Lawyer spent life fighting for workers and victims

Iain Gray described Frank Maguire as 'a champion of the underdog'
Iain Gray described Frank Maguire as 'a champion of the underdog'
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Tributes have been paid to the campaigning lawyer Frank Maguire, who has died following a long illness.

A joint managing partner of Thompsons Solicitors, the 55-year-old died at home in Ayrshire with his family by his side at the weekend. He had been suffering from cancer for some time.

Mr Maguire specialised in personal injury and health and safety law and was known for his work fighting for those exposed to asbestos at work and those infected with hepatitis C through infected blood. His firm was appointed to represent all transfusion and haemophiliac victims at the Penrose Inquiry, set up by the Scottish Government two years ago.

For a time Mr Maguire intended to become a priest and studied at St Vincent’s College in Langbank, Renfrewshire, and at St Mary’s College in Blairs, Aberdeen. After gaining degrees in philosophy and theology in Rome he had intended to enter the priesthood, but instead went on to study law at Aberdeen University. On completing his LLB he joined Robin Thompson and Partners in Edinburgh, now known as Thompsons, where he spent his entire career, rising to the distinguished post of managing partner.

Mr Maguire represented miners groups during the strikes of the mid-1980s, the victims of the Piper Alpha disaster and victims of asbestos. The Rights of Relatives to Damages (Scotland) 2007 Act ended the injustice of asbestos victims having to forego compensation while alive so that their families could claim for damages after their death.

The Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 introduced a fairer way to calculate damages after the death of a partner and the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) Act 2009 – for which Maguire argued – is currently being contested by the insurance industry in the Supreme Court.

Paying tribute, Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray said: “Frank was a true champion for the underdog. His tireless campaigns for the victims of hepatitis C blood contamination and former shipyard workers, their families and others affected by asbestos-related diseases will live on as a tribute to him.”

Away from law and his charity work, which included representing Clydebank Asbestos Group and Clydeside Action on Asbestos, Mr Maguire was a keen athlete and distance runner. At the age of 50 he took up snowboarding. He also played football for Spartans in Edinburgh, and was Scottish windsurfing champion and a master yachtsman, often sailing throughout the Hebrides with his wife. He also had a house in Italy and spent many happy hours tending to his olive groves.

Those who knew Mr Maguire said that throughout his severe illness he conducted himself with dignity and courtesy. He is described as being a devoted family man and enjoyed the company and love of his wife Fiona and four sons Calum, Matthew, Luke and John, who survive him.