St Andrews memorial service for Sheriff John McInnes

Sheriff John McInnes.
Sheriff John McInnes.

A memorial service is to be held in St Andrews next Tuesday for the late Sheriff Principal John McInnes QC, who was one of Scotland’s leading lawyers and criminal justice reformers.

Sheriff McInnes, who resided in Blebo Craigs, spent a number of years on the bench at Cupar Sheriff Court. He died recently aged 72.

He was a distinguished sheriff for various districts in Scotland, but finally acted as Sheriff Principal of South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway.

During his time as Sheriff Principal he chaired a committee which carried out a wide-ranging and influential study into the administration of Scottish summary justice. Its findings are still having an impact and it was praised by many observers for its practical and forthright recommendations.

He was was called to the Bar in 1963 and became a sheriff in 1973 – at first with Lothians and Peebles then with Tayside Central and Fife (1974–2000). He was appointed Sheriff Principal for South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway in 2000 and held the post for six years.

Sheriff McInnes is remembered by colleagues as “a real gentleman” and a man with a “powerful legal mind, but very natural and gracious.”

Lord Prosser, who knew him both professionally and personally for many years, said:”John was principally concerned with family law, but he was equally involved in many other aspects of the profession. His active and multifarious mind always wanted to be involved in anything going on. As a lawyer, and as a man, he was humane, kindly and courteous.”

He is survived by his wife, Elisabeth, son, Ian, and daughter, Iona, and three grandchildren.

Tuesday’s service will be at 11am in Holy Trinity Parish Church and thereafter to the Younger Hall, St Andrews University.

The family has requested that bright colours be worn.