Professional information

  • 2024: Appointed Standing Junior to the Scottish Ministers
  • 2024: Appointed as Legally Qualified Chair with the Scottish Social Services Council
  • 2021: Appointed Standing Junior to the Advocate General for Scotland
  • 2021: Called to the Bar
  • 2020-2021: Devil, Faculty Scholarship. Devilmasters: Dan Byrne KC, Paul Reid KC and Niall McCluskey
  • 2016-2020: Anderson Strathern – Trainee solicitor and latterly as solicitor
  • 2015-2016: Parliamentary Assistant, Scottish Parliament
  • 2011-2016 University of Edinburgh: LLB (Hons), First Class (2015); Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, Distinction (2016)
  • Academic prizes: Marion Simmons QC Memorial Essay Prize, Second Place (2018); Oxford University Press Prize – Best performance in third year of the LLB (2014)
Professional experience

David was called to the Bar in 2021 as a Faculty Scholar. Shortly after calling, David was appointed as a Standing Junior to the Advocate General for Scotland. In that role he provided advice and representation to the UK Government across a wide range of public law disputes, including those involving complex issues in relation to human rights. In 2024, David was appointed as a Standing Junior to the Scottish Ministers. He also frequently acts for local authorities and statutory bodies, as well as petitioners.

David also has extensive experience of clinical negligence actions. He acts frequently for NHS boards and medical indemnity providers, including in fatal accident inquiries. His work is informed by his practice as a solicitor in the Healthcare, Public and Regulatory team at Anderson Strathern, where he maintained a busy practice of medical negligence and personal injury work and assisted with property and construction disputes.

David has a specialist interest in professional disciplinary law. He appears frequently in regulatory matters, both at first instance before the relevant regulatory panel, but also on appeal to the Inner House or the sheriff court. As a solicitor he regularly appeared either as Case Presenter or for the defence before the General Teaching Council for Scotland, Scottish Social Services Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council. He also advises regulators and other public bodies as to the statutory powers of regulators during the tenure of regulatory investigations. He sits as a Legally Qualified Chair with the SSSC.

David is also heavily involved in legal education. He tutors in EU Law at the University of Edinburgh and previously sat on the Law Society of Scotland’s Education and Training Committee. He has taught Professional Skills and Responsibility on the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice. He has published articles on human rights, public law, regulatory law, property law and civil procedure in a variety of academic journals. He sits on the Faculty’s Law Reform Committee.

Notable cases

David’s specialist area of expertise is professional regulation and discipline, having previously acted for the General Teaching Council for Scotland, Scottish Social Services Council, General Medical Council and General Dental Council, as a solicitor. He also has significant experience in many aspects of public law and clinical negligence. 

Professional liability and regulation

  • Cruickshanks v Glasgow City Council [2024] CSOH 35. Debate in relation to vicarious liability and scope of duty in an action for professional negligence against a social work department relating to the death of a child in kinship care.
  • R v General Medical Council 2023, Unreported. Acting for the General Medical Council in successfully defending an appeal to the Inner House against sanction of erasure by a doctor convicted of multiple sexual assaults in the sheriff court.
  • S v Nursing and Midwifery Council 2023, Unreported. Successful application to recall an interim suspension order imposed in late 2022 in relation to a nurse who had been charged by the police in 2020 and not yet been subject to a prosecutorial charge.
  • Appeared for an appellant at the Police Appeals Tribunal in an appeal against sanction, raising interesting questions regarding comparative justice and the requirement to clearly libel allegations of dishonesty.
  • SW v Health and Care Professions Council [2022] CSIH 47. Appeared for the HCPC in the first Scottish appeal against a decision of its fitness to practise panel. Considers the effect of an interim order imposed during the tenure of an appeal, where the final order is suspended until determination of that appeal.
  • Independent Review into the University of Glasgow’s Approach to Gender Based Violence. Working with Morag Ross K.C. on a lengthy review of the university’s policies, procedures and support in relation to gender based violence, as well as the lived experiences of those who had been the subject of GBV.
  • K v General Medical Council [2022] CSIH 44. Reclaiming motion relating to the necessity and proportionality of imposing interim conditions of practice on a doctor who had been acquitted in the High Court of offences which formed the basis of the regulator’s misconduct allegations.
  • McLaggan v Scottish Social Services Council [2020] SC DUN25. Appeal against temporary restriction order on grounds of legitimate expectation (appearing as solicitor).
  • AD v General Teaching Council for Scotland 2019 SC 463. When malice can be inferred in the context of professional conduct (solicitor instructing counsel).
  • General Medical Council v Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service 2019 SLT 24. First Scottish appeal by the GMC against sanction of a doctor accused of sexual misconduct (solicitor instructing counsel).
  • As a solicitor David acted for the General Medical Council in the first Scottish applications to the court under s. 35A Medical Act 1983 for recovery of evidence required for fitness to practise investigations.

