Firm Profile > Balfour+Manson LLP > Edinburgh, Scotland

Balfour+Manson LLP

Medical negligence: pursuer Tier 1

Balfour+Manson LLP has a 'bank of suitably experienced medical experts' with a track record of success in complex medical negligence cases.. Ann Logan leads the team and is adept in handling cases involving neonatal care, regularly obtaining significant settlements. David McIntosh, who successfully settled a £5m cerebral palsy claim, is another important figure. One recent key matter, led by firm chairman Elaine J Motion, has involved advising a number of women on their actions against an NHS trust which underdosed chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.

Practice head(s):


‘It is essential for successful practice in relation to pursuer medical negligence claims that you have ready access to a bank of suitably experienced and available medical experts whose opinions are likely to carry weight with the court if the case has to go to that stage. Balfour & Manson have such contacts in abundance and are very good at identifying the best areas in cases to be investigated.’

‘Medical negligence cases in particular tend to be very involved and can turn on the smallest factor. The level of expertise that Balfour & Manson have means that they are able to assess cases efficiently and reliably and if they think that the case is likely to succeed then there is a very high probability, in our experience, that the case will in fact succeed.’

‘Ann Logan is of a level of experience and knowledge that she is probably as good as most counsel in relation to medical negligence claims. She is incisive in identifying what claims have potential merit and then in identifying the best lines to be investigated through a suitable medical expert. Her accreditation through the Law Society of Scotland in relation to medical negligence is well-merited. She handles client’s sensitively and with understanding while remaining a fearless litigator.’

‘Elaine Motion is an outstanding lawyer and leader.’

‘Ann Logan is one of the top medical negligence lawyers in Scotland.’

‘Ann Logan always goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to preparing her cases. no stone is left unturned. She is great to work with, is always calm and collected and is excellent with clients.’

‘Michaela Guthrie is Ann Logan’s assistant. She works closely with Ann on clinical negligence cases. She has been trained by the best. She is well prepared, tenacious, excellent with clients and great to work with.’

‘Everyone I was in contact with at Balfour+Manson helped make an extremely traumatic experience tolerable and manageable. This team of lawyers are highly regarded and very well thought of in the legal profession. ‘

Key clients

Kenyan Tea Pickers

A group of women under-dosing of chemotherapy

Personal injury: pursuer Tier 1

With a strong team of partners, Balfour+Manson LLP is well placed to handle high-profile personal injury cases in Scotland's top courts. David Short is an important figure for aviation claims, and is also very strong in workplace accident and industrial disease claims - he is known for being 'calm in a crisis'. David McIntosh has very broad expertise, covering both personal injury and medical negligence claims, but is notably strong in cases involving motor accidents and workplace accidents.


‘This practice has a number of individuals who are at the peak of their powers in terms of experience and qualification. They have a number of individuals who are high profile across the legal community and in particular in the areas of personal injury and medical negligence.’

‘David Short is a very well-known and hugely experienced practitioner in relation to personal injury law. He is a Fellow of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. He is very good at identifying the best lines of investigation with cases. He is good with clients and very down to earth in the way he explains things to them. He never loses his sense of humour, even under the highest pressure. He is undoubtedly at the peak of his powers in terms of experience and analytical thinking.’

‘The team are great to work with. They are an experienced group of lawyers and also keen to push the boundaries in law on behalf of claimant’s.’

‘David Short is calm in a crisis and knows his subject well and very good with clients.’

‘Everyone I was in contact with at Balfour+Manson helped make an extremely traumatic experience tolerable and manageable. This team of lawyers are highly regarded and very well thought of in the legal profession. ‘

Key clients

Kenyan Tea Pickers

A group of women under-dosing of chemotherapy

Family Tier 2

Balfour+Manson LLP's family practice is chiefly focused on divorce work. The firm has a track record of work on financial provision, cases relating to cohabitants’ rights, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, child residence and contact arrangements. Shona H Smith, who leads the practice, is a qualified arbitrator and mediator, and has negotiated settlements both in the Sheriff Court and in the Court of Session. Lynne Mulcahy has extensive experience in complex financial provision cases for high net worth individuals. Kirsten Knight’s practice is geared towards cases with an international aspect, while Jamie Foulis, made partner in 2017, focuses on pre- and post-nuptial arrangements.

