Lawyer of the Month: Elaine Movement

At the age of 12, Elaine Motion, chairman of Balfour and Manson, knew she required to be a lawyer. She admits to being marginally ashamed about acquiring that ambition at such a youthful age, and she isn’t entirely absolutely sure if it was a film or her father who most motivated her decision.

“I generally preferred to be a law firm,” suggests Ms Motion. “I viewed a film at college called ‘A Male for All Seasons’. There was a bit in that activated a little something in me and I considered ‘I want to be a lawyer’.”

Ms Motion did not appear from a household of legal professionals, with her father staying an accountant and her mom an award-profitable hair stylist. As well as the film, she states it may well have been partly a reaction to her dad wanting her to observe in his footsteps that created her go for regulation. Ms Movement states: “I surprise if it is also mainly because my father needed me to be an accountant and I knew I would fail miserably at that. I really do not have a mathematical bone in my physique.”

Whichever the determination, Ms Motion has carved out a extended and successful authorized occupation – with various high-profile scenarios concentrating on human rights and civil liberties – that has taken her from Scotland to New Zealand and back again household again.

She knew at school that she needed to go to the College of Edinburgh to analyze. She wrote to Stephen Woolman, now Lord Woolman, the affiliate dean of the Regulation University, and began researching regulation at the age of 17. Ms Movement states her interests lay in particular harm legislation and soon after she skilled she selected to sign up for Thompsons, just before selecting she needed to widen her expertise.

“I desired as significantly breadth and depth as doable, and not to only be a PI law firm,” describes Ms Motion. “I believe it is a get worried for the career that far too a lot of folks specialise far also quickly in their career.”

After undertaking professional litigation at what was then McGrigor Donald, Ms Movement manufactured a go to New Zealand to be a barrister and solicitor to increase her profession.

Explaining why she moved to the other aspect of the environment, she states: “In the 1980s you joined a law business and tended to remain for lifestyle. We preferred to go somewhere else. We didn’t extravagant Hong Kong – we experienced just had Tiananmen Square – and we didn’t want to go to London. We met some good friends from Auckland, made a decision to go to New Zealand, and we beloved it.”

On returning to Scotland Ms Movement experienced determined she preferred to perform for Balfour and Manson and, again, attained her intention. “Some folks say factors are intended to be, and some say it’s just luck, but I suppose it is a mix of both. I bought a occupation with Fred Tyler at Balfour and Manson and relaxation is historical past, as they say.”

Considering that signing up for Balfour and Manson in 1993, and getting to be a spouse in 1997, she is happy to have been included in a quantity of ground-breaking instances, from regulatory to legal carelessness and general public operate.

Amid some of the best-recognized conditions she has worked on are Napier, Somerville and Davidson vs Scottish Ministers, which centred around human legal rights for prisoners and the apply of ‘slopping out’, and Valerie Cuthbertson vs Friends Provident. The latter circumstance ended up in the Court of Session following a very long battle which had witnessed the insurance company refuse to pay out out on a client’s critical health issues coverage.

Ms Movement clarifies: “Cuthbertson against Good friends Provident is a person of the biggest conditions I have ever carried out. It’s all about lifestyle insurance policies and the legal take a look at for saying payments. The case adjusted the regulation throughout the whole of the United kingdom and it is now statute. The exam is now in favour of persons who are hoping to get critical disease or lifetime insurance policy payments. It’s enormous and from a human position of see it’s where I appear from.”

Far more not too long ago, Ms Movement was the guide solicitor in the legal team that argued in 2018 that the United kingdom could, if it wished, unilaterally revoke Posting 50 and terminate Brexit. The European Courtroom of Justice ruling effectively confirmed that the Uk could revoke the Brexit course of action with out the agreement of fellow EU states.

Just a 12 months afterwards she took on what should be the situation with the best general public profile of her career – in summer season 2019 when the Uk authorities attempted to prorogue Parliament. Ms Motion and her group acted for a cross-social gathering team of MPs which ruled that Boris Johnson’s 5-7 days prorogation of Parliament was unlawful.

“I continue to pinch myself,” she says. “You just just can’t get a more remarkable case than prorogation in phrases of the sheer speed and complexity and how it altered on a day-to-day basis. I was identified as at 7am in the early morning to be advised a aircraft was on its way to Balmoral to consider to prorogue Parliament.

“It was surreal. I was strolling on the seashore in Harris in the morning ahead of traveling down to be in entrance of the courtroom on the identical working day. It was a huge case, but we are a compact, limited staff and I imagine that’s what performs. We’re practically telepathic in what we will need to do.”

This 12 months Ms Movement has represented the Faculty and Nursery Milk Alliance in its landmark action against the Scottish authorities in a judicial assessment at the Courtroom Of Session relating to the new Scottish Milk and Healthier Snack Plan. The plan aims to offer a no cost part of milk and a healthier snack to pre-faculty youngsters throughout Scotland. The Alliance explained the new scheme experienced, unintentionally, remaining a lot of nurseries and childminders out of pocket. It explained this could lead to little ones lacking out on their totally free milk entitlement – the opposite of the scheme’s intention.

Ms Movement claims: “It’s a flagship plan of the Scottish govt and for it to fall short on both of those absence of consultation and irrationality is truly incredibly massive. Our customers produced apparent they want to make certain the children get their milk – this is what it’s all about. The federal government mentioned they would check with, in black and white, and they did not. And the way they went about assessing the costing of the plan was located to be irrational, for instance it did not value non-dairy options for youngsters.”

Yet another circumstance Ms Movement highlights is Canon’s White profitable motion in opposition to the Scottish authorities on church lockdowns during the pandemic. The Catholic priest together with just about 30 Protestant Ministers argued via legal professionals in the Court of Session that banning Christians from attending church breached human legal rights. The decide ruled in their favour that what the governing administration was undertaking was unlawful.

Ms Motions claims: “We gained on the day. My counsel are phenomenally well-informed and between the best in the game. It’s the only thriving coronavirus litigation.

“It’s wonderful to be involved in conditions that nevertheless spark your desire.”

Searching at the authorized job as a full, Ms Movement believes that just one of the most significant concerns at the second is all-around access to justice. “For people and for modest organisations and businesses, it’s prohibitive,” she claims. “It’s extremely really hard for organisations and individuals to be ready to litigate.

“Another point is obtain to courts and regardless of whether hearings will be distant or facial area-to-facial area. I’m a good supporter of face-to-experience in which achievable. There is almost nothing far more vital than confront-to-experience for witnesses, consumers, the courts and the judges.”

In conditions of prospects, she believes crowdfunding has good prospective. She explains: “A whole lot of our community legislation worries are now crowdfunded. There are usually innovative strategies of having backing to choose some challenges.”

Personally, Ms Movement claims she was emotion a little bit weary just after the Brexit and prorogation situations. Balfour and Manson offered her a three-thirty day period sabbatical that she planned to take in 2020 – but then the pandemic hit. “She suggests: “My intention this 12 months is to consider that sabbatical and have some correct downtime. I want to recharge and come back again reinvigorated.”

She’s also keen to recognise the men and women she has worked with in excess of the years. “It’s not about 1 human being, it is the team of persons you operate with that make things a accomplishment. I have been exceptionally fortunate. I’ve been with Balfour and Manson for 29 several years. It is a superb spot to work. We have folks that have been for 30 or 40 a long time and that personnel loyalty speaks volumes. I have praise for predecessors in Balfour and Manson who designed up that lifestyle and the workforce. I would not be the place I am nowadays without the need of them or my spouse and children.”