Public and administrative law

  • Scottish Ministers v Advocate General for Scotland [2023] CSOH 89. Acting for Stonewall in a public interest intervention in the Scottish Ministers’ judicial review of the Secretary of State’s s. 35 Order in relation to the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.
  • Scottish Covid Inquiry. Acting for the Royal College of Nursing in the ongoing Scottish Covid Inquiry.
  • Community Pharmacy Scotland v Fife Health Board and another [2023] CSOH 65. Judicial review against the decision by several health boards to authorise the use of automated collection pharmacy lockers on premises which were not registered pharmacies.
  • Paton Autorepair Ltd v Glasgow City Council, 2023 Unreported. Successfully opposing interim interdict against the coming into effect of the Glasgow Low-Emission Zone.
  • Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation Ltd and another v Scottish Minister [2023] CSOH 2. Judicial review of Scottish Government’s decision to amend the economic link licence condition in Scottish sea fishing licences.
  • Shitani v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] CSIH 14 – Appeal against refusal of permission considering the Devaseelan principles which govern fresh evidence in the First Tier Tribunal.
  • DK v Investigating Committee of the General Dental Council [2018] CSOH 99. Judicial review regarding the effect of the transitional provisions in the General Dental Council (Fitness to Practise) (Amendment) Rules Order of Council on an investigation which was subject to a previous judicial review (solicitor instructing counsel).

Civil Liberties and Human Rights

  • Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. Appearing for Renfrewshire Council in the ongoing List D Schools Case Study.
  • LM v Renfrewshire Council 2023 G.W.D. 40-333. Sheriff Appeal Court decision concerning the status of “nearest relative” under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.
  • Murray v United Kingdom. Application to the European Court of Human Rights raising Art. 10 issues as regards findings that the applicant was in contempt of court in relation to his publications surrounding the Alex Salmond trial.
  • Craig Murray v HM Advocate [2022] HCJAC 14. Appeal against findings of contempt of court relating to press restrictions imposed during the Alex Salmond trial. The appeal considered interesting issues relating to the balance between Art. 10 rights of the media and Art. 8 rights of complainers.
  • RM and SB as the Guardians of PKM v Greater Glasgow Health Board, 2021, Unreported. Appeal to the Inner House regarding the validity of a do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation notice in respect of an adult with incapacity.
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission v Greater Glasgow Health Board and others. Judicial review challenging the Art. 5 compliance of the placement of elderly residents in locked dementia units. Settled prior to a conclusive hearing (solicitor instructing counsel).

Competition, EU and Public Procurement

  • Capita Business Services Ltd v The Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service [2023] CSOH 9. Challenge to the procurement exercise for the SWAN 2 broadband network for public sector organisations. Raised issues relating to the duties of transparency and equal treatment under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015.

 Clinical liability

  • David is instructed by health boards and medical indemnity insurers in complex medical negligence cases and fatal accident inquiries. As a solicitor David also acted for pursuers in a variety of clinical negligence claims including fatal cases, birth damages cases and those involving failures to diagnose catastrophic illnesses.
  • Scottish Covid Inquiry – Instructed for the Royal College of Nursing as a core participant.
  • Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of Lauren Wade [2023] FAI 13 – FAI into the death of a two year old child, whose parents had pled guilty to neglect. Acting for Greater Glasgow Health Board in relation to health visitor interactions with the deceased.


  • MacNab v Highland Council [2023] CSOH 59. Action for declarator in relation to an implied servitude/public right of way relating to the compulsory purchase of land for development of the A862 by Dingwall.
  • Drysdale v Purvis [2022] CSOH 66. Action for rectification of missives relating to a property transaction dating back to 1995. Also an action for declarator of a verbal contract relating to the sale of neighbouring parts of land.
  • Chambers UK Bar – Recommended as Up and Coming in Professional Discipline. Only ranked Scottish junior counsel for Professional Discipline.

“He has a pragmatic approach and inside knowledge of regulatory workings.”

Select publications
  • Discipline Case: A Three Way Balance, 2022 Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (April)
  • The Scope of Appeals from Professional Regulatory Panels: Sastry v General Medical Council, 2021 Scots Law Times (22) 77
  • Regulated Professionals: Free to Speak? 2021 Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (July)
  • No Regulation Without Representation, 2021 Scolag Legal Journal (516) 30
  • Mapping the Limits of Wightman: Abundance Investment Ltd v Scottish Ministers and Competence in Judicial Review, 2020 Scots Law Times (20) 123
  • Give Me Liberty or Give Me an ECHR-compliant Lockdown! 2020 Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (May)
  • Permission to Appeal in Wightman: A Question of Principle as Well as Procedure, 2019 Edinburgh Law Review 23 (2) 272
  • Detention in the Community? 2019 Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (May)
  • Constitutional Importance and Permission for Judicial Review in the Court of Session: Wightman v Advocate General 2019 Public Law 9
  • Can Mum and Dad Know Best? 2019 Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (Feb)
  • The Supervisory Jurisdiction and Constitutional Adjudication: Wightman v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 2018 Juridical Review 299
  • The Public Interest as a Means of Preserving the Charismatic Authority of the Professions (ARDL Marion Simmons QC Essay Competition, Second Place)
  • Human Rights May Not Plug the Gap, 2018 Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (May)
  • A Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Recovery: An Invitation to Delay to Pay? 2018 Scots Law Times (5) 13
  • Extradition, State Assurance and Article 3, (with Dominic Scullion) 2017 Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (August)
  • Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? The Opportunities and Democratic Legitimacy of the Post-Osborn Human Rights Debate, 2016 Juridical Review 83
  • See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil: Good Faith and the Transfer of Corporeal Property in Scots Law, 2016 Edinburgh Student Law Review 3(1) 3