Practice head(s):


‘Balfour+Manson has been a heavyweight in the family law sector in Scotland for many years. They have an excellent client base in both Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Shona Smith brings a wealth of experience as head of the practice and is well supported by her other partners and at solicitor level.’

‘The team works very well together and the members really care about the client. That shines through in the way they deal with matters. A great strength which makes the practice unique.’

‘Balfour+Manson are a firm which has many contacts throughout Scotland – it undertakes work in association with local agents. This is relatively unusual. Local agents therefore find the firm of particular assistance with complex cases proceeding in the Court of Session. The family team is experienced, sensible and pragmatic.’

‘A strong, well-led team with a depth and variety of talent, backed by a well-established firm with skills in multiple areas. The firm goes out of its way to provide a good service to other firms in remoter parts of Scotland.’

‘Lynne Mulcahy provided an exceptional service for me on a difficult and sensitive matter involving care arrangements for my young children and financial issues. Lynne has a sound grasp of the law and court procedure, but what really stood out for me was her common sense approach in the court proceedings. In all of the court hearings, Lynne demonstrated not only a firm grasp of the circumstances of my case but also a wider understanding of how families with children live and operate in the real world. This clearly impressed the judge immensely. Lynne is one of the best and most impressive lawyers I have ever come across.’

‘Shona Smith is pragmatic in her approach, and always works to finding a non litigious solution in the interests of her clients, when possible. A very calm approach, careful in her advice, and prepared to be very firm with clients when required. Her skill in reaching a solution is to be determined, but not aggressive which in a family case has the benefit of maintaining reasonable relations between parties for the future. Superbly well organised and prepared.’

‘Shona Smith stands out as the head of the Family Law team for her ability to be an expert in her field whilst remaining down to earth with clients and full of empathy. She made me feel she understood and would do everything to achieve a good but realistic outcome. She was the ideal solicitor throughout a very difficult journey.’

‘Iain Thomson stands out for his quick grasp on what needs to be done and efficiency in doing it.’.

Parliamentary and public affairs Tier 2

Balfour+Manson LLP's strength lies in the contentious space, and in Brexit-related litigation in particular; this is not least due to team head and solicitor advocate Elaine Motion's extensive expertise in this area. Clients include politicians, charities, trade associations, environmental bodies and individuals.

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This firm has had an excellent year, taking on major public law cases in Scotland. Fully committed to serving its clients, but sensible and pragmatic at the same time.

Elaine Motion is as good as a public law solicitor gets. There is no opponent too powerful for her to take on and she is entirely unflappable in all circumstances. She is always prepared immaculately for every hearing and judges very regularly compliment her and her team for this. The calibre of the work that Balfour + Manson attracts is testament to the hard work, skill and dedication that Elaine has shown over a lifetime of work. I cannot recommend her highly enough.

Elaine Motion is a very good lawyer and communicator.

Sindi Mules is knowledgeable and very efficient.

Key clients

Joanna Cherry QC MP, Jolyon Maugham QC and 77 parliamentarians

Andy Wightman MSP, Ross Greer, MSP, Joanna Cherry QC MP, Alyn Smith MEP, David Martin MEP, Catherine Stihler MEP and Jolyon Maugham QC

Scottish National Party (SNP)

Shelter, The National Campaign for Homeless People Ltd

Dale Vince

Jolyon Maugham

Forward as One

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 3

Balfour+Manson LLP has a strong track record of work for faith organisations, faith-based charities, and educational trusts, handling contentious matters such as employment disputes and regulatory investigations. Alan Gilifillan, who leads the team, formerly worked in-house at the OSCR, and advises on regulatory compliance and governance. Hugh Angus advises on commercial property and asset management matters, while Robert A Holland focuses on employment issues, including whistleblowing, pay, and health and safety matters.

