Graham Primrose KC

Year of Call: 1993
Silk: 2008

0131 226 5071

Photo of Graham Primrose KC

Extremely able and highly regarded among his peers, with a nimble mind and very good client skills. He can easily communicate complex cases, which is really important... He is sound on his feet, able before the courts and takes a commercial view to negotiations.

Chambers & Partners

Graham Primrose KC 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 [2018] 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 [2019] 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.

Medical/Clinical Negligence Law

Sarah Marshall v Fife Health Board January 2012 (unreported).
Acted for the defenders in a civil jury trial on quantum of damages. Questions of the appropriate award of damages for a girl of 21 whose two front teeth had been avulsed during a routine tonsillectomy operation. The case also raised issues of appropriate future treatment and the costs thereof.

Personal Injury Law

Acted for the defenders in a civil jury trial on quantum of damages. Questions of the appropriate award of damages for a girl of 21 whose two front teeth had been avulsed during a routine tonsillectomy operation.

Acted for the defenders in a civil jury trial. A personal injury case to determine whether the bus driver was negligent in selecting a route through a narrow bend under a viaduct which entailed driving onto the wrong side of the road. The bus collided with a motorcycle driven by the pursuer. Majority verdict (11-1) in favour of the defenders.

Ormsby v Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police 2009 Rep.L.R.2
Junior counsel for the defenders. This case involved a police officer who had been involved in a lengthy and challenging public order incident. The pursuer claimed that the exposure to the events in question caused her psychological injuries. The case highlighted the duties of senior police officers towards subordinate officers at a public order incident when the situation is escalating. Dispute as to the nature and extent of the pursuer symptoms and as to whether a causal link between these symptoms and the events on the night of the public order dispute could be established.

Ross v PGS Productions Ltd. [2009] CSOH 45
Acted for the defenders on a case to examine whether an expert witness should be certified as a skilled witness when the matter in dispute was factual and experts reports were not required.

Porter v Scottish Borders Council [2008] CSOH 163
The pursuer slipped on a wet floor in a public lavatory. The case determined whether the occupier could have forseen the injury and replaced the floor tiles with non-slip tiles. The case determined also whether the defenders had breached duty of care under the Occupiers Liability Scotland Act 1960, s2(1).

Kelly Elizabeth Morton (AP) v West Lothian Council [2008] CSIH 18
For the pursuer. Opening speech of four and a half days duration in a ten day reclaiming motion. A case to determine whether the pursuer was entitled to claim damages for injuries sustained when her car skidded on black ice and crashed. Whether the facts of the case demonstrated that there had been a prima facie breach by a local authority of its duty to take reasonable care for the safety of road users as the pursuer.

Bremner v Bartlett 2008 SCLR 258
A case involving a fisherman who was injured in a car accident and sustained a whiplash injury. The main issue at proof was the extent to which the pursuer’s ongoing disability could be linked to the accident, as opposed to pre-existing asymptomatic degenerative changes. Also determined, was the loss of business including lost fishing creels as a result of the pursuer being unable to collect them and the condition of the boat which deteriorated as a result of lack of use and maintenance. Proof on quantum, measure on loss established.

Tiffney v Flynn 2007 SLT 929
Junior Counsel for the pursuer. The mother of a man who had been killed when the car in which he was travelling as a passenger was involved in a road traffic accident, raised an action of damages under the 1999 uninsured drivers agreement between MIB and the Secretary of State; the former were liable to satisfy the decree pronounced against the driver.

Thomas Weatherstone v T. Graham & Son (Builders) Ltd. 2007 CSOH 94
Junior Counsel for the defenders in a liability only road traffic accident case.

Pope v James McHugh Contracts Ltd. 2006 SLT 386
For the pursuer. A case to determine whether a motion for summary decree shortly before proof was appropriate standing of the defenders substantial pleadings on contributory negligence, apportionement and quantum. Motion granted.

Sarah Marshall v Fife Health Board January 2012 (unreported)
Acted for the defenders in a civil jury trial on quantum of damages in which the question of the appropriate award of damages for a girl of 21, whose two front teeth had been avulsed during a routine tonsillectomy operation, performed when she was 12 years of age, was considered. The case also raised issues of appropriate future treatment and the costs thereof.

Binnie v First Scotland Limited December 2011 (unreported)
Acted for the defenders in a civil jury trial to determine whether a bus driver was negligent in selecting a route through a narrow bend under a viaduct which entailed him briefly driving onto the wrong side of the road. The bus had collided with a motorcycle driven by the pursuer. Majority verdict (11-1) in favour of the defenders.

Camille Russell v Aberdeenshire Council(unreported) 2005 Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Sheriff McLernan.
Successfully defended what is believed to have been the first case in Scotland in which a former school pupil attempted to sue a local authority for a failure to diagnose her dyselxia during her education.

Professional Liability

Dickson v A & M Urquhart 2009 P.N.L.R. 24
Solicitors negligence in a conveyancing case. The case considered the question of whether a solicitor had failed to draw the existence of a real burden to the attention of the pursuers prior to their purchase of a property. Questions of prescription and computation of damages were also considered.


Criminal Law

HMA v McGuire and McManus High Court Glasgow February 2010.
Successful prosecution for attempted murder.

HMA v Caira Edinburgh High Court December 2010.
Successful prosecution under section 3(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act in respect of possession of heroin and cocaine.

Commercial Law

Mountwest 838 Ltd. v Backmuir Trading Ltd. [2012] CSOH 131
A commercial court debate involving a dispute in respect of termination of an Option Agreement in respect of the right to demand lease of part of a farm for construction of a wind farm. Whether breach of the agreement is sufficient to terminate the contract. Whether notice purporting to terminate the contract is valid in terms of the contractual provisions governing termination.

Pocock’s Trustee v Skene Investments (Aberdeen) Ltd. [2011] CSOH 144
For the pursuer. A case involving bankrupt’s estate and fraud. The permanent trustee on a sequestrated estate sought declarator and reduction against various parties as a result of a series of conveyancing transactions flowing from the alleged fraud of the bankrupt.

Balfour Beatty Ltd. v Gilcomston (North) Ltd. 2006 SCLR 717
Junior counsel for the pursuer. Opening speech of a four day debate. The case involved the interpretation of an indemnity clause in a construction contract. Whether sub-contractors were liable to fully indemnify the main contractors in terms of the sub-contract and whether a clause which reduced the indemnity when the contractor contributed to the event applied. Issues of unjust enrichment also arose for consideration.

Practice Areas

Contact our clerks

Normal business hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
+44 (0)131 260 5674 (9am to 5pm)

Alan Moffat

Advocates' Clerk


Jennifer Dunn

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

(working days Mondays to Thursdays)

Working Remotely

Sheena Hume

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working in Office

Shawn McArthur

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working Remotely

Kathryn Ferguson

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working Remotely

Emma Busby

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working Remotely

2008: QC

1993: Admitted to the Faculty of Advocates


Diploma in Legal Practice

Trainee Solicitor, Balfour & Manson: 1990 – 1992



Has been involved in the provision of Advocacy training and CPD lecturing to firms of Solicitors.




Graham has been involved in the provision of Advocacy training and CPD lecturing to firms of Solicitors.

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