DAVID Hope, one of Scotland’s most senior judges, said to have “illuminated the law with intelligence”, has retired as deputy president of the Supreme Court on the eve of his 75th birthday.
The Right Honourable Lord Hope of Craighead was born James Arthur David Hope on 27 June, 1938, to father Arthur Henry Cecil Hope, OBE, an Edinburgh lawyer, and mother Muriel Ann Neilson Hope (née Collie). After attending the Edinburgh Academy and the Rugby School he undertook two years of National Service between 1957 and 1959 with the Seaforth Highlanders, rising to the rank of lieutenant.
Following this he became an open scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 1962 as a BA. He then studied at the University of Edinburgh’s faculty of law, graduating as a Bachelor of Laws in 1965.
A year after he was admitted to the bar as an advocate he married Katharine Mary Kerr, daughter of solicitor Mark Kerr. The couple went on to have a daughter and twin sons.
Between 1974 and 1978 he served as standing junior counsel in Scotland to the Board of the Inland Revenue. Having been made a QC in 1978, he then served as an Advocate Depute until 1982. Many accolades followed, including his time as chairman of the Medical Appeal Tribunal and the Pensions Appeal Tribunal, and his appointment to Dean of the Faculty of Advocates from 1986 to 1989. Indeed, Lord Hope claimed it was his appointment as Dean that paved the way to his becoming Lord Justice General.
While making a farewell speech during a ceremony at the Supreme Court in London, Lord Hope put his success down to the support of the Faculty of Advocates. He said: “Had I not been made Dean, my selection as Lord Justice General would certainly not have happened. I owe everything to the Faculty.”
His appointment to the offices of Lord President of the Court of Session and Lord Justice General, Scotland’s Highest Judge, took place in 1989, when he was personally selected from a shortlist by then prime minister Margaret Thatcher. He was also made a Privy Counsellor. In 1995 he was awarded a Life Peerage, and retired from his position as Lord President the following year.
In 1998 he was made Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, a position from which he will also retire in October this year. His other honours are too numerous to list, but include his appointment to the Order of the Thistle, the highest chivalric honour in Scotland, in 2009.
In 2008 he was made the Honorary President of the Edinburgh Student Law Review.
Richard Keen, QC, paid tribute to Lord Hope during the London ceremony, saying: “Lord Hope has illuminated the law with intelligence and the care and industry he brought to bear in every case in which he appeared.”