John Mayer

John Mayer, Advocate of the Scottish Bar

John Inglis
John's Legal Career

To the right of this page is a hero of John's - the great John Inglis 1810 - 1891 Lord Glencorse, Lord Justice General of Scotland (in the days when that was one of the great offices of this country) John is a huge fan of Inglis. His Judgments were brimming with intellectual rigour and humanitarian concern. John always has his judgments in mind when appearing before the courts.

Inglis was born in Edinburgh, the youngest son of a clergyman. He was educated at the University of Glasgow before Balliol College, Oxford. He passed advocate in 1835 and rose to become Solicitor General for Scotland (1852) and then Lord Advocate. Amongst other legislation, he was responsible for the Universities of Scotland Act (1858). Inglis thus made himself popular amongst the Scottish Universities and was elected Rector of the Universities of Aberdeen (1857) and Glasgow (1865), before being appointed Chancellor at Edinburgh (1869).

He was elevated to the bench as Lord Glencorse in 1858, becoming Lord Justice Clerk. He took his title from his Midlothian estate. In 1867 he was appointed Lord Justice General of Scotland and Lord President of the Court of Session. His reign is universally regarded as the high water mark of Scots Law. He is sorely missed.

Devilling in 1991:

This is a kind of pupillage known as Devilling because the pupil 'bedevils' the Advocate under whom (s)he trains. John had the great privilege of Devilling under Lord Bonomy. During this period John received special dispensation to see Crown Prosecution Papers before Mr Iain Bonomy (as he then was) prosecuted the case in the High Court. John also learned about Licensing Law from Mr Bonomy who was a very hard task-master.

During this time John also represented various people under the Faculty of Advocates' Free Representation Scheme whereby those without private funds or even legal aid could find someone to represent them before Employment Tribunals, Road Traffic matters or the like.

Calling to the Bar:

John was 'Called' by Lord Penrose in March 1992. When his lordship said from the Bench that he had one piece of advice to give, John waited with baited breath. 'It is this - always seek advice if the situation demands it, but when it comes to appearing before the Court, you must always be yourself'. John was thrilled because if there is one thing John can do, it is to be himself at all times.

From the outset John was 'an Advocate of independent mind' who only once has had occasion to 'look and laugh at a' that' (from Robert Burns' - A Man's A Man For A' That).

Practice in Parliament House:

John immediately made history in his first case as a lawyer, albeit an Advocate. After only a week 'Called' he was fortunate enough to be acting as Junior Counsel to Mr Edgar Prais, one of the Lord Advocate of Scotland's Deputies (AD) in a case about burning (arson) the Great Inn at Inverary in the beautiful West Highlands of Scotland. Having dropped Edgar's daughter Lillian at primary school (she's now a lawyer - how time flies) they were driving to court when they had a legal argument about the quality of the evidence in the case. The learned Advocate Depute thought there was insufficient to secure a conviction whilst John begged to disagree. The AD quizzed John and at court, without warning, the AD reversed roles and John found himself prosecuting in the highest court in the country. It was truly a 'deep end' experience. During the case other judges and lawyers came and sat in the public benches to see what all the rumours were about. The defence thought it was their lucky day. After four days of evidence the defence moved the court that there was No Case To Answer - that was the original difference between the AD and John. The Judge, Lord Milligan, ruled that there was sufficient evidence against the accused to warrant a Case To Answer. After the case the Judge invited John into his Chambers and congratulated him on a job well done adding that it was a difficult case, even for an experienced prosecutor. John was off and running! John quickly gained a number of Commissions as Procurator Fiscal Depute (Public Prosecutor) in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee. John is a 'natural prosecutor' and is at home in the criminal trial and appellate courts. Shortly thereafter, amongst a blur of Opinions and Trials, John took instructions in his first International Child Abduction case. It was to be the first of many and came from a fellow enthusiast for Scottish legal history, Mr George Jamieson; then a partner in an old law firm and who is now a Scottish Sheriff Court Judge and an Immigration Court Judge in London. Judge Jamieson is a prodigious writer of legal textbooks and John has been honoured to contribute to his 'Parental Responsibilities and Rights' and 'Summary Applications and Suspensions'. It is deeply gratifying to often see these books lying off the shelves, evidence of their regular use by students, practitioners and Judges. John was also honoured to become the Scottish Legal Editor of 'Clinical Forensic Medicine 2nd Edn' a book frequently used in murder and complicated medical cases.

Proud Moments:

One of John's favourite achievements is having South Africa, whilst it was emerging from being a political, social and legal pariah, recognised in the Scottish Supreme Court as one of the group of nations to which the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction ought to apply. South Africa is now a full member of the Convention and its children are better protected for that. The case for which John is most famous is, of course, that of HMA v Zelter and Others - otherwise known as The Trident Three. For more information, including the American and European aspects of this case, please navigate to the 'Author' section of this site and click on the thumbnail picture of the book Nuclear Peace.

In 2007 John drafted the Nuclear Security (Scotland) Bill 2007 which is sponsored in the Scottish Parliament by Mr Michael Matheson MSP. The Bill seeks to create a new statutory crime in Scotland of Firing or Commanding others to use or threaten to use a Nuclear Weapon.

John's proudest day was when he was asked to act for Greenpeace.