Maria Maguire KC

Year of Call: 1987
Silk: 2002

0131 260 5674

Photo of Maria Maguire KC

"At the top of her game in every respect" ; "‘Absolutely superb" ; "Supremely able and highly skilled"

Chambers & Partners

Maria Maguire KC called to the Bar in March 1987. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in February 2002. She has considerable experience in catastrophic injury cases, clinical negligence cases, fatal accident inquiries, abuse claims, cases involving psychiatric injuries and regularly acts in significant judicial review petitions for government bodies.

She has been listed in Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide consistently at Band 1 or higher.

Previous entries for Personal Injury describe her as “Frequently noted as a formidable negotiator, she has significant experience of acting for both pursuer and defender in high-level catastrophic injury claims”; “She’s had some pretty spectacular results – she is an extremely skilful QC;  and “She’s awesome – scarily so.”; “She is one of the best advocates, if not the best, in Scotland. She is very nice and approachable with clients but in a courtroom she is just fierce.”; “She doesn’t give in easily. She is very robust and formidable on cases.”

For Clinical Negligence her previous entries note: “She is absolutely superb. She is very well prepared and is brilliant with clients.”; “She is someone who for many years has been entrusted with the most complex and difficult cases in Scotland.”;  “a first-class clinical negligence advocate who is revered for her straightforward and hard-working approach. She specialises in complex brain injury and cerebral palsy cases and clients are left impressed with her ability to ‘always take every available argument‘.” ; “has produced some fantastic results” ; Unanimously regarded as a standout advocate in this arena, Maria is constantly in high demand. Of late, she has been focused on acting for pursuers in cases of the utmost complexity and severity. Strengths: “An absolute star at clinical negligence.” “She carries a great deal of weight in the court.”

She has been described in The Legal 500 as “‘quite superb, absolutely diligent in all aspects of her work ’, and with an ‘immense’ knowledge base is able to ‘conduct fairly high-brow medical consultations with expert witnesses intelligibly and concisely without missing anything out; “A leading silk whose  experience, judgement, intellectual ability and attention to detail are second to none.”

In Chambers 2019 she is rated as a Star Individual in both Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence with the following entries:

Personal Injury

A towering figure in both personal injury and clinical negligence matters. She specialises in complex catastrophic injury claims as well as fatal accidents, abuse claims and psychiatric injuries. Her competitors agree that she is a formidable opponent in court. “ ‘At the top of her game in every respect. She deals with highly complex matters and still manages to communicate with clients so that they both understand her and have total faith in her representation.”; “ She has excellent attention to detail , is excellent on her feet and as a strategist she has no equal.”

 Clinical Negligence

“Routinely considered the leading silk in the field of Scottish clinical negligence litigation…. Her extensive advocacy experience enables her to get to the bottom of the thorniest of medical causation issues”; “Top class. She has an eye for detail and knows the law”; “Supremely able and highly skilled”; “Absolutely superb. I would pretty much let her take my appendix out. Her knowledge of medicine is second to none and she is a great tactician.”

Legal 500 entry notes her as a leading silk in both fields  and  ‘A formidable advocate who commands respect.

Maria acts on behalf of defenders, insurers, local authorities, professional bodies and individual pursuers – including those funded via legal aid, trade unions or on a speculative basis. Maria also acts for clients in Health & Safety Prosecutions.

As a member of the court user’s group dealing with court procedure she drafted the basis for the Chapter 42A procedures for catastrophic injury cases in Scotland and Practice Notes in order to improve the management of such cases. She continues to be active in monitoring and improving the procedure. She currently chairs a  sub group of the Personal Injury Committee of the Scottish Civil Justice Council developing  a Voluntary Pre Action Protocol for Clinical Negligence cases.

Selected significant reported cases

Confidentiality prohibits the details of the numerous claims which have settled without recourse to the courts or in the course of proof

Medical/Clinical Negligence Law

KR v Lanarkshire Health Board [2016] CSOH 133; 2016 G.W.D. 31-556 For the pursuer: Cerebral Palsy case: maternal pyrexia, increased tachycardia in the fetus and meconium staining resulting in a period of catastrophic terminal bradycardia. Multimillion-pound claim. Complex issues and  Issue of consent argued on the basis of Montgomery. First Scottish case heard on this point since the Supreme Court decision. Defender’s Reclaiming motion abandoned in 2018.

D’s Parent and Guardian v Greater Glasgow Health Board [2011] COSH 99 Clinical negligence. Birth injury. First report in a Scottish case dealing with issue of periodic payments. Referred to with approval in the Privy Council Appeal Simon v Helmot [2012] UKPC 5.  Significant authority on Interim damages reported at earlier stage of case at 2003 S.L.T. 511(OH)

Personal Injury Law

Christine Vibert v Zenith Insurance [2016] CSOH 96; 2016 Rep. L.R. 123; 2016 G.W.D. 23-423; For the defender who insured the driver of the vehicle. Evidence of racing with another vehicle before the collision (third party).  The defender’s averments anent racing allowed to proof before answer.

