The death has been announced of Murray Sinclair, Scotland's top Government solicitor.

Mr Sinclair was director of the Scottish Government Legal Directorate since May 2007, responsible for matters including litigation and tribunal work, commercial law and procurement advice, instructing bills and drafting subordinate legislation, legislative competence, and devolution matters, including European Convention of Human Rights and EU law.

He joined the then Scottish Office as a legal adviser in 1989, advising in particular on criminal justice matters. In 1997 he became part of the Scottish Office's new Constitution Group, the team that delivered devolution for Scotland.

In June 1999 he was promoted to the senior civil service, to a division advising on a broad range of matters, including housing, local government, planning, transport and the environment.

In October 2004 he transferred to a policy job, heading the Constitution & Parliamentary Secretariat, with responsibility for constitutional policy, freedom of information, the legislative programme, various parliamentary matters and civic participation.

For the past nine years he had also served on the Law Society of Scotland's Council.

In a tribute Alison Atack, President of the Society, said: “We were very saddened to hear the news of Murray’s death and extend our sincere condolences to his family and his colleagues in the Scottish Government at this difficult time.

“Murray played an important role in Scotland’s history as part of Scottish Office’s constitution group, the team which delivered devolution in 1999. He was an exceptional solicitor, who enjoyed a distinguished career and was a highly committed public servant throughout his legal career, including his role as director for the Scottish Government’s Legal Directorate.

“He took great pride both in being a Scottish solicitor and in serving his profession, shown by his nine years as a member of the Law Society’s Council. We could always depend on him for thoughtful advice when it was wanted and sound judgment when it was needed. He will be much missed.”