Una Doherty KC

Year of Call: 1999
Silk: 2018

una.doherty@advocates.org.uk

Photo of Una Doherty KC

Great attention to detail and particular strengths in high-value medical negligence claims

Legal 500 UK

Una Doherty KC has been ranked in the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2023 and 2024 editions of the Legal 500 UK Bar Directory for Personal Injury and Medical Negligence.

  • 2024 edition: “Una is acutely intelligent with a meticulous and analytical approach. Her negotiation skills are excellent, and her legal analysis second to none.”
  • 2023 edition: “Una is incredibly calm and instils confidence She is determined and dependable, and has the ability to cut straight through the superfluous and immediately identify the issues at the heart of an action.”
  • 2021 edition: “Una has an incredible eye for detail and getting into the minutiae of a case. She runs consultations, negotiations and court hearings very well, making her a go-to senior counsel.”
  • 2019 edition: “Extremely reliable, quick-witted and efficient.”
  • 2018 edition: “A high calibre advocate.”
  • 2017 edition: “Reliable and well organised.”
  • 2016 edition: “An impressive ability to assimilate a lot of technical information very quickly.”
  • 2015 edition: “Great attention to detail and particular strengths in high-value medical negligence claims.”

She has also been ranked for clinical negligence in the 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 editions of Chambers UK Bar Guide.

  • 2024 edition (Band 1 ranking): “Una is very skilled in technical cases. She is robust during consultations and also good with clients.” “Una’s great strength is the ability to deal with details of complex cases, but with a sufficient degree of passion.” “The speed with which she got on top of the detail was really impressive. She has the capacity to simplify complex legal and factual issues. She is a really good litigator who has done several trials for the office.”
  • 2023 edition: “Una works with impressive detail, knowledge, diligence and insight.” “She deals with difficult situations with ease.” “Her written work is always clear and concise.” “She has a very good eye for detail.”
  • 2022 edition: “She is meticulous in her preparation and attention to detail. She turns around work extremely efficiently.” “She is extremely thorough and diligent.”
  • 2021 edition: “She is always extremely well prepared and is very thorough. She’s pragmatic and always puts the clients first.” “She is very meticulous, approachable and practical.”
  • 2020 edition: “She is a thoughtful and diligent advocate.” “Her attention to detail is second to none. She’s also great with clients and is quick to spot issues.”
  • 2019 edition, ranked as a new silk: “Very knowledgeable and very thorough.”
  • 2018 edition: “She grasps legal concepts very well, is very tenacious in court, gives very clear advice and is hands-on.” “She has a very broad grasp of how things work on both the defendant and claimant side and is very effective in reaching sensible settlements.”
  • 2017 edition: “Very able and efficient. She’s insightful and good at analysing cases.” “She’s always very well prepared.”

Una has also been ranked as a Leading Silk in Administrative and Public Law in the 2024 edition of the Legal 500 UK Bar Directory.

Una has a varied civil practice which covers a range of reparation disputes, although her main areas of practice are in personal injury and clinical negligence claims. She is instructed both for pursuers and for defenders and acts for clients ranging from individual litigants to insurers and public bodies. She is regularly instructed by the NHS Central Legal Office. She has extensive experience of high value personal injury claims including those involving catastrophic brain injuries. In the area of clinical negligence, she regularly acts in multi-million pound claims, including cerebral palsy cases. She is currently instructed in the UK and Scottish Covid-19 Inquiries, and the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry, representing NHS National Services Scotland. In 2023, Una was leading counsel for the respondent, and presented the oral submissions in the Supreme Court, in McCulloch and others (Appellants) v Forth Valley Health Board (Respondent) [2023] UKSC 26. During the hearing, the Court described this as the most important clinical negligence appeal in years. The Court refused the appeal.

She has been an Ad Hoc Advocate Depute since 2013, and in that role prosecutes criminal cases in the High Court.

She was a Legal Assessor to the General Teaching Council of Scotland from 2017 to 2021, advising panels on questions of law and procedure in Fitness to Teach proceedings.

In 2017, she completed an International Arbitration Law course at the University of Aberdeen, and was a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators from 2017 to 2021.

Una took silk in 2018.

In 2020, Una qualified as a mediator.

In 2021, Una was appointed as a Legally Qualified Chair by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). In that role Una chairs panels with social service and lay members to decide whether workers’ fitness to practise is impaired.

