The head of a Scottish legal firm who successfully argued before the Supreme Court that Boris Johnson's prorogation of the House of Commons was unlawful is standing down after almost ten years at the helm.

Elaine Motion will remain as a partner at Edinburgh-based Balfour+Manson but is handing over the role of executive chairman to David Short, who will take over on February 1. Mr Short joined Balfour+Manson in 2012 and became head of the litigation team when Ms Motion was appointed executive chairman in 2014.

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Ms Motion joined Balfour+Manson in 1993, having previously worked in New Zealand, and became a partner in 1997 and a solicitor advocate in 1999. Along with the 2019 prorogation case heard by the UK Supreme Court, she is also best-known for her lead role on the 2018 European Court of Justice ruling confirming that the UK can revoke the Brexit process without the say-so of fellow EU states.

“I’ve been in the chair’s seat for close to a decade and it has been a pleasure and a privilege to lead this great firm," Ms Motion said.

“However, I have been in the role much longer than I ever expected - ten years is a long time in a leadership role, especially alongside complex and demanding client work - so I’m very happy to hand the baton to David Short.”

Mr Short specialises in personal injury including aviation and complex cross-border claims. He has highly specialist experience in aviation accidents and has represented clients in 22 different cases including the Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash, the Shetland helicopter ditching, and the Shoreham Air Show crash.

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“It’s an honour to take up this role," Mr Short said. "Elaine’s shoes will be hard to fill as she has been a brilliant and formidable executive chairman, but I very much look forward to taking the reins and leading our excellent team at Balfour+Manson through the opportunities and challenges ahead.

“I’d like to thank Elaine for her tremendous leadership and look forward to drawing on her wide experience and wise counsel.”

Mr Short will work alongside the existing management team of Scott Foster, who joined the firm last year in the new role of chief operating officer, finance director Ken Dinneen, and director of HR Margaret Peet.