Professional information

  • 2020: Appointed Silk
  • 2020: Appointed Deputy Counsel to the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry
  • 2016: Appointed as a Chair of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland
  • 2015: Appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s A panel of counsel
  • 2009 to 2021: Standing Junior Counsel to the United Kingdom Government
  • 2007: Called to the bar
  • 2006: Bachelor of Civil Law, with distinction, University of Oxford (St Hugh’s College)
  • 2003 – 2005: Trainee Solicitor, Dickson Minto WS
  • 1998 – 2002 Glasgow University: LLB (Hons) First Class (2002)
  • J Bennett Miller Prize Winner
Professional experience

John has a broad civil practice with a focus on commercial and public law. He has particular expertise in disputes relating to commercial contracts, company law, banking and financial services. He has extensive experience in judicial review and administrative appeals and has appeared in a significant number of constitutional law cases.

Notable cases


  • Glasgow City Council v VFS Financial Services Ltd 2020 SLT 1227. Competition law dispute concerning the market for trucks.
  • Ardmair Bay Holdings v Craig [2020] CSIH 2; 2019 SLT 1011. Claim for breach of warranty arising from a share purchase agreement.
  • Shanley v Clydesdale Bank plc 2019 SLT 572. Dispute concerning the sale of a financial product.
  • Bullough v Royal Bank of Scotland Plc 2019 SLT 524. Commercial Court action concerning implied waiver of legal professional privilege.
  • L Batley Pet Products Ltd v North Lanarkshire Council 2014 SC (UKSC) 84. Supreme Court case clarifying the legal principles in relation to dilapidations claims.

Public Law

  • Dr Graham v Scottish Information Commissioner 2020 SLT 48. Appeal under the freedom of information legislation concerning when information is “held by” a party.
  • Graham Nassau Senior-Milne v Advocate General for Scotland 2020 SLT 853 Petition for judicial review concerning the refusal of a peerage claim.
  • Dickson v Police Scotland 2019 SLT 316. Judicial review concerning disciplinary proceedings brought against a police constable.
  • Scotch Whisky Association v Lord Advocate & others 2018 SC (UKSC) 94. Acted for the UK Government in a challenge to proposed minimum pricing legislation for alcohol.
  • Cumbria County Council v X 2017 SC 451. Series of cases where the nobile officium was invoked to regularise the detention of English domiciled children in secure care facilities in Scotland.
  • Fox Solicitors Ltd 2013 SLT 1169. Judicial review concerning introduction of fees in employment tribunal cases.
  • AXA General Insurance Limited, Petitioners 2012 SC (UKSC) 122; 2011 SLT 1061. Supreme Court case concerning legislative competence of Acts of the Scottish Parliament.


  • Cheyne v Alfred Cheyne Engineering Ltd [2021] CSOH 17. Unfair prejudice action.
  • Premier Oil plc v Fund III Investment 1 (Cayman) Ltd [2020] CSOH 39. Acted for a creditor opposed to two schemes of arrangement.
  • Ardmair Bay Holdings v Craig [2020] CSIH 2; 2019 SLT 1011. Claim for breach of warranty arising from a share purchase agreement.
  • Buckley v Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy [2017] CSOH 105. Application by a disqualified director to act as a director in respect of a specified company.

Competition, EU and Procurement

  • Glasgow City Council v VFS Financial Services Ltd 2020 SLT 1227. Competition law dispute concerning the market for trucks.
  • SERCO Ltd v Glasgow City Council, 2017. Challenge to the proposed award of a £1bn IT contract.
  • Scott & Co (Scotland) LLP v Aberdeenshire Council 2016 CSOH 64. Dispute concerning procurement of Sheriff Officer services.
  • Galloway Group v Attorney General of Montserrat, 2015. Challenge to the award of a major dredging contract by the Government of Montserrat.
  • British Telecommunications plc v Common Services Agency [2014] CSOH 44. Procurement dispute concerning the award of a major IT contract.

Professional Liability and Regulation

  • Lilburn v Scottish Legal Complaints Commission [2020] CSIH 20. Appeal against a decision that a complaint was totally without merit.
  • Dickson v Police Scotland 2019 SLT 316. Challenge to disciplinary proceedings brought against a police constable.
  • W v Highland Council 2016 SLT 751. Judicial review challenging the decision of a local authority to de-register of a respite foster carer on public protection grounds.
  • Mauger v Police Scotland 2017 SC 20. Petition for judicial review by a senior police officer regarding refusal of management vetting.

Civil Liberties and Human Rights

  • DXL v Secretary of State for the Home Department 2021 CSOH 108. Judicial review concerning Article 8 ECHR.
  • Stasic & others v Advocate General 2018 HCJAC 61. Challenge to search warrants obtained by HMRC.
  • WA v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] CSOH 30. Judicial review challenging the adequacy of out of country appeals in immigration cases.
  • G v Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland 2014 SC (UKSC) 84. Supreme Court test case concerning whether patients were detained in conditions of excessive security.
  • IA v Secretary of State for the Home Department 2014 SC (UKSC) 105. Supreme Court case concerning mandated refugee status.
  • H v Lord Advocate 2012 SC (UKSC) 308. Supreme Court case concerning extradition and Article 8 ECHR.
  • Chambers – Recommended as leading silk in Administrative & Public Law (Band 2); Commercial Dispute Resolution (Band 3); Civil Liberties & Human Rights (Band 3); Professional Discipline (Band 2); and Public Procurement (Band 3)
  • Legal 500 – Recommended as new silk in Commercial Disputes
  • Who’s Who Legal – Recommended in Government Contracts


Commercial Dispute Resolution

“He is a financial services expert and is highly responsive.” “He is very able on the technical stuff. He is also very contactable and very easy to get along with.” “a voice of reason and a calming influence.”

Administrative & Public Law

“He’s a clever, intellectual and practical practitioner who gives clear and unequivocal advice.” “He’s down to earth, intelligent and willing to fight for his clients.”

Professional Discipline

“An experienced disciplinary practitioner…frequently instructed to advise in FTP hearings before regulatory panels, and also adroitly handles challenges by way of judicial review.”; “…a heavy-hitting advocate.”

Public Procurement

“…a capable, experienced and respected litigator who is the first choice for a procurement dispute.” “He’s a down-to-earth, intelligent barrister who is excellent in mediation and very able on technical issues. He is good with clients and is a voice of reason in fraught, high-tension claims.”

Civil Liberties & Human Rights

“…a strong track record of assisting local government and other public bodies with administrative appeals and judicial review proceedings…” “His written work is brilliant and he’s a good, robust advocate in court.” “He’s very responsive, very good with clients, and turns work around quickly and without difficulty.”


Select publications
  • Commercial Actions in the Court of Session, Green’s Civil Practice Bulletin, Issue 134