Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

'Giant of Scots law' Lord McCluskey dies aged 88

John Herbert McCluskey

Former High Court judge Lord McCluskey has been remembered as a "giant" of Scots law following his death at the age of 88.

John Herbert McCluskey, who lived in Edinburgh, held roles as a defence counsel, a former Solicitor General and a Labour and crossbench peer.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed her sadness at the news.

She describing him as "one of the outstanding Scots lawyers of his generation".

The Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Gordon Jackson QC, said: "Lord McCluskey was a giant of Scots law. He had an outstanding career as counsel, law officer and judge.

"Although often outspoken, his views were always challenging and merited the most careful consideration."

Edinburgh University

Born on 12 June, 1929, McCluskey went to Edinburgh University and was Solicitor General for Scotland from 1974 to 1979. During that time, he worked on the then Labour government's proposals for devolution.

He became a member of the judiciary in 1984 and presided for 16 years as a High Court judge over some of the country's most high-profile criminal cases.

He became a Labour peer in the mid-1970s and was later a crossbench peer. He retired from the House of Lords earlier this year due to declining health.

In 2011, he chaired a panel of legal experts tasked with investigating the functions of the UK Supreme Court following a number of high-profile and controversial rulings affecting Scotland.

He later chaired a Scottish government-appointed group to review the Leveson Report.

It concluded that the Scottish press should be subject to mandatory regulation underpinned by law, but the Scottish government rejected the proposal.

Lord McCluskey was given a lifetime achievement award at the Scottish Legal Awards earlier this year.

The death was announced by his nephew, Niall McCluskey, also an advocate, who said on Twitter: "He was a great man and a fantastic lawyer. He will be missed."

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: "John was a giant of the legal profession, who served with distinction as Solicitor-General under Harold Wilson and continued to contribute to public life decades later.

"He played a key role in Scotland's devolution journey, working in the 1970s alongside John Smith and later serving as chairman of the Trustees of the John Smith Memorial Trust in memory of his friend.

"He will be sorely missed by the Labour movement, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time."