Gordon Balfour

Year of Call
Devil Masters
Eric Robertson
Lord Beckett
Graham Primrose QC


gordonbalfour@amadvocates.co.uk 07947 023487

Practice Profile

Gordon has developed an extensive practice across several different areas of law. In the Legal 500 he is ranked in Commercial Litigation and Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence. In Chambers and Partners he is ranked in the fields of Personal Injury and Professional Negligence.

He is primarily instructed to act on behalf of insurance clients in a wide variety of disputes. He has substantial experience in property damage cases, many involving complex claims of high value. He is regularly instructed in professional negligence actions including construction disputes (both litigation and adjudication); claims against solicitors and surveyors; and medical negligence cases. In the field of personal injury he is particularly skilled in the quantification of damages and has given several seminars on the application of the Ogden Tables and on Periodical Payment Orders. He has extensive experience in high value claims arising out of catastrophic injury (both spinal and brain injury); fatal accidents; and industrial disease.

He has expertise in actions involving the European Convention on Human Rights. He appeared on behalf of the Scottish Ministers before a full bench of the Inner House in Hamilton v Ferguson Transport (Spean Bridge) Limited. He identified and developed a novel argument concerning Convention rights in the context of an adjudication which found favour with the court in Whyte & Mackay Limited v Blyth & Blyth Consulting Engineers Limited. He has appeared as junior counsel in both the Privy Council and the Supreme Court in leading cases such as Cadder v HMA, McInnes v HMA and McDonald v HMA.

Gordon is instructed in contractual disputes and property disputes (including commercial leasing). He also has experience in the field of regulatory crime where he has acted in high profile cases including Balmer v HMA and HMA v Transco plc.

He was instructed by Dame Elish Angiolini QC to act as junior counsel to the investigation into practices at Mortonhall Crematorium regarding the disposal of ashes following the cremation of babies.

He was appointed as Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government between 2008 and 2011. He is presently appointed as Standing Junior Counsel to the Ministry of Defence. He has acted as a devilmaster and is an instructor on the devils’ training course.

Education & Professional Career to Date

BA (Hons) Law, 2:1 (Pembroke College, Cambridge, 1994); MA (1998)
LLB (Ordinary, with Distinction) (Edinburgh, 1996);Diploma in Legal Practice (1997) Assistant, McGrigor Donald (1999–2001)
Trainee Solicitor, Dundas & Wilson (1997–99)


  • Standing Junior to the Ministry of Defence
  • Standing Junior to the Scottish Government (2008–2011)
  • Ad hoc Advocate Depute (2012–2017)

Selected Cases

  • Dundee City Council & others v D Geddes (Contractors) Limited 2014 SLT 764, [2014] CSOH 164, [2017] CSOH 108

    Junior counsel for defender in high value case concerning the supply of chippings for use in road construction. Defender assoilzied after proof in Commercial Court.

  • Cruden Buildings & Renewals Limited v Scottish Water [2017] CSOH 98.

    Counsel for defender in property damage case. Successfully argued that the pursuer had no title to sue.

  • A J Allan (Blairnyle) Ltd v Strathclyde Fire Board 2016 SC 304; [2014] CSOH 135

    Counsel for defender in leading case concerning the duties of care owed by the fire service.

  • Cole v Advocate General for Scotland Court of Session 2015 SLT 504

    Counsel for defender in case concerning res judicata in the context of provisional damages.

  • Campbell Construction Group Ltd v Scottish Water 2015 SLT (Sh Ct) 159

    Counsel for defender in property damage case concerning the extent to which the pursuer had sustained a loss.

  • Mitchell v Advocate General for Scotland 2015 SLT 92

    Counsel for defender in motion for issues concerning the interpretation of the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973.

  • Miller Construction (UK) Ltd v Building Design Partnership Ltd [2014] CSOH 80

    Counsel for defender in action for enforcement of adjudicator’s award.

  • Cora Foundation & Board of Managers of St Mary’s Kenmure v East Dunbartonshire Council 2014 SC 665

    Junior counsel for the defender and respondent in complex case involving statutory construction.

  • Cunningham v Cameron [2013] CSOH 193

    Counsel for defender in case involving fire damage to a residential property. Complex proof regarding the cause of the fire.

  • Whyte and Mackay Ltd v Blyth & Blyth Consulting Engineers Ltd [2012] SLT 1073

    Junior counsel for defender and counterclaimer in complex construction dispute involving enforcement of adjudicator’s award

  • Hamilton v Ferguson Transport (Spean Bridge) Limited [2012] CSIH 52

    Counsel for the Scottish Ministers in full bench case concerning the Convention compatibility of civil jury trial procedure

  • Ambrose v Harris [2011] 1 WLR 2435

    Junior counsel for the Crown in Supreme Court case concerning the implications of the Cadder decision in circumstances other than following formal detention

  • Odeon Cinemas Limited v GF Holding (Contractors) Limited and Others

    Junior counsel for the first defender in a construction dispute in which the pursuer sought approximately £10M. Successfully resisted motion for caution and diligence on the dependence. Claim resolved at mediation

  • HMA v Hutchison and Others

    Junior counsel for the first accused in (i) prosecution for regulatory offences concerning fishing in excess of quotas; and (ii) proceeds of crime action in which the Crown initially sought over £3M. Successfully advanced a number of technical arguments in the proceeds of crime action

  • Fraser v HM Advocate [2011] SC (UKSC) 113

    Junior counsel for the Crown in Supreme Court case concerning the Convention compatibility of proceedings in which certain material had not been disclosed to an accused person

  • Cadder v HM Advocate [2011] SC (UKSC) 13

    Junior counsel for the Crown in Supreme Court case considering the Convention compatibility of Scottish procedure for detention and questioning of suspects without access to legal advice

  • Allison v HM Advocate [2010] SC (UKSC) 19

    Junior counsel for the Crown in Supreme Court case considering approach to non-disclosure of previous convictions and outstanding charges of witnesses

  • McDonald v HM Advocate [2010] SC (PC) 1

    Junior counsel for the Crown in Privy Council case considering whether the Lord Advocate’s system for disclosing information to the defence in criminal cases was Convention compliant

Publications & Seminars

Introducing Some Structure: Periodical Payment Orders (June 2017)

Loss of Support in Mesothelioma Cases (January 2016)

The Ogden Tables (September 2013)

Ogden 7: So where are we now? (November 2011)


Recommended in The Legal 500 UK Bar Guide since 2015

• Band 2 for Commercial Litigation
"Technically able, pragmatic, commercial and approachable."

• Band 1 for Personal Injury and Medical Negligence
"Very conscientious; he has a keen eye for detail."

Recommended in Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide 2016- 2020

• Band 1 for Personal Injury
• Band 2 for Professional Negligence

"His intellect is razor sharp and he always has a full grasp of the issues in a case."

"He is thorough, diligent and very good on his feet in court. He is also strong in negotiations and has a very analytical mind."

Additional Information

Instructor, Faculty of Advocates Devils Training Course