Catherine Smith KC

Year of Call 2007 Year of Silk 2021

Catherine’s principal areas of work are reparation and public law. She specialises in personal injury, clinical negligence and judicial review cases.

Catherine has a busy practice in reparation work, acting for pursuers and defenders. She also acts in product liability cases; and has prior experience of criminal trials and appeals.

Catherine sits as a part time Sheriff and is an advocate member of the Scottish Civil Justice Council.

She has years of experience in judicial review matters, acting for petitioners and governments. She is currently instructed in the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry and conducts Fatal Accident Inquiries.

Catherine undertakes a wide variety of advisory work for organisations including the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission; MDDUS (Medical and Dental Defence Union Scotland); Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority; the Ministry of Defence and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

She is one of only two Counsel in Scotland to have acted as Counsel to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, and was Standing Junior Counsel to the Advocate General between 2012 - 2021.  She has been on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Panel of Counsel since 2015.  

Catherine is a founding member and former Deputy Chair of JUSTICE Scotland. She is co-founder and Chair of the John Smith Centre at the University of Glasgow. As a trustee of the John Smith Trust she travels to eastern Europe to support rule of law and human rights projects, visiting Kyiv and Warsaw in October 2023.

Representative Cases

UK Covid-19 Inquiry and the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry (on-going)
Acting for COSLA, representing the interests of COSLA and 29 of the 32 local authorities in Scotland.

FAI:  Lanarkshire baby deaths of Leo Lamont, Mirabelle Bosch and Ellie McCormick (on-going)
Fatal Accident Inquiry into the deaths of three babies in the Lanarkshire area taking place in January and February 2024 in Glasgow Sheriff Court (Sheriff Principal Anwar).

Wilson v Police Scotland 2022 UKTrib 5 (Investigatory Powers Tribunal)
Landmark judgement on Article 10 infringement of a journalist's rights in the protection of their sources. It establishes for the first time that simply an attempt to reveal a journalist's source can be an infringement, even though the journalist was not in fact asked to reveal the identity.

Sandra Cameron and Stuart Fyfe v Nwanko 2022 CSOH 7
Road Traffic pedestrian Proof conducted as Senior – successful on liability and limited the contributory negligence finding to one third for a pedestrian running out from behind traffic.

Simpson v Pret a Manger (Europe) Ltd [2021] SC EDIN 33
Personal Injury Proof (workplace accident) conducted via Webex

Rodas & Others v Edinburgh Trams Limited
Fatal case involving a pedestrian collision with a tram in Edinburgh.

Mary Morris v Stryker UK Ltd 2019 (unreported)
Product liability case involving a fractured hip.

Petition to the Nobile Officium by Worcester City Council 2021 (unreported)
Petition concerning a statutory lacuna in the arrangements for the cross-border placement of children in secure accommodation.

Hernandez v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] CSIH 21
Appeal to the Inner House. Unusual immigration matter concerning a US Citizen seeking leave to remain in the UK.

A v C [2019] GWD 5-60
Successful application to remit from Sheriff Court to Court of Session: acted for the defender and provided the opinion forming the basis of the argument to remit. Civil rape claim. Went on to argue a relevancy point about whether domestic abuse could form a course of conduct that could provide a link in time to the alleged rape.  

MA Pakistan v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] CSOH 109
Leading decision on the correct interpretation of the test for fresh claims in immigration cases, having raised and sought to argue this point in other cases to get a decision.

Ashif v HMA [2015] J.C. 7
Acted for the Faculty of Advocates as Intervener in this 7 bench criminal appeal.

Fatal Accident Enquiry in to the death of Stuart Sandeman 2015 FAI 22
FAI into a death in police custody.

Z (China) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] CSOH 111
Rare second hearing under old judicial review procedure: novel damages claim for breach of the ECHR as result of visa refusal from Hong Kong, also involving complex historic website evidence. 

Geraldine Allan v Amlin UK Ltd [2013] CSOH 156; 2013 G.W.D. 31-623
Leading Court of Session authority on the onus of proof in mitigation of loss in credit hire cases.

Ronald Hill v Norside Ltd [2013] CSIH 44
Appeal in a negligence case concerning apportionment of contributory negligence after a fall from a ladder.

Jeremy Milliken v AIB [2012] unreported
Commercial proof regarding the contractual entitlement of a banker to his bonus, commencing on the day RBS Chief Executive Stephen Hester turned down his £1 million bonus and concluding on the day Sir Fred Goodwin (as was) was stripped of his knighthood.

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  • Compass Chambers
    Parliament House
    EH1 1RF