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‘We have found Balfour+Manson to be extremely efficient and the advice received has been clear and concise.’

‘I have found Balfour+Manson’s support responsive and knowledgeable.’

‘The team are very responsive with members able to stand in for one another at short notice if required.’

I’ve found Balfour+Manson empathetic. They have been very clear on the likely fees they will charge and keep to their fee estimates or warn with reasons why they might be different.  They are responsive to our needs and in a timely manner, so there have been no unnecessary delays. Best of all, they have helped us come up with the right plan of action, which has been clearly explained, where all parties involved benefit.’

Alan Gilfillan’s knowledge and quick appreciation of our needs, combined with his ability to set out his advice in language readily understood by a layperson, has been invaluable to us.’

‘Alan Gilfillan is exceptionally responsive and I am confident that he has an excellent grasp of the issues and is very proactive in letting me know when he may have additional questions or advice regarding the matter at hand. Given the sensitivity of the matters we are often working on, it is of great reassurance that we may trust Alan’s skills, experience and discretion.’

‘Alan Gilfillan adopts a pragmatic approach to issues and gives sensible, practical advice.’

‘Alan Gilfillan and Fiona Muirs have always been open, polite and friendly – very easy and pleasant to deal with. Their advice has proven to be spot on.’

Personal tax, trusts and executries Tier 3

Balfour+Manson LLP is noted for its specialism in the formation, management and taxation of trusts, particularly large trusts for vulnerable beneficiaries and personal injury trusts. Other areas of expertise include contentious and international executry cases and tax planning and overseas residence and domicile issues for high-net-worth individuals. Practice head Shona Brown and Karen Phillips, who has a particular focus on advising high-net-worth individuals on personal injury trusts, are 'approachable and client oriented'. Associate and qualified accountant Margaret Ross specialises in tax and financial management.

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‘I feel they are unique in many aspects, particularly their dedication, attention to detail and the strong sense of trust between themselves and clients.’

‘Shona Brown works tirelessly, with the primary objective, and indeed only objective, of what’s best for the client. She consistently goes above and beyond, often working well into the evenings and weekends. I know that I could contact her at any time if I need her, and that’s exactly the kind of relationship that’s valued. Her meticulous attention to detail is outstanding but more than anything I value her sense of trustworthiness. We could not have managed without her. I feel very lucky to have her fighting in our corner!’

‘Knowledgeable and empathetic, understand the particular needs of their often vulnerable clients, and can provide reassurance as well as remaining firm when needed.’

‘Karen Phillips has a terrific nature and remains positive.’

‘Shona Brown is very calm and provides great reassurance whilst adopting a common-sense approach to her client’s affairs.’

‘I believe Balfour+Manson are outstanding at what they do and especially at getting to know their clients fully and therefore proving a very bespoke service, tailored to the specific client’s needs. Balfour+Manson are extremely approachable and friendly whilst maintaining highly professional relationships.’

‘I feel the approach from Karen Phillips and Shona Brown is unique in that they make the client feel at ease immediately. There is no legal jargon to confuse or intimidate the medical negligence/personal injury clients who are often in a fragile state after many years of waiting for their settlement.’

‘The private client department is one of the most committed, caring and empathetic teams I have dealt with. They have a genuine desire to build meaningful, long-term client relationships and are highly professional.’

‘Shona Brown and Karen Phillips are two of the most approachable, client-orientated private client specialists. They are excellent with vulnerable clients, both elderly and disabled.’

‘A very strong private client team that is well placed to assist with inheritance tax and trust-based work.’

‘Karen Phillips is an exceptionally bright and talented private client solicitor. She has a warm and friendly demeanour coupled with a technical knowledge that is well above average.’

Professional negligence Tier 3

Balfour+Manson LLP handles professional negligence claims against solicitors, accountants, and private companies, as well as multi-party claims. Headed by David Flint, the practice also has an insolvency sub-group which deals with matters for corporate and private clients. Litigator Elaine Motion handles insurance claims, while the group also handles some property-related claims.

