The Right Honourable The Lord Mackay of Clashfern

Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Lord Chancellor 1988-97 was born James Peter Hymers Mackay in Edinburgh an 2 July 1927. He was educated at George Heriot's School, Edinburgh and at Edinburgh University where he graduated MA with Honours in mathematics and natural philosophy. He then lectured in mathematics at the University of St Andrews and did post-graduate work in mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge, receiving the degree of BA in 1962. Lord Mackay then turned to the law, graduating from Edinburgh University with an LLB in 1955, which was also the year in which he was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates (the Scottish Bar). He became a QC in 1965 and Sheriff Principal for Renfrew and Argyll in 1972. This was a part-time judicial post. He relinquished the post in 1974. In 1976 he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Advocates (leader of the Scottish Bar). From 1976 to 1979 he was also a part-time member of the Scottish Law Commission. In 1979 the Prime Minister (Mrs Margaret Thatcher as she then was) invited Lord Mackay to become Lord Advocate. The Lord Advocate is the Senior Law Officer of the Crown for Scotland in charge of all public prosecutions in Scotland, as well as legal advice to the Government. He became a Life Peer in the same year. In 1984 Lord Mackay was appointed a Senator of The College of Justice in Scotland ( i.e. a Member of the Court of Session, Scotland's highest court). In 1985 he became a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, one of the two Scottish members of the Appellate Committee in the House of Lords, which is the highest court in the United Kingdom.

He was appointed Lord Chancellor on 27 October 1987.

Lord Mackay's title comes from the small village of Clashfern in Sutherland, north west Scotland. This village was the birth place of his father. a railway signalman.

Press to return to the INDEX PAGE