Graham Primrose QC
Graham Primrose QC is a highly regarded silk, consistently ranked in Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide 2019 for Personal Injury as a “Star Individual” and in Clinical Negligence.
A wide and varied civil practice with particular emphasis on reparation and clinical and professional negligence. An Ad-hoc Advocate Depute since 2008, the appointment having been renewed in 2017. Regularly instructed by high profile organisations, including several large insurance companies, the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, the Advocate General for Scotland and the National Health Service. Particular knowledge of and expertise in, cases involving air accidents, accidents aboard ships, road traffic accidents and incidents occurring on oil and gas installations.
Instructed for the partners of the pilot and co-pilot of the Super Puma Helicopter which crashed off the Scottish coast in April 2009 with the loss of all passengers and crew. The case concluded with a high-value settlement in October 2012.
Thereafter, instructed to act on behalf of the 9 surviving passengers involved in the ditching of the CHC Scotia Super Puma helicopter off Shetland on 23rd August 2013. After a 4 day mediation, these cases concluded successfully in December 2015. Appeared against a leading English aviation silk at the mediation.
Then retained to act as Senior Counsel on behalf of 10 passengers and the 2 crew who raised claims in respect of the ditching of a Bond Offshore Helicopters aircraft, ‘G-Redw’, in the North Sea on 10th May 2012. These cases concluded with settlement being reached during mid-2016. Thereafter, successfully arguing for the award of an Additional Fee on behalf of the instructing agents before Lord Brailsford, in June 2016.
Between 2018 and 2019, acted as Senior Counsel for the defenders in a case involving allegations of negligence against the owners of a light aircraft which crashed in Tayside killing the pilot and co-pilot. The case was ultimately abandoned, a robust defence having been mounted to the claims.
In October 2014 represented the interests of Aviva Insurance in the Supreme Court in the case of Elizabeth Jackson v Robert Murray 2015 S.C. (U.K.S.C.) 105, which revisited the respective duties of care of pedestrians and motorists, and considered the applicable level of contributory negligence in a case where a pedestrian suddenly moves into the path of a vehicle which was travelling at an excessive speed. The case contains useful guidance on the application of the concepts of “causal potency” and “relative blameworthiness”, the factors which a court must examine when attempting to assess the level of contribution that the conduct of the respective parties has made to the occurrence of an accident.
Appeared on behalf of Gavin Dear, a professional golfer, in the case of McMahon v Dear 2014 Rep. L.R. 71, in which the claimant, a ball spotter at a high-level golf tournament, stepped out from behind a golf cart and was struck in the eye by a ball which had just been played by Mr Dear. As a result of his injuries, the claimant lost the sight of his eye. The claim was successfully defended.
In November 2015 he represented the Advocate General for Scotland in the case of Harris v Advocate General for Scotland 2016 SLT 572, the first Scottish case on quantum of damages in a pleural plaques case in which the pursuer sought full and final, as opposed to provisional, damages.
In January 2016 he appeared on behalf of the claimant at a 2 day debate before Lord Uist in the case of Colin Taylor v Des Quigley & Others 2017 Rep L.R. 37 in which the pursuer, who was a member of a golf club, sought to establish personal liability on the part of the individual office bearers of the club in respect of a long standing defect on the premises, which had caused him injury.
June 2016 represented the defenders in a 2 day motion in the case of Katrina Shaw and Others v Wholefoods Limited, which had been scheduled to go to Jury Trial in early July 2016, and in which the pursuers’ representatives had, shortly before the hearing, lodged a substantive minute of amendment. Successfully argued that the new amendment rendered the pleadings of doubtful relevancy and, on that basis, that the jury trial should no longer proceed and, instead, that a diet of debate should be fixed to discuss the suitability of the cause for issues. The jury trial having been discharged, successfully obtained the expenses of the amendment procedure, the discharged jury trial and the 2 day motion on behalf of his clients..
