Duncan Hamilton

Year of Call
Devil Masters
Robert Milligan QC
Roddy Dunlop QC
Mathew Jackson


duncanhamilton@amadvocates.co.uk 07971 032150 Check Faculty diary

Practice Profile

Duncan is top ranked in media law by both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. He is heavily instructed in defamation, privacy and contempt proceedings by BBC Scotland and by national newspapers, commercial broadcasters and high profile individuals.

Duncan’s practice is also focused on clinical negligence, where he receives significant instruction on behalf of medical professionals and health boards. He is also regularly instructed in Fatal Accident Inquiries, including several for the Scottish Ambulance Service.

In public law, Duncan was appointed Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government in 2012. He was recently instructed on behalf of Scottish Ministers as part of the Supreme Court challenge in the case of Miller.

Duncan also maintains a significant practice in personal injury and reparation (where he acts for both pursuers and insurers) and also in commercial law.

He has appeared in several Health & Safety prosecutions.

Duncan was previously a Member of the Scottish Parliament from 1999-2003.

Education & Professional Career to Date

Bar Traineeship, Simpson & Marwick
Part-time Special Adviser to the First Minister of Scotland (2007–08)
Member of the Scottish Parliament ('MSP'), serving on six Parliamentary Committees including the Justice Committee (1999–2003)

MA (Hons); LLB; Diploma in Legal Practice; Kennedy Scholarship to study at Kennedy School of Government, Harvard


  • Standing Junior to the Scottish Government (2013–present)
  • Legal Member of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland (2018–present)

Selected Cases

Publications & Seminars

Media Law, Freedom of Expression and the challenges of Social Media, delivered to John Smith Trust in 2017

Scots Law for Journalists, Rosalind McInnes (Ed.), contributor to 8th edition

‘Can the Union Survive?’, Royal Society of Edinburgh seminar, 2012

‘The Rule of Law, Democracy, Media and Constitutional Change’ – 2012

Seminar, Glasgow University School of Law 2011

‘The legal implications of the future expansion of the powers of the Scottish Parliament’, Scottish Public Law Group Annual Conference 2010


Duncan is ranked as a Band 1 practitioner by Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2019.

"He is very knowledgeable, quick-thinking and robust in court, while also being very approachable from the clients' perspective."

"He is brilliant and so enthusiastic about the work, as well as being an engaging and persuasive advocate."

Recommended in The Legal 500 UK Bar Guide since 2016

"He is always willing to go the extra mile in cases."

Quotes from previous editions of Chambers and Partners:

"He has a media savvy other advocates struggle to match, and has a real gravitas in court"

"He has a good knowledge of the issues and he knows exactly when to argue and when not to."

"An excellent junior, one of the few at the Scottish Bar to have a good deal of media law experience."

“Duncan Hamilton of Arnot Manderson is developing an impressive practice in privacy and defamation law. He has received instructions from a broad range of clients, including broadcasters, newspapers and notable individuals. Sources view him as one to watch in this area.”

“…he has built up a solid reputation for media and privacy disputes, and now represents key media clients such as the BBC. Sources agree that he is 'fluent and persuasive in his oral submissions', and that he exhibits 'a very good knowledge of media law'."