Recent selected cases:

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

Clinical Negligence

Jennifer McCulloch and others v Forth Valley Health Board [2023] UKSC 26 [2021] CSIH 21 [2020] CSOH 40
For defender – pursuers claimed negligence in cardiologist’s care resulted in death of 39 year old. Proof heard over eight days. Granted decree of absolvitor. Upheld on Appeal by Inner House and UK Supreme Court.

Alan McNab and others v Greater Glasgow Health Board [2020] CSOH 53
For defenders – pursuers were relatives of a deceased women, and claimed negligence on the part of a consultant urological surgeon which resulted in the death. Proof over five days. Decree of absolvitor.

August 2019
For pursuer – negligence by radiologist resulting in delayed diagnosis of breast cancer – complicated issues of causation, reduced life expectancy and quantum – settled extra-judicially.

January 2019
For pursuers – negligence in obstetric care both antenatally and during labour, resulting in injury to baby twin and death weeks later – settled extra-judicially.

LT (as guardian of RC) v Lothian Health Board [2019] CSIH 20
For defenders and respondents – pursuers reclaimed the Lord Ordinary’s decision to grant decree of absolvitor at a proof restricted to negligence – the pursuers claimed the Lord Ordinary erred in relation to the lack of informed consent case. Reclaiming motion over two days. The reclaiming motion was refused.

LT (as guardian of RC) v Lothian Health Board [2018] CSOH 29
For defenders – pursuers alleged negligence against the obstetrics registrar in respect of the birth of the pursuer’s son, who has cerebral palsy. Three grounds of fault at proof – a failure to interpret the CTG case, a failure to expedite delivery case, and a failure to obtain informed consent case. Three week proof restricted to the issue of negligence. Decree of absolvitor.

January 2018
For defender (Health Board) – alleged negligence in diagnosis of a child’s meningitis – child severely disabled – defended on causation and quantum – settled extra-judicially with a periodic payment agreement.

August 2017
For pursuer – negligence of GP – failure to diagnose acute limb ischaemia resulting in leg amputation – settled after valuations intimated.

April 2017
For second defender (Health Board) – alleged failure to give proper advice as to appropriate chemotherapy treatment – complicated issues of negligence, causation and quantum – settled shortly before proof.

Glen v Tayside Health Board [2017] CSOH 18
For defender (9 day proof) – alleged negligence of midwives – three different grounds of alleged negligence in post-natal care – criticisms of five midwives. Decree of absolvitor. Pursuer reclaimed – then abandoned reclaiming motion after detailed Notes of Arguments exchanged.

October 2016
For second defender (Health Board) – alleged negligence in delay in diagnosis of deceased’s melanoma – complicated issues of negligence, causation and quantum – settled extra-judicially.

Watson v Greater Glasgow Health Board [2016] CSOH 93
For defender – Procedure Roll discussion on relevance of pursuer’s pleadings- alleged negligence of nursing staff and management. The Court ultimately allowed a PBA “In spite of the carefully and forcefully presented submissions by Ms Doherty”.

January 2016
For pursuer – negligence in nursing care given in psychiatric ward, resulting in pursuer setting fire to self.

September 2015
For defender – alleged negligence in care of child post-surgery, profound brain damage – settled extra-judicially.

May 2015
For defender – alleged failure to diagnose incomplete cauda equina syndrome – pursuer abandoned shortly before proof.

Crawford v GGHB 2014
For defender – part-heard proof (6 weeks) – alleged negligence of medical and nursing staff resulting in birth of baby with cerebral palsy and cognitive damage. Settlement achieved prior to continued diet of proof.

April 2014
For pursuer – midwifery negligence – child born with cerebral palsy- settled extra-judicially with a periodic paymet agreement.

February 2014
For defender – failure to diagnoise lung cancer – claim by relatives of deceased under section 4 of Damages (S) Act 2011 (nine pursuers) – jury trial- settled extra-judicially.

June 2013
For defender – death of 73 year old – alleged clinical negligence in failures to diagnose and treat coronary disease – action abandoned by pursuer when debate on relevancy of pursuer’s pleadings was sought.

June 2012
For defender – child born with cerebral palsy – settled extra-judicially with a periodic payment agreement.

