John Logan Mitchell QC, a prominent and highly respected Advocate, died in Edinburgh on 29 May 2022. Born in Dumfries in 1947, John’s very early years were spent in Kenya where his lawyer father was employed. On the family’s return to Scotland he was educated at the Royal High School and thereafter at Edinburgh University, graduating with an honours law degree. His interest in the law was stimulated by his father, who latterly in his career served as a Stipendiary Magistrate in Glasgow.
His legal career began in Glasgow and thereafter Edinburgh, when he commenced training for the Scottish bar, devilling to the late Alistair McGregor QC and Sheriff David Smith.
John was called to the bar in 1974 and pursued a very successful and varied career path. He was appointed Standing Junior Counsel for the Forestry Commission and the Department of Agriculture and fisheries. Appointed as an Advocate Depute from 1982 to 1985, as Crown Counsel he prosecuted many major criminal cases, gaining a reputation for being a tenacious and imposing prosecutor. He took silk in 1987 and thereafter developed an extensive civil practice.
His cases covered the whole legal spectrum from tribunals and Public Inquiries to the Court of Session and House of Lords. John was renowned for his thorough and painstaking attention to his clients’ interests. In a recent tribute Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Roddy Dunlop QC, praised his ability, ready wit and tenaciousness. His most high-profile brief was to act for Occidental in the Piper Alpha Inquiry.
Away from the law he maintained a great affection for his alma mater and was elected President of the Royal High Former Pupils Club in 1994.
In John’s schooldays he was a proficient sportsman, a member of the Athletic team and a tough tackling rugby centre, achieving selection for the first XV. In later years he turned out for Clarkston RFC and in Edinburgh for the Royal High School FP 1st XV.
An enthusiastic golfer, he was secretary of the Faculty of Advocates Golf Society from 1976 to 1982. His home club was Mortonhall where he took an active role in club life and where he served on the Council and Centenary Committee.
He also enjoyed Luffness New and Craigielaw and had an abiding affection for the Carradale golf course on the Mull of Kintyre, having holidayed there from being a boy. Golf was also the catalyst for his interest in the Great War poets, and in particular Siegfried Sassoon’s connection with Mortonhall.
In addition to Carradale, Majorca and the Lake District were other favourite destinations, as was Northumberland where he could indulge his interest in the history of Hadrian’s Wall. A vacation in recent years to China sparked an avid interest in Chinese culture
John married Christine in 1973 and their two children, Caroline and Stuart, provided them with five grandchildren – Sadie, Tess, Guy, Max and Blake. He was a very proud father and grandfather.
As an active person who took his personal fitness very seriously, John’s frailty in recent years was difficult for him to bear, but Christine and the family looked after him with loving care and attention. They will be comforted in their loss with the memory of a very decent man of great integrity, a loving, caring husband, father, grandfather and brother and a highly respected and very capable member of his profession.
A large turnout of family, friends and fellow professionals attended John’s funeral service, which took place at Mortonhall Crematorium on 13 June.
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