Review of Lord Hope's Diaries: Senior Counsel 1978-1986

Lord Hope’s Diaries: Senior Counsel 1978-1986

ISBN: 978-1904968887
PRICE: £25

Senior Counsel is the first title in a series (probably five books, possibly six) covering Lord Hope’s career, and focuses on the period 1978 to 1986. The second volume will cover the period when he was Dean of Faculty, and the third his time as Lord President. Subsequent volumes will cover the House of Lords (one or two volumes) and his Supreme Court years.

The author wrote up a journal on a regular basis, but felt the period of his career when he took silk and became an advocate depute more interesting to readers than when he was a junior counsel signing initial writs in tax cases as standing junior to the Revenue.

It is remarkable that he found time to produce these insightful entries and record what Parliament House was like back in the day.

As an advocate depute Lord Hope achieved excellent results by virtue of his hard work, drive and dedication. He records returning home to Edinburgh on the train late on a Friday night from a heavy sitting of the High Court in Aberdeen, and beginning almost immediately to prepare for an appeal in the House of Lords the following Tuesday. There were indications the case might settle, but Lord Hope diligently prepared for this case until told late afternoon on Saturday that settlement terms had been reached. Dismayed at the abrupt end to his involvement in the case, he went out for a walk and was cheered up by the sight of some crested grebes!

While being an advocate depute back then was not a full time job, it was busy with marking of cases to be done each day if not on circuit. Lord Hope also used his time to fit in a punishing schedule of civil work, including (rating) valuation appeal tribunal cases. He is honest about his own abilities and confesses to nerves and stage fright, but this period involved many court appearances which gave little time to brood over any inadequacies and enabled Lord Hope to hone his skills, to be recognised by his peers as the next Dean of Faculty.

As well as pen portraits of the great legal figures of that era, we are treated to Lord Hope’s views on important events of the time such as the 1978 devolution referendum, the Falklands War, the Glasgow rape case (X v Sweeney) and the Dundee corruption case (HM Advocate v Stewart). Forthcoming volumes are eagerly anticipated.


The Author
Sheriff Frank R Crowe, Edinburgh
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