Personal Injury

June 2019
For seven pursuers, relatives of young man killed at work – successful summary decree motion establishing liability. Jury trial on quantum allowed for six pursuers- settled extra-judicially. Proof on quantum allowed for final pursuer, deceased’s partner – settled extra-judicially.

April 2017
For defender – RTA resulting in leg amputation – settled extra-judicially at start of proof diet.

October 2016
For defender – RTA resulting in paraplegic pursuer with brain injury – contributory negligence argument – pursuer was passenger, driver had been drinking – settled extra-judicially – names and settlement sum withheld because of confidentiality

Wallis and others v Ironside and others – June 2016
For eight pursuers – proof – fatal RTA – admission of liability after pursuers’ evidence led and first defender cross-examined, leading to decree being granted as quantum agreed

August 2015
For eight pursuers – fatality caused by house fire – negligent installation and servicing of stove in neighbouring property, resultant damage leading to fire – settled extra-judicially – names and settlement sums withheld because of confidentiality

June 2015
For pursuer – application to the CICA – under 1990 Scheme – very severe brain damage when assaulted as an infant – oral hearing resulting in extremely high award.

June 2013
For defender – damages for personal injury – pursuer tripping and sustaining injury – Occupiers Liability (S) Act 1960 – case settled extra – judicially after proof part-heard.

September 2012
For pursuer – RTA – severe physical and psychiatric injuries – settled extra-judicially.

Macmillan v De Vere Group Ltd and Another, Hamilton Sheriff Court, 19 June 2012 (unreported)
For pursuer – proof – damages for personal injury – whether breach of s3 Consumer Protection Act 1987

Boyle v Bourne Leisure Ltd, Ayr Sheriff Court, March 2012 (unreported)
For pursuer – proof – damages for personal injury – pursuer tripping and sustaining injury – Occupiers Liability (S) Act 1960

Fatal Accident Inquiries and Public Inquiries

Fatal Accident Inquiries

Inquiry into the death of Fearne Adger, Paisley Sheriff Court [2022] FAI 18
For Greater Glasgow Health Board- death of 8-month old who presented to hospital with symptoms of gastroenteritis- in fact undiagnosed parechovirus which led to a sudden fatal cardiac arrhythmia- there were failings in the care given, but they had no relationship to the death which was unpredictable and unavoidable

Inquiry into the death of Antony Storrie, Paisley Sheriff Court [2016] FAI 21
For Greater Glasgow Health Board – in police custody when died – in hospital with drug intoxication – in fact, unexpected and undiagnosed liver laceration due to blunt force trauma which caused the death – no criticisms of medical care given, Sheriff Principal said diagnosis by medical staff was entirely reasonable and he commended their efforts

Inquiry into the death of Robert Baird, Airdrie Sheriff Court [2016] FAI 4
For National Waiting Times Centre Board – death due to thoracic aortic dissection – not diagnosed / treated

Inquiry into the death of David Cameron, Glasgow Sheriff Court [2015] FAI 13
For Greater Glasgow Health Board – prisoner died at Barlinnie Prison when jumped from fourth  floor – issues over his medical care, and his anti-depressant medication – only formal findings made despite contrary submissions by the PF and the family

Inquiry into the death of Ross Drummond, Glasgow Sheriff Court 15 January 2014
For Greater Glasgow Health Board – prisoner died at Barlinnie Prison – on a dihydrocodeine detoxification programme while in prison – died as a result of dihydrocodeine intoxification – issues over his suitability for the detoxification programme and likely level of dihyrocodeine consumed to cause his death- only formal findings were made, despite contrary submissions made by the family – no criticisms of the medical care provided.

Inquiry into the death of Lynsy Myles, Edinburgh Sheriff Court 27 February 2004
For the deceased’s family- medical issues – failure to detect brain tumour in 18 year old

Inquiry into the death of Michael Lyons, Glasgow Sheriff Court 20 June 2002
For the deceased’s family- medical issues- manner of removal of crack cocaine bag in deceased’s mouth

Public Inquiries

Vale of Leven Hospital Inquiry
Represented Clinical Services manager who was witness at the inquiry (June 2012)

Commercial

June 2011
For defender – property damage/breach of contract – settled extra-judicially shortly before proof

January 2011
Earthgrass Ltd t/a Khushi’s v Aviva Insurance Ltd
For defender – commercial action – fire damage – breach of contract of insurance – part-heard proof, 14 days – settled extra-judicially.