McLaughlin v Morrison [2013] CSOH 168 and [2014] CSOH 123. For the pursuer in this multi-million pound claim following a serious brain injury in an RTA in which summary decree granted  and interim damages of £500,000 were awarded the plea of ex turpi causa being  rejected [2013] CSOH 168. Further debate when pleas of contributory negligence and provocation were repelled  [2014] CSOH 123.

Jane Logan as Guardian of Dale Johnston v Ryan Johnson [2013] CSOH 109 . For the pursuer :First case to deal with case management  under Chapter 42A .

C.B v North Lanarkshire Council [2010] CSOH 156 For the pursuer. A case involving catastrophic injury to a 10 year old pupil at school. The long handled paintbrush penetrated the child’s eye and entered the brain. Proof on liability. Liability established.

Tracey Ormsby v The Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police [2008] CSOH 143 For the defender. Pursuer, a police officer was injured during a riot. Protestors at the Govan baths in Glasgow. The pursuer claimed serious psychiatric injury rendering her housebound and unfit to work. She sought £1.5 million in damages. Psychiatric claim resisted successfully and damages only £3,000 awarded which matched the CICA award for physical injury. No expenses due to the pursuer.

James Morris v Fife Council [2008] CSIH 63 Historic sex abuse claim. First Scottish award. Full review of the interest on damages to be awarded in an historic claim. Interest restricted due to length of time taken to progress the claim. Jury trial was resisted successfully and upheld in the Division. 2007 S.L.T. 693, 2005 S.C. 72 (IH) and 2003 S.L.T.926.

Reynard v Exquisite Quisine Ltd 2006 S.C. For the pursuer. The pursuer suffered food poisoning after a Chinese meal. She developed reactive arthritis. Lengthy proof on the causation of the reactive arthritis including detailed complicated expert evidence of the immune system. Quantum disputed on all heads including extent of disability, employment prospects and cost of care. The pursuer was awarded damages of £1.2 million.

Lorna and James Clegg v Rogerson and Network Rail [2005] CSOH 113 For the pursuer. Parents of a child injured in a vehicle on a level crossing achieved damages for their psychological injury.  Driver blamed crossing layout and signage. Liability established on the part of the driver. The defender reclaimed in respect of apportionment but did not challenge the findings in relation to liability to the pursuers. The appeal is reported at 2008 S.L.T. 345

Laura Anne Beck v Chief Constable , Strathclyde Police (IH) 2005 S.C. 149 For the defender respondent. Alleged wrongful detention for continuing to drive whilst disqualified and with no insurance. Imprisonment not available on conviction of offence. Decision to arrest upheld as reasonable. Appeal refused.

Shirley McKie v Chief Constable, Strathclyde Police (IH) 28 February 2003 For the defender.  Very high profile case. The pursuer sued Strathclyde Police for wrongful arrest when she was initially charged with the offences which were later the subject of an action against the Scottish Ministers. She challenged the manner in which she was arrested. The defender challenged the pursuer’s claim at debate successfully and the challenge was upheld in the Division.

Muqit v General Medical Council 2001 S.L.T. 943 For the defender. An application for interim suspension of a suspension to practice as general practitioner pending an appeal to the Privy Council against a finding of professional misconduct. Full review of the authorities. Application refused.

McKenzie v H.D.Fraser & Sons 1990 S.C. 311 For the defender. This is a report to the Inner House form an Outer House judge. The issue was as to the correct form of a tender. The defender’s argument that the tender did not preclude an argument that expenses should be awarded on the Sheriff Court scale was upheld.

Woodward v William Moodie, Chief Constable, Fife Constabulary 1988 S.L.T. 1342 For the defender . Wrongful detention. Proof followed by lengthy and detailed legal argument regarding proof of malice and want of probable cause.  Decree of absolvitor.

Whitehouse v Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland Lord Malcolm [ 2018] CSOH 93. For the Chief Constable. The most significant Scottish decision in 20 years on the requirement of a pursuer to prove malice and probable cause in an  action against police officers for wrongful detention or arrest.  Requirement confirmed.  (N.B. also counsel for the defender in Woodward v The Chief Constable, Fife Constabulary in 1998 which was the foundation of the argument.)

Administrative Law

James Hendrick v Chief Constable Police Service of Scotland [2014] CSIH 22; 2014 S.C. 551; 2014 S.L.T. 382; 2014 G.W.D. 7-136; Constable disciplined for assault on woman with whom he was having an affair. Neither the constable nor the victim co-operated with the misconduct hearing. Various challenges made to procedure followed and standard of proof. Conducted the Police Appeal Tribunal for the respondent due to nature of challenges. Appeal dismissed by the PAT. Thereafter Judicial review proceedings raised late and raising new challenges. A challenge was made by the defenders on the basis of  Acquiescence, Delay and Prejudice. The Plea of Mora taciturnity and delay was upheld by the judge at first instance and on appeal to the Inner House. Important decision on this point as no time limit for judicial review at that time in Scotland.

