Firm Profile > Balfour+Manson LLP > Edinburgh, Scotland

Balfour+Manson LLP

Medical negligence: pursuer Tier 1

Balfour+Manson LLP’s exceptional team includes Ann Logan, who has more than 25 years’ experience in medical negligence litigation work across Scotland, England and Hong Kong, and Julie Clark-Spence, a APIL accredited senior litigator with over 11 years’ experience solely in clinical negligence. The team deals with the full spectrum of claims, with particular specialisms including high value cerebral palsy cases involving informed consent arguments. Delayed diagnosis of cancer, fatal claims and neurological negligence are other key areas of work.


‘The firm is one of Scotland’s leading medical negligence: pursuer practices, with unrivalled experience and expertise in this area.’

‘Extremely thorough and very professional. The whole journey with Balfour+ Manson has been a positive one with no real weaknesses that I can recall.’

‘David McIntosh is a very experienced litigator who constantly delivers first-class results and also has a very understanding and empathetic manner with clients.’

‘Ann Logan is easy to talk to and very compassionate; reassuring me when needed, which was often, and advising me of my options. She is very professional; from details to timekeeping, everything was meticulous. On a lighter note, she also had a sense of humour I found refreshing.’

Personal injury: pursuer Tier 1

Balfour+Manson LLP is consistently involved in complex cases, often involving multiple claimants or cross-border elements, in areas such as public liability, aviation and catastrophic road traffic accidents. APIL accredited fellow David Short, who heads the firm's litigation team, has a background in aviation and mesothelioma claims, while David S McIntosh handles a wide range of high-value claims relating to areas including workplace stress and traumatic brain injuries. Fatal claims arising from offshore accidents represent another key source of work for this specialist team.

Key clients

Hugh James Solicitors

Family Tier 2

Balfour+Manson LLP handles a high volume of divorce claims that involve contentious elements such as economic disadvantage arguments, division of company assets, abusive behaviour and shared property in multiple countries. The firm's capabilities are also demonstrated by its work on cohabitation claims and child law matters including residence orders, contact orders and permanence orders. 'Calm and unflappable' practice head Shona Smith, a trained arbitrator and mediator, also sits as a member of the Family Law sub-committee of the Law Society of Scotland, while junior partner Jamie Foulis is seen as 'a rising star'.


‘A strong family law team, with a huge bank of experience across a number of different facets – knowledgeable, approachable, communicative and above all, pragmatic.’

‘A very well established firm with a highly experienced family law department.  The firm has a well-deserved excellent reputation for both its direct work with clients and its work as an Edinburgh agent for other firms from outside Edinburgh.’

‘Shona Smith, is a standout family lawyer, who is hugely experienced. She is straighforward, clear and outcome-focused.’

‘Shona Smith exercises a skilled and measured approach to her own cases and to management of the team. She is calm and unflappable.’

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 3

Balfour+Manson LLP 's team, which is led by Alan Gilfillan, an accredited expert in charity law, focuses primarily on advising religious institutions on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters including reincorporation, disciplinary procedures and data protection. The team also regularly provide charities with advice on safeguarding issues and GDPR compliance, as well as acting for individuals or bodies seeking to gain SCIO incorporation. Gilfillan previously spent time as a secondee at the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, adding to his knowledge of SCIO compliance.

Personal tax, trusts and executries Tier 3

Balfour+Manson LLP’s team acts for trustees, beneficiaries and high net worth individuals, predominantly on the management and taxation of trusts, with a view to mitigate inheritance tax, and the drafting or rectification of wills. In addition the team, assisted by two welfare managers, regularly advises on incapacity, powers of attorney and guardianship, and in a recent case determined that a guardianship order needed revising. Practice head Shona Brown has a particular interest in working with elderly and vulnerable clients and those who lack capacity, while senior associate and qualified accountant Margaret Ross advises on tax, cashflow forecasting and asset allocation.

Professional negligence Tier 3

Balfour+Manson LLP act for pursuers in claims against their solicitors, accountants, co-workers and private companies. The firm also handles unusual multi-party disputes, claims arising from negligent tax advice and pension-related matters. Iain Nicol, who is accredited in professional negligence and personal injury, drafted the Professional Negligence Pre Action Protocol and recently, through representations to the Law Society, secured an increase in the fees payable under the protocol.

Commercial litigation Tier 4

Balfour+Manson LLP assists clients, including individuals and corporate entities, with various contractual, corporate and shareholder disputes. Gordon Deane and chairwoman Elaine Motion jointly head the team.

Employment Tier 4

Frequently working in conjunction with the firm's personal injury and human rights practice, Balfour+Manson LLP handles an array of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters; in the contentious space, the team is best known for its experience in claimant work concerning discrimination and unfair dismissal claims while also acting for respondants. Regular non-contentious instructions include GDPR and various HR matters. Robert Holland heads the team, which includes contentious employment law expert Sarah Shiels, who made partner in January 2019.

Key clients

Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)

DAS Legal Expenses Insurance

British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA)

IWGB (Independent Workers Union)

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
 Shona Brown  photo Shona Brown
 Gordon Deane  photo Gordon Deane
 David RG Flint  photo David RG Flint
 Jamie Foulis  photo Jamie Foulis
 Alan Gilfillan  photo Alan Gilfillan
 Robert A Holland  photo Robert A Holland
 Ann Logan  photo Ann Logan
 David S McIntosh  photo David S McIntosh
 Alastair Milne  photo Alastair Milne
 Elaine J Motion  photo Elaine J Motion
 Fiona K Muirs  photo Fiona K Muirs
 Sindi Mules  photo Sindi Mules
 Iain Nicol  photo Iain Nicol
 Karen Phillips  photo Karen Phillips
 Kenneth S Robertson  photo Kenneth S Robertson
Ms Sarah Shiels  photo Ms Sarah Shiels
 David Short  photo David Short
 Shona H Smith  photo Shona H Smith
 Stephanie Zak  photo Stephanie Zak
Number of UK partners : 23
Number of other UK fee-earners : 47