figures include planning head David Scott, commercial lawyer Peter Murray and commercial property partner John Smart. Sarah Stuart and Neil Anderson are also recommended.

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