Professional information

  • 2015-2020: Director, Scottish Arbitration Centre
  • 2013-2015: Chair, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Scottish Branch
  • 2012: Called to the Bar
  • 2004-2011: Partner, Maclay Murray & Spens (now Dentons)
  • 2001-2002: Foreign Lawyer, Foley Hoag, Attorneys, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1993: LLB (Hons) University of Edinburgh
Professional experience

Jonathan’s primary areas of practice are construction and engineering, professional negligence, commercial disputes and public inquiries. Jonathan is principally involved in complex commercial contract and negligence disputes in the construction and engineering industries. He has extensive experience of disputes in the PFI/PPP sphere, often involving public sector parties, and has a strong interest and practice in alternative dispute resolution. He has been instructed in both the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry and the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry. Jonathan is ranked by Chambers UK in both Construction and Professional Negligence. Jonathan has company and LLP board experience. Before calling to the Bar he was a partner, and LLP board member, in a leading firm of commercial solicitors and was ranked as a solicitor in Construction by Chambers UK for a number of years.

Notable cases
  • Scottish Hospitals Inquiry: Junior counsel for a core participant in the Inquiry into the planning, design, construction, commissioning and, where appropriate, maintenance of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus, Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Edinburgh.
  • Greater Glasgow Health Board v Multiplex & Others [2021] CSOH 115; 2022 SLT 1385. Action for damages said to have been incurred due to breaches of obligation by the design and build contractors and members of the professional team in the design and construction of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus, Glasgow. Particular issues of competency of proceedings and prescription of obligations, absent any adjudication proceedings.
  • Loretto Housing Association v Cruden & Others [2019] CSOH 78. Whether or not loss caused by a breach of obligation occurs on, and time bar starts to run from, the date of a payment certified for payment under a building contract.
  • Edinburgh Tram Inquiry. Sole counsel for a core participant in the Inquiry to establish why the Edinburgh Tram project incurred delays, cost more than originally budgeted and, through reductions in scope, delivered significantly less than projected.
  • Martifer UK v Lend Lease [2016] CSOH 98; [2016] CSOH 66; [2015] CSOH 81. Multiple aspect dispute between the main contractor and a sub-contractor in relation to the construction of the steelwork for The Hydro Arena, Glasgow. Concerned issues of contract construction and programming, among other matters.
  • Stewart Milne Westhill v Halliday Fraser Munro [2016] CSOH 76. Action for damages said to have been incurred due to architect’s professional negligence. Involved a time bar defence, where the allegedly negligent design had been in place, and purported remedial works had been carried out, more than 5 years before the action was raised.
  • Royal Bank of Scotland v Halcrow Waterman [2013] CSOH 173. Time bar of an obligation to make reparation regarding deflection of concrete slabs in an office building, where cracking existed more than 5 years before the action was raised. Considered what awareness the exercise of reasonable diligence would have given rise to, in terms of the relevant statutory provision. Also considered the contractual construction of a net contribution clause.
  • Whyte and Mackay v Blyth & Blyth [2013] CSOH 54; 2013 SLT 555. Applicability of the European Convention of Human Rights to the process of construction adjudication. Also considered severability of adjudicators’ decisions.
  • Martin & Co, Petitioners [2013] CSOH 25. Competency of an order for an interim award of expenses, followed by diligence, pending agreement or taxation of the account of expenses.
  • Chambers UK Bar – Recommended as a leading junior in Constructionand in Professional Negligence


  • He is one of the best in this area – he gets on with clients, he explains things very clearly and he is always calm and methodical’. ‘He responds quickly in a user-friendly way, has a good grasp of the law and knows how to be concise’. (Chambers UK 2020)
  • ‘He’s particularly good because he was a solicitor for so long. He’s very good at the technical side and the detail’. ‘He’s approachable and easy to work with and he understands clients’ needs’. (Chambers UK 2018)
  • ‘Extremely switched-on, with a keen eye for detail and considerable construction expertise’. ‘Brilliant legal mind, very thorough and able to pick up on the smallest of details’. ‘Bright, approachable and alive to a client’s commercial drivers’. (Chambers UK 2017)
  • ‘He is very experienced and good with clients’. ‘He provides very sound advice’. ‘He’s detailed, thorough, helpful and exceptionally busy – a sign of someone who’s well regarded’. (Chambers UK 2016)
  • ‘He’s incredibly bright and enthusiastic. He’s good on tactics, and his specialist area is construction and he knows it inside out’. (Chambers UK 2015)

In the years immediately prior to joining the Bar, Jonathan was ranked as a Band 1 solicitor in Construction by Chambers UK. Specific comments include:

  • [His] advice is invaluable in forming my decision’. (Chambers UK 2012)
  • ‘A key player who knows his stuff inside out’. (Chambers UK 2011)
  • ‘He’s one of the most intelligent lawyers I’ve come across. He’s got an edge when it comes to insolvency’. (Chambers UK 2008)