Practice head(s):


‘A very able team with good understanding of the law. They work hard in their clients’ interests.’

‘This is a very professional practice whose team members are among the brightest in the business; they are also well-informed about their specialist areas of practice.’

Employment Tier 5

Balfour+Manson LLP is best known for its employment tribunal work, frequently representing unions and individuals. Instructions include unfair dismissal and discrimination claims. In the non-contentious space, the team led by solicitor advocate Robert Holland provides assistance with various HR matters, such as employment contracts, employment status issues and TUPE.

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Balfour & Manson provides an individual service which looks into their clients best interests from the very first meeting and in our case, up until the present day. They keep you informed of the pitfalls and the benefits of your position, giving their honest opinion of a way forward. They take their time to understand your personal case and are not afraid to look at it from different positions, rather than taking a generic position as I have found when using other legal firms. Balfour & Manson does more than represent you, they look after you, keeping you informed every step of the way!

Robert Holland and his team worked tirelessly to be prepared in our tribunals.

Robert Holland has been totally honest with us since the very beginning, keeping us more than informed every step of the way as our case has moved on.

Robert Holland really looks after us, is very approachable and sincere, very easy to get on with.

Key clients

Educational Institute For Scotland (EIS)

British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA)

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB)

The Scottish Cricketer’s Association (SCA)

Faculty of Advocates, Scotland

Bates Wells Braithwaite

David Adamson & Partners

J&E Shepherd

As one of Scotland’s longest established legal practices, Balfour+Manson LLP is a highly regarded firm of solicitors with offices in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. With a focus on the individual, it delivers services in the areas of litigation, commercial, charities, private client and property work.

The firm: the firm has a distinguished track record since its inception in 1888 and combines the best of traditional values with a modern, forward-thinking attitude. Clients range from individuals, families and charities through to local government bodies and businesses. Members of the firm also act as agents on behalf of solicitors in litigation and other matters.

Types of work undertaken
Litigation: The firm’s litigation team is at the core of the business and is among the largest in Scotland, with an exceptional breadth and depth of experience across the litigation field. Work ranges from routine Sheriff Court actions, through to novel, complex and high value cases in the Court of Session, the UK Supreme Court and cases before specialised tribunals and bodies. The firm has four solicitor advocates: Robert Holland, Alastair Milne, Elaine Motion and Fiona Muirs.

As well as experience handling over 20 air crashes worldwide the team is also renowned for its expertise in personal injury and medical negligence claims, with particular experience of cerebral palsy and birth cases. The team handles the most complex of cases, including the law changing Supreme Court case, Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] UKSC 11. Partners David Short, David McIntosh and Iain Nicol are accredited specialists in personal injury law. Iain Nicol is also an accredited specialist in Professional Negligence. Partner Ann Logan is accredited in medical negligence law by the Law Society of Scotland. David Short was the first APIL accredited occupational diseases speclialist and asbestos disease specialist in Scotland.

The team has extensive experience in administrative, public and human rights law and carry out a lot of judicial reviews as well as professional disciplinary and regulation work. Elaine Motion represented the Christian Institute and six other petitioners who successfully challenged the Scottish Government in relation to the Named Person Scheme as well as securing the European Supreme court ruling confirming that the UK can revoke the Brexit process without the say-so of other EU states. In addition, the team offers very significant experience across the commercial and civil litigation field including contractual and property disputes and professional negligence claims, as well as employment law, real estate and debt recovery.

The hugely experienced family law team provide advice in all areas of family law. Shona Smith, Alastair Milne, Kirsten Knight, Anne McTaggart, Linda Walker and Iain Thomson are accredited as specialists in family law by the Law Society of Scotland. The team offers services including traditional negotiation, litigation, mediation, collaborative practice and arbitration.

With a strong focus on contentious employment matters, including claimant and respondent work the employment team advises on TUPE matters and employment cases with personal injury aspects. The team specialises in executive departures and settlement agreements.

