After service in the Royal Air Force, he was admitted to the Scottish Bar in 1955. He became a Q.C in 1967 and was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland in 1974. He became a life peer in 1976 and a judge in 1984.
He was a friend of John Smith and they worked together on Devolution legislation in the Labour Government of 1974 -1979. He has written books on Human Rights and on Criminal Appeals in Scotland.
- Member of the International Bar Association (an international association of lawyers including judges)
- Member of Age Concern, Scotland