Practice Areas
Clerks

Contact our clerks

Normal business hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

ampersandclerks@advocates.org.uk
+44 (0)131 260 5674 (9am to 5pm)

Alan Moffat

Advocates' Clerk

Working Remotely

Jennifer Dunn

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

(working days Mondays to Thursdays)

Away

Sheena Hume

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working in Office

Shawn McArthur

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Away

Kathryn Ferguson

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working in Office

Emma Busby

Deputy Advocates' Clerk

Working Remotely
Qualifications
  • University of Aberdeen: International Arbitration Law (online) 2017
  • University of Edinburgh: 1981-1986
  • Diploma in Legal Practice: 1986
  • LL.B (Honours): 1985

Career History

  • September 2018: Queen’s Counsel
  • June 1999: advocate
  • June 1999: admitted to the Faculty of Advocates after the usual period of devilling with devilmasters N St J Ellis Q.C and Sheriff M. G. O’Grady Q.C.
  • 1993 – 1998: Partner in litigation department of Balfour & Manson, Solicitors
  • 1991 – 1993: Solicitor in litigation department of Balfour & Manson, Solicitors
  • 1990 – 1991: Solicitor in litigation department of Tods Murray, Solicitors
  • 1988 – 1990: Solicitor in litigation department of Ranken & Reid, Solicitors
  • 1986 – 1988: Trainee solicitor at Strathern & Blair, Solicitors
Memberships/Appointments
  • June 2021: Appointed as Legally Qualified Chair by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).
  • August 2020: Qualified as a mediator, registered with the International Mediation Institute
  • July 2017 to December 2021: Admitted as Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • February 2017 to March 2021: Legal Assessor to General Teaching Council of Scotland
  • 2013 to date: Ad Hoc Advocate Depute

Additional Information

  • 2012 to date: Advocacy Skills Instructor for the Faculty of Advocates Training Course for New Intrants
  • 1995 – 1999: Tutor in the  Diploma in Legal Practice, University of Edinburgh- Civil Court Practice and Advocacy
  • 2009 to date: Member of the Faculty of Advocates Disciplinary Rules Investigating Committee
  • Member of the Faculty of Advocates Personal Injury Law Group
  • Member of the Faculty of Advocates Professional Negligence Law Group

 

Court And Tribunal Experience

Prior to calling to the Bar in 1999, Una practised as a solicitor for ten years preparing and managing cases in the Court of Session, and appearing in the Sheriff Courts and before other bodies. Between 1993 and 1998 she was a partner in Balfour & Manson, where she was responsible for a wide variety of civil litigation. The emphasis was on personal injury work and medical negligence claims, but she also dealt with judicial reviews,  commercial disputes, insolvency litigation, disciplinary proceedings and fatal accident inquiries. She appeared regularly before the Professional Conduct Committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (formerly the UK Nursing Council), presenting cases on behalf of the Council.

Since calling to the Bar, she has appeared regularly in both the Outer House and the Inner House of the Court of Session, in the UK Supreme Court, the Sheriff Courts, and before other bodies including the Professional Conduct Committee of the NMC and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. While the emphasis of her workload has been on personal injury and clinical negligence work, she has continued to work in other areas such as non-clinical professional negligence claims, commercial disputes, property damage, professional regulatory proceedings and fatal accident inquiries.

In 2013 she was appointed as an ad hoc Advocate Depute. In that capacity she has prosecuted criminal cases in the High Court, and addressed juries.

In 2017 she was appointed a part-time Legal Assessor to the General Teaching Council of Scotland. That role requires her to give advice on the law and procedural rules at Fitness to Teach hearings which determine complaints of teachers’ incompetence and misconduct.

Publications/Articles

Lectures

“Fatal Accident Inquiries – Developments” at Ampersand Summer Clinical Negligence Conference June 2017


“Clinical Negligence- recent significant cases” at Medico Legal Management / Ampersand Conference 31 October 2014


“Clinical Negligence- recent significant cases” at Ampersand Summer Negligence Conference 17 June 2013


“Update on practice and procedure” at Central Law Training Personal Injury Conference 27 February 2009


“Update on practice and procedure” at APIL Personal Injury Update Conference 26 September 2008

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