Private client: The well-resourced private client team advises on all areas of succession planning including the preparation of wills, inheritance tax mitigation and incapacity planning. The team is highly experienced in executry and trust administration including cross border matters with a support from accountants in their in house tax compliance team. They are also particularly noted for the advice they give to those who are in receipt of personal injury awards. The firm also has a unique client welfare team that specialises in providing a range of services and advice to elderly, disabled or vulnerable clients.

The department also has a property team offering a one-stop service for those involved in the residential property market, including advice on the purchase and sale of properties as well as leases. A full estate agency service is offered.

Commercial:  The commercial team offers advice on most areas of commercial practice. It has notable experience in all commercial property matters, whether leasing, buying, property investment or lending. For those starting in business, companies are incorporated and company secretarial services are provided. Partnership agreements are prepared and interpreted. Services are offered in relation to professional appointments and licensing.

Charities:  The charities and not-for-profit team is one of Scotland’s leading teams providing services to this sector, including the setting up and operation of a charity, contracts, property and employment law.

Sole Scottish member of the PARLEX Group of European Lawyers. The family team are regularly instructed in cases with an international element. The firm also has long established contacts with US attorneys in the litigation field.

Department Name Email Telephone
Litigation Partner and Chairman Elaine Motion 0131 200 1254
Partner and Head of Litigation David Short 0131 200 1285
Partner and Head of Family law Shona Smith 0131 200 1238
Partner and Head of Private client Shona Brown 0131 200 1403
Partner and Head of Residential property Ken Robertson 0131 200 1440
Partner and Head of Commercial property Hugh Angus 0131 200 1250
Partner and Head of Charity law Alan Gilfillan 0131 200 1240
Partner and Head of Employment law Robert Holland 0131 200 1242
Photo Name Position Profile
 Hugh Angus  photo Hugh Angus Partner in commercial property, head of commercial department. Acting for a wide…
 Shona Brown  photo Shona Brown Partner and Head of Private Client Department. Shona specialises in will drafting,…
 Gordon Deane  photo Gordon Deane Partner specialising in commercial litigation Gordon undertakes a wide range of work…
 David RG Flint  photo David RG Flint Partner specialising in professional negligence alongside commercial litigation, corporate recovery, liquidation, receivership,…
 Jamie Foulis  photo Jamie Foulis Partner in Family Law team. Jamie has acted in a range of…
 Alan Gilfillan  photo Alan Gilfillan Partner and Head of Department. Responsible for advising charity clients in relation…
 Robert A Holland  photo Robert A Holland Partner and Head of Employment team for both contentious and commercial sides…
 Ann Logan  photo Ann Logan Partner with over 28 years’ experience of personal injury litigation, specialising in…
 David S McIntosh  photo David S McIntosh A partner in the litigation department, specialising in pursuer personal injury and…
 Alastair Milne  photo Alastair Milne Partner accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as specialising in family…
 Elaine J Motion  photo Elaine J Motion Partner, Chairman and member of the firm’s management team. Formerly head of…
 Fiona K Muirs  photo Fiona K Muirs Partner specialising in professional discipline and regulation (including advising on and appearing…
 Sindi Mules  photo Sindi Mules Partner in Litigation Department. Has considerable experience in Public and Administrative Law…
 Iain Nicol  photo Iain Nicol Partner in Litigation department specialising in professional negligence, personal injury and medical…
 Karen Phillips  photo Karen Phillips Partner specialising in private client work including advice in relation to wills,…
 Kenneth S Robertson  photo Kenneth S Robertson Partner specialising in private client work, including wills, executries and powers of…
Ms Sarah Shiels  photo Ms Sarah Shiels Partner in Employment Department. Sarah provides advice and representation to employees and…
 David Short  photo David Short Partner and Head of litigation. An extensive practice acting on behalf of…
 Shona H Smith  photo Shona H Smith Partner in litigation department and Head of family law. Accredited by the…
 Stephanie Zak  photo Stephanie Zak
Number of UK partners : 23
Number of other UK fee-earners : 47