Cross-Border Legal Representation: Scottish Injured woman cannot recover English solicitors’ costs

Scottish Injured woman cannot recover English solicitors'

Scottish Injured woman cannot recover English solicitors’ costs: Lessons from the Margaret Kirkwood Case


In a recent legal case, a Scottish resident found herself in the midst of a complex legal battle following an incident in France. The case involved a significant examination of how legal representation from different jurisdictions can impact litigation in Scotland.

Choosing Legal Representation

After a road accident in France in 2015, Margaret Kirkwood sought representation to pursue her case. Instead of relying on Scottish solicitors, she decided to engage the services of a firm from Birmingham. Interestingly, the firm in question had an office in Glasgow but she did not go with them. The English firm collaborated with a firm based in Edinburgh, as their local agents.

The Fee Dispute

The case ultimately settled for £475,000 and judicial expenses became a major issue. Between them, the Birmingham based firm and the local agent from Edinburgh sought to recover expenses totalling over £250,000. The heart of the dispute lay in determining who had the authority to conduct the litigation and how to fairly allocate the fees.

The Reasonableness Question

A central issue in the case was whether the pursuer’s decision to instruct English solicitors to run a Scottish litigation was reasonable. The auditor of court concluded it was not.

Balancing Justice and Expertise

The Lord President of the Court of Session, Lord Carloway, stressed the importance of having authorised solicitors handle litigation within Scotland. He emphasised the court’s duty to uphold access to justice while maintaining a fair expenses regime. The ruling acknowledged the possibility of recovering fees for specific tasks carried out by foreign solicitors within the litigation but favoured local solicitors to oversee the case’s conduct.

Implications for Cross-Border Legal Representation

In an increasingly globalised world, this decision serves as a reminder that cross-border legal representation requires careful consideration of the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved. It highlights the importance of entrusting the primary responsibility for conducting litigation in Scotland to professionals qualified to appear in Scotland, while recognising the value of specialised expertise from foreign solicitors for specific tasks within the case.


Gildeas prides itself on a commitment to professionalism and expertise in our field. As recognised personal injury specialists in Scotland, we can reassure our clients and partners that we deal with Scottish cases from our offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Our approach prioritises the importance of adhering to local rules while recognising the value of specialised input from other fields and/or jurisdictions, when needed. We remain dedicated to ensuring that our clients receive the highest level of representation and guidance.

Gildeas – Making personal injury personal


Gildeas Solicitors have offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh and specialise in personal injury cases, including road traffic accidents.

We go the extra mile for our clients by providing services such as roadside assistance, vehicle repairs, and hire vehicles.

Customer satisfaction is our top priority. According to customer reviews , among civil law firms with over 200 reviews, we proudly hold the second highest rating in Glasgow. We currently have a stellar rating of 4.9 on Reviews Io and 4.7 on Google [September 2023].