Mauger v Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland Court of Session (Inner House, First Division [2016] CSIH 44; 2016 G.W.D. 20-355  For the Respondent. An Assistant Chief Constable,  Mr Mauger  failed management  vetting.    He made challenges to the decisions made by the Force Vetting Unit.   The Outer and Inner House upheld the decisions made on behalf of the Chief Constable. First Scottish decision on police force vetting.

Ex Constable George Park v Chief Constable, Police Appeal Tribunal decisions 2017 For the Respondent, High profile case, Constable convicted of serious assault on his wife. Competency challenge to fresh disciplinary proceedings when previous proceedings reduced due to failure in citation. Appeal dismissed. Decision available on request.

David Lyons v Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police [2013] CSIH 46   Instructed on behalf of Chief Constable in reclaiming motion in action in which pursuer sought damages for defamation and breach of obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 in respect of the release of police intelligence to licensing authorities. The Chief Constable was acting in a statutory role regarding reporting.

Tariq Mahmood v Secretary of State for the Home Department 2005 CSOH 52. Judicial review of Immigration matter: first hearings as standing junior to the Secretary of State and, as Senior Counsel appearance in a case which proceeded to a second hearing. The Secretary of State was successful.

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds v Secretary of State for Scotland For the defender as junior counsel. The case concerned the granting of licences to shoot barnacle geese. There was a full review of EEC council directives and the effect on the environment.

Public inquiries & Fatal Accident Inquiries

The Loch Lomond Inquiry

Death of a young mother in a boating accident on Loch Lomond. There was a full review of the law relating to the operation on the loch of leisure craft in the loch.

The Ida Honeyman Inquiry

For the Consultant Surgeon. A very complex inquiry involving a consideration of brain injury during a routine plastic surgery procedure. Detailed consideration of the anatomy of the brain, the procedure and the mechanism of injury.

The Darren Denholm Dental Anaesthesia Death Inquiry

For the Anaesthetist. An inquiry into the death of a young child attending for a routine procedure. A full review of the practice of administering anaesthetic in a dental surgery, the process of accreditation of practitioners and the role of the GMC and GDC in allowing the anaesthetist to practice.

The Cornton Vale Inquiry

For the family of Yvonne Gilmour. A lengthy inquiry into the deaths of three young girls by suicide at the only prison for female prisoners in Scotland. The inquiry included a review of the systems for observation of at risk prisoners as well as a detailed consideration of the roles of the medical personnel, the causation of the deaths and the treatment of women in prison.

The E.coli Fatal Accident Inquiry

For North Lanarkshire Council. An extensive far reaching inquiry into the deaths of a large number of people from products infected by E.coli, the main source of supply being a local butcher. The local authority was responsible for the employment of the Environmental Officers and the inspections of the premises as well as the handling of the outbreak.


HMA v Abernethy Trust

For the Trust. High profile Health & Safety Prosecution in fatal case; a teenager died during a gorge jumping activity.

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

Working Remotely

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 in Office

Emma Busby

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working Remotely

February 2002: Appointed Q.C.
1999 to 2002: Standing Junior to the Home Office
February 1987: Admitted to the Faculty of Advocates
1986 to 1987: Assistant Solicitor and Devil
1983 to 1985: Trainee Solicitor
1982 to 1983: International Law Commission


Professional Memberships

Standing Junior Counsel to the Home Office: 1999-2002

Member of the Diversity Working Group of the Judicial Appointment Board for Scotland: 2007 to 2010

Member of the Court Personal Injuries User’s Group: 2003 to date.

Member of Sub-Committee group of Personal Injury User’s group reforming practice in clinical negligence and catastrophic injury 2012

Member of the Damages for Wrongful Death Advisory Group to the Scottish Law Commission 2009-1010

Member of the Personal Injury Practice Committee of the Scottish Civil Justice Council 2013 to date and various sub groups
of that as Chair or member

Faculty of Advocates appointments


Director of Ampersand Stable 2015 – 2017

Directors of Faculty Services Limited 2015 – 2017

Trustee of the Faculty of Advocates and Faculty Services Ltd Retirement Corporate Trustee 2015 – 2017

Director of Stable: 1993 to 1996

Member of the Management Committee of the Stable: 2006 to 2007

Member of the Training and Admissions Committee: 2005 to 2008

Member of the Board of Examiners: 2005 to 2008

Member of the Dean’s Council: 2005 to 2008

Member of the Disciplinary Rules Investigating Committee panel of chairpersons: 2002 – 2016

Member of the Disciplinary Tribunal – 2016 – to date

Member/Chair of Faculty response groups to statutory proposals

Curator of the Advocates’ Library: 2007 to 2011

Advocacy Skills Instructor on the Advocates’ Training Course

Assessor of Advocacy Skills

Court And Tribunal Experience

Extensive advocacy experience gained over 30 years at the Bar. This includes Inner and Outer House experience in a wide range of cases: Reclaiming Motions, Proofs, Judicial Review hearings, Jury trials, Procedure Rolls and high profile Fatal Accident Inquiries and Health and Safety Prosecutions (she practised for a number of years at the Criminal Bar). Maria has acted in numerous multi-million pound settlements. She is instructed in the highest value vases.

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