This case involved an accident in which an elderly pedestrian was killed after stepping into the space between a Land Rover and a caravan, which initially had been stationery at the side of the road, but had then moved off. The case involved various claimed breaches of the Highway Code and the Construction and Use regulations, including allegations that the mirrors fitted to the Land Rover were not legal and that the vehicle combination was unsuitable for use on the public road. The case was subsequently abandoned by the pursuers
In July 2016 instructed as one of a team of senior and junior counsel retained by the National Health Service in Scotland, to defend the claims brought by women who had received synthetic polypropylene mesh implants as treatment for the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. A total of over 500 such claims were brought against the manufacturers of the products and the NHS. Insofar as the cases were directed against the National Health Service, the allegations against the doctors involved were to the effect that they failed to properly consent the patients in respect of the risks of the operations, the risks of the use of mesh and the alternative treatments available. The cases of alleged lack of consent were based on the decision of the Supreme Court in the earlier Scottish Appeal in Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board 2015 UKSC 11.
Following a two-week legal debate in the Court of Session before Lord Boyd in December 2017, counsel for the NHS were successful in persuading the Court that the proper application of the Montgomery test was as they had argued, and not the much wider application contended for by the pursuers’ Senior Counsel, see A.H. v Greater Glasgow Health Board & Johnson and Johnson  CSOH 57.
Counsel for the NHS also succeeded in having large parts of the pursuers’ pleadings dismissed on the grounds that they were of questionable relevancy, and in having two of the four lead cases involving the NHS held to be barred by limitation (time barred). In respect of the remaining two cases, in which time bar was also argued, Lord Boyd held that they were potentially time barred, but that a hearing on the factual evidence surrounding the claims and in particular in respect of what each of the claimants knew or ought to have known regarding the connection between their injuries and the products, would be required before the limitation plea could be dealt with.
In 2018, following success at the debate for the NHS, the pursuers abandoned all 500 of their actions against the NHS doctors, and the litigation now proceeds against the various manufacturers of the mesh products alone.
In December 2016 acted for the pursuer in the case of Parkes v Caird and the MIB, in which a former Royal Marine, who had sustained catastrophic injuries whilst working as a road marker, sought damages from an uninsured driver. The case settled with the parties agreeing to enter into a Periodical Payment Order in respect of the elements of the claim relating to future care and case management.
Acted as Senior Counsel on behalf of the widows and children of all crew members aboard the RAF Nimrod Aircraft which crashed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, whilst on active service in September 2006 after suffering an in-flight fire. A substantial settlement of damages was achieved on behalf of the clients in the summer of 2010.
On behalf of the M.D.D.U.S., between 2012 and 2017 represented the interests of a consultant orthopaedic surgeon in a series of cases raised against him by a number of former patients alleging negligent performance of back operations, including operations having been performed at the wrong level of the spine, negligent placement of metalwork and inadequate recording of surgical procedures within the medical notes. Conducted the successful settlement negotiations in respect of all claims.
Appeared on behalf of the second defenders and reclaimers, a golf club, in the Inner House Appeal in the case of Phee v Gordon 2013 SC 379, a litigation involving a claimant who lost an eye as a result of a wayward golf shot. In that case the first defender, the golfer, was blamed for the accident for failing to take reasonable care to notice the presence of the pursuer on a path situated near to the tee from which he was playing off, and also for failing to appreciate that his limited golf skills were such that he could not be confident of missing the pursuer if he teed off when he was on the path. The golf club were blamed for failing to erect signs on the path where the pursuer was struck, warning golfers not use the path until those nearby had played off.
As at February 2020, retained to act as Senior Counsel in approximately 50 high-value reparation cases before the Scottish Courts. In many of these litigations damages running well into seven figures are sought. Acting on behalf of the defenders in two cases involving fatal injuries on construction sites. He acts for claimants and defenders in a number of litigations concerning road traffic injuries in which teenage passengers have sustained catastrophic injuries. These cases involve complex claims for personal care, loss of wages, case management, transport, specialist accommodation, the costs of guardianship and personal injury trusts and, in one case, the question of the significance of a pre-existing and serious co-morbidity on life expectancy.
Extensive appearance in cases involving maritime accidents, injuries aboard offshore oil installation and accidents in the North Sea diving industry.
Extensive experience and expertise in aviation cases involving light aircraft and helicopters.
Recently successfully defended the lead case in a cohort of over 20 litigations brought against the operators of a touring coach by the passengers who had been injured when the coach had overturned in high winds, see: Allen Woodhouse v Lochs and Glens Transport  CSOH 105, a decision of Lord Glennie.
Most recent High Court Trial Prosecuted – Glasgow High Court January 2018 Attempted Murder – Conviction secured before Lord Armstrong and a jury.